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May 30, 2024

Saudi Arabia tax bulletin clarifies requirements and procedures for excise tax refund

  • Saudi Arabia has released a bulletin explaining the procedures for claiming tax refunds related to the disposal of excise goods.
  • The bulletin clarifies the existing laws and regulations regarding the licensing of specific sites for the disposal of excise goods, as well as the procedures to claim a refund for taxes paid on goods that are no longer fit for human consumption.

Executive summary                                                             

On 26 May 2024, Saudi Arabia’s Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority (ZATCA) issued a bulletin concerning tax refunds on the disposal of excise goods. The bulletin clarifies Paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of Article 52 in the Implementing Regulations of the Excise Law which specify the cases where the ZATCA should refund the excise tax paid by a registered taxpayer. Taxpayers seeking a refund of the excise tax paid must initially file a disposal request for the excise goods that are expired or unfit for human consumption and should move forward with the disposal only after receiving approval from the ZATCA.

Detailed discussion


On 24 February 2023, the ZATCA published amendments to the Implementing Regulations of the Excise Law regarding the place designated for destruction of goods for the purposes of obtaining an excise tax refund. The amendments were published in the Official Gazette. Saudi Arabia’s primary objective in implementing excise tax was to curb the consumption of harmful products. The bulletin further details the procedures for disposing of excise goods, particularly those with a short shelf life.

Highlights of the bulletin

The bulletin clarifies the three primary criteria for the refund of excise tax paid as outlined in the Implementing Regulations of the Excise Tax Law:

  1. The applicant must be a registered taxpayer who has paid excise tax on the manufacture or importation of the excise goods. Consequently, neither distributors nor resellers, despite being taxpayers, qualify for a refund.
  2. The excise goods should be in a condition that renders them unfit for human consumption before being taken to the approved disposal sites. This includes goods that are no longer suitable for human consumption due to factors such as contamination, partial damage or expiry.
  3. Once the excise goods are assessed as unfit for human consumption, they must be transferred to a tax warehouse or a specified disposal site for proper disposal.

ZATCA procedures

Before proceeding with any disposal, even with an approved warehouse or facility for conducting such activities, the taxpayer must submit a request to the ZATCA for approval to dispose of the excise goods not fit for human consumption. The request must include, at a minimum, details of the products to be disposed of, such as quantity, the date of release for consumption, evidence that the goods are no longer suitable for human consumption, and information about the tax warehouse or the designated disposal site.

The ZATCA will review the request and provide its approval or rejection. If the ZATCA approves, the taxpayer will proceed with the disposal procedure. Once the disposal is completed, the taxpayer will submit the refund application to the ZATCA for the period covering the disposal, along with the proof of disposal. The ZATCA will proceed with releasing the refund if all the requirements for refund are met.


Taxpayers registered as importers and manufacturers should carefully review the bulletin and assess their eligibility to claim a refund related to the disposal of excise goods unfit for human consumption, in compliance with the Excise Tax Law and its Implementing Regulations.

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Contact Information

For additional information concerning this Alert, please contact:

EY Consulting LLC, Dubai

Ernst & Young LLP (United States), Middle East Tax Desk, New York

Published by NTD’s Tax Technical Knowledge Services group; Carolyn Wright, legal editor

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