Thursday 26, April 2018 by Jessica Combes

UAE tourists VAT refund scheme plan approved


The Federal Tax Authority’s (FTA) Board of Directors has formally approved implementation of Tourists Refund scheme. 

The scheme seeks to adherence to international standards among UAE businesses and is set to include comprehensive procedures to connect outlets and points of sale across the UAE with the refund system.  

The Board also adopted the proposed design and security specifications of the brand to be used as a marker for tobacco products, allowing them to be tracked electronically to ensure that the excise tax on these products is paid, preventing excise tax evasion, and will be implemented in the near future in coordination with Customs Departments, as well as the divisions within carrying Departments of Economic Development, and manufacturers and importers of tobacco products. 

The Board reviewed a report which revealed a remarkable increase in the number of businesses registered for VAT before the end of penalty waiver period issued by the Authority to exempt businesses from late registration penalties, where 281,000 of them are now registered for Value Added Tax (VAT), while 637 are registered for excise tax. 

HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, who headed the meeting, applauded the commitment and voluntary compliance that UAE businesses have shown in the past few months. Despite being only a few months old, the UAE tax system has registered higher compliance rates than those of many countries with established decades-old tax programmes. 

“Our priority is to help and encourage businesses to comply with tax legislation and procedures, providing state-of-the-art digital systems that reflect our young country’s progress and prestige in all sectors. To that same end, the FTA Board of Directors issued a decision to exempt companies who were late to register from penalties until April 30, 2018. The decision – which covers the penalties, but still requires taxable businesses to settle, in full, all the taxes they’ve incurred retroactively since 1 January 2018 – sought to and succeeded in increasing registration and compliance among UAE businesses,” said Sheikh Hamdan.

The Council reviewed another report detailing the progress made on existing projects, such as formulating an integrated administration system, developing the FTA’s digital systems, and building a user database. The report revealed that the number of tax agents accredited by the Authority rose to 83, while the number of accredited clearance companies increased to 85.


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