ABU DHABI – The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has achieved a significant milestone in its tourist tax refund programme, with the total number of electronic transactions surpassing 15.43 million since the system's implementation nearly five years ago, said Director-General of the FTA.

During the first nine months of the current year alone, over 3.44 million transactions were processed, reflecting the growing popularity of the programme among tourists, Khalid Ali Al Bustani told the Emirates News Agency (WAM) in an interview.

He attributed the success of the programme to its efficiency and user-friendliness. He noted that the number of self-service tax refund kiosks available to tourists has increased to 87, up from 81 in September 2022. Additionally, the number of registered sales outlets connected to the digital system has reached 15,880, providing tourists with more options to claim their tax refunds.

Al Bustani also highlighted the FTA's commitment to supporting newly constructed citizens' homes by refunding the value-added tax (VAT) paid. Since the inception of the programme in 2018, the FTA has approved over 21,947 refund requests, amounting to approximately AED 1.8 billion.

He detailed that since its launch, the electronic system for refunding value-added tax for tourists has undergone continuous development and updates. Recently, the advanced digital system for tourist tax refunds was launched, operating entirely paperless and digitally at a 100% rate. It stands as a global pioneer, continuing its role in reinforcing the sophisticated civilized features of the UAE, considering it one of the most significant destinations on the global tourism map.

Al Bustani expressed his satisfaction with the remarkable success of the electronic system for tourist value-added tax (VAT) refunds. The system has witnessed a significant surge in transactions, processing a cumulative total of 15.43 million transactions since its implementation nearly five years ago until September 2023. This represents a substantial growth compared to the 10.63 million transactions recorded by September 2022. Notably, the number of transactions executed between September 2022 and September 2023 reached approximately 4.81 million, surpassing the 3.44 million transactions processed during the first nine months of the current year.

The FTA DG emphasised that the system's success aligns with the Federal Tax Authority's strategy of developing an integrated platform of electronic systems. This strategy aims to enhance the quality of life for citizens, residents, and visitors, contributing to the government's vision of establishing the UAE as one of the world's best and most progressive countries. The authority remains committed to ongoing development efforts to stay at the forefront of technological advancements.

Al Bustani further highlighted the efficiency of the self-service kiosks dedicated to tourist VAT refunds. These kiosks streamline the tax refund process, enabling tourists to complete the entire procedure in under two minutes.