20 Nov 2018

VAT Refund on Goods and Services

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has recently issued a user guide for refund on Vat Paid for Goods and Services Connected with Dubai Expo 2020. The issuance is at par with the Cabinet Decision No. 1 of 2019 on the ‘Refund of Value Added Tax Paid on Goods and Services Connected with Expo 2020 Dubai’. The Official Participants of the Dubai Expo 2020 will be able to take VAT Refund as incurred by them while importing or supplying of certain Goods and Services.

Can TAX expenses incurred in Dubai Expo 2020 be claimed?

Yes, the official participants of Expo 2020 will be able to claim their VAT Refund as incurred.

What is the claimable Nature of expenses for Dubai Expo 2020?

The Expenses that has been incurring VAT on Goods and Services connected to the Expo 2020 as per normal UAE VAT rules.

How to claim for VAT refund incurred in Dubai Expo 2020?

You can claim your VAT expenses in any of below mentioned methods.

  • In case the Official Participant is not registered for VAT in UAE, the VAT refund applications can be made to the authority by submitting a special refund application as prescribed by FTA.
  • In case the Official Participant is registered for VAT in UAE they can do so by submitting the VAT Return Form 201

What is Claimable VAT?

Usually, any expenses incurred with VAT which is intended to be used for making taxable supplies can be recovered from the Federal Tax Authority.

Special exceptions have been provided to official participants of Expo 2020 having refund entitlement certificate can claim back for the VAT on expenses incurred even without providing taxable supplies, those types of expenses are listed below.

  1. Expenses incurred in direct relation to the construction, installation, alteration, decoration and dismantlement of their exhibition space.
  2. Direct expenses towards the operation of their exhibition space and any presentation within the Expo 2020 site.
  3. Direct expenses towards actual operation of the office of the Official Participant, with a minimum value of each Good or Service for which a claim is not less than AED 200.
  4. VAT incurred on personal use of the Official Participant’s Section Commissioner-General, Section Staff and the Beneficiaries.

What is the Certificate of Refund Entitlement?

Registered and non-registrant official participants of Expo 2020 should apply for Refund Entitlement Certificate, only then they will be able to claim VAT on expense incurred for any of the type of expenses explained above.

Who can apply for Refund Entitlement Certificate?

  • An Official Participant of the Expo 2020 in Dubai with a valid Expo 2020 Trade License Number.
  • Official participant does not use or intend to use more than 20% of the exhibition/presentation space for commercial or non-official purposes.

How to apply for Refund Entitlement Certificate?

Application for Refund Entitlement Certificate should directly be addressed to the Federal Tax Authority. A form should be filled and submitted by email. The below mentioned information should be made available while filling the form for Refund Entitlement Certificate.

  • The Area of pavilion that is used by the Official Participant should be mentioned in square meters
  • Pavilion’s Location
  • If there are any details and percentage of commercial use of space, that should also be mentioned
  • A full description of the purpose of the pavilion space
  • And a declaration with the following:
    • That a notification to the Federal Tax Authority will be made in case of any changes occur that would affect the eligibility criteria to the Certificate of Refund Entitlement.
    • The understanding that the Certificate of Refund Entitlement only gives right to claim VAT on Goods and Services under categories discussed above.

The application should be supported by documents such as Trade License of Expo 2020 and Scan of passport and Emirates ID of Section Commissioner-General of the Official Participant. 

When to apply for refund?

Official Participants registered for VAT in UAE can claim their refund on their regular VAT return by filing the VAT Return Form 201.

Non-registrants may apply as follows:

  • Within 15 days of the end of the calendar month in which the total VAT value to be claimed is AED 10,000 or more.
  • Within 15 days of the end of the calendar quarter where the total VAT value to be claimed is less than AED 10,000. The refund application frequency may change depending on the total VAT to be claimed. If an Official Participant has omitted any qualifying expenses from a refund application, these expenses may be included in a subsequent application.


Processing Period for issue of Certificate of Refund Entitlement.

The authority will take 20 business days to process the application, and if approved certificate will be issued in letter format and will be sent by email.   

Processing period for refund request.

The time specified for refund processing is also 20 business days and after processing the official participant will be informed by the authority the status of request and if approved, the refund will be credited to the nominated bank account within 30 days of approval of application.

VFM offers a wide range of VAT Services all over the different emirates of UAE and in Bahrain The Tax Department has an in-hand experience of implementing VAT in UAE for more than 500 businesses in the UAE and possess practical experience with the ongoing scenarios for VAT in UAE ranging from public listed companies, banks, corporates & SME’s across the UAE.

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