VAT Tourist Refund | Now You Can Get Back the VAT You Paid in the UAE

When will VAT refund scheme for tourists be applicable in the UAE?

The Federal Tax Authority – Federal Tax Authority (FTA)  has declared that Tax Refund Scheme for tourists will be initiated from November 2018. In this scheme, tourists will be able to avail for the VAT refund if they shop from retailers who are registered for Tax Refund Scheme under tax refund scheme for tourists.

When can retailers register for VAT Refund Scheme for tourists?

Retailers registered for VAT under FTA  can start registering for Tax Refund Scheme for tourists from 10th September 2018. Briefing from the FTA related to the above will be held in Abu Dhabi on September 11th, 2018 and subsequently in Dubai.

What are the conditions to avail VAT Refund Scheme for Tourist?

  • Goods should be bought by the tourist in the UAE.
  • Tourist visiting the UAE must exit UAE within 90 days from the date of shopping along with the items bought.
  • In order to get the VAT Refund, tourists should be sure only to buy from registered businesses for tourist refund scheme in the UAE.
  • FTA will lay down the procedures to be followed to avail VAT refund to the tourists.

Where can tourists avail refund of the VAT they paid for their shopping?

The tourist can refund the tax they paid for their shopping only from the outlets and point of sales which are registered under the Tax Refund Scheme for tourists.

There will be designated places where the tourists will be able to avail their VAT refund scheme through an electronic system. A digital machine will be able to determine the taxes that are eligible for refund and then the tourists shall be paid accordingly.

How to treat the amount refunded to the tourist under Tax Refund Scheme for tourists in your VAT Form 201?

Under VAT Form 201, Box No. 2 you can find the column provided for Refunds of the tax you have paid to the tourists under the Tax Refunds Scheme for Tourists.

This box can be used only by retailers who are refunding tax to the tourists in the UAE, under the official tourists refund scheme. The box should include the figures of all the tax refunds given to the tourists under the tax refunds for tourist refund scheme. It will be always a negative figure which means it is a refund you are making from the FTA.


UAE VAT Law on Tourist Scheme. {Source ~ Federal Decree-Law No (8) of 2017 on Value Added Tax}

As per the Article 68 Clause 2 of Executive Regulations of the Federal Decree-Law No (8) of 2017 on Value Added Tax following conditions shall apply to the Tax Refunds Scheme for Tourists:

  1. The Goods which are subject to the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme must be supplied to an overseas tourist who is in the State during the purchase of the Goods from the supplier.
  2. At the Date of Supply, the overseas tourist intends to depart from the State within 90 days from that date, accompanied by the Goods.
  3. The relevant Goods are exported by the overseas tourist to a place outside the Implementing States within 3 months from the Date of Supply, subject to such conditions and verifications as may be imposed by the Authority.
  4. The phrase “overseas tourist” means any natural Person who is not resident in any of the Implementing States and who is not a crew member on a flight or aircraft leaving an Implementing State.
  5. The Authority may publish a list of Goods that shall not be subject to Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme.

Refund of the excess recoverable tax amount – Form VAT 311.

There is a confusion in the market that the form VAT 311 available can be used for Tax Refund Scheme for Tourist, which is incorrect. If one has to refund to the tourist the tax amount they paid against their purchases, the retailer or the point of sale should be registered under Tax Refund Scheme for tourists. Then, the amount they pay back to the tourist can be claimed back through form 201 – Box No. 2.

After submitting the form 201, if the registered person is in a net recoverable position an option will be available in the VAT Return to request a refund for the excess recoverable tax amount.  If he selects “Yes” for the refund, he has to complete the VAT Refund Application Form VAT 311. This is done after submitting the VAT Return for the respective tax period. If he selects “No”, the excess recoverable tax amount will be carried forward to the subsequent Tax Periods. This can be used to offset against tax liability or penalty arising in future or can apply for refund later. Nowadays, there is a requirement to submit a bank account validation letter / certificate along with the form 311.

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