A VAT Refund Guide for EXPO 2020 Participants & Tourists

The EXPO 2020 is going on with massive participation from more than 190 countries and an expected visitor’s count of 25 million. A critical aspect that the participant needs to consider in relation to the Expo is the Value Added Tax (VAT). The UAE allows the EXPO participants to claim a refund of VAT incurred by them while importing goods and services. The government is encouraging the EXPO 2020 participants to leverage the option of a refund on VAT incurred on the import of goods and services. Those who are yet to consider this option can approach the VAT consultants in Dubai to start filing the claims.

Many participants might be unaware of what goods/services are eligible for a VAT refund in the UAE or the process of raising a refund claim. Tax agents in the UAE can help you through making the VAT registration and applying for refunds. This article intends to offer a guideline for such participants on the mechanism, requirements and process of claiming a VAT refund in the UAE. Read ahead.

How Does the VAT Refund Mechanism work for EXPO 2020 Participants?

The EXPO 2020 official participants are allowed to make the VAT refund claims as per the Cabinet Decision No. 1 of 2020. The application to refund the VAT incurred on certain goods and services can be made through any of the following methods:

  • Participants who have not conducted the UAE VAT registration should apply for a refund by submitting a special refund application to the Bureau
  • Participants who have not yet registered for VAT can reclaim the VAT by filing a VAT return in the UAE

The Need to make UAE VAT Registrations

An official EXPO 2020 participant must register for VAT in the UAE if their taxable supplies or imports in the UAE exceed or are expected to exceed the mandatory registration threshold of AED 375,000. The offices of the participants can contact the best tax agents in Dubai to register for the VAT. VAT consultants in the UAE can also advise them on filing the returns as well.

What can Be Reclaimed by the EXPO 2020 Participants?

The Offices of the Official Participants can reclaim VAT incurred on the import and acquisition of the following five categories of goods and services:

  1. Goods and services directly related to construction, installation, alteration, decoration and dismantlement of their EXPO 2020 pavilions
  2. Goods and services directly linked to the works and activities of organizing and managing their pavilions space and any events held within the Expo site
  3. Goods and services related to real operations of the participant. However, the value of each good and service should be at least AED 200
  4. VAT incurred on all operations, services and activities provided for the purpose of participation in EXPO, whether located within or outside the boundaries of the Expo 2020 Dubai site
  5. Vat incurred on goods related to the personal use of the participant’s Section Commissioner-General, Section Staff and the Beneficiaries

How Can VAT-registered Participants Apply for Refunds?

An official participant that has performed UAE VAT registration must file regular VAT returns. The VAT returns should contain information on the supplies, imports, and expenses related to the VAT incurred. If the office of the VAT-registered participant needs to reclaim VAT, it should include the relevant amounts in Box 10 of the VAT return.

VAT Refund Process for Participants not Registered for VAT

Participants who have not registered for VAT in the UAE can apply for a refund by using a special refund application process. The UAE VAT refund application should be submitted to the Bureau on a periodic basis. If the Bureau approves the application, the VAT will be refunded directly by the Federal Tax Authority (FTA).

Documents to be Submitted by Unregistered Participants

The official Participants who have not registered for VAT should submit the following documents:

  • Copy of Certificate of entitlement
  • Copies of the tax invoices
  • Copies of customs declarations
  • Bank account validation letter / certificate

How Can Jitendra Chartered Accountants Help You?

Participants of EXPO 2020 are allowed to reclaim the VAT incurred on the goods and services in the UAE subject to certain conditions set out by the FTA. The participants need to conduct VAT registration in the UAE so that they can raise a claim for the refund through the VAT returns they file. Unregistered participants can make claims for a refund through the Bureau. Either way, the participants would need assistance from VAT consultants in Dubai, such as Jitendra Chartered Accountants (JCA). We are licensed tax agents in Dubai, having a highly qualified team that can undertake the needs of the EXPO 2020 participants. JCA can simplify the processes of VAAT registration, refund and return filing easier for the EXPO 2020 participants.