VAT Refunds in the UAE

VAT Refunds in the UAE: Everything Accountants Should Know

Value Added Tax (VAT) is a consumption tax levied on goods and services in many countries worldwide, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Understanding the intricacies of VAT refunds is essential for accountants operating in the UAE, as it ensures compliance with local regulations and helps businesses optimize their cash flow.

This comprehensive guide covers everything accountants need to know about VAT refunds in the UAE, with a focus on the services provided by Elevate Accounting & Auditing, including VAT services, VAT deregistration service, VAT audits in Dubai, VAT filing in UAE, VAT registration in Dubai, VAT fine reconsideration, VAT fine waiver, and VAT fine reduction.

What is a VAT Refund in UAE?

A VAT refund occurs when the input VAT (the tax paid on purchases) exceeds the output VAT (the tax collected on sales) on a VAT return. Businesses in this situation can request a VAT refund from the Federal Tax Authority (FTA). The refund process involves filing a claim and meeting specific criteria outlined by the FTA.

VAT Refund Timeline

When a taxpayer submits a VAT refund claim, the FTA processes and reviews the application within 20 business days. The taxpayer is notified of the FTA’s decision to accept or reject the claim. If the FTA needs more time, they will inform the taxpayer of the extension. Once approved, the refund is processed within 5 business days.

How to Submit a VAT Refund Claim

To submit a VAT refund claim, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the FTA’s e-Services portal.
  2. Go to the VAT Refunds tab and click on VAT refund request.
  3. Complete the form, ensuring all details are correct.
  4. Submit the form and wait for the email notification regarding your refund application status.
  5. Once approved, verify the refund amount by checking your balance in the My Payment tab under the Transaction History section.

VAT Refund Form Fields

The VAT refund form includes the following fields:

  • TRN (Tax Registration Number): Pre-populated from the taxpayer’s account.
  • Total amount of Excess Refundable Tax (in AED): Calculated as Refunds – Penalties.
  • The amount you wish to have refunded (in AED): Must be equal to or less than the total excess refundable tax.
  • Remaining amount of eligible Excess Refundable Tax: Shows the refundable tax amount for future claims.
  • Late registration penalty amount (in AED): Displays penalties imposed and whether they are paid or unpaid.

Special VAT Refund Procedures

Business Visitors

Foreign business owners can apply for VAT refunds if they meet the following criteria:

  • Located in a GCC member state other than the UAE.
  • No place of establishment in the UAE.
  • Not a taxable person in the UAE.
  • Registered in their home GCC member state.

The refund timeline is 12 calendar months, with a minimum claim amount of AED 2000. Claims are submitted by filling out the form on the FTA website and emailing it to [email protected].

UAE Nationals Building New Residences

UAE nationals constructing new residences can claim VAT refunds for expenses related to the construction. Eligible expenses include services provided by contractors and building materials. The refund claim must be submitted within 6 months of the building’s completion.

Documentation Required for VAT Refunds

To support a VAT refund claim, the following documents are necessary:

  • Bank account validation letter/certificate (for foreign banks).
  • Supporting evidence for excess credit refunds.
  • Top five tax invoices from standard-rated purchases.
  • Top five tax invoices related to non-taxed sales.
  • Top five tax invoices related to outputs, sales, and other items.

VAT Services in UAE  by Elevate Accounting & Auditing

Elevate Accounting & Auditing offers a range of VAT services to help businesses navigate the complexities of VAT in the UAE. Their services include:

  • VAT Registration in Dubai: Ensuring businesses are correctly registered for VAT.
  • VAT Filing in UAE: Assisting with accurate and timely VAT return submissions.
  • VAT Audit in Dubai: Conducting thorough VAT audits to ensure compliance and identify potential savings.
  • VAT Deregistration Service: Managing the process of VAT deregistration when it is no longer required.
  • VAT Fine Reconsideration: Helping businesses appeal against VAT fines.
  • VAT Fine Waiver and Reduction: Assisting in applying for waivers or reductions of VAT fines.


Understanding VAT refunds is crucial for accountants working in the UAE. By following the guidelines provided by the FTA and utilizing the services of experienced firms like Elevate Accounting & Auditing, businesses can ensure compliance and maximize their financial efficiency. Whether you need help with VAT registration, filing, audits, or fine reconsideration, Elevate Accounting & Auditing is equipped to support your VAT compliance in the UAE.