Dubai is about to get even cheaper for tourists

Visitors to get tax refund on shopping and gifts

Shopping

Holidays to Dubai are about to get a whole lot cheaper thanks to new VAT refund plans for tourists.

Given the city is one of the world’s premier shopping destinations with the biggest mall on the planet the Dubai Mall for starters – it’s no wonder millions arrive armed with a plastic card and a nose for a bargain.

And now your hard-earned cash will go even further as the Federal Tax Authority finalises a new initiative to issue five percent tax refunds to visitors.

The introduction of VAT here in January prompted certain services and goods to rise in cost – but UAE authorities want to ensure it does not affect holidaymakers.

A date for the cash-back service is yet to be finalised, but we’ll be sure to bring you all the latest news as soon as it is – so watch this space.

The system will be straightforward: buy goods from retailers registered in the scheme and then present your passport, receipts and credit card to inspectors as you leave the country.

This should then allow the VAT paid on these goods to be returned to that credit card.

FTA Director General Khalid Ali Al Bustani said: “The system operator will be signing agreements with retailers to provide them with the necessary technology to connect with the FTA, as well as with airports, and land and seaports of entry.

“Designated spaces will be provided where tourists can easily reclaim taxes. The digital system determines the taxes that are eligible for a refund and then reimburse tourists.

“This complements the Government’s commitment to implementing the UAE tax system and ensuring that it is in line with global standards.”

To obtain a VAT refund, the items must have been bought in the UAE and tourists must take them with as they leave the country within 90 days from the date of supply.

The UAE has also revealed a new two-month exemption for children of tourists coming to the country.

It means that those under the age of 18 will not be charged visa fees from July 15 until September 15 each year.

It is hoped that the change will promote the country as a family holiday destination.

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