UAE tax authorities call on Expo 2020 participants to avail VAT refund scheme - GulfToday

UAE tax authorities call on Expo 2020 participants to avail VAT refund scheme


People visit Expo 2020 Dubai on Monday. Kamal Kassim / Gulf Today

Inayat-ur-Rahman, Business Editor

Expo 2020 Dubai has welcomed 411,768 ticketed visits in its first 10 days since the start of the first World Expo being held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.

Meanwhile, the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has called on official participants to avail the Value Added Tax (VAT) refund scheme for taxes paid on goods and services connected with Expo 2020 Dubai.

The scheme is implemented by the FTA in accordance with UAE Cabinet Decision No.(1) of 2020 on the Refund of Value Added Tax Paid on Goods and Services Connected with Expo 2020 Dubai.

Khalid Ali Al Bustani, Director-General of the FTA, said that 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 2020 Dubai.

Visitors belonged to 175 nationalities, with one in three visitors came from abroad. A number of ticket options are open to visitors, with Multi-Day and Season passes proving popular. One in five visitors have already visited the expo more than once, according to statistics released by the organisers.
Artists perform at Expo 2020 Dubai.

In this context, Reem Bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai, said, “The numbers achieved in the first 10 days reflect the enthusiasm of the world to attend Expo 2020 Dubai. We are very happy with this wonderful turnout.

“The coming days and weeks will be full of special events offering a visitor experience that will be purposeful and entertaining, and we look forward to welcoming many more people from around the world.” From his part, Dimitri S. Kerkentzes, Secretary-General of Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), said, “The numbers we are seeing are very encouraging and demonstrate the global desire for people to reconnect with each other and to imagine a better future.”

From his side, Joseph K Issa, Commissioner General of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste at Expo 2020 Dubai, said, “We’ve been really busy since the show opened, with a constant flow of visitors every day.

People genuinely seem interested and inquisitive about what we have to offer and we are delighted to bring a flavour of Timor-Leste to visitors, businesses and investors.”

Meanwhile, Doreen DeBrum, Ambassador and Commissioner General of the Marshall Islands at Expo 2020 Dubai, said, “This is the first time we’ve had our dedicated pavilion at a World Expo, and it has been fantastic to share the best of the Marshall Islands with so many visitors. We’ve been delighted with the reaction of people so far.” The announced figures include all physical ticket-holders. They exclude representatives, delegations and guests of international participants, partners and other stakeholders, as well as Expo staff.

Virtual Expo,, which launched on September 30 with three million people watching the Opening Ceremony live, has seen a further five million visits between 1-10 October.

The FTA has established a daily direct communication channel with the International Participants Bureau of Expo 2020 Dubai to enhance coordination and ensure fast processing of participant applications, whether in regard to VAT registration requests by the participating countries, or processing of refund requests, as well as promptly responding to their enquiries, he added.

Al Bustani stated that the FTA provides a telephone service to facilitate and expedite VAT registration procedures for international participants in Expo 2020 Dubai. The service offers participants clear instructions and details about the registration requirements, delivered by the FTA Registration Department. Priority is given to VAT registration requests from international participants. He clarified that the FTA had already completed VAT registration processes for several participating countries, and the FTA processes the requests submitted through the electronic system of the VAT refund scheme for goods and services connected with Expo 2020 Dubai.

The FTA also processes special VAT refund requests, submitted through the integrated platform office, dedicated to receiving and processing requests by participants not registered for VAT.

“The FTA is applying the mechanism for the refund of VAT paid on goods and services connected with Expo 2020 Dubai through transparent, accurate and facilitated procedures according to best practices,” Al Bustani asserted. This comes as part of its contribution to the intensive efforts of all relevant bodies in the UAE to ensure the success of this international event, which began on the 1st of October 2021 with the participation of 192 countries.

“Expo 2020 Dubai is an important international platform for the United Arab Emirates as it brings the world together for six months and embodies its vision of international cooperation,” he added. The FTA has issued a comprehensive guide for official participants in Expo 2020 Dubai, which addresses five categories of taxes that can be refunded.

The first category is VAT incurred by official participants on goods and services in direct connection with the construction, installation, alteration, decoration, and dismantlement of their exhibition space.

The second category is the VAT incurred by the official participants on goods and services in direct connection with the works and activities of organizing and operating the official participant’s exhibition space, as well as any presentations and events taking place within the Expo 2020 site.

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