VAT refunds will initially be available at three airports in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, and will be eventually be extended to 12 points
The UAE will begin implementing a new VAT refund system for millions of tourists from November, according to local media reports.
Citing tourist refund scheme operator Planet, the Khaleej Times has reported that the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) will initially make the VAT refund system available at airports in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, and will eventually extend the scheme to 12 points exit in the UAE.
Additionally, the FTA has issued guidelines setting a minimum limit of AED 250 to claim a VAT refund, which is available for non-UAE residents above the age of 18.
While the refunds will initially only be available at Dubai International, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah Airports, it will eventually be implemented at Al Maktoum Airport, Abu Dhabi Port Zayed, Al Ain Airport, the Al Ain land border, Fujairah Airport, RAK Airport, Dubai’s Mina Rashid Harbour and the Hatta and Al Ghuwaifat border crossings.
In July, FTA director general, Khalid Ali Al Bustani said the Authority conducted extensive studies to formulate an optimal tax refund system, discussing the results of this research in successive board meetings before finally contracting with the international system operator.
The move has also been welcomed by hoteliers and other hospitality professionals in the UAE.
Government statistics show that the total contribution of the tourism sector to the UAE’s GDP reached 11.3 percent in 2017, equivalent to AED 154.1 billion ($41.9 billion).