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VAT Refund for EXPO 2020

Expo 2020 is finally here! 

Indeed, the UAE Government has ensured that the ease of doing trade during Expo 2020 relieves the stress out of the participating countries. The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has issued a Cabinet Decision on VAT Refunds for Expo 2020 participating countries and organizations.

The VAT refund for Expo 2020 is applicable for countries that have established a representative office within the UAE to organize their Expo 2020 site. The initial Cabinet Decision in 2019 that the Cabinet issued has been canceled, and the new Cabinet Definition number 1 of 2020 provides more scope on VAT Refund for the participants. VAT incurred on any goods and services are eligible for a refund. The participants' claim amount is not less than AED 200 for Expo Special VAT Refund Scheme aims to enable participants to enjoy VAT-free purchases for the Expo Expenses.

What is the refund eligibility of VAT refund for the participants of Expo 2020?

The EXPO 2020 is a world platform that invites participants across the globe. It's only natural that participants will incur costs while running workshops, setting up offices and places, and even employing people. All the costs incurred locally are bound to pay VAT as these invoices for the goods and services are generated within the UAE.

For eligibility analysis, the participant must ensure that they qualify for the VAT refund under the EXPO 2020 scheme through their accounting services. In case the data is manipulated or misinterpreted, it will invite an audit of the financials.

Hence, it is best if you are a participating country, you can locally hire a Chartered Accountant or seek UAE accounting services from Farahat and Co to have an error-free VAT return filing. This will reduce your financial and reputational risk as well.

The participants must officially be a part of the Expo 2020 and hold a valid Expo 2020 License Number for eligibility.

Also, for the entire Expo 2020 site for which the invoices get incurred, not more than 20% of that space must be used for non-commercial or non-official purposes. All the VAT incurred during the EXPO period is handled by the Expo Bureau using E-services or physically submitting the application.

How do you apply for the certificate of entitlement?

The participant must complete the application form 'Certificate of Entitlement' and submit the same through an email to the Bureau.

As per the Cabinet, Decision participants must register with the Bureau Expo 2020 Dubai for a Certificate of Entitlement. Each Certificate of Entitlement has a reference number that must be mentioned on VAT refund applications for the goods and services purchased in the UAE.

The following details and proof must be submitted along with the application.

  • Area of the Pavilion and mentioning the percentage of official space to be used for Expo 2020 purpose, i.e. commercial use only.
  • Location details of the pavilion
  • Attach the Expo 2020 license
  • Scan copy of the passport and Emirates ID of the area of the Section Commissioner General of the official participant.
  • State a declaration that will affect in future or bring about changes in the process of eligibility of VAT return for the participant

However, companies in the UAE who are participating in the EXPO 2020 can and are VAT registered can avail of the VAT returns through their periodic VAT return filings. 

VAT Refund in UAE: Guide for Foreign Businesses

What must the VAT refund filing for Expo 2020 contain?

The participants who are not VAT registered in the UAE can apply for the VAT refund through a special refund application process. The refund application must include the following:

Reference number of the certificate of entitlement

If there is a previous refund claim, the reference number and date must be provided

Original tax invoices and customs declarations of goods and services

Disclosure of any changes that are or will be in the future that will affect the participant's eligibility for a VAT refund. Any Gm goods imported and sold at the Expo have to be VAT registered.

As per the FTA website, it will take 20 business days to complete the application, and once it is accepted, the refund will be done to the registered bank account in 30 business days once the refund amount is accepted. 

How our VAT Consultant will help you

The process of VAT refund for VAT registered companies in the UAE, or non-registered companies is a simple process. It has impacted the participants of Expo 2020. Even a tiny error or miscalculation can lead to manipulation of the financial data. Seek professional accounting services from Farahat and Co, one of the most experienced in accounting and auditing. They have partnered with various clients of the EXPO 2020 and assisted them with the accounting procedures that as at par with the Expo 2020 standard. In line with Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, Expo Participants benefit from the innovative and sustainable way for various to conduct their business in the UAE.

Ervee is a CPA with international experience in Tax and Accounting. He has over 12 years of experience in accounting and bookkeeping and over a year in VAT implementation, registration, and accounting in UAE. He regularly drives out inefficiencies in company operations and loves the challenge of helping clients find additional ways for an easier and improved compliance and verification of transactions.