The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has called on Expo official participants to benefit from the Value Added Tax (VAT) refund scheme for taxes paid on goods and services connected with Expo 2020 Dubai, implemented by the FTA in accordance with UAE Cabinet Decision No. 1 of 2020 on the Refund of Value Added Tax Paid on Goods and Services Connected with Expo 2020 Dubai.
“The FTA has been cooperating with all relevant authorities to prepare for a smooth and efficient implementation of the procedures for the refund of Value Added Tax paid on goods and services connected with Expo 2020 Dubai,” explained H.E. Khalid Ali Al-Bustani, Director-General of the FTA.
“The FTA has established a daily direct communication channel with the Expo 2020 Bureau of International Participants to enhance coordination and ensure fast processing of applications from participants in Expo 2020 Dubai, whether in regard to VAT registration requests by the participating countries, or processing of refund requests, as well as promptly responding to their enquiries.”
His Excellency stated that the FTA provides a telephone service to facilitate and expedite VAT registration procedures for international participants in Expo 2020 Dubai. The service offers participants clear instructions and details about the registration requirements, delivered by the FTA Registration Department. Priority is given to VAT registration requests from international Expo participants.
HE clarified that the FTA had already completed VAT registration processes for several participating countries, and the FTA processes the requests submitted through the electronic system of the VAT refund scheme for goods and services connected with Expo 2020.
“The FTA also processes special VAT refund requests, submitted through the integrated platform office, dedicated to receiving and processing requests by participants not registered for VAT. The integrated platform office will appoint a tax agent to review the special refund requests and forward them to the FTA on firstname.lastname@example.org to be reviewed by FTA experts,” HE explained.
“The FTA is applying the mechanism for the refund of VAT paid on goods and services connected with Expo 2020 Dubai through transparent, accurate and facilitated procedures according to best practices.” HE Al Bustani asserted. “This comes as part of its contribution to the intensive efforts of all relevant bodies in the UAE to ensure the success of this international event, which began on the 1st of October 2021 with the participation of 192 countries. Expo 2020 Dubai is an important international platform for the United Arab Emirates as it brings the world together for six months and embodies its vision of international cooperation.”
Guide for Official Participants in Expo 2020 Dubai
The FTA has issued a comprehensive guide for official participants in Expo 2020 Dubai which addresses five categories of taxes that can be refunded. The first category is VAT incurred by official participants on goods and services in direct connection with the construction, installation, alteration, decoration, and dismantlement of their exhibition space. The second category is the VAT incurred by the official participants on goods and services in direct connection with the works and activities of organizing and operating the official participant’s exhibition space, as well as any presentations and events taking place within the Expo 2020 site.
The guide highlights a third category, which is the VAT incurred by the official participant on goods and services related to the actual operations of the official participant, provided that the value of each product or service claimed is not less than AED 200. The fourth category is VAT incurred by the official participant in connection with all operations, services, and activities provided for the purpose of participation in Expo 2020 Dubai, whether located within or outside the boundaries of the Expo site. The fifth category is the VAT incurred on the import of goods for personal use of the official participant’s section commissioner-general, section staff and the beneficiaries.
Certificate of Entitlement
The guide clarified that in order to qualify for VAT refunds for expenses under the first and second category (or expenses in relation to several categories, including the first and second category), the official participant must be in possession of a certificate of entitlement issued by Expo 2020 Dubai, which is established by the virtue of Decree No. 30 of 2014 issued by the Ruler of Dubai. However, where the expenses are not related to the first and second category but are included within the third, fourth, or fifth category, the official participant will not need to obtain a certificate of entitlement to apply for VAT refund.
The guide – which is available on the FTA’s website: www.tax.gov.ae – clarifies the refund mechanism, the VAT reclaimable, and the special case for imports certificate of entitlement, the eligibility criteria for the certificate of entitlement, how to apply for the certificate of entitlement, the certificate of entitlement request form, its supporting documents, processing the certificate of entitlement application by EXPO 2020 Dubai, how to apply for refund, procedures for the offices of Official Participants registered for VAT, procedures for the offices of Official Participants not registered for VAT, supporting documents for the refund request, processing of the refund application by EXPO 2020 Dubai, the frequency of the refund application, and payment of the tax upon sale of imported goods.
Tax Refund Criteria
Cabinet Decision No. 1 of 2020 on the Refund of VAT Paid on Goods and Services Connected with Expo 2020 Dubai, which includes nine articles, set out the eligibility criteria for tax refunds where VAT incurred on the import or supply of goods or services is connected with Expo 2020 Dubai. The Decision also identifies all procedures related to applying for a refund, the requirements, the certificate of entitlement, and clarifies the FTA’s jurisdiction in relation to this matter.