Dubai Expo 2021 is one of the biggest events in the post-pandemic world. After being postponed from the last year, the organizers have retained the 2020 branding for marketing purposes. Hence, it is Dubai Expo 2020 and 2021 also. It has started in October 2021 and is scheduled till March 2022. It’s the first-ever Expo in the MEASA region, covering the Middle East and Africa, and people from across the globe are taking part in the event. The event covers over 1083 acres or 438 hectares between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
In an official statement, the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has called the attendees to benefit from the Value Added Tax (VAT) refund scheme for taxes paid on goods and services connected with Expo 2021. It has been implemented by the authority in line with UAE Cabinet Decision No.1/2020. The authority added they had issued a comprehensive guide for the official attendees at the Expo.
“The FTA has been cooperating with all relevant authorities to prepare for a smooth and efficient implementation of the procedures for the refund of Value Added Tax paid on goods and services connected with Expo 2021 Dubai,” explained H.E. Khalid Ali Al-Bustani, Director-General of the FTA. He further added, “The FTA has established a daily direct communication channel with the Expo 2021 Bureau of International Participants to enhance coordination and ensure fast processing of applications from participants in Expo 2021 Dubai, whether in regard to VAT registration requests by the participating countries, or processing of refund requests, as well as promptly responding to their enquiries.”
Categories of taxes come under the VAT refund scheme
Here’s what we have received from our tax consultant Dubai. The authority has mentioned the categories of taxes that can be refunded under the VAT refund scheme in their guide. They are:
- The official participants on goods and services related to construction, installation, alteration, decoration, and dismantling of the exhibition space.
- The official participants on goods and services related to organizing works and activities and the official participant’s exhibition space operation. Also, the participants are responsible for any presentations and events taking place on the site.
- The official participants on goods and services related to the actual operations of the official participant provided the value of each product or service claimed is not less than 200 AED.
- The official participant in connection with all operations, services, and activities provided for the participation in the Expo, whether located in or outside the boundaries of the Expo site.
- The VAT is incurred on importing goods for the personal use of the official participant’s section commissioner-general, section staff, and the beneficiaries.
The guide also clarifies that the official participant must possess a certificate of entitlement issued by Expo 2021 Dubai, established by virtue of Dubai Decree No. 30/2014. Suppose the participant wants to qualify for VAT refunds for expenses under the first or second category. However, it is not applicable for third, fourth, or fifth category participants. They don’t need to obtain a certificate of entitlement to apply for a VAT refund.
It clarifies the procedures in refund mechanism and VAT reclaimable, and the special case for imports certificate of entitlement. It provides more details about the eligibility criteria for the certificate of entitlement, applying procedures, request form, and supporting documents. It also explains the procedures to apply for refunds, procedures for the offices of Official Participants registered and not registered for VAT, and the supporting documents for the refund request. Finally, it reveals the processing of the refund application by the organizers and the frequency of the refund application and the payment of the tax on the sale of imported goods.
The tax consultant Dubai reminds the guide is available on the FTA website – www.tax.gov.ae – which clarifies the refund mechanism, the VAT reclaimable, and all the doubts related to Expo 2021 Dubai.
Tax Refund Criteria
Cabinet Decision No. 1/2020 on the Refund of VAT paid on goods and services connected with Expo 2021 Dubai includes nine articles, presents the eligibility criteria for tax refunds where VAT incurred on the import or supply of goods or services is associated with the Expo. It also identifies all procedures related to applying for a refund, the requirements, the certificate of entitlement and clarifies the FTA’s jurisdiction in relation to the Expo.