Do you know you can get a refund of all the money you spent on taxes in Dubai? In simple words, as a tourist, you can reclaim the VAT spent on purchases made within the premises of the UAE. VAT refund is legal, easy, and reliable. Imagine purchasing expensive goods and luxury stuff and getting a refund for the tax. Hard to believe but it’s true. This article will help you learn the simple process of reclaiming your tax money as a visitor and enjoy tax-free shopping all over UAE.Before jumping into the discussion, let’s first shed some light on the tourist tax refund system and how it benefits overseas visitors coming to stay in the UAE.

UAE Tourist VAT Refund Scheme

The Tourist Tax Refund Scheme allows all visiting people from overseas to reclaim their tax money.
The scheme is linked to the 13 entry and exit ports of the country allowing eligible shoppers to claim refunds before they depart from the UAE. Almost 14000 retailers across the country are registered with the Tourist Tax Refund Scheme. The Planet is the authorized entity to operate and process the Tourist VAT Refund Scheme in UAE with offices located in major airports of the country.The process is fairly simple and straightforward. The tourist can visit self-service desks to finish off the procedure. This makes the whole system quite efficient and reliable.

Tax-free Shopping in UAE

UAE Federal Tax Authority launched a 5% value-added tax back in January 2018 and introduced tax-free shopping for visitors simultaneously. Tax-free or VAT-free shopping is buying supplies and goods in the country to be exported (terms and conditions applied) and receive a refund on the tax applied on those goods. This of course has to be validated by following the said rules and laws.

Eligibility Criterion
Tourists and visitors who by any means are not residents of the United Arab Emirates stand eligible for VAT-free shopping. Staff and crew members of airlines are not eligible for getting refunds on the VAT spent on purchases made during their stay in the country.

Steps to Claim VAT refund

Step1: Request a VAT Claim from the Retailer
After you shop from a specific retailer, ask them to issue a VAT refund claim. The retailer would then initiate the process. A valid passport or boarding pass is to be presented at the time of initiating a claim.

Step 2: The retailer will Issue a Claim
The merchant will fill in your details into the Planet’s Tax-Free System which would then respond with a QR code. This code will be attached to the receipts to be presented at the kiosks at the airport for receiving the VAT refund.
Make sure all the details printed on the receipt are correct. Incorrect spellings and details will result in the refusal of the application submitted for the VAT refund.

Step3: Visit the Validation Point
Follow the Tax-free signs at the airport and you will be taken to the validation point.
You have to take along the purchased goods and the receipts to the airport, border crossing, or any other exit port of the UAE.
The Planet Validation point is usually located somewhere before the check-in counters.
Step4: Receive your VAT Refund
After the successful validation, you have to select a mode of refund i.e. either through card or cash.
Only AED 7,000 can be received as a cash refund. For amounts exceeding AED 7,000 use a credit card, debit card, or digital wallet
The Planet will process the refund and you will get a portion of the value-added tax (VAT) back that you spent while shopping in the Emirates.

Amount of Refund
• You as a tourist will get 85% of the total tax you spent. An admin fee of AED4.8 will be deducted from the amount.
• The current VAT rate on commodities, goods, and services is 5% as set by the UAE government.
• You have to spend at least AED250 to be eligible to receive the refund.
• Receipts older than 90 days from the date of purchase shall not be entertained and are considered invalid.

Goods Not Eligible for Tax Refunds
• Goods that have been consumed either partially or fully are not eligible for a refund.
• Motor vehicles (including cars and bikes), aircraft, and boats cannot be reclaimed.
• Goods and products that the tourist does not take along with them at the time of departure from the Emirates are also not eligible.

Documents Required
• Purchase receipts with tax refund tag
• The purchased products and items (validate your purchase before checking in the luggage at the airport as you will have to display the goods at the counter to get a refund)
• Valid passport
• Airplane boarding pass

Important Things to Keep in Mind:
• Arrive at the airport ahead of time to process the validation and refund as the procedure takes some time.
• Visitors and tourists can claim for tax refund at the time of departure for the things purchased in the country. The entire refund process is carried out via a fully integrated electronic system. All popular retailers are registered in the Tax refund scheme for seamless execution of the process.
• All things must be purchased from a retailer who is registered with the Tax Refund Scheme.
• All goods purchased must be exported from the UAE within 3 months from the purchase date.
• The purchase and export of the items must be made according to the laws and procedures set by the Federal Tax Authority
• The Federal Tax Authority has specified locations where visitors can claim their taxes via a fully integrated electronic system operated and managed by The Planet.
• Tourists will get their refunds from a special electronic device placed at all exit ports of the country.

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