A Planet Tax Free kiosk at the Dubai International Airport.


UAE improves VAT refund scheme for tourists

Tourists in UAE can now avail of an improved VAT refund scheme that is 100 percent digital, according to the Federal Tax Authority and Planet Tax Free.

Khalid Ali Al Bustani, FTA Director-General, and Eyad Al Kourdi, General Manager of Planet Tax Free, operator of the tax refund system, made the announcement recently.

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

The electronic tax-refund system is integrated for purchases at a range of hotels, shopping centers, malls and other retail locations. Within seconds, shoppers can complete a transaction, receive a digital invoice and share it directly with Planet Tax Free.

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”. They will then be refunded for every 5 percent tax on their purchases.

Previously, tourists could only submit their printed invoices and receipts at any Planet Tax Free kiosk at the airport to receive VAT refunds on their purchases in the emirate.

This year, tourist VAT refund transactions increased by 104.15 percent, with the number of transactions doubling to 2.31 million during the first eight months.

During the press conference, officials estimated more than 3.5 million traditional paper invoices will go digital, saving merchants up to five minutes per customer compared to printing receipts. ICA/Expat Media

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