H.H. Hamdan bin Rashid Issues Decision Setting Daily Cash Limit for VAT Refunds at AED7,000 per Tourist

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Federal Tax Authority (FTA), has issued FTA Decision No. (1) of 2019, setting a daily maximum of AED7,000 for cash refunds of Value Added Tax (VAT) for tourists applying through the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme.

In a press report issued today, the FTA declared that the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme, which entered into effect in November 2018, is characterised by its effectiveness, seamless procedures, speed, and accuracy in processing applications.

FTA Director General His Excellency Khalid Ali Al Bustani said: “The new verdict regarding the maximum daily amount a tourist can reclaim in cash is in line with the UAE’s overall strategy to decrease reliance on cash in financial transactions, and benefit from the country’s advanced digital and technological infrastructure. These systems are key components in driving the continuous development of the UAE’s financial and economic segments; they enable the flow of money and financial possessions securely, increasing trust in financial transactions – both local and global.”

“The Federal Tax Authority is dedicated to implementing the uppermost international standards across all its activities and services, in line with the directives of the UAE’s wise leadership to make the UAE one of the best countries in the world by 2021,” H.E. added. “We are dedicated to maintaining the UAE’s competitiveness as the only Arab economy that is based on innovation and creativity. The new decision abides by best practices implemented in advanced economies, which prioritise effective and holistic risk management and promote e-payment solutions.”

“The Authority is taking all needed measures to support the UAE’s smart government inventiveness, which highlights the e-payment sector, building on the UAE’s success in payment solutions in general,” H.E. Al Bustani noted. “With that in mind, the FTA installed several self-service kiosks where tourists can reclaim the VAT they incurred on purchases in the UAE at any of the exit ports covered by the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme. The Authority had authorised international system operator Planet to run the Scheme’s electronic system, offering users fully automated measures to process their applications. However, Planet employees are positioned near all self-service kiosks to assist tourists when desired.”

The FTA Director General noted that the advanced service makes it easier and faster to process refunds for tourists on taxes they incurred during their stay in the UAE. The procedures include a few simple online steps that help users determine the taxes entitled for a refund; verify that the procured items are with them when applying for the refund; and then recover the taxes through an automated process without interrelating with employees, using the self-service kiosks placed at all ports of entry and exit included in the Scheme.

Tourists can submit their tax invoices on purchases they made at retail outlets registered within the scheme, along with their passport and credit card. Eligible applicants can recover an unlimited amount of taxes incurred if said amount is transferred to their card, while cash refunds are limited to AED7,000 per tourist per day.

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