Chinese travellers can claim tax refund via WeChat on Planet platform. Image Credit: Twitter/@DXB

Dubai: Are you a Chinese tourist visiting the UAE? While you shop for various goods in the UAE’s world-class malls, you will need to know how to claim a Value-Added Tax (VAT) refund on your purchases before you depart from Dubai.

Chinese travellers can claim tax refund via WeChat on Planet platform, according to the website of Planet, Planet is the authorised payment platform by the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) in the UAE, to operate the Tourist Refund Scheme on its behalf.

What is VAT refund in the UAE?
FTA launched 100 per cent digital tax-free shopping service for tourists, in the last quarter of 2018, after their introduction of five per cent VAT in January of the same year.

This means that eligible tourists in the UAE can enjoy tax-free shopping by requesting a refund on the VAT incurred on their purchases.

You will receive a refund of 85 per cent of the total VAT amount paid, minus a fee of Dh4.80 per tax free tag. For example, if you purchased something at the price of Dh1,000, you would need to pay five per cent VAT at the shop, which is Dh50. In this case, your VAT refund will be 85 per cent of Dh50, minus Dh4.80, which is Dh37.70.

Source: UAE’s official government portal -

Check your eligibility

You need to fulfill the following conditions to be able to claim a VAT refund:

  • You are not a resident in the UAE.
  • You are not a crew member working on a flight or aircraft departing from the UAE.
  • You have a minimum spend of Dh250 at a store in the UAE.
  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • Your goods are purchased from a retailer, who is registered under the ‘Tax Refund for Tourists’ scheme. You should ask your shop regarding this, before you purchase anything from there.
  • You obtain customs verification approval on the VAT refund within 90 days from your purchase date. You will not be able to get customs verification after 90 days.
  • You must export your goods from the UAE within 90 days from the date of purchase.
  • You have not consumed your goods, either fully or partly.
  • Your purchased goods don’t include motor vehicles, boats and aircrafts.
  • You have the goods with you when you claim your refund.
You will need to present certain documents, when claiming your VAT refund. Image Credit: Mikhail Nilov/Pexels

Documents needed

You will need these documents, along with your purchased goods, to claim your VAT refund:
• The receipts of your purchases with the tax refund tag affixed to the back.
• Your passport.
• Your boarding pass.

How to get a tax refund tag on the receipts of your purchased goods
When you make an eligible purchase in a shop in the UAE, ask the shop assistant to generate a tax refund tag and attach it to your receipts. You will need to present your passport to the shop assistant in this case.

Where can I claim my VAT refund?

You can access Planet refund points at these locations, according to the website of Planet:

Airport locations
• Abu Dhabi International Airport
• Dubai International Airport
• Sharjah International Airport
• Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC)
• Al Ain International Airport
• Ras Al Khaimah International Airport

• Port Zayed Abu Dhabi
• Port Rashid Dubai

Land borders
• Al Ghuwaifat - At the border with Saudi Arabia
• Al Hili, Al Ain - At the border with Oman
• Al Madeef, Al Ain - At the border with Oman
• Hatta - At the border with Oman
• Khatmat Malaha - At the border with Oman

How to claim VAT refund via WeChat at UAE airports

You can collect the VAT refund through special devices placed at the airport, by following these steps:
1. Go to a Planet validation point prior to checking in your luggage and approaching the immigration counters.
2. Present all the documents mentioned above, along with the purchased goods to the validation staff.
3. Once validated, choose WeChat Pay refund method at the machine.
4. A scan code will appear. Open your WeChat application on your phone, use ‘scan’ function on WeChat to scan the code on the machine.
5. Then, you will be taken to a WeChat Applet on your phone, where you will see a tax refund code.
6. Scan the tax refund code on the machine.
7. You will receive the refund instantly in your WeChat Wallet. The refund will be in Chinese Yuan.

Also read

Other refund options

Alternatively, you can choose to refund in cash, or via credit card. However, if you choose to refund in cash, there is a limit of maximum Dh10,000 cash back in place.