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Navigating VAT Exemptions on Imports in Egypt

Value-Added Tax (VAT) is an integral component of Egypt’s tax system, levied on most goods and services, including imports. However, understanding the various VAT exemptions available can offer substantial financial benefits for companies importing goods into Egypt. This article outlines ways in which companies can potentially qualify for VAT exemptions on their imports.

Understanding VAT on Imports in Egypt

Egypt’s VAT is a broad-based consumption tax, currently set at 14%, applied to the supply of most goods and services and to imports. However, specific goods and services are exempted or zero-rated, the latter meaning that while VAT is charged at 0%, businesses can still reclaim any VAT they have paid on costs.

Recognizing Exempt and Zero-Rated Goods

Understanding which goods are exempt or zero-rated is a crucial first step in seeking VAT exemptions. Egypt’s VAT law outlines a list of exempt and zero-rated goods. Exempt goods include some agricultural products, financial services, and certain types of real estate. Zero-rated goods, on the other hand, include exported goods and related services, and some international transport services.

Applying for VAT Exemptions

Companies seeking to benefit from VAT exemptions must follow certain steps:

  • VAT Registration: Businesses must first register for VAT with the Egyptian Tax Authority.
  • Application for Exemption: Once registered, companies can apply for VAT exemptions on eligible goods or services. This typically involves providing detailed information about the goods, including their Harmonized System (HS) code, and evidence that the goods qualify for exemption.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Companies must ensure that they comply with all VAT regulations. This includes keeping accurate records and making regular VAT returns.

Importation Procedures for Exempt Goods

For goods that qualify for VAT exemption, the importation process differs slightly from the regular procedure. While the necessary documentation still needs to be prepared and submitted, the goods are designated as exempt at the customs inspection stage, and no VAT is charged upon their release.

Leveraging VAT Refunds

For zero-rated goods, companies are not exempt from VAT but are entitled to a VAT refund. This means that they pay VAT upfront but can reclaim it at a later date. The VAT refund application must be submitted to the Egyptian Tax Authority, along with the necessary documentation.


Seeking VAT exemptions on imports can provide substantial financial benefits for companies in Egypt. However, navigating the complex tax regulations requires a thorough understanding of the VAT system and meticulous compliance procedures.

Andersen Egypt, with its extensive expertise in Egyptian VAT and customs practices, is committed to assisting clients in this intricate process, ensuring a beneficial and smooth import experience. With a keen understanding of tax regulations and a robust compliance strategy, companies can successfully leverage VAT exemptions for their advantage.

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Written By

Joseph Iskander - Attorney-at-law

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