Dubai Customs introduces a new refund system

18 January 2016

Dubai Customs has become the first Customs Administration of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to introduce an online refund facility. The new system, known as the ‘Smart Claim and Refund System’, provides a centralized platform to streamline and simplify Customs refunds and claim procedures. It identifies revenue leakage in the refunds processed by Dubai Customs, and contains People, Process and Technology (PPT) solutions to support the same. The system assists the refund teams working in Dubai Customs to calculate refunds in a more accurate and simplified manner, thereby reducing revenue leakage and the processing time for refunds.  The system will contribute to the success of a number of strategic initiatives, such as Dubai Smart Government and the World Expo 2020, by expediting refunds processing and ensuring funds availability for companies and Dubai Customs.

Almost 1.5 million online refund requests were lodged in the new system since its launch on 1 October 2013. The new system has processed a significant number of claims totalling AED 13 billion; including AED 809 million in refunding deposits and adjusting AED 8.5 Billion in customers’ standing guarantee accounts held with Dubai Customs.

The Executive Director of the Customer Management Division of Dubai Customs, Abdullah Al Khaja, outlined the emphasis that his Administration places on the continuous development of its people, processes, and technology to ensure that its mission of protecting society and sustaining economic growth through facilitation and compliance procedures is met. “The new system is capable of handling up to 1,800,000 refund claims per year, or about 5000 per day”.

Dubai Customs regularly consults with the private sector and hosts focus group meetings to better understand the expectations of the business community. This ensures that companies are implicated in the change process.

The new system includes a number of new functionalities: 24/7 online claim submission, a bureau submission facility, a centralized claim processing unit, automated validation during claim submission, tracking of documents submission status, a facility to request time validity extension for exports and to track the status of claims, an automated email service to inform customers on the status of claims, end-to-end claim processing, as well as a mobile claim submission and claim tracking service.

The Director of the Customs Refunds and Makasa Department, Ghaneema Ibrahim Ahmed, referred to the guiding motto of Dubai Customs: Innovating to stay relevant.

She referred to the system as “an intelligence-enabled risk management framework with systematic application of refund procedures and practices that provide refund officers with all the necessary information and tools to address risks, while ensuring compliance throughout the refund process.” Additionally, the system enabled Dubai Customs to focus resources on high-risk areas while ensuring a more rapid clearance process for low-risk shipments, which constitute nearly 98 per cent of local goods transactions.