A Guide on VAT Reclaims in UAE

As a business owner operating in the UAE, you are required in submitting VAT returns for the business. We understand there’s a process associated to VAT reclaim in UAE and it can be a massive hassle, especially if one tries to do it without the help of professionals. That is why we have outlined essential points that you have to know so you don’t have to trail through myriads of information on your own. Read on to understand VAT refunds in UAE. 

What is VAT?

VAT is tax that’s levied on goods and services sold in the UAE. A business is able to claim input tax for all business-related expenditures. Of course, the business has to be registered for VAT in order to do so. There is a need in keeping track of purchases if the business wants to reclaim VAT. For receipts, VAT is almost always shown as separate values to costs of purchases. This means it’s easier to collect receipts when preparing VAT returns. 

The VAT return filing process is best handed over to the hands of experts as they can help in handling the submission correctly. The business will also be able to concentrate more if it is not worrying about mistakes in the process. 

When VAT can and can’t be reclaimed 

VAT, in most cases, can be reclaimed if they are purchased by the business in order to conduct its operations. For instance, the business requires staff to stay in hotels over a period to deal with clients. In this situation, the business is able to reclaim VAT on the bill that was paid.

If the purchase was for the business as well as for personal use, then the business may be able to claim a certain percentage of the VAT paid. If the business is not registered for VAT as it is not mandated to do so, remember that it won’t be eligible in claiming back VAT paid on goods or services. If a business is not able to register for VAT, it may do so when it reaches the voluntary VAT registration threshold in UAE. 

What to check prior to claiming VAT in UAE 

Are you unsure as to whether you may be able to claim VAT back on business purchases? If so, then don’t fret as we have outlined the things that you may check to make sure VAT can be refunded:

  • There is an invoice that’s valid 
  • The purchase was not blocked for VAT refund in UAE
  • The purchase was entirely for business purposes

Are business vehicle and fuel expenses eligible for VAT reclaim?

Certain criteria are to be met; however, it is certainly possible to reclaim VAT that is paid for a company vehicle. In general, the car that was purchased by the company may be refunded specifically on the mileage for business travels. This can be so, depending as to whether the business pays for the fuel or from the pockets of the business owner him/herself. 

Is it possible to claim VAT for purchases that were made prior to the business being registered for VAT?

Yes, it is possible to claim back VAT paid on purchases prior to the company being VAT-registered. As a rule, VAT can be refunded for goods and services that are bought at least six months prior to the registration. 

The goods should be:

  • Still held by the company 
  • Bought for the VAT taxable purpose 
  • Bought by the company that is now registered for VAT 

Take note: there are exemptions to the rule. It is not possible to claim VAT back for the following business expenses:

  • Goods that have been sold prior to the business being registered for VAT
  • Products that have been used up prior to the registration for VAT e.g. electricity and petrol 
  • Goods that are relevant to supplies made which are VAT-exempt as per the FTA

A business will be able to claim VAT back for services that are acquired six months prior to the registration of the business for VAT if the following criteria are met:

  • The services that were acquired were for VAT taxable purposes for the business 
  • The services that were acquired were bought by the entity

However, expenses made for services prior to registration for VAT by the business won’t be refunded if:

  • The services were disposed of prior to business being registered for VAT 
  • Services which relate to supplies that are VAT-exempt 

VAT Reclaim Specialists in UAE 

VAT specialists in UAE, also known as regulated tax agents, are the ones that can help you with the tricky task of VAT reclaim in UAE. This means you won’t have to worry about the process and missing funds that you would have been eligible to get back. Call us today if you wish to talk to our experts.