Expo 2020 Dubai (Bureau) shall govern the refund scheme. As part of the SEE Agreement, FTA released the Cabinet Decision No.1 of 2020 on “Refund of Value Added Tax Paid on Goods and Services Connected with Expo 2020 Dubai1 and a User Guide2 for its implementation.

As per UAE VAT rules, Official Participants incurring VAT on goods and services connected to Expo 2021 shall be eligible to claim a refund.

Who can claim a refund?
An Official Participant holding a valid Expo 2020 trade license number and who does not use or intend to use more than 20% of the exhibition space or presentation for non-official or commercial purposes will be eligible to claim such refund.

What are the Goods and Services that are eligible for VAT refunds?
Following are the only categories of goods and services on which VAT refund can be reclaimed:

  • Directly connected with the construction, installation, alteration, decoration, and dismantlement of their exhibition space;
  • Directly connected with the operation of their exhibition space and any presentation within the Expo 2020 site;
  • Related to the actual operation of the office of the Official Participant, provided that the value of each good/service for which a claim is made is not less than AED 200; and
  • For the personal use of the Official Participant’s Section Commissioner-General, Section Staff, and the Beneficiaries.

What is the Certificate of Refund Entitlement used for?
Official Participants (registered or unregistered) must apply for the Certificate before claiming VAT on goods and services under categories (A) and (B). To obtain the Certificate of Refund Entitlement, a detailed procedure has been prescribed.

Manner of refund

  • Official Participant registered for VAT in UAE
    Apply for VAT refund through its periodical VAT Return
  • Official Participant not registered for VAT in UAE
    Submit the refund application to the Bureau in the prescribed format

Special Case of Imports

If the goods are under categories A and B and the importer possesses a Certificate of Entitlement, they may use the special TRN (Tax Registration Number) allocated to the Bureau. By using the special TRN, no import VAT will be imposed on the goods, and they should not be included in any refund application.

Requirement of VAT Registration

The Official Participants are required to register with the FTA where:

  • The value of the taxable supplies or imports (for commercial or non-official purposes) in the UAE exceeds or is expected to cross the mandatory registration threshold of AED 375,000 or
  • Where more than 20% of exhibition space is used for commercial or non-official purposes, then in order to recover VAT.

The Official Participant in the above cases may apply for registration on a voluntary basis

Frequency of the Refund

  • Official Participant registered for VAT in UAE
    Can claim their refund in their regular VAT return
  • Official Participant not registered for VAT in UAE
    Apply for a refund within 15 days of the end of the calendar month/Quarter where the total value of the VAT claim is AED 10,000 or more

Sale or Transfer of Non-Commercial Imported Goods by official Participants

Before a non-commercial imported good is sold or transferred for consideration or Free of Cost, where VAT has previously been exempted/not collected or refunded, it must be approved by the One-Stop-Shop.

On such sales or transfers of Non-Commercial Imported goods, the official participants are also required to pay VAT by either registering under VAT Regulation or by using the one-stop-shop if they are not registered under VAT Regulation.

Source: Federal Tax Authority (Refund of Value Added Tax Paid on Goods and Services Connected with Expo 2020 Dubai)