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UAE Issues VAT Refund Guidance For Foreign Firms

by Lorys Charalambous, Lowtax.net, Cyprus
29 April, 2019

The United Arab Emirates has newly issued a VAT refund guide for business visitors.

According to the UAE Federal Tax Authority, the guide is intended to help foreign businesses and business visitors with checking whether they are eligible to submit a claim for a VAT refund, and how to claim one.

The guidance explains what details are required to be provided on the Business Visitor VAT Refund Form. Claims are required to be submitted online, via an eServices account with the FTA.

Only foreign businesses who meet the following conditions are eligible to apply for a refund:

  • They must have no place of establishment or fixed establishment in the UAE or in a Gulf Cooperation Council state that is implementing VAT;
  • They are not a taxable person in the UAE;
  • They are not carrying on business in the UAE;
  • They are carrying on a business and are registered as established with a competent authority in the jurisdiction in which they are established.

The guidance sets out the exclusions to the regime. It is available only to companies established in a state with a reciprocal agreement in place for UAE firms. These countries are listed in Appendix A to the guide.

Generally claims may be submitted from March 1 of the year following the calendar year in which the VAT was incurred. Uniquely, for claims in respect of the 2018 calendar year, refund applications were able to be submitted only from April 2, 2019.

The minimum amount of VAT that may be claimed is AED2,000 (USD544).

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