Cabinet Decision relating to exhibitions, conferences
Cabinet Decision No. (26) of 2018 on the Refund of Value Added Tax Paid on Services Provided in Exhibitions and Conferences
This Decision relates to VAT charged on certain supplies relating to exhibitions, conferences, and related services and is effective immediately.
The effect of the Decision is that the supplier of exhibition and conference services shall, in certain cases, not be required to collect the VAT from the customer and will instead declare the output tax charged on its VAT return and receive an immediate refund for that amount.
This VAT treatment only applies where the recipient of the exhibition and conference services is not established in the UAE and is not registered (or obliged to be registered) for VAT. This decision alleviates the burden of UAE VAT on businesses which are only in the UAE for a very short time in order to attend exhibitions and conferences.
The Decision does not, however, remove the obligation of a non-resident business to register for VAT in the event they make taxable supplies in the UAE. Therefore, where non-resident businesses attending such events make any sales to consumers during the event, they should consider whether they are then obliged to register for VAT in the UAE.
A user guide and form has also been published for suppliers of such services. Any business operating in this area should assess process changes required as a result of the new VAT treatment. In particular, invoice templates may need to be reviewed in some cases where they are issued to non-resident recipients and system changes to identify such revenue.