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VAT Refund on Expo 2020 activities

Refund on VAT paid on goods and services connected with Expo 2020 Dubai

Do you know, how VAT return reporting for registered official participants of Expo 2020 Dubai are different from VAT return reporting of normal registered persons?

In general, registered official participants of Expo 2020 Dubai are not involved in any commercial activity; accordingly they are unable to claim the input tax credit incurred for these non-commercial activities.

However, as per article 10 of SEE agreement, and Cabinet Decision No. 1 of 2019 on the Refund of Value Added Tax paid on goods and services connected to Expo 2020 Dubai, all provided services from non-commercial activities and operations made for the purpose of Expo 2020 Dubai by official participants whether provided within or outside the boundaries of Expo 2020 Dubai shall subject to VAT refund.


Which expenses can be claimable?

VAT is recovered on the taxable supplies and where incurred expenses do not relate to any taxable supplies made by the person, VAT is not recoverable.


These are 5 categories in which vat can be claimable are:

  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;
  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 in order to be eligible to reclaim VAT on expenses under categories A and/or B (or expenses which relate to multiple categories including A or B), the Official Participant must be in possession of a Certificate of Entitlement issued by the Bureau. Where expenses do not relate to categories A and B, and are covered by categories C, D or E, then a Certificate of Entitlement is not required to apply for a refund


Methods of recovering VAT

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.


Offices of the Official Participants not registered for VAT 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.


How can you claim VAT on ‘Special Case of Imports’

In respect of imports made by Official Participants, it should be noted that they may use the special TRN (Tax Registration Number) allocated to the Bureau, in coordination with the Bureau, where the goods fall under categories A and B and they hold a Certificate of Entitlement. Where the special TRN is used, no import VAT will be imposed in respect of the goods, and such goods should not be included in any refund application.


What is Certificate of Entitlement?

A certificate reference number will be provided to the Official Participant and must be referenced in all special refund applications concerning Goods and Services that fall under categories A and B.


Who is eligible to get Certificate of Entitlement?

  • A person who is an official participant of Dubai Expo 2020 and holding valid Expo 2020 License 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.

Accordingly, the input pertaining to these non-commercial activities would be additional input, which official participants can claim in their vat return. This could be the main difference.


For more information get in touch with Spectrum Auditing and Accounting now, as they can assist you in how to apply and get your refund. It aims to guide in your each step towards success to ensure you get the benefit of this new cabinet decision taken by the officials and save yours cost.


Reach us to have a frills free life in your journey in UAE. We at Spectrum will assist you in taking care of all the procedures involved in the VAT process. Call us today for any kind of assistance at +971 4 2699329 or email us at [email protected] to get all your queries addressed. Spectrum is your partner in your success.



Balaram Vuchidi

Managing Director
+971 50 9866 466
[email protected]
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