Egypt to create new VAT refund system for tourists in all ports

Doaa A.Moneim , Sunday 31 Oct 2021

Egypt’s Ministry of Finance will create an electronic system in the country’s sea, land and air ports with the aim of facilitating the procedures of refunding the value added tax (VAT) to foreign visitors or tourists in Egypt.

Mohamed Maait

The move, which comes in line with a decision issued by Finance Minister Mohamed Maait on Sunday, aims to boost shopping tourism in Egypt, and turn the country’s tourist resorts into global shopping centres.

The VAT will be refunded for purchases whose value exceeds EGP 1,500, according to the decree. The refund process will take place while tourists are departing from the Egyptian ports going back to their countries.

In Egypt, goods and commodities meant to be exported are tax-free.

Under the current system, Egypt’s ports have no offices for VAT refunds. Accordingly, the tourist submit a refund application to the Egyptian Tax Authority (ETA) attached with number of documents include the purchase bill, evidence of payment of tax, the tax identification number, the diplomatic identification number of the claimant.

The tourist should submit the application within two months after the purchasing date, and he is allowed to submit one refund application every month.

The system sends an automatic email to the applicant once his application is approved or rejected.

Processing the refund takes up to 45 days.

Generally, tourists do not apply for VAT refund while they leaving the country because of these complicated procedures that take long time.

Egypt adopts a project to modernise the taxation and customs systems with an objective of utilising artificial intelligence technology to manage the two systems, which will track all online transactions. The systems are set to be launched sometime in 2022.

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