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UAE rolls out digital VAT-refund scheme as transactions rise 104%

Tourist VAT refund procedures are fully automated and completed within two minutes

The UAE’s Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has launched a 100 percent digital value-added tax (VAT) refund scheme for tourists, in partnership with Planet Tax Free, the operator of the tax refund system in the country, WAM, the UAE state news agency, reported.

The new solution is integrated electronically between retail outlets and the tax refund scheme, ensuring a seamless digital process of issuing, sending, modifying and saving invoices for tourists.

Tourist VAT refund transactions increased by 104.15 percent during the current year, as the number of transactions doubled to 2.31 million during the first eight months of this year. 

In 2021, 1.13 million transactions were registered during the same period. The total value of tourist VAT refunds increased by 113.48 percent from the beginning of January to the end of August 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, as global travel restrictions were eased.

The electronic tax-refund system is integrated for purchases at several hotels, shopping centers, malls and other retail locations. 

Upon departure from the UAE, tourists can use one of more than 100 self-service kiosks available at departure points, the news ageny reported.

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