Refund of VAT paid on goods and services connected with Expo 2020 Dubai

Refund of VAT paid on goods and services connected with Expo 2020 Dubai

In accordance with the Cabinet Decision No. 1 of 2020 on the ‘Refund of Value Added Tax Paid on Goods and Services Connected with Expo 2020 Dubai’, the Offices of the Official Participants of the Expo 2020 are able to claim a refund of VAT incurred by them on the import or supply of certain Goods and Services.

WHO ARE THE OFFICIAL PARTICIPANTS, OFFICE OF OFFICIAL PARTICIPANTS AND BUREAU EXPO 2020 DUBAI / BUREAU?

OFFICIAL PARTICIPANTS: Countries and intergovernmental organizations which have received and accepted the official invitation from the State to participate in the Expo 2020 Dubai engaged in a non-commercial capacity as an exhibitor.

OFFICE OF OFFICIAL PARTICIPANTS: The representative Office of the Official Participant established in line with the State regulations for the whole period of preparation, operation and dismantlement of its pavilion and execution of all necessary operations and activities for participation inside and outside the location of Expo 2020 Dubai.

BUREAU EXPO 2020 DUBAI / BUREAU: The Bureau Expo 2020 Dubai established by virtue of Decree No. 30 of 2014 issued by the Ruler of Dubai.

WHAT IS THE MECHANISM OF THE VAT REFUND?

Official Participants of Expo 2020 will be incurring VAT on Goods and Services connected to the Expo 2020 as per normal UAE VAT rules.

In certain situations, the Offices of the Official Participants are eligible to recover VAT on certain Goods and Services which were imported or acquired. The application to recover VAT incurred can be made by one of the following methods:

  • Where the Official Participant is not registered for UAE VAT, the refund applications can be made through the Bureau by submitting a special refund application to the Bureau.
  • Where the Official Participant is registered for VAT, it may reclaim VAT via its UAE VAT return.

It should be noted that the Official Participant must register for VAT if the value of their taxable supplies or imports (for commercial or non-official purposes) in the UAE exceeds, or is anticipated to exceed, the mandatory registration threshold of AED 375,000.

WHAT IS THE RECOVERABLE VAT?

Typically, a person may only recover VAT incurred in the UAE on Goods and Services where the Goods and Services are used or intended to be used for making taxable supplies. Where incurred expenses do not relate to any taxable supplies made by the person, VAT is not recoverable.

Notwithstanding the above, the Offices of the Official Participants are able to reclaim VAT incurred on the import and acquisition of the following five categories of Goods or Services without the need to use them for making taxable supplies:

  1. VAT incurred by the Official Participant on Goods and Services in direct connection with the construction, installation, alteration, decoration and dismantlement of their exhibition space;
  2. VAT incurred by the Official Participant on Goods and Services in direct connection with the works and activities of organizing and operating the Official Participant’s exhibition space and any presentations and events within the Expo 2020 site;
  3. VAT incurred by the Official Participant on Goods and Services relating to the actual operations of the Official Participant, provided that the value of each Good or Service for which the Office of the Official Participant makes a claim is not less than AED 200;
  4. VAT incurred by the Official Participant 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; and
  5. VAT incurred on import of goods for the personal use of the Official Participant’s Section Commissioner-General, Section Staff and the Beneficiaries.

It should be noted that in order to be eligible to reclaim VAT on expenses under categories A and/or B (or expenses which relate to multiple categories including A or B), the Official Participant must be in possession of a Certificate of Entitlement issued by the Bureau. Where expenses do not relate to categories A and B, and are covered by categories C, D or E, then a Certificate of Entitlement is not required to apply for a refund.

In addition to the above categories of expenses, where the Office of the Official Participant is registered for VAT in the UAE, it may be able to recover VAT on other types of expenses under the general VAT rules for recovering input tax – e.g., where expenses relate to making taxable supplies.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Where a refund has been granted to the Office of the Official Participant in respect of any import of Goods, the Goods cannot be sold for Consideration or transferred free of charge without the prior consent in accordance with the procedures agreed upon between the FTA and the Bureau, and without payment of the Tax.

WHAT IS THE CERTIFICATE OF ENTITLEMENT?

An Official Participant (whether its Office is registered or not registered for VAT) must apply for a Certificate of Entitlement before attempting to reclaim VAT on Goods and Services under categories A and B described in the above section. A certificate reference number will be provided to the Official Participant and must be referenced in all special refund applications concerning Goods and Services that fall under categories A and B.

WHAT IS THE ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR THE CERTIFICATE OF ENTITLEMENT?

In order to be eligible to apply for the Certificate:

  • The applicant must be an Official Participant of the Expo 2020 in Dubai, holding a valid Expo 2020 license number: and
  • Not more than 20% of the exhibition space or presentation is, has been, or is intended to be used for non-official or commercial purposes.

WHEN TO APPLY FOR THE REFUND?

Offices of the Official Participants registered for VAT can claim a refund on their regular VAT return.
Offices of the Official Participants not registered for VAT 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.

XB4 is one of the leading, experienced, and professional Tax consultants in UAE that can help the Offices of the Official Participants in EXPO 2020 to register for VAT, reclaim the VAT paid connected to EXPO 2020, get the Certificate of entitlement and reply to all inquiries of VAT connected to EXPO 2020.

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