The importation of goods and services is subject to VAT.
Goods and services
The exportation of goods and services is not subject to VAT. VAT exemption applies to sales defined as exports, which means sales of goods and services to entities which are not located in Tunisia, as well as sales to wholly exporting entities governed by the Incentives Investment Code, to companies based in free zones, to offshore banks and to certain other entities benefiting from a VAT exemption.
Refunds to foreigners
VAT charged on goods bought by nonresident individuals (tourists) may be refunded.
The Tunisian accounting legislation is based on the accrual principle. The VAT is accounted for and declared during the month during which the expense or the revenue is incurred or realised notwithstanding the disbursement of the receipt date.
Returns and payment of VAT
The VAT is declared and paid on a monthly basis.
If the input VAT exceeds the output VAT, the VAT credit resulting from the difference between the input VAT and the output VAT may be reimbursed on the basis of a written request made to the Tax Authorities.
The VAT credit is refundable if it arises from:
exportation operations of goods and services, sales made to clients allowed to acquire goods and services VAT free and withholding tax made on the remunerations paid to companies that are neither resident nor established in Tunisia
such VAT credit is refundable if it is shown at least in one monthly tax return;
investments destined for the carrying out of new projects as provided for in the Tunisian Incentives Investment Code – such VAT credit is refundable if it is shown in at least three successive monthly tax returns;
suspension of activity – such VAT credit is refundable after a tax audit;
other operations – such VAT credit is refundable if it is shown in at least six successive monthly tax returns.
In order to benefit from the refund of the VAT credits, the taxpayer has to file supporting documents such as declarations relating to exportation of goods, documents proving that the service rendered by the Tunisian taxpayer was used or consumed outside Tunisia, authorisations to sell VAT free and withholding tax certificates.
To benefit from the refund of the VAT credit, the taxpayer must already have submitted all his tax returns and paid all taxes due at the time of submission of the request for a refund.
The VAT credit is to be reimbursed within:
90 days if it arises from exportation operations of goods and services, and
30 days if it arises from sales made to clients allowed to acquire goods and services VAT free, withholding tax on remuneration
paid to companies that are neither resident nor established in Tunisia or investments destined to carry out new projects as provided for in the Tunisian Incentives Investment Code.
An advance payment of 15% of the VAT credit is to be paid to the taxpayer as soon as he presents the request for refund if the VAT credit arises from operations other than export, suspension of activity and operations of companies that are neither resident nor established in Tunisia . This rate is to be increased to 35% if the taxpayer is a company of which the financial statements are subject to legal audit.
The taxpayer may claim for the VAT credit within three years calculated from the date of the deadline for filing the tax return showing the said credit and not exceeding five years calculated from the date of the payment of the VAT.
Tax invoices A proper tax invoice should include:
name and address of the supplier;
name and address of the client;
VAT tax identification of the supplier;
designation of the goods or
the amount excluding VAT;
the VAT rate; and
the VAT amount.
Specific VAT rules
VAT related to bad debts (irrecoverable invoices) can be neither deducted nor refunded.