News Update

UAE Cabinet approves VAT refund for tourists starting Q4 2018

Date: 11 Jul, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302698458

The UAE Cabinet has adopted a decision to implement the value added tax refund system for tourists, which will integrate between retail outlets with tax refund points in line with the government’s efforts to achieve the efficient implementation of the tax system in the UAE.

According to a press statement, the new tax refund system supports the growth of the tourism sector in the UAE and maintain its position as a global destination for tourists. “The system will be implemented beginning the fourth quarter of 2018 in cooperation with an international specialised company in tax recovery services,” it added.

Non-resident tourists may refund VAT on purchases made at participating retailers, provided that such goods are not exempt from the tax system, through designated refund outlets.

The tourism sector contributes directly to the local economy. The number of passengers through the UAE’s airports reached 123 million passengers in 207, and the total contribution of the tourism sector to the country’s GDP reached 11.3 percent in 2017, equivalent to AED154.1 billion.

VAT refund decision strengthens Abu Dhabi as ‘destination of distinction,’ says Ghobash

Date: 11 Jul, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302698542

Following the UAE Cabinet decision to implement the value added tax refund system for tourists, Saif Saeed Ghobash, Under-Secretary of DCT Abu Dhabi, said that the decision will provide “further impetus” to Abu Dhabi’s strategy to position the emirate as “a visitor-friendly destination of distinction.”

In a statement, Ghobash added, “The UAE in general, and Abu Dhabi specifically, will now have this added significant attraction to all types of tourists and business travellers, reinforcing the emirate’s position as a ‘go-to’ destination and further boosting potential visitor numbers.

“This new directive in is line with the UAE’s efforts to implement an efficient tax system in the emirates. It will directly support the growth of our tourism sector.”

“It will also work in concert with the recently announced reduction in tourism and municipality fees, which means that accommodation costs will be reduced across the emirate. Together, these directives strengthen Abu Dhabi’s position as a destination that affords the warmest of Arabian welcomes to the world,” he continued.

Commenting on the announcement, Sultan Al Mutawa Al Dhaheri, Executive Director of the Tourism Sector at the Department, said, “The announcement of this VAT refund directive is great news for visitors planning a trip to explore our extraordinary emirate. Already firmly established as an attractive and unique distinction, this will positively impact our global appeal. Future visitors will now feel the direct impact of this decision in their travel budgets, meaning they can potentially stay longer, explore further and experience more while they are here. Our extensive touristic and cultural offerings are now even more affordable and accessible than before.

“The tourism sector in Abu Dhabi has witnessed a significant growth in terms of visitors and offerings, in line with the development of leisure and cultural attractions in the capital,” Al Dhaheri said, adding that this new directive will guarantee “steady growth rates, especially with this year’s promising results thus far.”

“Tourists and visitors will be encouraged to stay in Abu Dhabi for longer periods, enjoy more tourist experiences and benefit from attractive offers with wide choices and competitive prices,” he concluded.

More relief as three UAE free zones are out of VAT scope

Date: 05 Jul, 2018

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External URL: https://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/local/More-relief-as-three-UAE-free-zones-are-out-of-VAT-scope--

The UAE’s Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has added three new free zones to the list of designated zones that will be out of the five percent VAT scope imposed earlier this year.

The new addition sees the total designated zones increasing to 23 across the UAE.

Federal Decree Law No. (8) of 2017 on VAT specifies that any area meeting certain conditions and mentioned in the Cabinet decision is termed as designated zone for VAT purposes and should be treated as being outside the state for VAT purposes.

According to the FTA, the newly-added free zones are Al Ain International Airport Free Zone, Al Bateen Executive Airport Free Zone in Abu Dhabi, and International Humanitarian City – Jebel Ali in Dubai. The treatment of these areas as designated zones was effective from June 18, 2018.

Thomas Vanhee, partner at Aurifer Middle East Tax, said businesses that have transactions in the new designated zones will be relieved that no VAT applies on the supplies of goods inside the designated zones with some exceptions.

“Some businesses in these designated zones may potentially now deregister for VAT purposes. It will be important for them to assess again their transactions in the zone and determine which ones are actually subject to VAT and which ones are not. Although this constitutes an important relief, the transactions with designated zones can be complex,” said Vanhee.

Currently, eight designated zones are located in Dubai, five in Abu Dhabi, three in Ras Al Khaimah, two each in Fujairah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain, and one in Ajman.

FTA issues more clarification on labour accommodation

Date: 05 Jul, 2018

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External URL: https://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/local/More-relief-as-three-UAE-free-zones-are-out-of-VAT-scope--

FTA issued clarification about the issue of the applicability of five percent VAT on labour accommodations.

“In the initial period, there was confusion whether labour accommodation is chargeable or not. Subsequently, it was clarified by the FTA that labour accommodation is treated as residential property and hence exempt from VAT. In essence, where additional services such as cleaning, Internet etc. are provided as part of the composite labour accommodation service, there is a single pricing and it is provided by the same supplier, it will be treated as residential property and will be exempt from VAT,” said Girish Chand, director at MCA Management Consultants.

He also pointed out that where the labour accommodation is a mixed supply consisting of various elements and it is charged separately, the tax treatment of each component will have to be determined separately.

http://www.allaboutvat.com/wp-content/uploads/Labour-Accommodation.pdf

FTA updates its e-Services to facilitate work of customs clearance companies

Date: 02 Jul, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302697123

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, has revealed details of updates to its electronic services, e-Services, which have been designed to provide a greater number of facilities for customs clearance companies that operate under its approval.

The authority says that the new developments have been introduced to simplify registration procedures and enable easy submission of tax returns.

The FTA’s e-Services updates were announced during the third seminar, organised by the authority in Dubai, for freight forwarders and customs clearance companies. The event was held to highlight the role of the authority’s e-Services in facilitating the work of shipping and clearance companies and ensuring the UAE’s smooth import and export trade.

Attended by about 100 stakeholders from various shipping, customs clearance and logistics organisations, the seminar saw a team of specialists from the FTA’s Taxpayers’ Services Department review the electronic processes carried out by the authority to facilitate the work of this important sector and brief the participants on the steps it has taken to overcome any obstacles that might be encountered.

Khalid Ali Al Bustani, Director-General of the FTA, said that the seminar formed part of the authority’s plans to raise the level of tax awareness among business sectors and ensure continuous communication with employees across all economic activities. He highlighted that the session was important to inform stakeholders about the latest tax procedures.

Businesses encouraged to file VAT returns and make payments on time

Date: 27 Jun, 2018

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External URL: https://www.zawya.com/mena/en/story/Businesses_encouraged_to_file_VAT_returns_and_make_payments_on_time__Al_Dhaheri_Jones__Clark-ZAWYA20180627110344/

As businesses across the UAE gear up to file Value Added Tax (VAT) returns on June 28th 2018, Al Dhaheri Jones & Clark (ADJC) provides clarity on process and the importance of filing returns.

A VAT return is the formal statement of a registered entity’s VAT statement together with its supporting documentation and VAT payment for a specified tax period. These VAT returns are important as they contain the records of the tax paid by the users in a given period. It is a formal document that provides proof that the registered party has paid their VAT obligation.

“Filing returns on time is crucial for your business. A delay can not only cause a huge amount of stress, but your entire business could be under threat should you fail to comply. While non-compliance can lead to penalties, it also results in backdated payments, investigation by the authority and black-listing. As such, knowing the procedure and deadlines for filing and payment of VAT returns is significantly important to lower the chances of incurring VAT fines and penalties in the UAE,” said Mohammed Fathy, General Manager of Al Dhaheri Jones & Clark.

In the UAE, the administrative penalty for late registration is Dhs20,000 ($5,445). Other fines include Dhs15,000 ($4,084) for failing to display prices inclusive of VAT, Dhs3,000 ($817) for a first incorrect tax filing and Dhs5,000 ($1,361) for incorrect filings thereafter. Failure to submit a deregistration application will result in a fine of Dhs10,000 ($2,723). A first time tax offence will result in a Dhs1,000 ($272) fine and repeat offences within two years Dhs2,000 ($545).

“The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) in the UAE has given businesses enough time to comprehend and follow the legislative rules to file returns. While most businesses are now ready to file returns on time, we suggest that it is best to file returns and make payments before the deadline to ensure that the payments processed through banks reaches FTA on time,” added Mohammed Fathy.

Lessons learned from the UAE and Saudi Arabia’s roll-out of VAT

Date: 27 Jun, 2018

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External URL: https://www.meed.com/lessons-learned-uae-saudi-arabias-roll-vat/

With the entire supply chain affected by VAT, firms cannot start its implementation soon enough
Two of the six GCC states, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, introduced VAT on 1 January 2018. With Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman in the process of organising their VAT implementation, the experiences in the UAE and Saudi Arabia provide an indication of issues that businesses in the GCC may face when VAT is rolled out across the rest of the region.

Main challenges
One overriding challenge observed in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia was that businesses typically underestimated the scope and level of effort required to implement VAT. The combination of dealing with a new tax, coupled with the significant business and systems changes that were required, put a lot of pressure on companies to adapt.

To their credit, most organisations got there in the end, but as our survey shows, 77 percent felt that they could have started the process at least three months earlier.

Our survey also revealed that 90 percent of those in the consumer business sector found it took longer than three months to implement, and more concerning, all in the technology sector said it took them longer than six months.

Creating, drafting and implementing tax law is a challenging task. Even though the intention to implement VAT was announced more than a year before the go-live date, detailed legislation was understandably and for a variety of reasons released relatively late in the process in both countries. Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia took a considered view that good tax law cannot be rushed.

Unfortunately, a number of companies were hesitant to commence implementation projects until after the release of the VAT legislation and the timeline for registration for VAT purposes was announced, leading to truncated implementation and delays in the commencement of projects.

7 Ways to Avoid VAT Penalties in UAE

Date: 21 Jun, 2018

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External URL: https://www.albawaba.com/business/7-ways-avoid-vat-penalties-uae-1148550

The United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia began the implementation of Value Added Tax (VAT) on January 1, 2018 at the rate of five percent, while other GCC countries are expected to follow in the near future.

As VAT is new to the region, it is imperative for business owners to be aware and comply with the new regulations in order to avoid stiff penalties which could be as high as AED 50,000.

Seven tips for UAE businesses to avoid financial penalties that may be imposed due to violations, errors or incorrect record-keeping include:

Register for VAT
Every company offering taxable goods or services with an annual revenue of AED 367,000 and above is required to register for VAT. However, those with an annual revenue between AED 200,000 and AED 367,000 will have the option to register.

Record all transactions
The law requires businesses that meet the minimum annual turnover (as evidenced through financial records) to register and keep a record of all their business income, costs and other associated VAT charges, whilst ensuring all records are up to date.

Collect VAT
Every business essentially plays the role of a tax agent, collecting on behalf of the government VAT on goods and services purchased by their consumers.

File VAT return
VAT returns must be filed monthly if your company has an annual turnover above AED 150 million. Businesses with revenue below that level must file quarterly.

Understand zero rates and exempt suppliers
The FTA has exempted some businesses in priority sectors from tax. Being a zero-rated supplier means that the goods being supplied are still VAT taxable, but at the rate of zero percent.

Reverse charges
Reverse charges are the amount of VAT one would have paid on goods or services if they were purchased in the UAE. These charges apply when goods and services are imported from outside the GCC.

Get the basics right
A tax invoice must be issued within 14 days of the date of supply. It is mandatory for a tax invoice to include the name, address and tax registration (TRN) of the registrant making the supply.

Cut in hotel tax to help UAE's tourism industry compete with Europe

Date: 19 Jun, 2018

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External URL: https://www.thenational.ae/uae/cut-in-hotel-tax-to-help-uae-s-tourism-industry-compete-with-europe-1.741974

Restaurants in Abu Dhabi and Dubai will be bolstered by the recent drop in municipality fees.

That is according to Jennifer Pettinger-Haines, one of the founding members of the Global Restaurant Investment Forum, an international conference that brings together some of the leading investors from the international world of restaurants.

The reduction in municipality fees comes as both Dubai and Abu Dhabi try to market themselves as year-round holiday destinations, instead of their more traditional standing as winter sun destinations.

Ms. Pettinger-Haines, who is also a member of the Dubai Restaurant Industry Think Tank, was speaking in the wake of the municipality tax cuts announced last week in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
“The recent announcement that municipality fees on sales at hotel facilities are going to be cut from 10 per cent to 7 per cent is great news for the industry, it was made all the better when we heard that Abu Dhabi was also taking measures to reduce tourism fees from 6 per cent to 3-and-a-half per cent and municipality fees to 2 per cent,” she said.

“These are very positive and significant steps in support of the UAE’s hospitality industry and come at a challenging time for many operators, especially as we head into the summer period. Only time will tell what the true impact will be, but it is a very positive gesture which will offer enhanced value to guests.”

Federal Tax Authority receives businesses’ VAT returns for tax period ending May

Date: 18 Jun, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302695111

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, announced that it has started receiving tax returns for the tax period ending 31st May, 2018, from businesses registered for Value Added Tax, VAT.

These returns were submitted via the e-Services portal on the authority’s official website, which enables easy and accurate tax submissions.

In a press statement issued on Monday, the FTA reaffirmed that 28th June is the deadline for the submission of tax returns for the tax period ending on 31st May, 2018, calling on all registered businesses to comply with the requirement and settle their payable taxes within the specified period to ensure payment with the FTA before 28th June to avoid financial penalties.

Khalid Ali Al Bustani, Director-General of the FTA, said that the authority has simplified the procedures of submitting the returns and paying due taxes through the electronic services available on the FTA’s official website, which was designed according to the best international standards. The site provides various flexible payment options and is the ideal tool to help businesses comply with tax deadlines, he added.

Al Bustani stressed the need to check the accuracy of all data entered during the submission process and to ensure that the amount owed is transferred to the correct GIBAN number. He added that the responsibility of ensuring that the transfer is made to the correct number is that of the taxable person. He reiterated that the authority is not responsible for following up on the transfer.

Website now allows taxable persons to connect directly with accredited tax agents

Date: 17 Jun, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302694988

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has developed its e-Services to include new features allowing Taxable Persons to link their accounts with an accredited Tax Agency, authorising it to carry out registration procedures, submit tax returns, and complete tax transactions on behalf of the Taxable Person, who is kept posted with real-time updates.

In a press statement issued today, the FTA explained that this update was introduced to answer requests submitted by Taxable Persons and businesses registered with the Authority; they reflect FTA’s commitment to flexibility and constructive interaction with the business community as a means to establish an environment that encourages voluntary auto-compliance with tax procedures.

The new features allow Taxable Persons to nominate one or more persons as their Tax Agents, who would then represent them in all their transactions with the Authority, and help them comply with their tax obligations and exercise their rights. A Taxable Person can link their account on eservices.tax.gov.ae with that of an accredited Tax Agency with a simple procedure outlined on the FTA website.

“The Federal Tax Authority is committed to continuously developing its services to ensure flexibility and enable businesses to seamlessly implement the tax system and avoid any disruptions to their activities,” said FTA Director General Khalid Ali Al Bustani, explaining that: “An FTA-accredited Tax Agent can be appointed by any natural or legal person to represent them with the Authority, and help them comply with their tax obligations and exercise their rights.”

Saudi prices rise by 2.8% so far in 2018 as VAT makes impact

Date: 15 Jun, 2018

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External URL: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/banking-finance/398595-wkd-saudi-prices-rise-by-28-so-far-in-2018-as-vat-makes-impact

Prices in Saudi Arabia have risen by 2.8 percent year-on-year so far in 2018 due to the introduction of VAT and utility and fuel price reform, according to new research.

Jadwa Investment, citing the latest General Authority for Statistics (GaStat) inflation release for April, also showed that prices rose by 2.6 percent year-on-year in the month, declining by 0.2 percent month-on-month.

Jadwa said food and beverages prices rose by 5.7 percent year-on-year in April but declined by 0.9 percent month-on-month for the second time in a row.

Housing and utility prices rose slightly by 0.5 percent in April year-on-year, despite a spike in fuel prices in January, Jadwa noted, adding that housing rents, which have been showing negative growth rates since July 2017, weighed on this segment.

The research also said that after a decline in January, annual growth in point of sale retail sales have rebounded, with the average year-to-date rise of 13 percent, compared to 7 percent in the same period last year.

Despite the fact that this year saw the implementation of VAT, Jadwa said it still expects to see higher inflation rates in Ramadan.

FTA urges businesses to pay up VAT dues urgently - Non-compliance will result in penalties

Date: 13 Jun, 2018

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External URL: https://gulfnews.com/business/economy/vat/fta-urges-businesses-to-pay-up-vat-dues-urgently-1.2236385

Federal Tax Authority (FTA) on Wednesday urged all UAE businesses registered for Value Added Tax (VAT) who missed the deadline for filing their tax returns to pay their tax dues immediately.

“Respecting the deadline to file tax returns and pay due taxes is a legal responsibility borne by the registered tax person,” FTA said in an advertisement.

In case of non-compliance with tax payments on deadlines, businesses will be required to pay the estimated taxes along with administrative penalties.

Violations include the failure of tax registrants to submit the tax return within the timeframe specified in tax law and failure of tax person to settle the payable tax stated in the submitted tax return or tax assessment that was notified.

UAE's reform measures are truly bold undertakings

Date: 13 Jun, 2018

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External URL: https://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/economy/uaes-reform-measures-are-truly-bold-undertakings

The recent spate of investor-friendly reform initiatives by the UAE government, including 10-year visas for investors and professionals as well as a move to allow 100 per cent foreign business ownership, along with some proactive stimulus packages unveiled by Abu Dhabi and Dubai separately will stir up investor confidence and accelerate the growth of the second largest Arab economy, experts and corporate leaders said.

Combined, the three-pronged stimulus programmes, undertaken by the federal government and two emirates, will give a major fillip to real estate, construction, information technology, small and medium enterprises sectors. In addition, these bold measures along with the easing of liquidity through the Dh50 billion package announced by Abu Dhabi will help banking and manufacturing sectors while considerably easing pressure on the business community, analysts said.

They said other critical measures, taken by Dubai, including a one-year freeze on school-fee hikes, waiver of some fees on aviation and real estate transactions, and cutting charges levied on businesses, will help arrest cost of living and doing business.

Most analysts and corporate leaders believe such bold strategies would help offset the impact of VAT-induced slowdown while reinforcing investor confidence leading to a pick up in foreign direct investments.

Abu Dhabi to introduce 30 per cent alcohol sales tax

Date: 12 Jun, 2018

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External URL: https://www.thenational.ae/uae/abu-dhabi-to-introduce-30-per-cent-alcohol-sales-tax-1.739369

Abu Dhabi will introduce a 30 per cent tax on alcohol sold in off-licence outlets.

Retailers have received a circular informing them about the introduction of the new tax.

The levy will come into force on June 15 after Ramadan, bringing it in line with Dubai, which already imposes a 30 per cent municipality tax on alcohol sold in off-licence outlets.

A Dh230 fee will also be introduced for special licenses, which enable non-Muslims to purchase alcohol. The licenses were previously free.

Retailers were informed about the changes, which are being brought in by the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, several weeks ago.

Many have displayed notices in stores to inform their customers of the changes, and some, such as Spinneys, are offering discounts in the run up to the introduction. The chain is offering a 15 per cent discount on the price of non-promotional items from tomorrow until the end of the month, according to staff at one of its stores.

News of the 30 per cent hike has been the subject of much discussion on social-media among expatriates – many of whom have said they will be stocking up before June 15.

No VAT impact on construction sector in UAE

Date: 12 Jun, 2018

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External URL: https://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/real-estate/No-VAT-impact-on-construction-sector-in-UAE

The UAE’s construction industry has not been impacted by the recent introduction of 5 per cent value-added tax (VAT) and it will witness over 10 per cent expansion in 2018, the second-fastest growth rate in the world, according to industry executives and research reports.

The industry executives believe that Expo 2020 is not the end for the construction sector. Rather they are pinning hopes on multi-year plans such as Vision 2021 which would drive the industry in the post-Expo 2020 era.

“I see good potential for the construction sector. I would say VAT has not impacted us that much; however, there is a pressure on cash flow but people are getting used to it,” said Ravi Murthy, chief financial officer, Arabtec Construction.

Murthy attributed the strong growth potential for the industry to the hosting of Expo 2020 as well as growth in the hospitality and healthcare industries, with a massive inflow of visitors and medical tourists.

“Dubai has won the bid to host the World Chamber Congress which is coinciding with Expo 2020. More than 14,000 chambers from 100 countries will attend the event. If 10 per cent of those chambers do business, the requirement for hotels, infrastructure, road, entertainment, leisure and shopping is going to grow substantially. The UAE target is half a million medical tourists. As compared to the West, they are in the stage of implementation; there are about 43 hospitals with more than 100 beds, which is not enough to cater to the needs. There is a big potential for healthcare. Today, we have Dh740 billion worth of construction projects under way,” he said.

VAT workshop for businesses held in Dubai

Date: 11 Jun, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302693992

Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City and Dubai Production City have organised a series of workshops for their business partners, aimed at raising awareness about the impact of VAT on the diverse creative community based across the three business parks.

Held in collaboration with Morison Menon Auditors & Business Advisors, the complimentary Tuesday VAT Clinics are taking place over four weeks, with each exclusive, segment-specific workshop focusing on issues related to the introduction of VAT in January 2018. The series seeks to educate companies in the media sector about current tax rules and regulations, correct VAT implementation, and the maintenance of related records.

Highlighting important points for businesses to keep in mind when filing VAT returns, the workshops include a VAT impact analysis for each sector. The sessions feature an interactive component that encourages in-depth discussions between speaker and participants, and facilitates a comprehensive understanding of the subject.

Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City and Dubai Production City, said, “Our media communities are committed to supporting the next phase of economic diversification in UAE. It is our endeavour at Dubai Media City, Dubai Production City and Dubai Studio City to provide our business partners across the media value chain with access to an enabling industry ecosystem – one that helps them evolve, flourish and build synergies with like-minded community members. The new Tuesday VAT Clinics initiative is a prime example of this approach.”

Samaco, Bentley roll out VAT-free sales initiative

Date: 09 Jun, 2018

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External URL: http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/article/536539/Life/Drive/Samaco-Bentley-roll-out-VAT-free-sales-initiative

SAMACO, the new dealer for Bentley brand in Saudi Arabia, whereby Samaco incurs value added tax (VAT) dues on behalf of clients who are interested to own Bentley car model Bentayga W12; to be the first car dealer to offer such outstanding initiative, coinciding with the holy month Ramadan for this year.

Commenting on this remarkable offer, Mohammed Rafah, CEO of Samaco, said that the VAT free initiative specifically launched for the holy month of Ramadan to spur our clients who wish to own a highly sophisticated car such as Bentley Bentayga W12. This is, in addition, to provide, for the first time, a 5-year open warranty plus free periodical maintenance service for 3 years.

In response to this remarkable initiative, we start to receive orders on Bentley Bentayga W12 from the first day of Ramadan, we, as well, granted our clients the opportunity to test-drive the car to be familiarized with its strong performance and advanced technical capabilities.

Noting that Bentley Bentayga is one of the strongest and luxurious SUV models, equipped with twin-turbo charged 6-liter W12 engine generates 600 HP and maximum torque of 900 n/m partied with automatic 8-speed gearbox (ZF) all four wheel drives. The car achieves 0 to 100 km/h in 4.1 seconds and accelerates to a top speed of 301 km/H, making it the world’s fastest SUV.

Timely stimulus heralds a new dawn for Abu Dhabi economy

Date: 07 Jun, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302693407

A UAE newspaper has said that in a raft of sweeping initiatives which will transform the way we work and live in the capital, two words stand out: together and tomorrow.

“The AED50 billion stimulus package announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, is as far-reaching as it is wide-ranging and will alter the landscape of Abu Dhabi, whether via help for small businesses, creating jobs or boosting tourism,” said The National in an editorial on Thursday.

“The four strata of society upon which Abu Dhabi’s economy depends – residents, citizens, tourists and investors – will all benefit from a string of sagacious economic and social measures. This is the boost the emirate’s non-oil sector has been waiting for.

“The need to re-evaluate the ever-evolving economic landscape made these 10 changes – the latest in a series introduced in recent months across the UAE – necessary, but few could have predicted the scale and speed at which they will be implemented,” it added.

The paper noted, “This year began with the introduction of VAT; just five months later, the government announced the introduction of 10-year visas and 100 percent foreign ownership of UAE companies. They were followed by a series of social reforms in Abu Dhabi, including AED3bn for neighbourhood facilities, double the number of housing loans and increased civic engagement with a volunteering and social innovation platform. All the changes aim to help residents and citizens feel invested in the future growth of their communities – not simply a diversification from an oil-dependent economy but equally, a diversification from feeling life in the capital is a transient pit-stop.”

After slow first quarter, new car sales start picking up in UAE

Date: 05 Jun, 2018

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External URL: https://www.zawya.com/mena/en/story/VAT_Impact_After_slow_first_quarter_new_car_sales_start_picking_up_in_UAE-SNG_118072859/

Sales of new cars slowed down in the UAE during the first quarter of 2018 following the introduction of five percent value-added tax (VAT) in January. However, industry executives are hopeful of reversing the trend and said sales will pick up in the second half of the year.

According to automobile distributors in the UAE, new vehicles sales dropped by 10 to 30 percent (depending on the brand) in the first quarter of 2018 due to strong buying in the last quarter of 2017 by nationals and residents prior to implementation of the consumption tax.

Industry executives are expected to post single-digit growth in new car sales this year due to strong appetite from buyers and introduction of new models in the market. They were of the view that VAT had a one-off initial impact in the first quarter and now both buyers and sellers treat it as an essential part of the deal.

Axel Dreyer, general manager, Galadari Automobiles Co, distributor of Mazda vehicles in the UAE, agreed that the anticipated drop in volume in the first quarter has become a reality as the fourth quarter of 2017 sales was above expectations due to pre-VAT buying. Hence, the volume in the following month was less.

“I’m confident that the great offers in the holy month of Ramadan from all brands will stimulate the market again and attract a lot of new car buyers,” Dreyer told Khaleej Times.
To a question, he said sales of new and pre-owned vehicles were impacted by VAT as buyers have preponed the purchases. For price sensitive pre-owned car customers, it is difficult to digest that they have to pay 5 percent extra on the selling price, although the car is 2-3 years old.

“I believe after more than 4 months, the customers are familiar with VAT impact on their purchases. At a certain stage, the customer has to decide what is more economical to use the old car with added repair costs or a new car with service package and less running costs,” Dreyer said.

Negative impact of VAT on UAE, Saudi only short-term – PwC

Date: 04 Jun, 2018

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External URL: http://gulfbusiness.com/negative-impact-vat-uae-saudi-short-term-pwc/

The introduction of value added tax (VAT) in the UAE and Saudi Arabia this year has had a negative impact on their economies in the short term with inflation rising, a new report by consultancy PwC has found.

Inflation rose to 3 percent year-on-year in Saudi in January, after a year in which consumer prices were largely suffering deflation, with a smaller step up in the UAE to 4.8 percent.

This compares to very low rates of inflation in the rest of the GCC where VAT is yet to be introduced (below 1 percent in Kuwait, Qatar and Oman).

The purchasing manager indices (PMIs) for Saudi and the UAE also showed a slump. Saudi had been close to a two-year high in December but dropped in January to a record low of 53 (albeit still above the 50-mark that signals economic expansion).

UAE, which had been at a record level in December, slipped more gradually, down to 54.8 in March, its second lowest reading in a year.

However, the implementation of the tax will prove beneficial for regional economies in the longer term, the report added.

“Although adjustments such as subsidies cuts and the introduction of VAT this year have had short-term negative impacts, they should make the economy more efficient,” the report said, referring to the UAE.

According to the latest IMF forecasts, the country’s real GDP growth is expected to reach 2 percent in 2018 ( up from an estimated 0.5 percent in 2017) and average 3.1 percent in 2019-23. The deficit is narrowing and is expected to return to a surplus by 2022.

UAE Exchange now authorised to accept VAT payments

Date: 03 Jun, 2018

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External URL: http://gulfbusiness.com/uae-exchange-now-authorised-accept-vat-payments/

Companies can now make their VAT payments in any of the 150 UAE Exchange branches in the country

Money transfer company UAE Exchange has announced that it has now been authorised to start accepting value added tax (VAT) payments on behalf of the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) in the country.

All entities registered with the FTA who have a valid tax registration number (TRN) and a GIBAN account number can now make their VAT payments in any of the 150 UAE Exchange branches in the country, including 18 in Dubai metro stations.

The UAE introduced VAT alongside Saudi Arabia from January 1 this year at a rate of 5 percent.

It applies to most goods and services including groceries, fuel and utility bills.

In May, the UAE Cabinet decided to refund VAT for institutions working in the exhibitions and conferences sector. The change is intended to support the country’s status as a hub for the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry and to attract leading event organisers.

The UAE also reversed the application of the tax on the wholesale gold, diamonds and precious metals market.

VAT impact on gold, diamonds to be reduced between registered dealers, says FTA

Date: 30 May, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302691936

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, has asserted that the new Cabinet Decision issued to regulate Value Added Tax, VAT, incurred by gold and diamond dealers registered with the FTA seeks to establish the adequate legislative environment and infrastructure for the gold and diamonds sector to thrive.

The Decision also improves cash flow among registered suppliers of gold and diamonds, reduces their tax burden, helps them maintain smooth commercial operations, and cements the UAE’s status as a leading global hub for the gold, diamond and jewellery trade sector.

In a press statement issued today, the Authority noted that the decision only pertains to commercial transactions between registered dealers. As per the reverse charge mechanism, registered dealers shall not charge VAT when supplying another tax registered merchant with gold, diamonds or products where the principal component is of gold or diamonds, as long as the latter intends to resell such products, or use them to manufacture gold, diamonds or products where the principal component is of gold or diamonds. The registered recipient must include such supplies in his tax returns.

The Cabinet Decision maintains that Taxable Persons are generally entitled to deduct the tax they incur on their inputs in their tax returns; hence registered gold and diamonds recipients can recover the tax they incurred on their purchases in the same tax return in which they calculate their due taxes, thus maintaining liquidity and cash flow.

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FTA outlines licensing procedure for exhibition, conference services

Date: 30 May, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302691934

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, has asserted that the Cabinet Decision to refund Value Added Tax, VAT, on services provided at exhibitions and conferences seeks to cement the UAE’s status as a leading destination for local, regional and international forums.

The Decision supports the UAE leadership’s directives to ease the tax burden on business sectors, and empower them to play an effective role in the country’s sustainable development, the Authority explained.

In a press statement issued today, the Authority called on businesses providing exhibition and conference services as defined by the Authority to register in the VAT system and acquire a Tax Registration Number, TRN, as well as a licence from the FTA to provide these services according to a set of conditions that allow them to recover taxes on their services.

Refunds can be claimed for two types of services, the Authority indicated; the first is the grant of the right to access, attend or participate in a conference, while the second is the grant of the right to occupy space for the purpose of conducting a conference or an exhibition.

The new Decision reflects the widespread awareness around the importance of the dynamic exhibitions and conferences sector, which attracts investors from financial markets around the world. The UAE has become a magnet for investors across all sectors with its robust infrastructure and diversified economy.

Khalid Ali Al Bustani, FTA Director-General, said, “The Federal Tax Authority is committed to supporting UAE-based businesses to voluntarily and seamlessly comply with tax procedures, making use of the Authority’s advanced electronic systems and avoiding any disruption to their business activities.”

“Tax legislation in the UAE has helped build a strong collaborative relationship between the FTA and all tax stakeholders, including taxpayers and all relevant government bodies, in an effort to realise the objectives of the tax system in firmly maintaining the UAE’s lead on global competitiveness indexes,” he added.

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Saudi companies urged to file VAT returns by month-end

Date: 28 May, 2018

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External URL: http://gulfbusiness.com/saudi-companies-urged-file-vat-returns-month-end/

Saudi’s General Authority of Zakat and Tax has urged companies and entities registered for value-added tax (VAT) to file their tax declaration for the month of April by Thursday, May 31.

Companies whose annual value of taxable goods and services exceeds SAR40m have to declare their returns every month, according to local media reports.

Meanwhile, entities whose annual values of taxable goods and services are less than SAR40m are required to file their tax declarations every three months.

The tax authority emphasised that companies that failed to submit their declaration in time would face fines of between 5 per cent to 25 per cent of the value of tax that was due to be paid.

In addition, the penalty for not paying tax in any given month is equivalent to 5 per cent of the unpaid tax.

Saudi Arabia implemented the first phase of VAT from January 1 this year.

All companies with annual revenue exceeding SAR1m are required to register for the tax. After the first phase, companies with annual revenues of between SAR375,000 ($100,000) and SAR1m have until December 20, 2018 to register.

UAE, Saudi Arabia mobile phone shipments hit by vat

Date: 28 May, 2018

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External URL: https://gulfnews.com/business/sectors/technology/uae-saudi-arabia-mobile-phone-shipments-hit-by-vat-1.2228053

The introduction of value-added tax (VAT) and poor job security have taken a toll on first quarter mobile phone shipments into the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

According to the latest numbers from research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), total mobile phone shipments into the UAE declined by 14.7 per cent quarter-on-quarter, and 5.4 per cent in Saudi Arabia quarter-on-quarter, while smartphone shipments into the UAE were down 4.6 per cent.

Nabila PopalNabila Popal, a senior research manager at IDC, said the UAE market was experiencing a significant shift in consumer spending as evidenced by the first-ever cancellation of the spring edition of Gitex Shopper.

She added that the true impact of this shift could be seen in the independent retail stores of Deira, the traditional trading and commerce centre of Dubai, where shops that were previously impossible to lease are now sitting vacant.

“Organised mall-based retail chains that focus exclusively on consumer electronics are also struggling. Businesses in Qatar, meanwhile, will continue to suffer from the prevailing political challenges and import embargoes that have already impacted the country’s mobile phone market,” she said.

“The size of the overall market in Saudi Arabia is expected to decline over the coming years as a direct result of the new expat dependent tax,” said Kafil Merchant, a research analyst at IDC.

“A significant portion of the local population is expected to leave the country due to the introduction of this levy, with the exodus expected to run into the millions. The full impact remains to be felt, however, as many expatriates are waiting for the school year to end before leaving,” he said.

The report states that Nokia continues to dominate the vendor landscape for feature phones, garnering 87 per cent share of the overall GCC market in first quarter.

Monday, May 28, 2018, is the final deadline for submitting Tax Returns

Date: 23 May, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302690821

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has announced the release of eight educational awareness videos targeting businesses, introducing them to the simple four-step procedure for submitting tax returns through its website: www.tax.gov.ae.

In a press release issued on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, the FTA explained that the videos can be viewed on its official website and social media channels, as well as through all news websites. The new videos constitute a comprehensive guide outlining the steps and procedures required to complete and submit Tax Returns and pay taxes, and making them easier to understand and follow for businesses.

The Authority went on to caution that this coming Monday (May 28, 2018) is the final deadline for submitting Tax Returns and paying due taxes for the Tax Period that ended on April 30. The FTA urged the businesses included in this Tax Period to comply with the deadline in order to avoid administrative penalties.

FTA Director General Khalid Ali Al Bustani said: “Launching the videos is part of the Federal Tax Authority’s plan to raise tax awareness among businesses and members of the community from all backgrounds. These educational and awareness efforts are part of our strategy to improve our services and encourage self-compliance with tax procedures using our advanced electronic systems.”

“The Authority is multiplying its efforts to ensure businesses and individuals all over the UAE know their rights, their obligations, and how to correctly implement the tax system,” he added. “The FTA has released more than 60 guides covering all legislative and implementing aspects of the UAE tax system, in addition to e-learning modules, infographics, and animations in Arabic and English about Excise Tax, Value Added Tax, and the objectives behind them.”

DED receives 8,166 consumer complaints in Q1, 2018

Date: 23 May, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302690687

The Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector in the Department of Economic Development saw a 30 percent increase in consumer complaint during the first quarter (Q1) of 2018 compared to the same period last year as more and more consumers continued to come forward and raise their concerns with the authorities as well as merchants.

CCCP, while continuing its efforts to enhance the role of DED in consumer protection and reinforcing Dubai’s reputation as a safe shopping destination for residents as well as tourists, received 270 complaints a day on average in a total of 8,166 complaints in first three months of the current year as compared to 6,275 complaints during Q1, 2017.

The Consumer Protection section in CCCP dealt with 1,007 issues out of which consumer complaints accounted for 81 percent. The rest included 1,062 notes and 779 enquiries received from consumers. Complaints received from inside the UAE accounted for 37 percent and the nationality-wise breakdown of complainants is as follows: India (13 percent), Egypt (10 percent), Saudi Arabia (7 percent) and Jordan (5 percent).

The services sector had a 33.9 percent share in the total complaints received while 16.7 percent were from the electronics sector, 10.7 percent relating to e-commerce, 7.9 percent regarding automobiles, and 6 percent about car rentals. Textiles and personal items (3.5 percent ), furniture (3.1 percent ), shipping (2.7 percent ), clothing and accessories (2.6 percent ) also featured among the complaints while 10 percent were from various sectors.

UAE's robust hospitality and travel sector remains unfazed by VAT impact

Date: 21 May, 2018

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External URL: https://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/local/uaes-robust-hospitality-and-travel-sector-remains-unfazed-by-vat-impact

The UAE’s robust hospitality and travel sector has remained unfazed by the impact of the value-added tax (VAT) during the first few months of its implementation. The number of visitors rose 2 per cent to 4.7 million in the first quarter, while occupancy rate up 0.7 per cent to 87 per cent witnessing a sustainable growth.

Experts in the hospitality and travel sectors have described the impact of the tax as being modest or negligible.

“The value-added tax, like any other tax regimes, is part of a government’s fiscal reforms and is expected to accelerate economic growth and development of societies in the long run,” said Sameer Bagul, EVP and MD at Cleartrip Middle East. “While it is true that initial adjustments following the introduction of tax in the UAE had sent shockwaves across various industries and businesses, which have long been accustomed to minimal taxation, the travel sector has seen a modest impact as airlines remain subject to zero tax rates, thus leaving no impact on airfares.”

However, Bagul noted that travel agents and travel management companies who earn commissions and service fees have to bear five percent of revenue as cost. He further described this as an investment in the economy.

“On the other hand, hotels in the country are subjected to five percent VAT, in addition to the existing 20 percent municipality fee and service charges combined, making the average room rates costlier. Additionally, various leisure activities have seen pricing adjustments to include the five percent VAT from January 2018. Nonetheless, we have not witnessed any impact on our business despite these changes as we continue to grow very strongly in selling both hotels and hyper-local leisure experiences in the UAE,” he added.

The implementation of the VAT is likely to generate Dh12 billion in income in its first year of introduction, and may collect up to Dh20 billion in 2019. Experts have predicted that hospitality revenue in the UAE is set to increase by 10.8 percent annually to hit $9.8 billion by 2020. The government’s spending on the sector’s development is expected to grow by 4.3 percent over the next decade. Furthermore, with the opening of new attractions such as theme parks and the development of specialty entertainment areas, the UAE will continue to be a preferred destination for tourists from around the world; leaving experts optimistic about the hospitality industry’s growth in the coming years.

Laurent A. Voivenel, senior vice president of Operations & Development for the Middle East, Africa & India at Swiss-Belhotel International, noted that many global hospitality brands are familiar with the tax, and haven’t faced any major challenges in terms of execution. “Typically in a hotel be it the room revenue, food & beverage revenue, telecommunications such as telephone, TV/movies and Internet revenue, conference or banquet revenue, or any other rentals, each needs to be itemised separately for accounting purposes and must be consolidated to determine the operation’s VAT liability.”

Federal Tax Authority sets requirements and procedures to refund VAT on new residences for UAE nationals

Date: 19 May, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302690015

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has set three requirements and procedures for UAE nationals to refund Value Added Tax (VAT) incurred on the new residences.

The conditions state that in order to refund VAT, applicants must be UAE national; the monetary cost in question must have gone towards financing the construction of a new residence, set to be used exclusively as a residential unit for the applicant and/or their family; and finally, the VAT refund only includes the money spent on establishing the unit, such as the amounts paid as building materials.

The FTA issued a comprehensive guide that clarifies the VAT refund process, publishing it on its official website. The guide can be viewed on the following link: https://www.tax.gov.ae/ar/pdf/VAT-Refund-Building-New-Residences-by-UAE-Nationals-User-Guide-full.pdf In a press release issued today, the Authority explained that UAE citizens have the right to recover VAT when constructing their own residences. They ought to submit a request to recover the tax incurred on construction costs from the FTA. The request must be submitted within six months from the completion date of the construction project, which precedes the date of occupancy of the building, or the date of issuance of a certificate of completion for the building by the competent authorities, or another date determined by the Federal Tax Authority whatever comes first.

FTA Director General Khalid Ali Al Bustani said: “The Authority has been providing transparent standards, procedures and mechanisms to ensure seamless procedures for citizens looking to recover Value Added Tax incurred on the construction of new residences. This, in turn, leads to achieving the vision of our wise leadership to develop a modern, stable housing system in the UAE.”

VAT Refund to Boost MICE Industry in the UAE

Date: 16 May, 2018

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External URL: https://www.albawaba.com/business/vat-refund-boost-mice-industry-uae-1132392

The UAE Cabinet’s decision to refund value-added tax (VAT) to the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (Mice) industry will make the country – especially Dubai – retain its competitive edge regionally and help position it as a bigger player on the global level as the refund money will be pumped back into the industry for marketing, generating more economic activity, say industry executives and tax experts.

In addition, the refund will continue to attract more foreign companies and business tourists to Mice events which take place in the UAE all round the year.

Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, the group CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec), said the decision to refund VAT will significantly enhance the competitiveness of the industry and increase the capacity to attract niche global events, exhibitions and conferences.

It will trim costs incurred by organisers and international associations while also enabling local associations to submit more bids to host major international conferences and congresses.

“I am pleased to invite all public and private sector firms, partners, event organisers and specialised associations to make optimum use of such initiatives that will consolidate their presence in the UAE by strengthening the existing exhibitions and conferences portfolio and attracting and conducting new events,” Al Dhaheri said.

Satish Khanna, general manager, Al Fajer Information and Services, hailed it as a landmark decision for the industry, which will help the emirates to grow in terms of market size and come closer to other global Mice destinations such as Las Vegas.

He pointed out that exhibition companies will have more money at their disposal as a result of this government initiative and it will be distributed towards marketing the events and generate more activity in the country.

“Whatever we save will go into marketing and this will enhance the size of exhibitions and be beneficial for the Mice industry. Dubai is on the right track to be a global Mice destination. The UAE’s will attract more Mice players to the country,” Khanna said.

Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, said that VAT hasn’t noticeably affected their business. “Both in terms of exhibitors and our suppliers, we have not faced any undue hindrance in our business functions. So, with the recent announcement of the refund facility, I am sure the outcome will prove to be extremely positive and welcomed by the market.”

ADNEC Group CEO praises VAT refund decision

Date: 14 May, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302689011

Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Group CEO of ADNEC, has praised UAE Cabinet decision pertaining to VAT on exhibitions and conferences, inviting all public and private sector firms, partners, event organisers and specialised associations, to make optimum use of such initiative.

He further said that it will consolidate their presence in the UAE by strengthening the existing exhibitions and conferences portfolio and attracting and conducting new events.

“Our wise leadership has always been keen to support several national institutions and constantly aiming to drive the development of various economic and social sectors for the benefit of the country and its citizens, which is reflected in enhancing the emirate’s position globally and making it an ideal destination for hosting international conferences, exhibitions and events,” he said in a statement.

“The decision to refund Value Added Tax, VAT, by institutions working in the exhibitions and conferences sector will significantly enhance the competitiveness of the industry and increase the capacity to attract niche global events, exhibitions and conferences. It will trim costs incurred by organisers and international associations while also enabling local associations to submit more bids for hosting major international conferences and congresses and enhancing the support of partnerships with the public and private sectors,” he added.

Al Dhaheri went on to say, “The UAE, with its open, vibrant economy, world-class infrastructure and technological prowess, is at the forefront of shaping the business tourism sector at the regional and international levels. This would not have been possible without the generous support received from our wise and noble leadership and our corporate sister companies operating in this vital sector.”

Saudi tax authority exposes more than 5,000 VAT violations this year

Date: 14 May, 2018

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External URL: http://www.arabnews.com/node/1302036/saudi-arabia

The General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GAZT) has stepped up its value-added tax (VAT) inspections in the build-up to Ramadan with its accompanying rise in trade.

The GAZT confirmed that it has issued orders for 5,212 VAT violations against non-compliant businesses since VAT was implemented in the Kingdom.

Violations ranged from issuing VAT invoices without all the required information to collecting taxes that exceed 5 percent, not including a tax number on the invoices and eligible businesses not registering for VAT.

The GAZT said in a statement that its field inspections across the Kingdom targeted several sectors, including shopping malls, car maintenance centers, electrical appliance stores, and food markets.

The authority aims through its field inspections to raise the awareness of businesses about the importance of applying VAT to follow up on whether they were complying with the tax, and to ensure proper application of all VAT procedures.

The GAZT urged all consumers to use the VAT smartphone app as it allows them to know if the businesses they deal with are registered in the VAT system and to report violating businesses.

MCA releases guide on How to File VAT Returns

Date: 13 May, 2018

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MCA, the premier VAT advisory firm has shared a guide to help companies file returns due on the 28th day after their Tax period. This guide walks  you through the steps of filing the returns including the payment steps.

The guide is available on our site. Click on this link to read the guide.

Cabinet approves resolution on VAT refunds for exhibitions, conferences

Date: 13 May, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302688751

The Cabinet has approved a resolution pertaining to the Value Added Tax (VAT) for Conferences and Exhibitions, in line with the government’s ongoing efforts to support this sector and to enhance the country’s status as a hub for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions (MICE).

The resolution provides for granting the facilities involved in organising exhibitions and conferences the right to refund the amounts levied on providing such services, to guarantee ease of doing business and competitiveness in this sector. It supports, at the same time, the efficient implementation of the tax system, as per the best integrational practices.

The resolution aims to support the UAE’s MICE sector and to maintain the country’s global lead in this field, in the light of the facilities offered to develop the sector and the keenness to provide the conducive environment, infrastructure and legislative framework for doing business and to attract the world’s leading event oragnising companies.

According to recent statistics, MICE’s annual contribution to UAE economy stood at AED 2.39 billion and is anticipated to grow to AED 5.1 billion by 2020.

UAE's maritime industry seeking VAT exemption

Date: 07 May, 2018

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External URL: https://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/shipping//uaes-maritime-industry-seeking-vat-exemption

The UAE maritime industry is seeking exemption from the value-added tax levied earlier this year in line with global practices as many countries have relieved the industry from VAT, industry executives said.

They believe that the UAE needs to look at the fees and other charges in order to become more competitive and also needs to update its maritime law.

“It is important to think about the regulations especially the VAT because many countries around the world have exempted the shipping industry from VAT and it is important. There is discussion with the government and we hope this will be taken positively. I guess we have to apply what applies anywhere else; and the principal is that the shipping industry is usually kept free from VAT,” said Khamis Juma Buamim, managing director and group CEO, Gulf Navigation Holding.

The UAE Cabinet last week announced exemption for the gold and precious metals trade from VAT to revive the industry.

“In general, there are too many fees and charges and too many time-wasting [requirements to obtain services]. Time means money and people seriously think about how much time they spend [on obtaining these services],” he added.

UAE jewellers eye VAT relief on retail sales

Date: 03 May, 2018

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External URL: https://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/vat-in-uae/uae-jewellers-eye-vat-relief-on-retail-sales-

Gold and jewellery industry executives in the UAE hope that the government will extend VAT exemption to the retail segment, similar to what was given to wholesalers and investors for the benefit of end-users.

“We welcome the move of VAT [value-added tax] exemption by the UAE Cabinet on the gold and diamond trade in the B2B market. One of the major tourist attractions of the UAE is the jewellery sector that generates billions of dollars in revenue every year and by exempting it from the tax, the benefit will be immense for the businesses and the overall economy,” said Firoz Merchant, chairman of Pure Gold Group.

“I hope that the government extends a similar exemption to the retail sector, which will not only benefit the jewellery retailers but also tourists and consumers,” he added.

“We are not expecting total VAT exemption on purchases as we have requested to charge only on making charges as raw gold [pure gold] is VAT-free and jewellery is made from raw gold,” said Anil Dhanak, managing director of Kanz Jewellery.

“Retail will greatly benefit once we go back to the old pricing structure and VAT is levied only on making charge which comes to around Dh1 per gram; it will be easy to absorb by retailers and even customers will not feel the pain.”

Trading in Gold and Diamond exempted from VAT

Date: 01 May, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302686143

In line with the UAE Government’s efforts to ensure an efficient implementation of the Value Added Tax, VAT, while employing best international standards and maintaining the competitiveness of the local precious metals sector, the UAE Cabinet adopted a law to introduce the VAT Reversed Charge mechanism for investors in gold, diamond and precious metals.

This step aims to maintain UAE’s high ranking in the ease of doing business indicators, and allows investors in gold, diamond and precious metals to conduct business with ease. The VAT Reversed mechanism will contribute to stabilising the gold and diamond sector in the UAE as well as stimulating investment in this sector.

The law includes investments in precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum, used in trade in accordance with internationally accepted standards with a purity of 99 percent or more.

This comes in the light of the many initiatives offered by the UAE to investors. It also provides the optimal environment, infrastructure and legislations necessary for growth and supports UAE’s position as a global hub for trade.

The volume of gold trade in the UAE rose to AED244.3 billion in 2016, with a growth rate of 13 percent. The value of UAE’s imports of gold amounted to AED142.4 billion in the same year, while exports amounted to AED75.9 billion, and re-export amounted to AED26 billion.

The gold, diamond and precious metals sector is one of the vital national economic sectors and one of the most important for the economic diversification that is expected to witness significant growth in the coming period as part of the UAE’s diversification objectives.

FTA cautions against granting exceptions when charging taxes unless specified in tax laws

Date: 29 Apr, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302685476

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, has reiterated its call for all registered businesses to collect Value Added Tax, VAT, and Excise Tax on all taxable transactions and from all customers, cautioning against excepting any individual or organisation that does not fall under one of the excepted categories specified in the UAE tax laws.

In an official statement issued today, the FTA urged taxable businesses to remain vigilant and precise in their business transactions. Businesses must avoid granting exceptions from VAT, the Authority warned, clarifying that no transaction may be considered as outside the scope of tax, exempt, or zero-rated unless it was stated in the legislation or announced by the Ministry of Finance or the Federal Tax Authority, where any such exception was made, this is considered illegal and the supplier shall be liable for any tax not collected on the supply.

The Federal Tax Authority reassured businesses that it periodically issues updated official notices that clearly specify the categories that are not subject to tax, exempt, or zero-rated, as stipulated in UAE tax laws and formal cabinet decisions.

FTA Board approves Tourists Refund Scheme

Date: 25 Apr, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302684624

The Federal Tax Authority’s, FTA, Board of Directors has formally approved implementation of Tourists Refund Scheme at its fifth meeting, held on Wednesday at the Dubai Ruler’s Court.

The meeting was headed by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance.

The scheme seeks to ensure high preparedness and adherence to international standards among UAE businesses. It is set to include comprehensive procedures to connect outlets and points of sale across the UAE with the refund system.

The Board also adopted the proposed design and security specifications of the brand to be used as a marker for tobacco products, allowing them to be tracked electronically in order to ensure that the Excise Tax on these products is paid. This advanced system seeks to prevent excise tax evasion and will be implemented in the near future in coordination with Customs Departments, as well as Departments of Economic development departments, and manufacturers and importers of tobacco products.

During the meeting, the FTA Board of Directors approved a set of executive decisions concerning the internal regulatory and administrative policies of the Authority and its operational activities. The Board reviewed a comprehensive report covering the achievements made by the Federal Tax Authority, as well as the successful implementation of the UAE tax system. The reports revealed a remarkable increase in the number of businesses registered for VAT before the end of penalty waiver period issued by the Authority to exempt businesses from late registration penalties, where 281,000 of them are now registered for value-added tax, VAT, while 637 are registered for excise tax.

Saudi Inflation Starts to Decline as VAT Impact Lessens

Date: 25 Apr, 2018

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External URL: https://www.albawaba.com/business/saudi-inflation-starts-decline-vat-impact-lessens-1122052

Saudi Arabia’s inflation rate has started to slowly decline as the impact of value-added tax (VAT) and subsidy cuts introduced at the start of the year begin to lessen.

Consumer prices rose by 2.8 percent year on year in March, according to official statistics released on April 24, compared to a rate of 2.9 percent in February.

Inflation leapt to 3 percent year-on-year in the immediate aftermath of the introduction of a 5 percent VAT charge in January.

The new tax was introduced by the Kingdom in an effort to boost its non-oil revenues as well as narrow its fiscal deficit caused by lower oil revenues. The UAE also introduced VAT in January.

While Saudi households initially struggled with the higher rate of inflation and started cutting back on spending, analysts say public sector bonuses, pledged by the government, will help boost consumer purchasing power.

In January, a royal order outlined a range of bonuses and benefits to be paid out to public sector workers, pension holders, students and members of the military.

90,000 registered businesses to submit tax returns, pay due taxes by end of April

Date: 22 Apr, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302683794

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, has revealed that approximately 90,000 businesses registered for Value Added Tax, VAT, are required to submit their tax returns and pay their taxes no later than 29th April 2018.

Over 85,000 of these companies had their first quarterly tax period end in March, while the remaining businesses saw their monthly periods end on the same date. In a statement issued today, the Authority renewed its call to all businesses registered for VAT to expedite the submission of their tax returns and pay their due taxes on time in order to avoid administrative penalties.

FTA Director-General, Khalid Ali Al Bustani, called on registrants to check their tax periods and the deadline for submitting tax returns and paying due taxes through the eServices portal on the FTA website. “Businesses whose tax periods ended on 31st March should submit their tax returns, and then pay their due taxes before the deadline specified by the Authority,” he explained, “The majority of registered businesses included in quarterly tax periods are small and medium enterprises,” Al Bustani said.

“The Authority sought to streamline the procedures of filing tax returns and paying taxes to encourage taxable persons to comply and carry out their transactions by themselves electronically to meet their tax obligations in mere minutes and with four simple steps. Taxable persons may, at any time, enlist assistance from the FTA-accredited tax agents listed on the website,” he added.

FTA calls for timely submission of quarterly and monthly tax returns

Date: 18 Apr, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302682838

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, has called today on businesses registered for Value Added Tax, VAT, and whose quarterly and monthly tax periods ended by March 31st, 2018, to file their tax returns and pay their due taxes by April 29th.

In a press statement, the authority explained that according to the Federal Decree-Law No. (8) for 2017 on VAT and its Executive Regulations, tax returns must be submitted to the FTA no later than the 28th of each month, or according to the law no. (7) of 2017 on Tax Procedures the following day if the 28th falls on public holiday.

Khalid Ali Al Bustani, FTA Director-General, said that filing tax returns and paying taxes is a legal obligation that must be carried out to ensure businesses compliance with tax legislation.

Al Bustani also called on registered businesses to check their tax periods and the deadline for submitting tax returns, and pay taxes through the eServices portal on the FTA website as soon as possible and not to wait until the deadline.

Businesses whose tax periods ended on March 31st can submit their tax returns, and then pay their dues before the expiry of the payment period, he explained.

He said, “The electronic tax transfer procedure may require some time for banks to process the payment after it has been submitted by the taxable person; this processing time may lead to payments reaching the authority after the deadline if the payment was not submitted early enough, in which case, the taxable person incurs administrative penalties.”

“Tax returns and payments may be submitted 24 hours a day on the website,” Al Bustani added.

VAT facilitates dynamic governance for SMEs

Date: 16 Apr, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302682513

The introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) in the UAE has served an opportunity for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to review their processes and identify opportunities to streamline operations.

“VAT in the UAE was introduced to boost the development of the economy. However, SMEs in the country have also been able to introduce governance in their operations with the introduction of the new tax. As VAT requires the businesses to adjust prices, processes and procedures it offered an opportunity for many companies to review and audit their business practices, make use of digital tools and cut costs on unnecessary expenses,” said Mohammed Fathy, General Manager of Dubai-based consultancy, Al Dhaheri Jones & Clark.

Introduction of VAT has helped businesses adapt digital solutions wherever possible. From record-keeping to filing returns, VAT has allowed SMEs to align their processes. Additionally, businesses have had the opportunity to train teams and make them familiar with not just VAT regulations, but also internal operations.

In addition, VAT compliance has served as an opportunity for SMEs to refresh existing investments in business applications and introduce new business efficiencies, better customer engagement, employee empowerment and potential new business models, which has streamlined the governance and operations across companies.

“While VAT compliance mandates SMEs to integrate and report in accordance with the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) rules, it also requires businesses to implement practices that comply with these rules. This gives them an opportunity to automate workflows, provide real-time data insights, and also transition to a digital system which is not just fast and quick, but also safe and secure. Overall, the introduction of VAT has served as a boon for the SME industry, which has helped them integrate and implement governance across functions, departments and operations,” added Mohammed Fathy.

FTA meets 20 accredited tax agents, calls for greater compliance

Date: 16 Apr, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302682420

Khalid Ali Al Bustani, Director-General of the Federal Tax Authority, FTA, held a meeting with 20 accredited tax agents to discuss their duties in terms of spreading awareness among businesses, supporting them in complying with the tax system, and strengthening the relationship between the FTA and taxable persons.

The meeting went on to explore the means of increasing cooperation and coordination among all stakeholders in order to increase compliance and spread awareness around the tax system, its principles, and ways to implement and monitor it. Furthermore, the tax agents were introduced to the support services provided by the Authority to help taxpayers comply with the laws while ensuring minimum impact on their activities.

“The tax agent’s profession requires advanced qualifications, know-how, competencies and practical experience in order to be able to perform his/her role with accuracy, and to meet stringent standards,” asserted Al Bustani, adding that tax agents registered with the FTA can be assigned to any person or entity for the purpose of representing them with the Authority, and assisting them in carrying out their obligations and exercising their tax rights.

Federal Tax Authority starts roadshow on VAT

Date: 15 Apr, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302682220

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has launched a roadshow to communicate directly with businesses subject to Value Added Tax (VAT) that haven’t registered yet, urging them to benefit from the exemption given by the Authority until April 30, 2018, which took into consideration the lack of preparedness among businesses in an effort to promote compliance and help them avoid administrative penalties.

In a press statement issued today, the Authority explained that the new initiative, which went into effect as of early last week and will run until April 24, 2018, is organised in collaboration with economic departments and some municipalities across all seven emirates. The roadshow will see a team of FTA tax experts and analysts, as well as representatives from the Tax Registration Department, go on a tour covering the entire country, organising interactive seminars and workshops to introduce taxable businesses to the three-step registration procedure, which can be completed in 15-20 minutes -when all requirements are well prepared- through the Authority’s official website.

Besides spreading awareness of VAT registration procedures, the FTA explained that the new initiative seeks to listen to taxable businesses that have not yet registered for VAT, in order to identify and address the reasons and obstacles that have prevented them from doing so. The Authority indicated that these workshops are organised in coordination with economic development departments and some municipalities, who invite unregistered businesses to attend these seminars at the customer service centres of each emirate’s department of economic development.

The Federal Tax Authority will announce the tour on social media in order to expand the scope of beneficiaries. The first meeting brought the FTA experts together with businesses subject to VAT in Ras al-Khaimah. The tour started in Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED) on Sunday, April 15, followed by Dubai DED on Monday, April 16, and then two consecutive sessions in Ajman DED on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 17 and 18. On Thursday, April 19, the FTA experts will be in Sharjah DED, before moving on to Umm Al Qaiwain on April 22 and 23, and then wrapping up the tour in Fujairah Municipality on April 24.

The Authority has called on businesses to attend these events in order to have all their queries and concerns answered by a team of experts, in order to overcome any obstacle preventing them from registering for VAT. The FTA reiterated its commitment to coordinating with local and federal authorities to ensure transparency and a smooth implementation of the UAE tax system that does not affect business operations in any sector.

98.8% compliance with Tax Return regulations

Date: 11 Apr, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302681284

Tax compliance in the UAE is one of the highest in the world, as 98.8 percent of all businesses and groups registered for Value Added Tax, VAT, have complied with submitting their Tax Returns on time, where the rate increased after follow-ups from the Federal Tax Authority,FTA, asserted Khalid Ali Al Bustani, Director-General of the FTA.

His remarks came during the media roundtable held in Dubai on Wednesday to look back at the first 100 days of VAT, which went into effect on 1st January 2018.

Al Bustani stated that this high level of commitment is due to the guidance provided by the FTA, as well as the clarity and simplicity of the procedures, which allow taxable persons to submit tax returns and pay their dues online, any time and from anywhere. Users can access the e-Services portal on the Authority’s official website, which was designed in accordance with international best practices to provide diverse and flexible payment solutions, as well as information and guidance to promote tax awareness and help businesses meet deadlines.

This advanced system now has 275,000 registrants, Al Bustani explained, noting that it allows taxable persons or their representatives to complete all procedures without having to be physically present at the authority. Starting from opening up an account on the portal, to registering for VAT, to paying due taxes.

VAT is bringing about a 'change' in payments

Date: 09 Apr, 2018

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The 5% VAT levy on goods and services is bringing a change in the way retail merchants have to manage ‘change’.   Items with the 5% VAT have changed the price from 5.00 to 5.25, thus expecting either the customer to give the 25 fils coins, or take back 75 fils from the merchant.

The UAE government has clarified that there is no scarcity of small coins, however merchants have to gear up now to handle a larger volume of coins.

However, retail will see a bigger impact when more and more customers switch to a cashless mode using their debit cards. The bank charges on debit/credit card will impact profitability that is already under stress due to the 5% VAT.

 

Gold Losing Its Luster In Dubai As Market Struggles With 5% VAT

Date: 09 Apr, 2018

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External URL: http://www.kitco.com/news/2018-04-09/Gold-Losing-Its-Luster-In-Dubai-As-Market-Struggles-With-5-VAT.html

While investment demand has picked up in the global gold market, physical demand remains lackluster as seen in Dubai, the world’s epicenter of the bullion market

The struggling physical market was a key topic among participants during the seventh annual Dubai Precious Metals Conference. Chandu Siroya Vice Chairman, Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group noted that physical gold demand has dropped significantly since the start of the year after a 5% value-added tax was added to purchases with the United Arab Emirates.

According to reports, wholesale gold jewelry sales in UAE’s gold district saw a decline of as much as 60% in the first three months of the year as a result of the VAT.

“A lot of companies didn’t sell for the first 20 days after the VAT came in, and only later got back to selling,” Siroya said during a panel discussion at the conference. “We also saw that around 20 offices became available for rent in the gold souk. Unfortunately, the market is down significantly, both at the wholesale and retail levels.”

The dismal description of the UAE’s first-quarter gold demand comes after a dismal 2017. Stats from the World Gold Council showed that jewelry demand fell to a 20-year low last year to 42.8 tonnes.

Jewellery industry, government in talks to levy VAT only on making-charges

Date: 09 Apr, 2018

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External URL: https://www.khaleejtimes.com/jewellery-industry-govt-in-talks-to-levy-vat-only-on-making-charges

The gold and jewellry industry in Dubai is talking to the government to levy value-added tax (VAT) only on the making charges of the jewellry rather than the whole single piece as the new tax regime has taken shine off the yellow metal in the first quarter of this year.

Chandu Siroya, vice-chairman, Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group (DGJG), said the group has proposed that VAT to be implemented at the labour component only.

“We are talking to different sources in the government and we are very hopeful about the positive outcome of it. The government will find some solution for us… And we will go back to become a preferred choice.”

Gautam Sashittal, CEO, Dubai MultiCommodities Centre (DMCC), said: “What is important for us is to remain competitive as an industry globally. Even though the underline value of metal is quite significant, the actual margins are very small. So even 5 per cent VAT can make a big difference. So we and DGJG have made representation on how VAT regime could work and these discussions are ongoing at the moment.”

Sales of gold jewellery will spurt if VAT is levied only on the value-addition of the gold jewellery. As witnessed prior to the introduction of VAT on January 1, 2018, demand for gold jewellery had increased substantially in Dubai both from the residents and tourists.

Beware of VAT fraud

Date: 27 Mar, 2018

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External URL: https://www.khaleejtimes.com/beware-of-vat-fraud

The introduction of the value added tax (VAT) in the UAE will bring forth a number of benefits to the country’s economy and business environment, but experts warn business owners to beware the threat of fraud.

Speaking at an event at the Dubai Chamber on Tuesday, experts from management consultancy, Metis, said that issues such as increased stress on working capital, the disruption of existing banking arrangements, and an increased vulnerability to fraud in the most extreme of cases, are potential pitfalls that many business owners and industry professionals haven’t considered yet.

“The VAT has become a very important strategy tool for the UAE government,” said corporate advisor, Grant T. Huxham. “Usually, taxation, of any kind is very clear, but there are certain codes and phrases that business owners need to be aware of. One area that has left some business owners with questions are freezones. There are 14 listed freezones that are not taxable, however you also have to be aware that there are certain freezones where the tax does apply. This is where issues of fraud can happen.”

Companies which are particularly vulnerable, include small and medium sized enterprises, which according to the UAE Ministry of Economy, represents more than 94 per cent of the total number of companies operating in the country.

Huxham cautioned business owners to beware of fraudsters, especially if they regularly engage with freezones. “Many companies from overseas will send you an invoice saying that they are going to tax you, because of the VAT law. This is a case of fraud if they are not registered to collect the tax in the UAE. My advice is to set up a meeting with the relevant authorities and to ask for clarity on the topic if you are unsure. The location of the delivery of the service is important because that will determine if the VAT will be applicable to you or not.”

Limited VAT impact on real estate sector

Date: 20 Mar, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302676096

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, and Dubai Land Department, DLD, have confirmed that the UAE’s recently introduced VAT will have a limited impact on the real estate sector.

FTA and DLD have stated that all real estate transactions, with the exception of the sale of vacant commercial properties and commercial property leases, will be either not subject to or exempt from the five percent VAT, while leased commercial property will not be considered a supply during their sale by the taxable person and will therefore not be taxable.

The components of the tax-exempt real estate sector include bare lands, provided that they are sold or leased when no building or engineering works are on such lands. Upon commencement of any real estate development work, tax will be applied.

Residential buildings are not taxable if sold or rented. These include apartments, buildings, residential villa complexes, housing for workers and students, accommodation for armed forces and police, and homes for the elderly, orphans and nursing homes. The law stipulates that the period of the lease shall be more than six months or to the holders of the identity card issued by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship. However, this does not apply to buildings not fixed on lands, hotels and hotel apartments, or apartments offering services in addition to housing.

85% components of Dubai's property sector not subject to tax

Date: 20 Mar, 2018

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External URL: https://www.zawya.com/mena/en/story/VAT_in_UAE_85_components_of_Dubais_property_sector_not_subject_to_tax-SNG_112489875/

No VAT on sale of leased commercial property by taxable person, says FTA

Leased commercial property will not be considered a supply during its sale by the taxable person, therefore, it will not be taxable, the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) and Dubai Land Department (DLD) clarified on Tuesday.

Both the government entities emphasised that there has been a limited impact of value-added tax (VAT) on the UAE’s real estate as majority of the transactions are either not subject to or exempt from the five per cent VAT. Currently, only the sale of vacant commercial properties and commercial property leases are subject to taxation.

Sultan Butti bin Mejren, director-general of DLD, pointed out that 85 per cent of components in Dubai’s total real estate sector are not subject to VAT.
“When reviewing the details of sales, rents and other transactions, we found that the value of bare land sales, residential properties, and occupied commercial and retail properties comprise the largest percentage of total properties traded during 2017. This ratio is expected to remain over the coming years and even stands to increase with commercial offices continuing to improve their leasing operations and minimise empty units,” he added. Sailesh Jatania, CEO of Gemini Property Developers, said it would be a big relief for the buyers to exclude sale of the leased commercial supply by a taxable person from the taxation.

He confirmed that there is a limited impact of VAT on the residential property but there is a direct impact on the commercial property. “As far as commercial property is concerned, the cost for the buyer is high. Buyers are demanding to reduce the price of retail units, because they have to pay VAT as well,” he said.

FTA urges consumers to ask for invoices

Date: 18 Mar, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302675581

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, has urged all consumers in the UAE to request tax invoices from retailers when purchasing products or services subject to Value Added Tax, VAT, to prevent attempts to manipulate the tax system.

The Authority urged all taxable businesses to issue tax invoices when providing any supply, in order to avoid administrative penalties. In a new awareness message issued today, and as part of the FTA’s consumer awareness campaign “Be Aware of Your Rights”, the Authority stressed that failure to issue a tax invoice or alternative document when providing a product or service will expose the taxable business to an administrative penalty of AED5,000 for each tax invoice or alternative document. Similarly, failure to issue a tax credit note or alternative incurs an administrative penalty of AED5,000 for each notice or alternative document.

The FTA urged consumers to verify the VAT amount on prices displayed in tax invoices. The Authority has launched online instruments and services to enable consumers to easily verify the value of the tax – namely, the VAT Calculator, launched in January – as well as to ensure that the issuer of the invoice is actually registered with the FTA, through the TRN Verification service.

New Guide - Taxable Person - issued by FTA

Date: 15 Mar, 2018

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External URL: https://www.tax.gov.ae/pdf/Taxable-Person-Guide-Issue-1-March-2018.pdf

FTA has released a new guide book titled TAXABLE PERSON GUIDE FOR VALUE ADDED TAX dated March 1, 2018.

This guide is the main reference guide to VAT in the UAE. It provides with:
– an overview of the main VAT rules and procedures in the UAE and how to
comply with them;
–  assistance with the more likely questions that businesses might have; and
–  references to more specialised publications where they have been published.

It replaces the previous guide on the same subject.

You may download the guide at the following URL: https://www.tax.gov.ae/pdf/Taxable-Person-Guide-Issue-1-March-2018.pdf

KPMG sheds light on VAT challenges in Saudi, UAE

Date: 14 Mar, 2018

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External URL: http://www.newsofbahrain.com/viewNews.php?ppId=42793&TYPE=Posts&pid=21&MNU=2&SUB=50

Around 100 business leaders and senior finance executives gathered yesterday at an event organised by KPMG in Bahrain to review and debate the first 100 days of VAT in the GCC and the lessons to be learnt for Bahraini businesses from the introduction of value-added tax (VAT) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The half-day seminar, ‘VAT compliance for Bahrain businesses in KSA and UAE: the do’s and don’ts in Bahrain and beyond’ examined the current implications on Bahraini businesses with operations in or with Gulf countries that have already implemented VAT, how to tackle these, how to ensure a correct tax treatment from business partners and what to expect in Bahrain including process and technology solutions.

Businesses must display VAT inclusive prices to avoid penalties

Date: 13 Mar, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302674234

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, has asserted that all businesses subject to Value Added Tax, VAT must display prices of goods and services inclusive of tax in order to avoid administrative penalties.

The authority called on consumers and service recipients in the UAE to be aware of their rights, noting that prices displayed on items – or announced for provided services – should be inclusive of tax.

The displayed price should be the total amount that consumers will pay upon receiving the Tax Invoice, which should include the full price, followed by the total price to be paid and the amount of tax charged therein.

Late registrations penalties waived till end of April

Date: 05 Mar, 2018

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The UAE Federal Tax Authority extended the exemption period for administrative penalties for late VAT registrants until the end of April to help businesses get ready for the five per cent levy introduced on January 1.

“The Board [of directors of the Authority] approved a plan to exempt businesses that are late in registering with the Authority from administrative penalties until April 30, 2018,” the authority said in a statement on Wednesday. “This takes into consideration the lack of readiness of some businesses during the first phase of VAT implementation, and reflects FTA’s commitment to assisting businesses and encouraging them to be compliant with the tax procedures and to avoid administrative penalties.”

About 260,000 companies out of an estimated 350,000 have registered for VAT, the authority’s director general Khalid Al Bustani said in January, but the FTA is showing leniency in terms of imposing fines for late registration. To help companies comply correctly with VAT regulations, the authority extended the deadlines for filing tax returns, a move experts say will help struggling businesses.

However, the VAT will be applicable from January 1, 2018 as for all other businesses.

FTA signs MOU with Central Bank for Tax Collection

Date: 26 Feb, 2018

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The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates to facilitate tax collection through the UAE Funds Transfer System (UAEFTS)  that offers a timely processing of fund transfers between bank accounts.

The UAEFTS will facilitate the payment of tax using the GIBAN (Generated IBAN)  issued by the FTA to registered entities.  This is closely linked to the TRN of the person paying the tax and the FTA unique entity identifier code 868.

As a remitting institution, the CB103/CB102 shall be used to accept and process tax payments to the credit of FTA in UAEFTS.

Key elements required for in CB102/CB103 that will need to be provided by the taxable entity:

  • Purpose of Payment [TAX / GRI]
  • Amount to be Paid to FTA
  • GIBAN [The IBAN representation of the TRN of the Taxable entity]

Abu Dhabi's DED closes 15 commercial facilities for price hike violations

Date: 21 Feb, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302668566

The Department of Economic Development, DED, in Abu Dhabi shut down 15 commercial facilities in the emirate during the month of January due to price hikes on goods.

Ahmed Tarish Al Qubaisi, Acting Director of the Commercial Protection Administration, said that the DED has conducted 98 campaigns, 50 of which were implemented in Abu Dhabi, 28 in Al Ain and 20 in the Al Dhafra Region. The campaigns focussed on the major points of sale and shops in the markets, which are visited by significant numbers of consumers to ensure that these facilities do not raise prices unjustifiably and that they implement VAT for the facilities that are registered in the tax system of the Federal Tax Authority.

He noted that a total of 3,520 inspections were conducted throughout January, 1,350 of which were in Abu Dhabi, 1,120 in Al Ain and 1,050 in Al Dhafra. As a result of these inspections, 85 tickets were issued, 47 of which were issued in Abu Dhabi, 34 in Al Ain, and 4 in Al Dhafra.

Al Qubaisi said that tickets were issued against those facilities that collected VAT without being registered in the tax system of the Federal Tax Authority and increased prices excessively for the period preceding the implementation of the tax by checking the previous bills. This is as per Item No. 77 of the Tickets Schedule in which it is stated that additional fees or services are imposed on the consumer unjustifiably, and Item No. 72 regarding the failure to adhere to the undertaking and the circulars presented by the DED or the instructions, conditions and controls issued by it.

Al Qubaisi called upon the consumers to contact the DED through the Contact Centre of the Abu Dhabi Government in case they detect any explicit violations in VAT implementation.

WAM

Filing returns in 4 Steps - Guide issued by FTA

Date: 19 Feb, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302668161

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, has issued 50 guides and e-learning modules covering some legislative and implementation aspects of the UAE’s tax regulations as part of the authority’s comprehensive awareness campaign.

Khalid Ali Al Bustani, FTA Director-General, said that this step reflects the FTA’s continued commitment to adopting the highest standards of transparency and accuracy in implementing tax procedures. The guides and e-learning modules cover many tax aspects, including import and export declaration, registration for Excise Tax, Value Added Tax, and Tax Groups, Excise Tax refund, filing tax returns, warehouse keepers and designated zones.

The announcement coincided with the launch of the FTA’s comprehensive awareness campaign, “Filing returns in 4 Steps”, which seeks to familiarise businesses registered for VAT purposes with the FTA’s advanced online system. The FTA’s online tax system was launched earlier this month, and started receiving tax returns for the first tax period, which ended for some businesses on 31st January, 2018, as these are now required to file their returns before 28th February, 2018.

Al Bustani called on businesses and specialists to benefit from these guides and e-learning modules to raise awareness among stakeholders and provide a comprehensive introduction to the UAE tax system with all its legislations and mechanisms. This will enable the FTA to obtain accurate and comprehensive information, which helps promote tax culture among the various business sectors, thus ensuring the successful implementation of the tax system.

For more visit https://www.tax.gov.ae/e-learning.aspx

UAE and KSA will be the only GCC country with VAT this year

Date: 18 Feb, 2018

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“Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman will need more time than expected for implementing the GCC agreement to introduce Value Added Tax, even though Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have already implemented the tax”, says the Deputy Director of Financial Affairs Department at International Monetary Fund (IMF) Abdelhak Senhadji.

In December 2017, Saudi Arabia and the UAE introduced excise taxes on energy drinks, fizzy drinks and cigarettes, and they introduced VAT one month later. Bahrain had also introduced excise taxes in December 2017 but the government suspended the introduction of VAT until a joint committee of the Cabinet and the parliament decides on a mechaplot nism to help Bahrainis with limited income to deal with the consequences of implementation of the tax system.

According to a report issued by the ratings agency S&P last month, Qatar was not expected to introduce VAT in this phase as it was faced with the threat of a boycott and the closing of travel, trade and diplomatic ties by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

UAE VAT to stay at 5%, affirms Minister of State for Financial Affairs.

Date: 13 Feb, 2018

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External URL: http://gulfnews.com/business/economy/vat/al-tayer-uae-has-no-intention-to-raise-tax-rates-1.2171247

The UAE’s government has no intention of raising the current rate of Value-Added Tax (VAT) or excise tax in the medium term, Obaid Al Tayer, the country’s Minister of State for Financial Affairs confirmed.

“If you’re referring to the next five years, we don’t see anything [relating to] increasing the VAT rate or the excise rate. I also want to confirm that there aren’t any studies or any legislation regarding introducing income tax,” Al Tayer told reporters in Dubai on Saturday.

Apparently the minister was quashing the social media chatter on VAT to be increased to 10% in the near future.

 

FTA urges businesses to complete and submit tax returns for the first tax period before February 28

Date: 03 Feb, 2018

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External URL: https://www.tax.gov.ae/filling-vat-returns.aspx

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has set up integrated electronic systems to allow Taxable Persons to register, file tax returns and pay their due taxes seamlessly, asserted FTA Director General His Excellency Khalid Ali Al Bustani.

The system encourages voluntary compliance, H.E. Al Bustani said, calling on all businesses registered with the Authority – whose first Tax Period ends on January 31, 2018 – to file their returns for the first Tax Period no later than February 28, 2018. The FTA Director General reiterated the importance of early preparation for submitting tax returns within the set timeframes, reminding registered businesses to submit their tax returns on a monthly or quarterly basis, as determined by the FTA based on their annual revenue, and within the deadlines set in Federal Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017 on Value Added Tax, as well as its Executive Regulation.

H.E. Al Bustani noted that the Federal Tax Authority had made some exceptional adjustments to the first tax periods for VAT in order to afford more flexibility to businesses following requests from a large number of businesses subject to VAT, which entered into effect in the UAE on January 1, 2018. These exceptional adjustments included extending Tax Periods from one to three months for some businesses at the beginning of implementation in 2018, with Tax Periods returning to a monthly basis later on.

The first quarterly Tax Period – which was meant to expire by the end of January or February 2018 – was extended, H.E. reminded, by merging it with the following period, making the first Tax Period four months for some businesses and five for others. Meanwhile, businesses whose first Tax Period was three months ending in March 2018 were not included in these adjustments.

 

VAT TRN is sufficient, no need to ask fro VAT Certificate

Date: 27 Jan, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302662854

The FTA has urged businesses to conduct transactions on the basis of TRN (Tax Registration Number) and not to insist on VAT Certificates.

Many businesses that did not meet the deadline for registration have been issued with provisional TRN and as such are not able to download the VAT certificate from the FTA site.  In light of these business partners may conduct business on the basis of TRN and not have to insist on VAT Certificates.

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, has confirmed that businesses are not required to present a tax certificate in order to conduct their commercial activities and can simply use their Tax Registration Number, TRN.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the Authority called on all businesses and stakeholders in the UAE to carry out commercial or other transactions using TRNs provided by businesses, urging them not to require tax certificates in order to ensure smooth operations and minimise disruption of work.

Committee of Consumer Protection reviews VAT impact

Date: 27 Jan, 2018

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External URL: http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302662885

The Higher Committee of Consumer Protection is ensuring continued coordination between all state departments concerned with the Value-Added Tax to corroborate consumers’ confidence in the market stability and sound application of the tax and prevent any unjustifiable price hikes, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, has affirmed.

The minister’s remarks came at a meeting of the Higher Committee of Consumer Protection at the Ministry of Economy in Dubai recently.

“The committee received growing calls from the consumers during the first days of the VAT application. People had some concerns, but their worries have ebbed with the passage of time and by the end of the first fortnight of the application, the calls received by the committee declined from 3261 on the first day of the application to 493 on January 15,” said the minister at the meeting.

Khalid Ali Al Bustani, Director General of the Federal Tax Authority (FTA), who attended the meeting, said the complaints received by the committee address three main issues: price hikes, tax registration numbers and erroneous calculation of VAT on some commodities.

“Traders and departments against whom the complaints were filed have been notified and were given a grace period to rectify their strategies as per the tax rules and condition,” Al Bustani added.

“The committee is in constant follow-up of the market to prevent any violations and in case of any non-abidance, all legal measures have been taken against the violators,” Mohammed Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, Undersecretary for Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Economy, who attended the meeting, said.

DUBAI, 27th January, 2018 (WAM)

VAT cannot be charged if older contracts are silent on VAT

Date: 26 Jan, 2018

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Health clubs cannot charge VAT on membership contracts issued last year – unless they made clear reference to the tax at the time, a senior government official has said.

Ahmad Al Zaabi, acting director of consumer protection at Dubai Economy, said gyms and other clubs could only charge VAT, or any other tax, on contracts signed last year “if the documented agreement terms specified the same”.

His comments came after Fitness First members became embroiled in a dispute with the health club over VAT being applied to memberships signed and paid for last year.

Many members have complained about demands from the company to pay the tax for the 2018 portion of their membership, with some claiming they were denied entry to the club until the tax was paid.

Mr Al Zaabi said: “For example, the agreement should state that the fee applicable does not include VAT or any of the tax concerned, and also specify that the merchant reserves the right to charge VAT or any other tax that may be implemented in the country at any point during the agreement period.”

He said if this does not happen, the contact will be considered “silent” and the merchant “cannot charge VAT from the consumers, or to gain an accepted settlement with their consumers”.

Tourist VAT refund coming soon, says FTA

Date: 24 Jan, 2018

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In a recent press conference, the FTA chief Khalid Al Bustani said they are in talks with four international firms to establish refund centres at airports for facilitate refund of VAT to tourists departing UAE.

These firms have experience in managing refund of VAT and will be soon finalized.

In the same meeting the FTA also announced that over 260,000 businesses and 10,000 groups have already registered.

Online Shopping Purchases Subject to VAT

Date: 19 Jan, 2018

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External URL: https://www.tax.gov.ae/online-shopping.aspx

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has confirmed that all purchases made through online shopping portals are subject to the same 5% Value Added Tax (VAT) as any other purchase made through traditional outlets if the products purchased online are received within the United Arab Emirates.

The Authority explained in an awareness flyer issued today that according to Federal Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017 on Value Added Tax and its Executive Regulations, all online sales are subject to VAT where a seller’s supplies exceed the mandatory registration threshold of AED375,000 over the previous 12 months or the coming 30 days.

FTA makes amendments to the first tax period

Date: 18 Jan, 2018

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External URL: https://www.zawya.com/uae/en/story/UAE_tax_authority_makes_exceptional_amendments_to_VAT_period-WAM20180117170045894/

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, has made some exceptional amendments to the first tax period for those subject to value-added tax, VAT, to be more flexible with the business sectors included in the tax.

The tax period for some businesses will, therefore, be four months, and five months for other businesses while businesses with a three-month tax period ending in March will not be affected by the amendments, he further added.

You can view the first tax period for your organization by logging into your account on the e-services portal on the FTA’s website.

As per the regulations, the tax declaration must be submitted to the authority no later than on the 28th day after the end of the relevant tax period.

FTA relaxes the timeline for filing the first VAT returns

Date: 16 Jan, 2018

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External URL: https://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/vat-in-uae/vat-in-uae-tax-authority-defers-date-to-file-returns

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has relaxed the timeline for filing the first value-added tax (VAT) returns, easing reporting and compliance pressure on companies, especially SMEs.

The first tax return filing for companies with more than Dh 150 million turnovers was one month. For others, it was quarterly. Now, firms can file their first tax returns after four or five months in June as per the new timelines appearing on the FTA’s dashboard after log-in by a member company. Such an extension in filing returns shall help firms to better comply.

 

Drop in House Rents Soften VAT Impact in UAE

Date: 23 May, 2018

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External URL: https://www.albawaba.com/business/drop-house-rents-soften-vat-impact-uae-1135684

Although the levy of a 5 percent value-added tax (VAT) was expected to affect UAE residents in the form of increased living costs, the reduction in house rents has offset this impact to a great extent.

While global benchmarks suggest that households should allocate no more than 35 percent of their total monthly income on housing (in the form of either rents or mortgage payments), many families in Dubai currently spend over 40 percent of their combined income on rents.

“Tenants are definitely experiencing increasing higher living costs. It is, therefore, good news that rents continue to fall [by around 10 percent over the past 12 months]. This should help address the problem where accommodation costs in Dubai are generally too high,” says Craig Plumb, head of research, JLL Mena.

“Although the introduction of 5 percent VAT at the beginning of the year had an impact on overall costs for residents, this was more or less offset by reduced rents. This is mainly caused by an increased supply, employment challenges and the movement of tenants from one emirate to another seeking the best value for money,” observes John Stevens, managing director, Asteco.

Most of the UAE residential market has absorbed VAT’s limited inflationary impact in 2018. However, there has been an impact on residents’ disposable incomes.

“Dubai’s real estate market is heavily sentiment-driven and the introduction of VAT across Dubai has undoubtedly had a negative effect on this. It is more likely that it is the change in sentiment that may cause tenants to behave more cautiously. However, it is still too early to know with any degree of certainty,” suggests Thomas Bolton, Cluttons’ director – strategic projects.

UAE nationals can claim VAT refund on home construction

Date: 01 Apr, 2018

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External URL: https://www.khaleejtimes.com/business//vat-in-uae/uae-nationals-can-claim-vat-refund-on-home-construction

Emirati house owners have the right to a five percent value-added tax (VAT) refund when constructing their homes, the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has stated.

The Authority has issued a guide with details for homeowners on how to claim the refund. It clarifies that only UAE citizens have the right to ask for the refund. They need no new account on the Authority’s website, and only need to download and fill a form and submit it back so the Authority

Anurag Chaturvedi, senior director at Crowe Horwath, told Khaleej Times that UAE nationals can claim the VAT refund against the construction expenses for a residential building if they construct it for themselves or their family members.

“UAE nationals can claim the refund against a newly constructed building to be used solely as residence, under Article (66) of Cabinet Decision No. (52) of 2017 on the Executive Regulations, of the Federal Decree-Law No (8) of 2017 on Value Added Tax,” he revealed.

Furthermore, the VAT refund is not allowed in relation to a building that will not be used solely as a residence by the person or the person’s family. “For example, it is not to be used as a hotel, guest house, hospital, or if the property is to be used for rental purposes or for any other purpose not consistent with it being used as a residence,” Chaturvedi said.

Nirav Shah, director at Fame Advisory DMCC, also stressed that the refund is only valid if the building is going to be used by the owner and his family. He also noted that the refund can only be claimed by Emirati nationals.

According to the guide issued by the FTA, an Emirati owner has the right to ask for the VAT refund if he bought a piece of land and allowed an authorised person or company to establish a housing unit on it. The guide says that the VAT refund only includes the money spent on establishing the unit, adding that it includes the amounts paid as building materials, except for electricity products of furniture or green areas.

On the other hand, the refund also includes VAT paid for doors, fire alarms systems, floors, kitchens, health units, bathrooms, windows, and electricity cables. A third entity is going to review the housing units to approve the refund and its amount after the Emirati owner submits the form. Moreover, the owner needs documents that prove his ownership for the unit, show the date of issuing the certification of establishment, prove the ownership of the land and show the value of VAT paid during the process.

Accredited Tax Accounting Software Vendors

Date: 31 Mar, 2018

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External URL: https://www.tax.gov.ae/accredited-tax-accounting-software-vendors.aspx

Solution Provider Name Software Name Software Version Validity
Zoho Corporation Private Limited Zoho Books MILESTONE_ZFUAE_1 Till March 2019
Tally Solutions Private Limited Tally.ERP 9 Release 6.3 Till March 2019
Sage Group PLC Sage 50 Accounts (UK Edition) 24.0.68.0 Till March 2019
Sage Group PLC Sage Evolution 7.20.5.002 Till March 2019
Sage Group PLC Sage One Accounting 4.1.2 Till March 2019
Sage Group PLC Sage X3 11 Till March 2019
Sage Group PLC Sage 300 2018 (6.5) Till March 2019
Focus Softnet FZ LLC FocusI FocusI Till March 2019
Focus Softnet FZ LLC FocusRT FocusRT Till March 2019
Focus Softnet FZ LLC Focus8 Focus8 Till March 2019