Know Everything About Paying VAT During Shopping in Dubai

Paying VAT During Shopping in Dubai

Dubai is one of the most populous cities not just in the UAE but in the whole wide world. Apart from infrastructure and technology Dubai’s shopping experience is the next best thing that tempts the visitors. Dubai was initially a small fishing village in the 18th century, but the city grew rapidly and has set an example for many other cities in the world. Not just  Dubai has grown in its infrastructure or architecture but also it has become a hub of shopping for all visitors throughout the world. Be it street shopping, store shopping, or online shopping in Dubai, the city has covered the whole market in one sequence with various essence. 

There are many unique and world-famous sightseeing attractions in Dubai along with the glamorous modern add-ons, cultural highlights, and shopping malls. Not just this, but also the city has focused on hospitality and tourism. 

Due to inflation over time and in – demand tourism or shopping many people nowadays look for VAT before they buy anything which could somehow impact their shopping. 

Why is Dubai Famous for Shopping?

Gifts from Souks

Everyone’s shopping paradise and a mecca for shopaholics, Dubai is not cheap, but like all over in the world things do depend on your choices. The major expense is, surely, the hotel and the flight, followed by some other expenses and excursions. 

There are several festivals in the world, and do you know what’s the biggest fest celebrated in Dubai? The world-famous  Dubai Shopping Festival. The festival itself is enough to make people understand that how the Emirate loves to buy stuff. Thus, the skyline and sightseeing are not the only things in Dubai. 

Everyone considers Dubai as shopping heaven as there is absolutely nothing which cannot be found in Dubai and it is not just possible that you visit Dubai and come back empty-handed. Dubai is filled with malls and souks, also there is always something available for each of the tourists. Now, if you wonder about the must-buy things of Dubai, go through the list below. 

  • List of Few Things That you can Buy in Dubai

  • Gold and Diamond Jewelry
  • Persian Rugs and Carpets
  • Arabian Coffee and Coffee pots
  • Oudh and Bakhoor
  • Pashmina Shawls
  • Camel Milk Chocolate
  • Arabian Dates
  • Dubai Spices Arabic Attars
  • Electronic Items
  • Hookah Pipe
  • Incense Holders
  • Traditional Arab Shoes
  • Arabic Lanterns
  • Lamps
  • Arabian Daggers
  • Local Sandals
  • Precious and Semi-Precious Stones
  • Sweets

Everyone loves shopping, right and especially when it’s Dubai you cannot resist yourself shopping. But for a few years, the back government has applied VAT on shopping which is a tax that you pay on most of the services and goods availed in Dubai. Now, most of the shopaholics must be wondering if Dubai applies to VAT on shopping or not. So, let’s hunt out the reality below before you go on shopping.

  • VAT on Shopping in Dubai

The government of the United Arab Emirates has introduced a 5% tax on goods and services back in the year 2018, but still, there is a way to do tax-free shopping in Dubai. Visitors or tourists in Dubai can also claim a value-added tax refund on their purchase of over AED250, but only if the purchased item is not used and taken along by a tourist while their departure.

You can follow the below steps to complete tax-free shopping in Dubai

    • If you are purchasing any stuff from the store, ask there a staff member to help you initiate a tax-free transaction.
    • The staff assistant at the store will help you initiate a tax-free transaction by scanning your passport, doing this they will generate a tag-free tax receipt for you.
    • The staff will give you a digital tax form, which you need to validate while the departure, within the period of 90 days from the date of the purchase.
  • Dubai Shopping Experience

Is Dubai expensive in terms of shopping? Well, Dubai is popular in the world as a shopping paradise and a must-visit place for luxurious purchases. You can buy precious stones, gold jewelry, international designer wares, and many other lavish things. As Dubai is renowned for its decadence or appealing and glamorous attraction, there are also various other malls and shops to select from where you will be able to do a perfect purchase under any budget. UAE is known because there are plenty of shops, designers, or high-end stores located in Dubai that provides the stuff at an affordable price. 

Many different markets and Dubai souks provide reasonable prices for all types of goods, whether be it a portion of food to souvenirs or a fashion piece. A few places in Dubai for the most affordable shopping are:

    • Waterfront Market – Deira
    • The Outlet Village
    • Karama Centre
    • Outlet Mall Dubai

Dubai shopping duty-free rules: it’s no surprise that duty-free shopping is a huge draw for all visitors and tourists in Dubai. Dubai Airport is also home to an amazing duty-free store, a store where you’ll get cosmetics, alcohol, confectionery, tobacco, perfume, and many more. The stuff you buy from Dubai’s duty-free store is exempt from VAT tax. Therefore, there are restrictions on what you can take and what you can’t take along before paying the tax. So, make sure you first understand the limitations, rules, and regulations in order to avoid paying a heavy fine or losing your stuff there only.

Online Dubai Shopping

Online shopping in Dubai

Traditional sourcing is brought online in Dubai via online platforms. Shopping is taken very seriously in all the emirates of UAE and especially in Dubai. Those looking to spend can bag in the stuff from all the mega-malls of the city or you can just jump into the flashy designer stores and jumbled souks. For some true shopaholic people, there is this famous Dubai Mall, which features 1,300 and above retail stores, an Olympic-size ice rink, and an aquarium. Sounds exhausting right? For trouble-free retail therapy, you can also buy from home from the top online shopping platforms in Dubai.

Apart from retail shopping, now if you are looking for hassle-free online shopping in Dubai then here you go. 

VAT and online Dubai shopping : The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has assured that all purchases made via online shopping platforms are being subjected under the same 5% Value Added Tax (VAT) just as any other purchase made via traditional stores or retail outlets if the products that have been bought online are received within the UAE.

According to Article (18) of Decree-Law, a non-resident of UAE shall register for the tax and can make supplies of services or goods, there is no borderline restriction implied on the non-residents. It means if any consumer in the United Arab Emirates purchases a service/product via an online platform (e-commerce, games, arts, music, social media, education, fashion, or any other services), the non-resident requires to register for the value-added tax within the stipulated period in respect to local tax legislation.

Tax – Free Shopping in Dubai

Here you can learn how to secure your VAT refunds on the things you buy from the city’s malls, stores, and boutiques. The government of UAE introduced VAT (Value Added Tax) of 5% in the year 2018. But you know what, tourists or visitors can still take pleasure in tax-free shopping in Dubai. And there is also a VAT refund available on goods that are to be exported while you are still in Dubai. 

Note – In UAE, no refunds are applicable on anything that you use fully or partially. Also, no refunds are applicable if you do not take along the goods you have purchased. 


You are lucky if you are not a permanent resident of Dubai, shocking right? Right, but it is only when you want to exempt VAT on your shopping bags. Shopping is first and true love but when it comes to paying tax on what you purchase sets your mood a bit off. Especially, when you go to the city where shopping is a fest it is sad to pay tax on your shopping bags. So be at ease, because we have described above the legal facts that will help you purchase tax-free goods in Dubai. There are certain rules you need to follow when purchasing goods and services in Dubai. Rules are different for residents and non-residents. So, it is better for you to understand them first before you bag in the stuff you can’t take along. 

Some More Useful Articles for You : 

UAE VAT Registration Online Excise Tax Return in UAE
Excise Tax Return Dubai Outlet Mall

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

Do I have to pay VAT tax on items in Dubai?

VAT of 5% was introduced in the UAE in 2018, by the government but still, it is possible to do tax-free shopping in Dubai.

How much is the VAT refund in Dubai?

Tourists are supposed to receive 85% of the total VAT amount paid, excluding an administration fee of Dh4.8 per tax-free form.

How much VAT do you pay in Dubai?

As per the VAT tax rate in Dubai or other Emirates, 5% is standard, but there are exceptional who gets the privilege from VAT and thus, have a zero-tax rate (educational and healthcare segments also some sort of food industries, building, exports are exempted from VAT taxation).

Is Dubai Shopping tax-free?

The UAE government introduced a Value-Added Tax of 5% in the year 2018, but the tourists can still enjoy tax-free shopping.

Saranga Saxena
Saranga Saxena A quick-witted learner with versatile experience in content writing, Saranga believes in exploring and making an effort. She focuses on what's missing instead of just admiring what she has already found.
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