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Planet wins exclusive contract to provide the Kingdom of Bahrain’s digital Tax Free shopping infrastructure

Planet wins exclusive contract to provide the Kingdom of Bahrain’s digital Tax Free shopping infrastructure



  • Planet appointed as nationwide provider of tourist tax refund service for the Kingdom of Bahrain
  • Bahrain joins growing group of nations with 100% digital Tax Free infrastructure
  • Planet’s innovative solution is a key part of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s continued promotion of tourism and retail

11th March, 2019

The Kingdom of Bahrain has signed a contract with international payment service provider Planet to be the end-to-end provider of the country’s first ever Tax Free shopping system. Launching in 2019, Planet will manage the entire process for tourist VAT refunds on behalf of the National Bureau for Revenue, after Bahrain introduced a 5% VAT in January 2019.


The 100% digital Tax Refund System will launch in Q1 2019, with purchases digitised at point of sale and validated at departure locations upon exit from Bahrain, allowing overseas visitors to claim back VAT paid on certain goods.


The Kingdom of Bahrain selected Planet to oversee the country’s VAT tourist refund scheme based on its experience and expertise in the field of international payment solutions. The Kingdom of Bahrain will be one of only a small number of nations to have a 100% digital Tax Refund System. Planet also operates the United Arab Emirates’ VAT tourist refund scheme, which commenced in November 2018 and has seen more than 8,900 merchants register to provide this Tax Free shopping service.


The collaboration with Planet is in line with the National Bureau for Revenue’s efforts in ensuring a phased implementation of VAT, with the sales tax initially only applied to companies with annual turnover exceeding BHD5 million [1].  As of 18 February, over 2,000 local and international vendors had registered as VAT eligible companies in Bahrain [2].


The Tax Refund System will continue to bolster tourism in the Kingdom, which will play host to a number of high-profile international events in 2019, including the Bahrain Grand Prix.


Upon completion of the payment infrastructure, tourists visiting Bahrain will be able to claim refunds on a percentage of VAT paid on purchases during their visit. Reimbursements are made through a fully integrated digital system that connects registered companies in the scheme to the points of exit, initially at Bahrain International Airport.


The implementation is part of ongoing efforts within the Bahraini government’s Economic Vision 2030 programme, through which the kingdom intends to diversify its economy away from the predominant hydrocarbon and finance sectors, and towards “tourism, business services, manufacturing and logistics ” [3].


Patrick Waldron, CEO of Planet, said: “We are honoured to be selected by the National Bureau of Revenue and the Kingdom of Bahrain to provide digital Tax Free services for tourists visiting the country. Our team, led by Gary Byrne, Director of New Markets, has worked closely with the Kingdom to deliver this innovative and exciting opportunity, and we look forward to working closely with the National Bureau of Revenue as the Kingdom’s tourism and retail sectors continue to grow and attract international shoppers from across the world.”


Rana Faqihi, Assistant Undersecretary of Development and Policy of Public Revenues at the Ministry of Finance and National Economy of Bahrain, said: “The collaboration with Planet is in line with the National Bureau for Revenue’s efforts in ensuring the correct implementation of VAT. The new refund system will be established and ready this year.”

 

[1] https://www.mofne.gov.bh/VAT.aspx

[2] https://www.nbr.gov.bh/releases/30

[3] Bahrain Economic Vision 2030

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