The Federal Tax Authority introduced a Special Refund Scheme to reimburse VAT paid on goods and services for official participants in Expo 2020. All official participants regardless of their VAT registration status must obtain a “Certificate of Entitlement” from the Expo Bureau to be eligible for the VAT refund. The application to recover VAT incurred can be made by one of the following methods:

  • Where the Official Participant is not registered for UAE VAT, the refund applications can be made through the Bureau by submitting a special refund application to the Bureau.
  • Where the Official Participant is registered for VAT, it may reclaim VAT via its UAE VAT return.

What VAT is reclaimable

The Official Participants of Expo 2020 can reclaim VAT incurred on the import and acquisition of the following five categories of Goods or Services without the need to use them for making taxable supplies:

  1. VAT incurred by the Official Participant on Goods and Services in direct connection with the construction, installation, alteration, decoration, and dismantlement of their exhibition space.
  2. VAT incurred by the Official Participant on Goods and Services in direct connection with the works and activities of organizing and operating the Official Participant’s exhibition space and any presentations and events within the Expo 2020 site
  3. VAT incurred by the Official Participant on Goods and Services relating to the actual operations of the Official Participant, provided that the value of each Good or Service for which the Office of the Official Participant makes a claim is not less than AED 200.
  4. VAT incurred by the Official Participant in connection with all operations, services and activities provided for the purpose of participation in Expo 2020 Dubai, whether located within or outside the boundaries of the Expo 2020 Dubai site; and
  5. VAT incurred on import of Goods for personal use of the Official Participant’s Section Commissioner-General, Section Staff and the Beneficiaries.

It should be noted that to be eligible to reclaim VAT on expenses under categories (1) and/or (2) (or expenses which relate to multiple categories including (1) or (2)), the Official Participant must be in possession of a Certificate of Entitlement issued by the Bureau. Where expenses do not relate to categories (1) and (2), and are covered by categories 3, 4 or 5 then a Certificate of Entitlement is not required to apply for a refund.

Eligibility Criteria for the Certificate of Entitlement

· The applicant must be an Official Participant of the Expo 2020 in Dubai, holding a valid Expo 2020 licence number.

 · Not more than 20% of the exhibition space or presentation is, has been, or is intended to be used for non-official or commercial purposes.


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