Expos, or World Exhibitions, have been held for 170 years. They serve as a platform for presenting the most recent and significant innovations of the day. The world exhibition is being held in the Middle East for the first time in history. Dubai opens its doors to the Expo on October 1, 2021, with over 190 participating nations present to add their value to this Expo.

The Federal Tax Authority (“FTA”) has issued Cabinet Decision no. 1 of 2020 (“Cabinet Decision”) on the Refund of VAT on Goods and Services for countries and organizations participating in Expo 2020 Dubai. The Cabinet Decision cancels Cabinet Decision no. 1 of 2019, which was issued earlier by the FTA on the refund of VAT for participants for Expo 2020. In the Cabinet Decision, the FTA clarifies in more detail which participants are entitled to a VAT refund and which expenses are subject to the VAT refund.

These changes may have an impact on the participating countries or intergovernmental organizations of the Expo 2020 (“Participants”) which will take place as of October this year.

You can claim your VAT in any of the below-mentioned methods.

  • If Official Participant is not registered for VAT in UAE, the VAT refund can be made to the authority by submitting a special refund application as prescribed by FTA. They would be required to obtain a refund entitlement certificate from the Bureau Expo 2020 Dubai office. These refund entitlement certificates would allow them to obtain VAT refunds (subject to review and processing requirements).
  • In case the Official Participant is registered for VAT in UAE they can do so by submitting the VAT Return Form 201

What is Claimable VAT?

Expenses incurred with VAT which is intended to be used for making taxable supplies can be recovered from the FTA.

Official participants of Expo 2020 having refund entitlement certificates can claim VAT expenses incurred even without providing taxable supplies, those types of expenses are listed below.

  1. Expenses incurred in direct relation to the construction, installation, alteration, decoration, and dismantlement of their exhibition space.
  2. Direct expenses towards the operation of their exhibition space and any presentation within the Expo 2020 site.
  3. Direct expenses towards the actual operation of the office of the Official Participant, with a minimum value of each Good or Service for which a claim is not less than AED 200.
  4. VAT incurred on personal use of the Official Participant’s Section Commissioner-General, Section Staff, and the Beneficiaries.

What is the Certificate of Refund Entitlement?

VAT Registered and non-registrant official participants of Expo 2020 should apply for a Refund Entitlement Certificate, only then they will be able to claim VAT on the expense incurred for any of the types of expenses explained above.

Official participants of Expo who have Tax Registration Number (TRN) and also who do not have Tax Registration Number (TRN) must apply for a Refund Entitlement Certificate from the Bureau of Expo 2020 in order to claim VAT refunds.

Who can apply for Refund Entitlement Certificate?

  • An Official Participant of the Expo 2020 in Dubai with a valid Expo 2020 Trade License Number.
  • Official participant does not use or intend to use more than 20% of the exhibition/presentation space for commercial or non-official purposes.

How to apply for Refund Entitlement Certificate?

Application for Refund Entitlement Certificate should directly be addressed to the Federal Tax Authority. A form should be filled and submitted by email. A form should be filled out and emailed. When filling out the form for a Refund Entitlement Certificate, the following information should be available.

  • The Area of the pavilion that is used by the Official Participant should be mentioned in square meters
  • Pavilion’s Location
  • If there are any details and percentage of commercial use of space, that should also be mentioned
  • A full description of the purpose of the pavilion space
  • And a declaration with the following:
    1. That notification to the Federal Tax Authority will be made in case of any changes occur that would affect the eligibility criteria to the Certificate of Refund Entitlement.
    2. The understanding is that the Certificate of Refund Entitlement only gives the right to claim VAT on Goods and Services under the categories discussed above.

The application should be supported by documents such as the Trade License of Expo 2020 and Scan of passport and Emirates ID of Section Commissioner-General of the Official Participant.

When to apply for a VAT refund for Expo 2020?

Official Participants registered for VAT in UAE and have TRN can claim their refund on their regular VAT return by filing the VAT Return Form 201.

Non-registrants 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. The refund application frequency may change depending on the total VAT to be claimed. If an Official Participant has omitted any qualifying expenses from a refund application, these expenses may be included in a subsequent application.

Timelines Processing Period for the issue of Certificate of Refund Entitlement.

The authority will process the application in 20 business days, and if the application is approved, a certificate will be issued and emailed to the applicant.

Crevaty will assist you with the VAT refund for Expo 2020. In case you are looking for any VAT services in Dubai, Crevaty Tax consultancy can help you. Apart from helping you with VAT registration, we also offer a variety of services such as accounting & bookkeeping, VAT & Tax advisory, back office services, payroll processing, auditing & control, document management and more. To know more about our services contact us – we would be glad to assist.

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