UAE’s FTA brings out 100% digital VAT-refund scheme for tourists

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Desk Reporter
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Officials from UAE FTA and Planet Tax Free during the press conference.

UAE’s Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has launched a 100 percent digital VAT-refund scheme for tourists in partnership with Planet Tax Free, the operator of the tax refund system for tourists in the Emirates.

The new solution is integrated electronically between retail outlets and the tax refund scheme, ensuring a seamless digital process of issuing, sending, modifying, and saving invoices for tourists.

The paperless procedure is considered the most advanced solution of its kind in the world and is a reflection of the government’s continuous adoption of proactive solutions based on the concept of proactive government work, to meet the requirements of the future and positively reflect on customers.

Khalid Ali Al Bustani
Khalid Ali Al Bustani
Director General

“The launch of the new innovative system is part of the authority’s continuous development plans, by adopting best-in-class standards to enhance UAE’s competitiveness in all sectors, including tourism. This is in line with the framework of the government’s digital strategy towards the smart transformation of its services. Furthermore, focusing on the virtual management of proactive services provides an innovative model that reflects the leadership and excellence of the government work system in the UAE by proactively providing services for customers, to complete their transactions easily, and quickly.”

“With this innovation, the electronic VAT system for tourists continues to play an important pioneering role as one of the solutions that promote the global reputation of the UAE being the most important destination on the international tourism map due to its safe environment, hospitable people and attractive landmarks, events and diverse touristic leisure facilities. The system achieves high satisfaction rates by users for its simple, effective, and smooth tax-refund process for eligible tourists,” Mr. Al Bustani added.

During the press conference, officials estimated more than 3.5 million traditional paper invoices will go digital, resulting in overwhelmingly positive benefits including keeping pace with the digital transformation strategy of the country, saving merchants up to five minutes per customer (compared to printing receipts), reducing friction to maintain public health at the point of sale and eliminating human error.

The 100 percent paperless process will save more than 16,800 trees per year and more than 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, as per the statement.

Mr. Eyad Al Kourdi, General Manager of Planet Tax Free, commented that, “The electronic tax-refund system is integrated for purchases at a range of hotels, shopping centers, malls, and other retail locations. Upon departure from the UAE, tourists can use one of more than 100 self-service kiosks available at departure points, for a simple, quick, and hassle-free experience.”

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