The UAE has published the decision that official participants of Expo 2020 will be allowed VAT refunds even if they are not UAE VAT registered.
Expo 2020 is a registered exhibition due to take place in Dubai from October 2020 to April 2021. Official participants of the Expo are countries and intergovernmental organisations that have accepted the official invitation from the UAE to participate as an exhibitor.
The decision differentiates between operating expenses and the expenses incurred in relation to the exhibition space. Participants are eligible to claim VAT on supplies relating to the operations of the participant’s office and imports of goods for the personal use of the representative, staff and beneficiaries. VAT-registered official participants may also be able to recover input tax incurred on making a taxable supply.
If the participant isn’t VAT registered, a refund entitlement certificate must be obtained from the Bureau Expo 2020 Dubai office to be audited and approved which will then allow them to claim input tax on supplies relating to the construction and dismantlement of the exhibition space and the operations and presentations within the space in addition to the operating expenses. The VAT refund will be paid directly to the participant from the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) once approved.
If participants are UAE VAT registered, their process for recovery of VAT on operating and commercial activities will be through their VAT return submitted directly to the UAE Federal Tax Authority (FTA).