UAE VAT Refunds – Improving Your Probability Of Success

March 22, 2021 / Haroon Juma / VAT & Tax Blogs

VAT Refunds

During the course of submitting your UAE VAT Returns, your business may be in a VAT Refund position which enables you to claim a refund from the Federal Tax Authority.

UAE VAT Refunds are not automatically granted, The UAE Federal Law No. 7 of 2017 on Tax Procedures details the requirements to proceed with a claim. Your businesses may face challenges in understanding the procedural requirements. These could jeopardise or delay a successful claim.

In this blog, we share a summary of the typical areas that must be addressed.

Are Refund Claims Mandatory?

The short answer is no. If you have a net amount due in the declared UAE VAT Return, you are not obliged to mandatorily elect a refund.

  • The amount can be waived and not claimed
  • or left as a balance on the VAT account to be used against future liabilities.

If your business expects a future VAT liability it is probably more efficient to offset the balance against a future payment due.

If your business wishes to proceed with a refund claim from the FTA, this is subject to a formal process under the UAE VAT Refunds Application Form VAT311 available in the FTA portal. The process is rigorous and requires credible transactional evidence to meet the FTA’s satisfaction.

Assure Accuracy & Supporting Documentation

The FTA claims process is designed to verify the credibility and reliability of your UAE VAT Returns. Therefore, supporting transactional VAT calculations must be correctly submitted in compliance with the Legislation. It must rate your supplies and any VAT recoveries on purchases accurately.

The nature of your business will dictate the specific risk areas prone to VAT calculation errors, nevertheless below list provides a few examples to help your business:

  • Expenses that could be of personal nature
  • VAT subject to blocked adjustments
  • Exempt supplies and basis input VAT claims
  • Errors in Goods imported reverse charge claims
  • Determination of export of goods and services
  • Determination of Out of Scope supplies

These transactions are more likely to be reviewed under the refund claim. Any errors could lead to a technical basis to disallow the claim. Recovered purchase transaction will require the correct Tax Invoice documentation with your company information including UAE Tax Registration Number and assurance the expense was incurred in the course of making supplies.

Preparation Of Submission File

The claims process is subject to the disclosure of transactions (full or sample subject to FTA discretion) relevant to the tax period. The VAT 311 form format will seek to list vendor/customer, supply or purchase type, and financial amounts.

Ideally your accounting system should provide the transactional reporting with segregation to the tax treatment or code to prepare the UAE VAT Refunds application Form VAT311. Your platform’s adherence to the FTA Audit file specification will also significantly reduce the time and accuracy in preparing the required transactional information.

If your business is in a regular refund position, upgrading to an FTA Certified or flexible data exporting platform will be essential to minimise the preparation of the FTA file. Any errors in the file or supporting documents that cannot be correlated could increase the risks of submitting a successful claim.

Timeframe & Responsiveness

Once the claim for a refund is made, the FTA can take at least 20 business days after the application is submitted to respond to the request. You may be asked to present additional information or clarification.

The degree of responsiveness and completeness of information to any request is paramount to form a credible claim. Following the FTA review, you will be informed whether the refund claims have been accepted or rejected. Thereafter processing refund payments are subject to the FTA approvals dependent on the amount under question.


If your business requires assistance to verify and support the refund claims process, we have assisted many businesses to assure the completeness and preparation of their submissions as an approved UAE FTA Tax Agency.

Our approach is underpinned by ISO 9001 Quality & 27001 Information Management certifications to ensure we operate with consistent quality and security.

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