By Sam Bridge
Federal Tax Authority says UAE's Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme has exceeded all expectations
The electronic system for the UAE's Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme exceeded all expectations in its first year, according to Khalid Ali Al Bustani, director-general of the Federal Tax Authority (FTA).
He revealed that the scheme has processed a total of 2.83 million applications since its launch in November 2018.
The average daily number of applications the scheme processes has doubled, going from 3,800 in the first month to 7,730 requests per day today, he said in a statement.
"The UAE is among the first countries in the world to implement such a system, characterised by its effectiveness and the ease and speed with which tax refund requests from tourists are processed," he said.
Al Bustani revealed that the number of retail outlets connected to the system has exceeded 12,000 stores around the UAE, while the number of self-service kiosks for refunding taxes to tourists grew by 55.2 percent from 29 in July to 45 kiosks today.
Planet, the company authorised by the FTA to operate the system, is in charge of operating these kiosks, where tax refund requests undergo a fully automated process.
Al Bustani said: "All evidence points to a dramatic increase in customer satisfaction with the electronic system for the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme, which is available at 12 ports of entry, including six airports, two maritime ports, and four land border crossings. Tourists have hailed the system’s speed, where a request for refund is processed seamlessly and in under two minutes."
Tourists can request a refund on the taxes they incurred during their stay in the UAE as they proceed to exit the country. Applicants are required to submit tax invoices for their purchases, which must carry the tax refund stickers issued from retail outlets that are registered in the system. They must also present their passports and credit cards.
There is no limit on the amount a tourist can recover if it is transferred to their credit card but applicants requesting cash refunds can receive no more than AED7,000 per day.