|11 June, 2019

UAE tourists to recover VAT at new self-service kiosks

The kiosks were placed at all exit ports

Image used for illustrative purpose. UAE, Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, two photographs of the same scene taken at different time of day and merged together in a single image to show the transition from dusk till dawn.

Image used for illustrative purpose. UAE, Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, two photographs of the same scene taken at different time of day and merged together in a single image to show the transition from dusk till dawn.

Getty Images/Shomos uddin

Self-service kiosks have been set up across all of the ports included in the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme in order to allow tourists to recover Value Added Tax (VAT) when leaving the UAE.

The kiosks are operated by Planet, the company enlisted by the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) to operate the system for the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme. Planet supplied the kiosks with the state-of-the-art technology needed to fully automate tax refund procedures. The system operator's employees will be available near the self-service kiosks to offer assistance when needed.

FTA director general, Khalid Ali Al Bustani, asserted that the new service, launched in collaboration with the company hired to operate the system, provides greater ease and speed in processing VAT refund requests for tourists on purchases they made during their stay in the UAE. The streamlined procedure identifies the taxes eligible for refunds, verifies that the purchases are with the tourist, and then facilitates tax recovery.

"The self-service kiosks are a significant addition where tourists can recover VAT without needing to interact with employees," said Al Bustani. "The kiosks were placed at all exit ports included in the Tax Refund Scheme for Tourists, where tourists can submit the tax invoices on their purchases, along with their passport and credit card, to recover VAT. No limit is placed on the maximum amount that can be recovered if said amount is transferred to the tourist's credit card, however, in the event that the applicant requests a cash refund, then the maximum amount is set at Dh10,000 per day."

"The new service reflects our commitment to continuously upgrading our services," he added. "Our periodic follow-ups revealed a sustained increase in customer happiness with the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme, launched in November 2018 in collaboration with system operator Planet. This is part of the government's plan to establish a legislative, executive, and technological ecosystem that would galvanise the tourism sector - one of the major contributors to national GDP, whereby the UAE has become a major destination for tourists and visitors, offering safety, hospitality, and world-class services."

The electronic system of the Tax Refund Scheme for Tourists has registered significant success since its November launch, where the number of outlets connected to the system grew to 12 air, land and sea ports, including the Abu Dhabi International Airport; Al Ain International Airport; Dubai International Airport; Al Maktoum International Airport; Sharjah International Airport; and Ras Al Khaimah International Airport; as well as two sea ports: Zayed Port in Abu Dhabi and Port Rashid in Dubai; and four land ports: Al Ghuwaifat Border Post in Abu Dhabi, Hili Border Port and Al Madheef Border Crossing in Al Ain, and Dubai's Hatta Border Exit.

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