Claiming VAT refund in UAE

The UAE government has decided to provide Value Added Tax (VAT) refund to the tourists; the decision came in action on November 2018, soon after the implementation of VAT in the country.

The tourists and non-residents who intend to leave the country within 90 days of purchase can apply for VAT refund but this also requires fulfilling certain other criterions as well:

The goods purchased by the tourists must be supplied within the UAE borders.
It is applicable only for non-consumable goods that too which have to be exported from the country within 90 days from the date of supply.
It must be purchased form a retailer who is registered in the system.
The claim must be made within 90 days from the date of purchase.
The minimum spend for VAT refund is Dh250.
The maximum limit for cash refund is Dh7,000.

It might be hard to search for shops which are registered in the system and applying for refund for small purchases, but UAE is a place where tourists prefer to have luxury shopping, so this refund scheme might come in handy. The shops which are registered usually have a display board but it is the buyer who should make sure that the retailer is registered for the VAT refund scheme. The buyer should also keep in mind that if multiple purchases are made from a single store and are invoiced separately then it cannot be aggregated for a refund. On the other hand if multiple products are purchased from the same store and is invoiced as one then it can be aggregated for refund as an invoice acts as a standalone document and can only be individually validated for tax refund.

Tax refunds are easy to claim and can be claimed at every exit polls including airports, and all land and seaports of UAE. It is also made available at small self-service kiosks at major malls, hotels and money exchange houses. The FTA has also announced to setup 55 self-service kiosks by the end of 2020 at malls and hotels.

In order to claim VAT refund at airports and seaports:
The tourists must carry the invoice of the purchased goods
The tourists should also carry their passport and credit card to transfer the money.
The maximum limit of refund transferred in cash is Dh7,000.

The self-service kiosks will help the tourists to get their work done in minutes when provided with the necessary documents.