Tax-free shopping for tourists
Federal Tax Authority (FTA) introduced Value Added Tax (VAT) of 5 per cent in January 2018 and launched 100 per cent digital tax-free shopping service for tourists in the last quarter of 2018.
What is tax-free shopping?
Tax-free shopping is the purchasing of taxable goods in the UAE which will be exported, subject to terms and conditions. Eligible tourists may request a refund on the VAT incurred on their purchases, after they validate their purchases at the point of exit. Refunds for already export validated tags can be claimed within one year from the date of export validation.
Operator of the VAT refund system
Planet is the exclusive operator of the tax refund system for tourists which FTA executes in the UAE. Most popular stores are registered with the scheme, and refund is secured on departure via land, sea or air.
How to shop tax-free?
- At the store, a tourist can request for a tax-free purchase, which is valid on a minimum expenditure of AED 250.
- The tourist must present a valid travel document to be scanned for use on the payment system.
- The shop assistant will capture the tourist’s information using the Planet system.
- The shop assistant will place the ‘tax-free’ tag on the back of the sales receipt.
- A digital tax-free form is then created.
- The tourist must validate the transaction at the airport within 90 days of the purchase date.
Find out how to shop tax-free in the UAE - Planet website
Conditions for tourists to claim their VAT refunds
Refunds are not applicable on:
- anything that has been consumed, fully or partly in the UAE, and
- goods that are not in the possession of the tourist when leaving the country.
Other conditions to claim refund include:
How to collect VAT refund?
Tourists can collect their refunds through a special device placed at the departure port - airport, seaport or border port. They must submit:
- the tax invoices for their purchases from the outlets registered in the scheme
- a copy of their passport and
- a copy of their credit card.
After they submit these documents, tourists can recover the VAT either in cash in UAE dirhams, or have it refunded to their credit card.
Tourists can use this eService from FTA, in cooperation with Planet, to have their VAT reimbursed upon their departure from the UAE.
Note: The tourist will receive 85 per cent of the total VAT amount paid, after the deduction of a fee of AED 4.80 per tax-free tag.
Find in this ‘Guide to Tax Free Shopping’ (PDF, 416 KB) more information on the following:
- Who is eligible for tax-free shopping?
- What goods are eligible for tax-free shopping?
- How can you shop tax-free?
- How to validate your goods?
- How much time do you have to complete the procedure?
- Where to collect vat refund on purchases?
More useful links: