Is Dubai Mall tax free?

Living in the UAE as an expat, I’ve come to appreciate the allure of the Dubai Mall. It’s not just a shopping destination; it’s an experience. I understand the curiosity many have about its tax policies, especially when comparing it to other global shopping hubs. In this article, I’ll delve into the question on everyone’s mind: “Is Dubai Mall tax free?” By the end, you’ll have a clearer understanding of the tax system here and how it benefits both residents and tourists alike. Let’s embark on this enlightening journey together.

Is Dubai Mall tax free?

Yes, shopping at the Dubai Mall is largely tax-free. However, it’s essential to understand the nuances. The UAE introduced a Value Added Tax (VAT) of 5% in 2018, which does apply to most goods and services, including purchases at the Dubai Mall. But here’s the catch: tourists can claim a refund for the VAT they’ve paid on their shopping.

So, while there’s a tax applied at the point of sale, many international visitors effectively shop tax-free by reclaiming this VAT. Living here, I’ve seen countless tourists benefit from this system, making their shopping experience even more delightful.

In the next section, we’ll dive deeper into the VAT refund system in Dubai and how tourists can make the most of it.

Understanding the VAT refund system in Dubai

Navigating the world of taxes can be daunting, especially when you’re in a foreign country. But fear not! In this section, we’ll demystify the VAT refund system in Dubai, ensuring you’re well-equipped to reclaim what’s rightfully yours after a delightful shopping spree.

Introduction to the VAT refund system for tourists

In an effort to boost tourism and maintain its status as a global shopping destination, the UAE introduced a VAT refund system for tourists in 2018. This means that while a 5% VAT is applied to most purchases, tourists have the privilege of claiming this amount back, making their shopping essentially tax-free.

Steps on how tourists can claim a VAT refund after shopping at Dubai Mall

  1. Ensure you’re eligible: Only tourists who are leaving the UAE within 90 days from their shopping date can claim a refund.
  2. Keep your receipts: Always ask for a tax-free shopping receipt when making a purchase.
  3. Visit a VAT refund counter: Before departing from Dubai International Airport, head to one of the VAT refund counters with your receipts and passport.
  4. Get your refund: Once your eligibility is confirmed, you’ll receive your refund, either in cash or to your credit card.

Common misconceptions and clarifications about the VAT refund system

  • Misconception: All items are eligible for a VAT refund.
  • Clarification: Some goods, like certain luxury items, might have different tax regulations. Always check in-store for details.
  • Misconception: Residents of the UAE can claim a VAT refund.
  • Clarification: The VAT refund system is exclusively for tourists. Residents cannot claim this refund.

I hope this sheds light on the VAT refund process, ensuring you make the most of your shopping experience in Dubai. In the concluding section, we’ll summarize the perks of shopping at Dubai Mall and how its tax system stands out on the global stage.


Dubai Mall isn’t just a marvel of architecture and luxury; it’s a testament to Dubai’s commitment to offering a world-class shopping experience.

While the 5% VAT might initially seem like a deterrent, the tourist refund system effectively makes shopping tax-free for visitors. As an expat living in the UAE, I’ve witnessed the joy this brings to countless international shoppers.

So, the next time you’re planning a shopping spree, remember: Dubai Mall offers not just opulence but also a pocket-friendly experience.