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VAT Refund Dubai: New Rules for Nigerians Shopping in Dubai

VAT Refund Dubai: In a new rule announced on Sunday in Dubai, cash refunds of value-added tax (VAT) have been changed for shoppers. 

The rule applies to all shoppers but will mainly be felt by luxury shoppers who spend up to dh140,000 or N14,000,000.  

Announcing this, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Federal Tax Authority (FTA), issued FTA Decision No. (1) of 2019, setting a daily maximum of Dh7,000 or about N700,000 for VAT cash refunds for tourists applying through the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme.

What is the Value- Added Tax refunds in Dubai about?

Started on 18 November 2018, tourists of all nationalities are now able to claim back Value Added Tax (VAT) at designated refund points in Terminal 3, Dubai International airport, 24 hours a day.

When you purchase goods from recognized retailers across Dubai, you are eligible to request for a tax refund which will come as a sticker bearing the calculated amount which is 5% of your shopping. 

We tested this out on Sunday afternoon while shopping at the Mall of the Emirates and we were given our tax refund stickers after providing passports that were validated using a central portal. This happened at Hermes, Debenhams and Bvlgari. 

We tried to claim this at the NEXT store but we were told the minimum amount spent for eligibility is dh250 or N25,000. 

Over 4000 store outlets are part of the eligibility scheme according to the official portal. Always ask at the store if they are registered for the “Tax Refund for Tourists”. 

Eligibility for VAT Refund Dubai. 

To avoid missing out on your expected tax refunds, it’s important to note the following; 

  1. The customer must not be a resident of the UAE and be over 18 years of age.
  2. The customer must be exporting the goods from the UAE in an unused state (either in full or in part).
  3. Certain goods must be checked, either landside or airside, as defined by the FTA (Federal Tax Authority).
  4. The goods must leave the UAE accompanied by the customer. Cabin crew members on flights leaving the UAE are not eligible.

How to claim your 5% VAT returns

You must validate your receipts by providing your passport at the store of purchase. This is an important eligibility criteria. Once you have done that, you can do the following; 

  1. The customer must bring the goods and Tax-Free tagged receipt(s) to the airport and present them at one of the Planet Validation points, either landside or airside.
  2. Once validated, the customer can select a refund by cash or card. Card refunds will be processed there and then, cash refunds will be processed through one of the approved Foreign Exchange operators at the airport.
  3. Tax refunds are only valid for 90 days. If you exit after 90 days, your refunds become invalid. 

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