‘Customer Satisfaction on the Rise’: Federal Tax Authority Surveys Visitors About Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme

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  • The Authority gauged opinions about the Scheme among tourists at Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah Airports.
  • GCC Nationals, Asians and Europeans make up lion’s share of beneficiaries from the Scheme.
  • E. Khalid Al Bustani: The Scheme processed 5,000 refund requests per day on average.

The inspection tours conducted by the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) have revealed that customer satisfaction with the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme’s electronic system is on the rise.

The Authority had launched the Scheme in two consecutive phases beginning on November 18, 2018, in collaboration with global systems operator Planet, covering, so far, 12 ports of entry to the UAE, comprising six airports, two sea ports, and four land ports.

GCC Nationals, Asians and Europeans made up the bulk of beneficiaries from the Scheme, with tourists leaving the UAE noting the speed with which their applications were completed and processed, asserting that the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme is one of the most advanced of its kind when compared with other countries that have implemented similar systems.

Mehjabeen Begum Rais, UK, said: “The electronic system of the UAE’s Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme is both accurate and easy to use. I was able to complete all of my procedures and reclaim the tax seamlessly and within minutes.”

Meanwhile, Pradyuma Jadhu, India, noted: “Dealing with the system was very easy and the procedures are excellent. The way participating retailers are clearly labelled made it very easy to know which stores are implementing the Scheme by simply looking for the ‘tax-free’ logo.”

Sanya Sohanz, USA, commented: “I was very impressed with the system here in the UAE. I was able to recover the tax I had paid for my purchases in about 30 seconds. The procedures are excellent, transparent and very accurate.”

“I was very impressed with the system; I think is excellent,” said Nadezhda Gorkavtseva, Russia. “The tax recovery procedure is easy, and all participating stores that I visited provided thorough yet simple explanations and instructions.”

Xi Daiyan, China, asserted: “The system is brilliant, and the procedures were quick and easy. It took me about one minute to recover my taxes and most participating shops provided detailed explanations about the procedures.”

“The system is outstanding and relies on cutting-edge technology, which made the whole tax recovery process very comfortable and quick – it only took me two minutes,” said Ahmed Abdalkhaliq Singe Egypt.

Aneela Chaudri, Ireland, noted: “The procedures for the UAE’s Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme are very fast compared to most countries I visited. It only took a few minutes to recover the tax I paid for my purchases.”

“I was very happy with my experience with the electronic system here,” said Ahmed Obaly, Switzerland. “I was able to recover taxes on my purchases within one minute at the airport refund desk, especially after I received very clear instructions about the procedures from the store where I had made my purchase.”

FTA Director General His Excellency Ali Al Bustani announced that the number of refund requests processed totalled 5,000 applications per day, submitted by tourists leaving the UAE from one of 12 air, land, and sea ports. The announcement followed a field tour conducted by a team of FTA officials and experts at the Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah airports, where they verified the system’s efficiency, speed and ease of processing refund requests for eligible tourists, surveying the beneficiaries to determine their satisfaction with the Scheme.

In a press statement issued by the Authority today (Saturday, December 22, 2018), H.E. Al Bustani revealed that the number of retail outlets connected to the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme’s electronic system reached 7,181 stores all around the UAE. “During its tour, the FTA team made sure to verify that the Scheme’s electronic system is working according to the criteria and conditions set by the Federal Tax Authority following in-depth studies to ensure high efficiency and accuracy, in accordance with international best practices,” H.E. said.

“Implementing the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme’s electronic system – which the UAE was the first to implement around the world – is in line with our wise leadership’s vision to carry out economic diversification policies and strengthen all sectors in the economic ecosystem, including the promising tourism industry,” the FTA Director General went on to note. “The sophisticated system reflects the UAE’s cultural side and underlines its status as a prime destination for tourists and visitors from around the world, offering them a safe environment, a hospitable people, and a wide range of attractions and events.”

H.E. Al Bustani then added: “Throughout the tour, we managed to confirm a high level of satisfaction among tourists with regards to the new Scheme and the ease and speed with which it allows them to complete their refund applications. It helps them determine the taxes that are eligible for a refund, which are then accurately verified through the system and in accordance with UAE tax legislations.”

“The Scheme’s smooth launch was a result of the close cooperation between the Federal Tax Authority and its strategic government and private-sector partners, including the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, as well as the authorities overseeing the ports of entry used by tourists, and other relevant federal and local entities,” H.E. concluded.

Tourists can recover taxes upon their departure from the UAE and at tax refund offices located at exit ports around the country. They can submit tax invoices for their purchases – bearing the tax refund sticker from outlets registered in the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme – along with their passports and credit cards. No maximum amount was set for transferring refundable tax to a tourist’s credit card account. If the refund is requested in cash, however, the maximum amount that can be transferred in one day is AED 10,000.

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