“Eligibility Criteria for Retailers to Participate in the VAT Refund Program”

In a previous article, we discussed the Proposed Tourist VAT Refund Scheme within the UAE VAT framework, which introduced the concept of an electronic system for tax refunds for tourists. Building on this proposal, the Federal Tax Authority has outlined the prerequisites that retailers must satisfy in order to become part of the tourist tax refund system. The Authority strongly encourages all retail businesses to register and integrate with the digital platform designed for the tax refund program for tourists.

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has extended an invitation to retailers, outlets, and VAT-registered shops to join the digital tax refund system for tourists, which is set to become effective in the fourth quarter of this year.

Reports indicate that retailers have shown great enthusiasm for the tourist refund system, which is expected to be one of the most advanced systems of its kind globally.

This article will delve into the essential criteria for retailers to enroll in the tourist refund program and the FTA’s approach to bringing retailers on board this platform.

Prerequisites for Enrolling in the Tourist VAT Refund Scheme

The proposed electronic tourist refund system will be implemented in collaboration with “Planet,” the global operator of the tax-free system. Here are the specified conditions retailers must meet to register for the tourist refund scheme:

1. Retailers must be VAT registered with the Authority and hold a Tax Registration Number (TRN).
2. The products sold by the retailer must not fall under exclusions from the refund scheme, as determined by the Authority.
3. Retailers must submit a participation request within the Scheme, following the provided FTA guidelines.
4. Retailers must meet the financial credit requirements set by the system operator and commit to regularly submitting Tax Returns and paying due taxes.
5. Retailers run the risk of having their membership in the tax refund scheme revoked if they fail to meet their obligations as outlined in tax laws or the contract between the system operator and the retailer.

The FTA is actively taking steps to educate and support retailers who are already registered for VAT. They are organizing workshops and seminars in collaboration with Planet to acquaint these retailers with the straightforward registration process for the digital refund scheme.

To promote retailer registration, an extensive awareness campaign has been conducted in partnership with Planet, the system operator for the tourist tax refund scheme, as well as Chambers of Commerce and Industry across the country since September 2018. Two workshops have already been held in the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, both of which received an overwhelmingly positive response from businesses.

The system operator, “Planet,” will establish agreements with retailers to equip them with the necessary technology to become part of the scheme. This technology links these businesses to the digital systems of the Federal Tax Authority, as well as airports, land, and seaports.

To maximize registration, the FTA has devised a comprehensive plan to introduce the new scheme, its registration requirements, and conditions. They are offering induction programs through the FTA’s official website as part of this initiative.

You can also Register for VAT Registration on our website:

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