UAE Sets Daily Cash Limit per Tourist for VAT Refunds at $1,905

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The UAE’s Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has set a daily maximum of Dh7,000 ($1,905) per tourist for cash refunds of value added tax (VAT) for tourists applying through the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme.

The FTA asserted that the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme, which entered into effect in November 2018, is characterised by its efficiency, seamless procedures, speed, and accuracy in processing applications, reported Emirates news agency Wam, citing an FTA statement.

FTA director-general Khalid Ali Al Bustani said: “The new decision regarding the maximum daily amount a tourist can reclaim in cash is in line with the UAE’s overall strategy to reduce reliance on cash in financial transactions, and benefit from the country’s advanced digital and technological infrastructure. These systems are key components in driving the continuous development of the UAE’s financial and economic sectors; they facilitate the flow of money and financial assets securely, increasing trust in financial transactions – both local and international.”

“The Federal Tax Authority is committed to implementing the highest international standards across all its activities and services, in line with the directives of the UAE’s wise leadership to make the UAE one of the best countries in the world by 2021,” he added.

“We are committed to maintaining the UAE’s competitiveness as the only Arab economy that is based on innovation and creativity. The new decision abides by best practices implemented in advanced economies, which prioritise effective and holistic risk management and promote e-payment solutions.”

Al Bustani went on to say that the Authority is taking all necessary measures to support the UAE’s smart government initiative, which emphasises the e-payment sector, building on the UAE’s success in payment solutions in general. “With that in mind, the FTA installed several self-service kiosks where tourists can reclaim the VAT they incurred on purchases in the UAE at any of the exit ports covered by the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme,” he noted.

The FTA director-general further added that the advanced service makes it easier and faster to process refunds for tourists on taxes they incurred during their stay in the UAE.

The procedures involve a few simple online steps that help users determine the taxes eligible for a refund; verify that the purchased items are with them when applying for the refund; and then recover the taxes through an automated process without interacting with employees, using the self-service kiosks placed at all ports of entry and exit included in the tax refund scheme.

Tourists can submit their tax invoices on purchases they made at retail outlets registered within the scheme, along with their passport and credit card. Eligible applicants can recover an unlimited amount of taxes incurred if the said amount is transferred to their card, while cash refunds are limited to Dh7,000 per tourist per day.

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