What is Tax Free Shopping?

The UAE Federal Tax Authority introduced a VAT of 5% in January 2018, and will launch Tax Free Shopping in Q4 2018.

Tax Free shopping is the purchasing of goods in the UAE which will be exported (subject to terms and conditions) whereby shoppers can obtain a refund on the VAT on these items, providing that they validate their purchases according to local rules.

Who is eligible?

“Overseas tourist” means any natural Person who is not resident in any of the Implementing States and who is not a crew member on a flight or aircraft leaving an Implementing State. Therefore under the current rules, GCC Nationals are eligible.

What is the benefit to tourists?

  • Simple to register at retailer

  • 100% digital no paper form required

  • 250 dirhams minimum spend

  • All fees are included and calculated at the point of sale and validation points

How much will you get back?

You will receive 85% of the total VAT amount paid, minus a fee of 4.80 dirhams per Tax Free tag.

What goods are eligible for Tax Free shopping?

Taxable goods except for:

•   Goods that have been consumed, fully or partly, in the UAE or any Implementing State

•   Motor vehicles, boats and aircraft

•   Goods that are not accompanied by the Overseas Tourist at the time of leaving the Emirates.

How the system works

  1. A tourist can request a Tax Free purchase, and must present a valid passport
  2. The shop assistant captures tourist information using the Planet system
  3. The shop assistant then places the Tax Free tag on the back of the sales receipt
  4. A digital Tax Free form is then created
  5. The tourist must validate the transaction at the point of exit (e.g. at the airport)
  • 100% digital
  • No paper required
  • 250 dirhams minimum spend
  • All done at point of sale in 2 minutes

How to validate your goods

  • 1.

    The tourist takes goods and tagged receipt to the airport, seaport or border crossing.

  • 2.

    The tourist goes to a Planet validation point: For airports, this is before checking in and going through security.

  • 3.

    Once validated, the tourist chooses a refund method. (Please note that the tourist may be subjected to a further validation check and may need to produce the goods for inspection.)

  • 4.

    Planet processes the refund.

   The Tax Free process

a. Card refund

  • Go to validation point
  • Get validated
  • Get card refund

b.Cash refund

  • Go to validation point
  • Get validated
  • Go to refund point
  • Get cash refund*

*Subject to a maximum of 7,000 AED

c.Self-validation via kiosk

  • Go to self-service kiosk
  • Get validated
  • Collect refund

How much time do I have to complete the procedure?

Your tax free tag needs to be validated within 90 days of the purchase date. For instance: a form issued on 1st of January is valid until 1st of April. If this is not done, the Tax Free tag expires, and the VAT cannot be claimed anymore