The electronic system for the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme in the United Arab Emirates has processed as many as 2.83m applications since being launched in November last year.

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) director general Khalid Ali Al Bustani says that the average number of applications being received every day has increased by 50% from 3,800 in its first month to as many as 7,730 today.

The electronic system’s tremendous success has been applauded by Al Bustani, who says that it was launched as part of the FTA’s attempt to create an integrated platform of electronic systems to improve the quality of life of UAE citizens and residents.

The success is a reflection of the efforts being made elsewhere to achieve the vision of the UAE becoming one of the world’s most developed and best nations by 2021, Al Bustani adds.

The UAE is one of the first nations on the planet to have implemented a system like it, which is defined by the ease and speed of the processing of tax refund requests from tourists and by its effectiveness, according to Al Bustani.

The system also enables the determination and accurate processing of refundable taxes complete with verification procedures built-in that make sure that applicants are eligible for tax refunds in accordance with the appropriate legislations.

The number of UAE retailers linked to the system is now more than 12,000, and self-service tax refund kiosks have increased by 55.2% from just 29 five months ago to as many as 45 in December.

These kiosks are operated by the FTA-authorised Planet, and are fully automated, though employees can be found if tourists require assistance with their operation.

Customer satisfaction appears to have dramatically increased thanks to the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme, which can be found at as many as 12 points of entry, including airports, maritime ports and land border crossings.

The speed of the system has also been hailed by tourists, with refund requests being seamlessly processed in less than two minutes.

Field tours are being conducted by a number of FTA teams to make sure that the electronic system is being operated at the world-class conditions and standards that were set by the organisation before it was launched.

Tourists are able to request a refund on taxes incurred while they were in the UAE when they are leaving the country.

Applicants have to submit tax invoices for purchases made during their stay in the UAE, which must include the tax refund stickers that system-registered retail outlets issue, and also show their credit cards and passports.

There is no limit to the amount recoverable by tourists if transferred onto their credit card, though applicants who want a cash refund cannot get any more than Dh7,000 per day.

Refund requests can be made at tax refund offices at exit points around the nation as well as at self-service kiosks.

Anyone travelling to the UAE can also make sound a financial choice by taking out travel insurance, which protects against financial issues caused by cancelled flights and other issues such as lost luggage.


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