HomeUAEUAE launches digital VAT refund for tourists

UAE launches digital VAT refund for tourists


DUBAI, 15 September – The Federal Tax Authority (FTA), in partnership with Planet Tax-Free, today launched a 100 per cent digital VAT-refund scheme for tourists.

The announcement was made at a joint press conference in presence of Khalid Ali Al Bustani, FTA Director-General, and Eyad Al Kourdi, General Manager of Planet Tax-Free, the operator of the tax refund system for tourists in the UAE.

The new solution is integrated electronically between retail outlets and the tax refund scheme, ensuring a seamless digital process of issuing, sending, modifying and saving invoices for tourists.

“The system achieves high satisfaction rates by users for its simple, effective and smooth tax-refund process for eligible tourists,” Al Bustani said.

Tourist VAT Refund transactions increased by 104.15 per cent during the current year, he added, as the number of transactions doubled to 2.31 million transactions during the first eight months of this year. In 2021, 1.13 million transactions were registered during the same period. The total value of Tourist VAT Refunds increased by 113.48 per cent from the beginning of January to the end of August 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, which is attributed to the easing of global travel restrictions.

For his part, Al Kourdi said, “In a matter of moments, shoppers can complete a transaction, receive a digital invoice and share it directly with Planet Tax-Free. The electronic tax-refund system is integrated for purchases at a range of hotels, shopping centres, malls and other retail locations. Upon departure from the UAE, tourists can use one of more than 100 self-service kiosks available at departure points, for a simple, quick and hassle-free experience.”

During the press conference, officials estimated more than 3.5 million traditional paper invoices will go digital, resulting in overwhelmingly positive benefits including keeping pace with the digital transformation strategy of the country, saving merchants up to five minutes per customer (compared to printing receipts), reducing friction to maintain public health at the point of sale and eliminating human error. The 100 per cent paperless process will save more than 16,800 trees per year and more than 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. — WAM


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