Planet wins exclusive contract with Federal Tax Authority to provide United Arab Emirates’ digital Tax Free shopping infrastructure

  • Three-year contract sees Planet provide tax refund service for UAE

  • UAE joins small group of nations with 100% digital Tax Free infrastructure

  • Planet’s innovative solution a key part of UAE’s continued promotion of tourism and retail

18 September, 2018

After a competitive two-year tendering process, international payment service provider Planet has secured an exclusive three-year contract to provide the tourist Tax Free shopping service in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Launching in Q4 2018, Planet will manage the entire process for tourist VAT refunds on behalf of the UAE Federal Tax Authority (FTA), after the UAE introduced 5% VAT in January 2018.

The service will be 100% digital, with purchases digitised at Point of Sale and validated at departure locations throughout the UAE, allowing overseas tourists to claim back the VAT paid on goods. In an effort to encourage smaller merchants and souks to benefit from the scheme, the minimum eligible spend for a Tax Free purchase will be 250 AED.

The deal is part of an ongoing effort by the UAE government to bolster its non-oil economy, with tourism and retail services being identified as significant growth sectors in the country.

Planet has launched the service with a number of information roadshows throughout the UAE held in conjuction with the FTA where Planet will inform merchants and shopping malls how the Tax Free process will work, and the opportunities it presents to help them increase their share of international spend and importantly how to join the scheme. Merchants will then be invited to sign up to the scheme through the FTA website (

The global Tax Free market is estimated to be worth many billions, and the increase in tourism arrivals that the UAE has experienced in recent years – combined with the adoption of new infrastructures such as Planet’s Tax Free system – will leave it well placed to capture its share of this market.

His Excellency Khalid al Bustani, Director General, Federal Tax Authority, said: “The UAE is taking another major step forward today, with the introduction of the ground-breaking Tourists Refund Scheme – an ambitious initiative that strengthens the country’s prominent position on the global tourism map and reinforces its status as a leading destination for visitors from around the world.”

Patrick Waldron, CEO of Planet, said: “We are honoured to be selected as the exclusive partner of the Federal Tax Authority to provide digital Tax Free services in the United Arab Emirates. Our team, led by Gary Byrne our Director of New Markets, worked tirelessly over two years to deliver this exciting and innovative opportunity, and we look forward to working with the FTA as the UAE’s growing retail and tourism sectors continue to flourish. We are confident that our 100% digital offering will contribute to the UAE’s development as one of the world’s foremost retail destinations. ”

The UAE has been emerging as a major global tourist destination for a number of years, and Planet’s Tax Free service will contribute to the continued development of the country’s tourism offering.