The UAE on Wednesday announced the world’s first paperless tax refund experience for tourists.
Khalid Ali Al Bustani, director-general of the Federal Tax Authority (FTA), said the system has been linked with the retailers hence all the receipts will be generated electronically and tourists will not have to carry papers and receipts of their purchases when going to airports to claim VAT refunds.
This was announced at a press conference which was attended by senior officials of the Federal Tax Authority, Planet Tax, Seddiqi Holding, Rasool Khoory, GMG and Apparel.
The UAE introduced a five per cent value-added tax (VAT) in 2018 and tourists in the country can claim a VAT refund on the purchases made at the outlets upon leaving the country.
“The biggest challenge for tourists was to carry a lot of papers to claim the refund. When tourists make purchases, they have a printed invoice with a sticker which shows the reference number of the tourist refund code. When they come to the airport for an audit, they will check the paperwork. This is a lengthy process. Hence, we worked with Planet to ensure that data must be ready before the tourist arrives at the airport,’ said Al Al Bustani.
He said the UAE is the first in the world to achieve this milestone.
Al Bustani added that tourists don’t need to worry about carrying the paper and stickers to claim VAT refund after the linking all the partners electronically.
“The efficiency of the process is very quick and tourists can always check about their refunds amounts on the Planet portal once the invoice is posted. This service has been activated and will 95 per cent of merchants in the first year,” he said.