The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) announced on Monday that its Tax Refund for Tourists Scheme will go into effect on November 18.
The first phase of the scheme, which allows tourists to request refunds of the VAT incurred on their purchases, will see the digital system implemented at Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah International Airports.
As of mid-December, the system will be fully operational to include all airports and land and sea ports in the UAE, as stipulated in the Cabinet decision which aims to strengthen the UAE’s leading position as a major destination on the global tourism map.
The FTA said that tax invoices issued starting from November 18 will qualify tourists who are eligible for a tax refund.
FTA director general Khalid Ali Al Bustani asserted that more than 4,000 retail outlets across the UAE will be connected electronically to the system, clarifying that only the invoices issued by retail outlets registered in the scheme and connected to the system are eligible for a refund.
Al Bustani added: “The scheme will be fully operational as per the timeline we set for it and will include integrated electronic programmes and mechanisms for direct connection between retailers and tax refund offices for tourists at airports and land and sea ports.”
He said that there has been a “significant increase” in the number of agreements signed with retailers to register in the digital system.
The Tax Refund for Tourists Scheme is applied once tourists leave the UAE, and visitors will receive their refunds through a special device at the departure port by submitting the tax invoices for their purchases. Once these documents are submitted, tourists can either