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UAE Expo 2020 VAT Refund Scheme

Oct 26, 2021 / Haroon Juma / VAT & Tax Blog

VAT Refund

The Federal Tax Authority (“FTA”) is encouraging all participants to fully take advantage of the special provisions for procedures for the refund of VAT paid on goods and services connected with Expo 2020 Dubai.

Under the issued Cabinet Decision no. 1 of 2020 (“Cabinet Decision”) on the Refund of VAT on Goods and Services for countries and organizations participating in Expo 2020 Dubai cancels Cabinet Decision no. 1 of 2019, which was issued earlier. In the Cabinet Decision, the FTA clarifies in more detail which participants are entitled to a VAT refund and which expenses are subject to the VAT refund. This Decision is complemented by a comprehensive guide issued in February 2020.

VAT Refund Eligibility & Procedures

This Decision introduces a separate VAT registration and refund application process for Participants. Under the scheme, participants can apply for a VAT refund on the input tax paid on the import of goods or services and for expenses directly related to Expo 2020. This includes:

  • VAT incurred on the construction, installation, alteration, dismantlement of the exhibition space for Expo 2020.
  • VAT incurred on goods and services for the operation, presentation, and events within the Expo 2020 Dubai site.

Some of the significant changes introduced in the Cabinet Decision are:

  • Addition provisions that the office of the official participant may apply for a VAT refund for expenses 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 2020 Dubai site.

This material change extends the scope for VAT refund and clarifies the VAT refund application process with the Bureau Expo 2020 Dubai.

Implications For Participants

Considering the enhanced provisions, participants should ideally:

  • Consider the VAT refund opportunities to maximize VAT recovery on paid goods and services and mitigate costs.
  • Care must be taken to assure the eligibility of refunds to minimize claim rejections or additional procedural costs. Errors or misinterpretations may lead to financial and reputational risks for Participants.
  • Correctly assess the method of applying for the VAT refund. This is dependent on whether you are eligible for VAT registration in the UAE.

If you are not eligible for VAT registration, you can apply with the Bureau Expo 2020 Dubai for a Certificate of Entitlement and VAT refund.

If you are eligible for VAT registration, then you must register for VAT and apply for the refund through your VAT return.

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