News Update

VAT backlash blow to MPs’ re-election

Date: 28 Nov, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

A PUBLIC backlash against the previous parliament, fuelled by anger at the imminent introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT), has been credited with dashing the hopes of 13 MPs seeking re-election.

Of 23 incumbent MPs who ran for parliament again this year, only two successfully defended their seats in the first round of voting on Saturday – Adel Al Asoomi and Isa Al Kooheji.

Thirteen of them were dumped outright by voters, while eight face a second-round run-off this weekend.

The cull is an indication of widespread dissatisfaction at parliament’s performance during the past four years.

However, 27 MPs who supported the introduction of VAT in January were singled out for criticism – both ahead of the election and on election day itself.

Influential social media accounts posted the names and pictures of those who voted in favour of VAT as part of a campaign encouraging voters not to support them again.

Pictures and messages reminding people were also circulated on the day of the election on Saturday.

“The public is upset and angry,” explained political analyst Fareed Ghazi, a lawyer who served in parliament between 2002 and 2006.

“People don’t want MPs who imposed taxes on them, didn’t secure compensation or financial benefits and even tightened restrictions on political and human rights.

“Voters today are extremely intelligent and have strong opinions.

“This translated into the outcome of the first round of the election.”

Seventeen of the 27 MPs who last month voted in favour of VAT tried to defend their seat.

Economy, VAT dominate discussions among voters in Bahrain’s local elections

Date: 21 Nov, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

As Bahrain gears to hold its fifth parliamentary and municipal elections, the impending implementation of Value-Added-Tax and rising inflation rate are driving discussions between candidates and voters across the island-kingdom.

The general elections for the lower house of parliament and the municipality council will be held on November 24 with many districts expecting to hold a run-off vote on December 1 as independent and past Members of Parliament are expected to fight incumbents for their seats.

But a key issue across the governorates is the topic of VAT and how it may affect constituents in the coming year. Bahraini legislators approved a draft law on October 7 that would impose VAT for the first time in the kingdom, starting from 2019. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the first two countries introducing VAT at a 5 percent rate, as part of a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) agreement in 2018.

New entity to handle tax refunds at Dubai airport

Date: 19 Nov, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

Planet, a new entity recently appointed by the UAE’s Federal Tax Authority (FTA) will operate the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) at Dubai International (DXB), said a statement from Dubai Airports.

This closely follows the recent announcement by the FTA, outlining conditions and procedures for tourists to claim their Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds when exiting the country.

A ‘Tax Free Tag’, generated whilst shopping with the required passport or GCC ID, must be attached to the sales receipt upon purchase in-store. Prior to check-in the customer will then need to validate the Tax Free Tag and goods at one of the Planet validation points situated across DXB’s three terminals.

Upon successful validation, the tourist is offered a choice of refund via credit card or cash. Those customers who prefer a cash refund can have it processed at one of the Travelex outlets in the airport’s airside departure areas.

Dh10,000 cap on daily VAT refund for tourists

Date: 13 Nov, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

The maximum value added tax (VAT) refund that can be given to a tourist in a 24-hour period has been capped at Dh10,000, according to Decision No 2 of 2018 issued by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Minister of Finance, and Chairman of the Board of the Federal Tax Authority (FTA).

The decision also stipulates that tax cannot be refunded under the scheme unless the total value of tax inclusive purchases issued by the same taxable person is Dh250 or more.

The decision comprises seven clauses and stipulates that VAT refund claims shall be provided by retailers participating in the tax refunds for tourists as of November 18.

An overseas tourist may get a refund at the Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah International airports as of next Sunday. The tourists may also recover VAT at the other airports, land and seaports in the UAE as of December 16.

The decision outlined the five steps that retailers must follow when a customer asks to make a purchase under the scheme, including age and identity verification.

Click here to know more about FTA Decision No 2 of 2018 on Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme

Verify that used cars were subject to VAT, says FTA

Date: 06 Nov, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has called on retailers to verify that used cars were subject to the value added tax (VAT) before applying the Profit Margin Scheme, during an awareness workshop for car dealers.

The workshop applauded the high tax compliance rate and increased tax awareness among businesses in the automotive sector, and reiterated its commitment to empowering businesses. The authority also introduced various procedures and tax treatment for the key sector, highlighting the FTA’s steps to address any obstacles that businesses face. More than 100 dealers, experts and stakeholders participated in the workshop, which was organised by the FTA in collaboration with the Dubai Municipality and Al Aweer Auto Market in Dubai.

“Tax laws in the UAE have prioritised the establishment of an environment conducive to continued growth and prosperity in commercial activities – a sector of great importance in the government’s plans to diversify sources of income,” FTA director-general, Khalid Ali Al Bustani, asserted.

The FTA experts presented a detailed explanation of the procedures and legalities surrounding VAT on the sale of new and used vehicles. They also shed light on the Profit Margin Scheme, its terms and conditions, the supplies eligible for it, and the obligations for the Taxable Person.

The authority’s representatives asserted that according to Federal Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017 on VAT and Cabinet Decision No. (52) of 2017 on the Executive Regulations of said Decree-Law, the Profit Margin Scheme is only applicable to supplies that already incurred VAT prior to the current supply. Therefore, the stock of used goods purchased before Federal Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017 went into effect (or that didn’t incur tax for any reason) do not qualify for the Profit Margin Scheme, and VAT is instead calculated on the items’ full price.

How VAT in Bahrain impacts neighbouring GCC countries

Date: 05 Nov, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

Value-added tax, being all pervasive, impacts a country’s economy as well as the industries therein. Furthermore, VAT impact also spills over to the import and export of goods and services. The UAE, all along, has business ties with Bahrain through either a local presence in Bahrain (as branch or local entity) or through export/import of goods or services.

Typically, after the introduction of VAT in a country, businesses discover that their entire business ecosystem – i.e., their vendors, suppliers and customers located in and outside the country – are also part of their business. Underlying reason for this tectonic shift is the fact that in VAT, businesses cannot take unilateral decisions and have to take decisions bilaterally as a buyer can debate on the applicability of VAT (for example, whether the transaction qualifies as ‘export’ or not).

Outbound transactions

As mentioned above, dependency between the supply chain intensifies, particularly, in cases of outbound supply of goods (like goods being supplied to Bahrain from the UAE).

Typically, in such transactions there are two aspects to be vetted, one whether the supply qualifies as export from UAE and whether the transaction qualifies as import in Bahrain. Thus, it is advisable for UAE entities having business interests in Bahrain to initiate early dialogue on the likely impact to identify possible issues and documentation requirements to avoid VAT debates/disputes with customers.

Import of goods

Typically, VAT is payable at the time of import of goods (unless facility of deferment is provided) along with customs duty.

Thus, after introduction of VAT, imports in Bahrain may attract VAT and thus, at the time of import itself it will be critical to determine the applicability of VAT on goods being imported in Bahrain (as certain goods such as specified medicines may not attract VAT). Also, procedural aspects like declaration of the VAT registration number on import documents, linking of the VAT number with customs, etc, also become critical during transition.

UAE businesses told to keep tax data confidential

Date: 04 Nov, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has called on businesses registered for tax purposes not to disclose their financial or tax data to any person or organisation that is not officially authorised to deal with such data.

The authority stressed in a statement issued on Saturday that it is necessary to remain vigilant about messages received via e-mail or mobile phone and not to share tax registration numbers (TRN) or financial account numbers with any entity.

It urged all registered businesses to maintain the confidentiality of their data, noting that it did not authorise any entity to request tax-related financial or accounting information or any other matters relating to tax registrants.

Businesses registered with the Authority for tax purposes can submit their tax returns within the deadline and pay taxes due for specific tax periods by visiting the e-Services portal on the FTA website – – available 24/7, accessing the tax return form, entering the data, then pressing ‘submit’. Users can then proceed to pay their due taxes by clicking on the ‘My Payments’ tab.

UAE gold retailers pin hopes on VAT refund for tourists

Date: 01 Nov, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

Dubai: The UAE’s gold and jewellery sector endured its toughest quarter ever between July to end September, with demand dropping to 6 tonnes, a 13 percent decline from Q3-17, according to the latest update from the World Gold Council. Some of the “retailers registered losses for the first time”, the report adds.

“One cannot remember a quarter that has been this tough, at least not in recent memory,” said John Mulligan, Head of Member and Market Relations at WGC.

But the imminent introduction of VAT refunds for tourists could provide some much needed relief, according to jewellery industry sources here. “That (tax refunds) would be key to recovery – tourist-related buying of gold and jewellery in the UAE is down 30 percent in the year to date,” said Abdul Salam K.P., Executive Director at Malabar Gold & Diamonds and board member on the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group.

KPMG in Bahrain Discusses the Implications of Bahrain Introducing VAT From Next Year

Date: 30 Oct, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

Around 200 senior executives from the Bahrain business community attended today a session organized by KPMG in Bahrain to jointly discuss the recently published VAT Law, the implications and consequences the new tax will have across the main economic sectors of the Kingdom. Being 60 days away from VAT implementation in the Kingdom of Bahrain, the half-day event was an ideal platform for delegates to discuss and understand the type of changes they need to make to comply with the new tax environment.

Philippe Norré, Partner and Head of Tax & Legal at KPMG in Bahrain and Ali Al Mahroos, Senior Tax Manager at KPMG in Bahrain were the keynote speakers. During the event, they reviewed practical steps companies must take in the next few weeks to be VAT ready in time. There were lessons to be learnt from the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia but in particular the very specific Bahrain environment and the specifics of the Bahrain system were reviewed against actions required.

“VAT will not impact the business itself, but it will change how companies administer their business. VAT does not need to be only a burden and risk to businesses but it can also be an opportunity for better processes, optimization of systems, introduction of technology for tax and better risk management.

Federal Tax Authority’s Board of Directors adopts budget for 2019

Date: 29 Oct, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

The Federal Tax Authority’s, FTA, Board of Directors today held its sixth meeting, chaired by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, held at the Ministry of Finance premises.

During the meeting, the Board adopted the FTA’s proposed budget for 2019, in addition to a number of executive decisions regarding the authority’s internal regulations, policies and operations.

Furthermore, the Board discussed a detailed report outlining the FTA’s achievements over the past period, as well as the latest developments with regards to the authority’s activities, the registration process for Value Added Tax, VAT, and Excise Tax, import declarations, Tax Returns on Excise Tax and VAT, and audit procedures. The report revealed a high rate of tax compliance in the UAE.

Sheikh Hamdan commended the authority for the continued progress of its systems, confirming that the FTA has successfully strengthened its partnership with the private sector, providing all necessary facilities to ensure self-compliance with tax regulations in a seamless manner supporting economic activities.

Tourists can begin reclaiming VAT as of November 18

Date: 22 Oct, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has announced that Tax Refund for Tourists Scheme goes into effect on November 18, allowing eligible tourists to request refunds of the Value Added Tax (VAT) incurred on their purchases.

The first phase will see the digital system of the Tax Refund for Tourists Scheme implemented at Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah International Airports. As of mid-December, the system will be fully operational to include all airports and land and sea ports in the UAE, as stipulated in the Cabinet Decision which aims to strengthen the UAE’s leading position as a major destination on the global tourism map.

More clarity needed for VAT on healthcare, education in UAE

Date: 22 Oct, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

The UAE Cabinet has approved the Federal Budget for 2019 with more than half of the budget allocated for community, education and healthcare keeping in mind the UAE’s National Agenda 2021.

To make the UAE a preferred education and healthcare destination in the world, the government is taking all efforts to improve and build a robust infrastructure (including setting up world-class hospitals, universities, etc., in the country) and also ensuring all constituents of the eco-system are geared up. To make it happen, even the newly introduced VAT law has been carefully drafted to play an important role in shaping up these sectors.

FTA simplifies VAT refund procedures for UAE nationals building new residences

Date: 16 Oct, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

Khalid Ali Al Bustani, the Director-General of the Federal Tax Authority, FTA, has announced that procedures to reclaim Value Added Tax, VAT, for UAE nationals who are building new residences have been simplified with electronic procedures.

The announcement was made today through a press release that detailed the latest updates on the VAT refund process for UAE nationals building new residences. Al Bustani said the FTA was committed to adhering to the vision of the UAE’s wise leadership to develop a modern housing system and to deliver the best standards of life and well-being within the framework of care that the state provides, as the focus of development plans and as part of the basic objectives of all initiatives and projects carried out by state institutions.

Al Bustani said, “The happiness of UAE citizens is the top priority for the Federal Tax Authority. We are committed to implementing our services through the most advanced, innovative, and easy-to-use digital systems.”

FTA determines tax treatment for 'compensation-type payments'

Date: 14 Oct, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, has issued a public clarification regarding tax treatment of compensation-type payments, noting that value added tax, VAT, is imposed on supplies of goods and services and if any payment does not relate to a supply of goods or services, then the payment is not subject to VAT.

The Authority noted that as part of business agreements, businesses usually make payments to compensate each other for any loss, negligence or other errors. VAT should not be applied to such amounts if they do not relate to a supply.

In a recent press statement, the Federal Tax Authority noted that under Article 02 of Federal Decree-Law No. 08 of 2017 on Value Added Tax, VAT is imposed, among other things, on taxable supplies of goods and services. Taxable supply is defined in Article 01 of the same Law as a “supply of goods or services for a consideration by a person conducting business in the UAE and does not include exempt supply”.

Bahrain’s parliament approves draft VAT law

Date: 08 Oct, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

Bahraini legislators approved a draft law on Sunday that would see value-added tax (VAT) imposed for the first time in the kingdom, state news agency BNA reported.

The House of Representatives approved a Gulf Arab agreement to introduce VAT after a royal decree ordered parliament to hold an extraordinary session on Sunday, BNA reported, without giving details of the vote.

The move came a few days after Bahrain’s wealthier neighbours Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait offered a $10 billion aid package to avoid the risk of a debt crisis in the country, which was also tied to fiscal reforms.

The bill is yet to be approved by the parliament’s upper house, which is expected to hold a similar session later this week.

FTA clarifies VAT on healthcare of employees' families

Date: 07 Oct, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

The Federal Tax Authority issued a clarification on insurance that states that an employer would only be able to claim the input VAT on the health insurance provided to employees’ families if it is the legal obligation of the employer to provide the insurance.

Pratik Shah, partner at Dhruva Advisors, said there is no legal obligation in Dubai on the employer to provide health insurance to the family of an employee, whereas Abu Dhabi mandates employers to provide such extended benefits.

“It would be interesting to see how an employer having head office in Abu Dhabi and having operations and employees situated all over the country will split the recovery of VAT and vice-versa. VAT being a federal-level law should ideally provide a ‘level playing field’ for all tax registrants. However, this would lead to employers situated in Abu Dhabi at an advantageous position to employers situated in the rest of Emirates,” Shah said.

Bahrain parliament approves VAT agreement

Date: 07 Oct, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

Dubai: Manama: Bahrain is set to become the third Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to implement the unified agreement on Value Added Tax (VAT) on goods and services.

On Sunday, the kingdom’s bicameral parliament, holding an extraordinary session upon a royal order issued last week, approved VAT at the rate of five per cent effective from January 1 next year.

The lower and upper chambers of the parliament also approved new pension rules for ministers and members of the Council of Representatives, the Shura Council and the Municipal Council.

VAT and changes to the pension system are part of efforts to fix public finances hit hard by the drop in oil prices which also pushed Bahrain’s dinar to its lowest in more than a decade.

In February, Bahraini Minister of Finance Shaikh Ahmad Bin Mohammad Al Khalifa said that Bahrain would introduce a VAT and would have everything set up by the end of 2018.

FTA sets September 30 deadline for submitting tax returns

Date: 30 Sep, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has called on businesses registered in the Value Added Tax (VAT) system whose tax period ended on 31st August, 2018, to submit their tax returns as soon as possible and not wait until the deadline to avoid any delays.

The Authority stressed the need to submit tax returns and settle due taxes no later than Sunday, 30th September 2018. The FTA reminded that according to 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 the month following the end of the tax period in question, and according to Federal Law No. (7) of 2017 on tax procedures, the deadline shall be extended to the next working day if the 28th falls on an official holiday.

FTA introduces Northern Emirates retailers to simplified registration procedures

Date: 29 Sep, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, held an awareness session in the Emirate of Ajman for retailers and other representatives from the private sector in all Northern Emirates in collaboration with the chambers of commerce, introducing them to the simplified online procedures for registering in the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme, which allows eligible visitors to recover the Value Added Tax, VAT, they incurred on their purchases.

The Authority revealed a notable increase in the number of agreements signed with retailers to register them in the Scheme, equip them with the necessary technology to implement it, and link them to airports and land and sea ports in the UAE. The FTA asserted that dedicated offices would be established in various locations where tourists can recover taxes; the Authority went on to note that it will be clearly outlining the taxes that are eligible to be refunded through the Scheme’s digital system – the most advanced of its kind in the world.

Experts opine - Bahrain to start VAT soon

Date: 26 Sep, 2018

  • Share:

Bahrain will be the next country to implement five percent value-added tax (VAT) after the UAE and Saudi Arabia as part of the GCC framework agreed between the six states, according to tax experts.

Bahrain seems to be the next country to implement VAT if we listen to tax experts’opinions that are recently appearing online.

We share here links to two articles that appear to indicate that Bahrain might be announcing VAT soon.

FTA sets requirements for recovering tax on entertainment services for employees

Date: 24 Sep, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, has determined the “Entertainment Services” supplied to employees, for which registered businesses cannot recover the taxes they incurred, explaining that these are mainly the expenses associated with activities to entertain personnel, such as staff parties that are free to attend.

The authority noted that according to Federal Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017 on Value Added Tax, VAT, and its Executive Regulations, VAT incurred on goods or services purchased to be given away to staff free of charge, in order to reward them for long service, should be blocked from recovery (unless the business accounts for a deemed supply). Examples of these gifts include long service awards, retirement gifts, Eid gifts, or gifts for other festivals or special occasions, gifts given on the occasion of a wedding or birth of a child; employee of the month gifts, or a dinner to reward service.

FTA urges retail companies to register in ‘Tax Refund Scheme for Tourists’ system

Date: 22 Sep, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, has invited retailers, outlets and shops registered for Value Added Tax, VAT, to register in the digital system of the Tax Refund Scheme for Tourists, which will come into effect as of the fourth quarter of 2018.

The Authority is implementing the Scheme in cooperation with Planet, and has identified four basic conditions for registering, namely: the retailer must be registered with the Authority for VAT and have a tax registration number, TRN; the supplier’s sales of goods must not be excluded from the refund scheme, as determined by the Authority; the retailer must submit a request to participate in the Scheme as determined by the FTA; and finally, the retailer must meet the financial credit requirements specified by the system operator and be committed to submitting Tax Returns and paying due taxes regularly.

Dubai Chamber workshop familiarises companies with VAT refund scheme for tourists

Date: 20 Sep, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently hosted a workshop aimed to familiarise retailers and members of the business community with the UAE’s new Value-Added Tax, VAT, refund scheme for tourists.

The workshop, hosted at Dubai Chamber’s premises, was organised by the Federal Tax Authority, FTA, in cooperation with Planet, the Tourist Refund operator for the tourist refund scheme which will be rolled out in the last quarter of 2018.

More than 250 members of the business community attended the workshop where participants were briefed on the steps, processes and procedures associated with registering under the UAE’s new VAT refund scheme for tourists.

Registration for ‘Tax Refunds for Tourists scheme’ is now open

Date: 19 Sep, 2018

  • Share:

Committed to ensuring the proper implementation of the UAE’s tax laws, maintaining the country’s Reputation as a pioneer and strengthening its international competitiveness, the Federal Tax Authority  (FTA) has announced that registration for the Tax Refunds for Tourist Scheme is now open for retailers, As per Cabinet Decision No.(41) of 2018 on introducing the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme. Those wishing to register for the Scheme, operated by Planet on behalf of the FTA, must meet a set of Specific terms and conditions.

Terms and conditions for Retailers to Register:

  1. Be registered with the Federal tax Authority and hold a valid Tax Registration Number for VAT Purposes.
  2. Be a seller of goods that are not excluded from refund as determined by the Federal Tax Authority.
  3. Submit an application to join the scheme as determined by the Federal Tax Authority and be Subject to a credit check by the operator.
  4. Regularly submit VAT returns and settle payable tax to the FTA.

Retailers who meet the necessary requirements can register through the retailers’ Registration link:

They can also register through the FTA website by clicking on: Paying Tax >> VAT >>Tourist Refund Scheme


UAE VAT boosts revenue base and could raise 1.7% of GDP

Date: 19 Sep, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

The introduction of VAT in the UAE may raise up to 1.7 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, the rating agency Moody’s said.

“The implementation of VAT in the UAE marks a positive step towards revenue diversification,” said Thaddeus Best, a Moody’s analyst and co-author of the report.

The UAE’s 5 per cent VAT on goods and services introduced on January 1, may raise up to Dh24 billion per year in additional revenues for the country although take-up is likely to be lower in the first few years, Mr Best said.

Under VAT rules, the federal government will retain 30 per cent of the revenues, with the rest distributed across the emirates, according to an yet to be announced sharing formula.

“Depending on the structure of the formula, it could potentially have redistributive effects for the less wealthy emirates such as Sharjah,” the report said. However, this would be an indirect outcome, it added.

VAT implementation has had only a “modest” impact on inflation, the agency said and any inflationary impact on household purchasing power has been mitigated by zero-rated and exempt items (such as certain educational, healthcare and transport services in the country as well as the first sale or rent of residential buildings), and by deflationary trends in the real estate market.

5% VAT 'a starting point' for GCC, says banking chief

Date: 18 Sep, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

The 10th MENA CFO conference heard that VAT violators are being censured, with 3,000 offences recorded in Saudi Arabia in the first two months of 2018.

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states could see higher rates of value-added tax (VAT) in the future, with the current five percent rate applied in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia seen as a ‘starting point’, according to one UAE banking executive.

Pointing out that he was speaking in a personal capacity rather than for his employer, Emirates NBD, the bank’s group financial controller, Asim Rashid, said: “My personal view is that five percent is a starting point. The governance and administration of VAT is not cheap.

After gold, this sector may get VAT exemption

Date: 11 Sep, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

Following UAE’s decision to exempt gold and precious metals from the value-added tax, the maritime industry could also get a relief as the Federal Transport Authority is negotiating VAT exemption with the Federal Tax Authority, confirmed a senior official on Monday.

Hessa Al Malek, executive director of maritime transport at UAE’s Federal Transport Authority, said the meeting with the Federal Tax Authority will be held soon to discuss the issue.

Firms in UAE's designated zones: Are all your supplies VAT-free?

Date: 09 Sep, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

The basic tenet of identifying and listing some of the free zones in the UAE as ‘designated zones’ under the country’s’s value-added tax legislation was to make them VAT free and consequently, be consistent with the tradition of keeping free zones typically free from taxes.

Though in intent and spirit it appears the legislation has achieved the objective, in practice, there are still instances and activities that result in the application of VAT on transactions within the designated zones. Consequently, the companies can blindly not apply VAT on any transaction it enters within the designated zones.

VAT refund for UAE tourists to start in November

Date: 05 Sep, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

The UAE’s Federal Tax Authority has appointed Planet as its exclusive tax refund operator for the Tourist Refund Scheme which will be rolled out in November 2018.

“The FTA has announced that from November 2018, eligible tourists will be able to receive a proportion of the VAT as a refund when they shop at registered stores,” said an invitation sent to retailers and tax consultancies across the UAE by the FTA and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry to brief them about how to register for the tourist refund scheme.

“We wish to invite you to an event organised by the FTA and their exclusive tax refund operator, Planet, who will be operating the Tourist Refund Scheme,” said the invite.

VAT will attract more global investors to UAE realty

Date: 21 Aug, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

When value-added tax (VAT) was introduced in the UAE and Saudi Arabia on January 1, 2018, initially stakeholders were wary on the potential impact of the new tax policy on the economy.

A study conducted by Alliance Business Centers Network said that the UAE would be least affected by the imposition of VAT because it is one of the lowest globally compared to countries such as the UK, Switzerland, Germany, Mexico, South Africa and Australia. The study revealed that the VAT in UK and France was 20 percent, which is substantially higher than the five percent implemented in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

With the adoption of VAT in the real estate sector, investors and stakeholders are weighing the impact on market valuations. According to Deloitte, in the UAE, commercial property is clustered in the taxable bracket and therefore the costs of buying or leasing such property are likely to increase.

Moreover, stakeholders in the UAE real estate sector see the pricing of ancillary services such as brokerage, maintenance services, car parking, facility management and property management increase as such services will be subject to VAT and do not fall within the exemption for rental of residential real estate, even where provided in connection with a residential contract.

Federal Tax Authority launches first phase of ‘Tax Clinic’ in Ras al-Khaimah

Date: 13 Aug, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has officially launched phase one of its “Tax Clinic” initiative, which seeks to maintain direct and constant communication with taxable businesses.

For three months, the campaign will cover all seven emirates to raise tax awareness across the country, urging taxable businesses to register with the Authority and promoting compliance with Tax Return requirements and the timely payment of due taxes. Phase one will take place in Ras al-Khaimah over the course of three days – from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm – until August 14, 2018, at the headquarters of Ras al-Khaimah’s Department of Economic Development (RAK-DED) and Ras al-Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ).

A press statement issued today explained that the “Tax Clinic” campaign will be organised as a collaboration between the Federal Tax Authority and the departments of economic development and municipalities in all emirates. Two teams of analysts and specialists from the FTA’s Registration, Tax Returns and Taxpayers Services will go on an extensive tour, which includes several meetings and an interactive seminar in each individual emirate, with taxable businesses that have not yet registered in the tax system or that have fallen behind on submitting their Tax Returns and settling their due taxes – particularly, small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Gold jewellery demand down by 24% in the UAE

Date: 12 Aug, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

Demand for gold jewellery fell by 24 percent in the United Arab Emirates year-on-year in the second quarter of the year, according to a report by the World Gold Council (WGC), mainly due to the introduction of a new 5 percent value-added tax (VAT) in January that was applied to a variety of goods and services, including gold jewellery.

“VAT in both UAE and Saudi Arabia has played an important part in the softness this year,” Alistair Hewitt, United Kingdom-based director of market intelligence in the WGC told Zawya in an email interview last Monday. The World Gold Council (WGC) said in its Q2 2018 report that gold demand fell by 10 percent year-on-year in Saudi Arabia, where VAT was also introduced in January.

UAE gold jewelry demand fell by 23 percent in the first quarter year-one year, while demand rose 16 percent in the fourth quarter of last year ahead of the introduction of VAT, according to previous reports published by the WGC.

FTA launches ‘Tax Clinic’ to promote compliance with tax return submissions

Date: 08 Aug, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, has announced a new campaign as part of its efforts to communicate directly and consistently with businesses.

The “Tax Clinic” seeks to increase the number of registered taxable businesses and promote compliance with the timely submission of tax returns and payment of due taxes.

The campaign kicks off on 12th August, 2018, in Ras al-Khaimah, before moving on to Fujairah and then the rest of the emirates for a duration of three months, where representatives from the authority will be present at the clinic to answer taxpayer queries regarding registration with the FTA and other tax obligations. They will encourage those who are yet to register for Value Added Tax, VAT, to promptly do so in order to avoid administrative penalties. The experts will also introduce attendees to the procedures required for submitting accurate tax returns and settling due taxes.

Vat gets vote of confidence

Date: 06 Aug, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

Companies in the UAE and Saudi Arabia have given a vote of confidence to the implementation of VAT with 65 per cent of them having successfully filed their first VAT returns by April 2018.

According to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (Acca) and Thomson Reuters’ VAT Return Filing and Compliance survey conducted in April, only 18 per cent of companies had found filing their first VAT returns “challenging” and eight per cent “very challenging”.

Pierre Arman, market development leader for tax and accounting at Thomson Reuters, said that at the time of the survey in April, a lot of companies’ first VAT return deadline had been pushed by the Federal Tax Authority by one or two months, hence, about a third of firms did not file a VAT return at the time.

Half-year review: VAT in real estate

Date: 06 Aug, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

Six months into its implementation in the UAE, the 5 per cent value-added tax (VAT) has generally had a limited impact on real estate values, if average market prices in the second quarter are anything to go by. Villa and apartment sales prices retreated by an average 4 per cent over the quarter, while apartment and villa rents were down 3 per cent and 2 per cent respectively, according to Asteco’s second-quarter market report.
Various factors contribute to VAT’s muted impact on real estate, but analysts agree prevailing market rates have in a way helped belie fears of a tax backlash.

FTA latest clarification on Entertainment and Employee related expenses

Date: 29 Jul, 2018

  • Share:


Article 53 of Cabinet Decision No. (52) of 2017 on the Executive Regulation of the Federal Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017 on Value Added Tax (“VAT Executive Regulations”) stipulates input tax which is nonrecoverable by businesses (which, in most cases, will mean Taxable Persons).

There are a number of circumstances in which businesses have sought clarity over the definition of ‘entertainment’ for the purposes of the input tax restriction, and in particular what should constitute entertainment of staff or business contacts as opposed to incidental business-related expenses which would be recoverable under normal VAT

This Public Clarification explains the application of Article 53 of the VAT Executive Regulations with regards to VAT which is non-recoverable in respect of entertainment or hospitality of any kind.

VAT incurred on any costs which are used for a genuine business purpose, or which are incidental to a business purpose e.g. food and drink provided during a business meeting, shall be recoverable (subject to normal VAT recovery rules). However, where the hospitality provided becomes an end in itself and could be construed as the purpose for attending an event, such costs will be considered to be entertainment in nature and the VAT incurred shall not be recoverable. More information on how to define whether costs are incidental to a business purpose, or considered to be an end in themselves, is provided below.

Click here to know more.

FTA classifies ‘eligible goods’ for calculating VAT

Date: 25 Jul, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, has determined three main categories of “eligible goods” for calculating Value Added Tax, VAT, on the basis of the profit margin scheme.

These are second-hand goods, meaning tangible movable property that is suitable for further use as it is or after repair; antiques, i.e. goods that are over 50 years old; and collectors’ items, such as stamps, coins, currency and other pieces of scientific, historical or archaeological interest.

The authority asserted that only those goods, which had been subject to VAT before the supply in question, may be subject to the profit margin scheme. The profit margin is defined as the difference between the buying and selling price of an item and is inclusive of taxes.

The announcement was made in a “Public Clarification” about eligible goods under the profit margin scheme, as per Federal Decree-Law No. (8) on VAT. The FTA offers the clarifications service through its website.

The Director-General of FTA, Khalid Ali Al Bustani, asserted that the new service was launched as part of the authority’s efforts to empower businesses and the general public, and educate them about their rights, obligations and the UAE tax system.

“As part of its comprehensive awareness campaign targeting all segments of society, the FTA published a series of guides that cover all legislative and executive aspects of the UAE tax system, as well as e-learning programmes and infographics,” he said, noting that these efforts reflect the FTA’s commitment to transparency and accuracy in implementing tax procedures.

He called on businesses and experts to take advantage of the Public Clarifications service on the authority’s website, which complements the other guides and publications, and help further raise awareness of the UAE tax system and related procedures and laws.

In a press statement issued on Wednesday, the FTA called on registered businesses to carefully verify eligible goods for the profit margin scheme, reiterating that only those goods which have previously been subject to VAT before the supply in question, may be subject to the scheme.

As a result, stock on hand of used goods that were acquired prior to the effective date of Federal Decree-Law No. (8) on VAT, or goods that have not previously been subject to VAT for other reasons, are not eligible to be sold under the profit margin scheme. VAT is, therefore, due on the full selling price of these goods.

VAT in Saudi

Date: 25 Jul, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

When Value Added Tax (VAT) was introduced in the UAE and Saudi Arabia on January 1, 2018, initially stakeholders were wary on the potential impact of the new tax policy on the economy. While a study by Alliance Business Centres Network revealed that the UAE will be least affected by the imposition of VAT, the introduction of VAT in Saudi Arabia is changing the market dynamics and bringing more transparency to the sector.

A report published by JLL clarifies that VAT is applied to any real estate transaction in the country. The 5 per cent rate is implemented on the sale of a residential, commercial, transfer of ownership of undeveloped land, and the sale of partly completed construction works.

However, rental agreements are exempted from VAT charges, which may impact the sale of new property combined with the 5 per cent VAT on brokerage as buyers may divert from buying new property and instead opt for leasing as an alternative. Cost for leasing, though, may also increase as ancillary services are subject to VAT.

Similar to the UAE, VAT will contribute to the government’s initiatives for economic diversification and continued improvement of public services to the general public.
In conclusion, the above-mentioned views on the potential impact of VAT are only assumptions, since real estate is a long-term product, the real effect of VAT in both countries will be defined further in the coming years.

VAT regulations maintain real estate investment competitiveness

Date: 18 Jul, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

The Federal Tax Authority, FTA, has called on persons dealing with commercial real estate to apply the basic Value Added Tax, VAT, rate of five percent on all sales and rent of such properties, urging buyers to pay the due VAT before proceeding with the transfer of ownership.

In a press statement issued today, the FTA stressed that tax laws had specifically aimed to provide a suitable environment for the continued growth and prosperity of the real estate sector – one of the most important economic sectors in the government’s plans to diversify sources of income, and one of the most attractive sectors for investors.

“With the exception of selling unrented commercial property and rental contracts for commercial units, all other property is either not subject to or exempt from the five percent VAT rate on businesses,” Al Bustani noted, adding that rented commercial property is not considered a supply when sold to Taxable Persons.

The Authority went on to explain that the sale of unrented commercial properties, or off-plan selling of commercial properties, is subject to five percent VAT, as is the rental of commercial property. However, taxes paid on the property’s expenses during a given rent period can be recovered through the Tax Return of the tenant if he/she is registered and entitled to a refund. It is also possible to recover the entirety of taxes incurred on construction that is purchased according to the capital assets system if the cost of the property is more than five million dirhams.

FTA: Electronic System to Return VAT to Tourists Entering Final Preparation Stages

Date: 14 Jul, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

The Cabinet Decision to implement a system that returns Value Added Tax (VAT) to tourists will cement the UAE’s status as a premier global tourist destination, asserted the Federal Tax Authority (FTA).

In a press statement issued today, the Authority explained that the Cabinet Decision has set clear standards branded with transparency and accuracy in returning VAT refunds to tourists visiting the UAE.

The Authority revealed that the project is nearing its final preparation stages, where an advanced system will be put in place to corresponds with international best practices. The system relies on an advanced integrated digital system to set up a direct connection with points of sale, as well as with all UAE ports of entry, allowing the global operator to coordinate among retailers registered with the FTA, and enable tourists to submit refund requests for their purchases.

FTA Director General Khalid Ali Al Bustani asserted that the Cabinet Decision to implement a system that returns VAT to tourists is in line with the forward-thinking vision of the UAE’s wise leadership to diversify the national economy and promote all economic sectors to increase their contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), including the country’s vibrant and promising tourism sector.

UAE banks now able to charge VAT on fees

Date: 14 Jul, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

Banks have started charging VAT on various services offered, following a June circular from the Central Bank of UAE, which rescinded a previous notice to the contrary.

In December, the Central Bank issued a notice informing banks that they should absorb VAT charges until they received further instructions.

In June last month, an amendment was issued, detailing 43 new caps on fees and commission charged on consumer-related banking services. The circular specified that “all fees set out in this amendment are exclusive of VAT charges.”

Tina Hsieh, senior manager for indirect tax at global consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers, said banks will now revise their fees and commissions, publishing any revisions in their schedule of charges.

“To that end, retail customers, for example, will be paying VAT in addition to the fees or commissions charged by banks,” she added.

The December notice seemed to oppose the understanding of many banks at the time, according to PwC, “where the interpretation is that charging VAT on their (maximum) fees and commissions is not an increase in fee but rather is a levy of tax on behalf of the Federal Tax Authority”.

However, the Central Bank clarified the issue in the circular issued last month, giving banks the go-ahead to charge VAT on fees to individuals and companies.

“The new amendment which is effective as of July 1 includes both individuals and entities. Both will be charged a 5 per cent VAT on all fees and bank services with no exception,” said Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, chairman of UAE Banks Federation in an interview with Al Bayan Economic.

UAE Cabinet approves VAT refund for tourists starting Q4 2018

Date: 11 Jul, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

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

  • Share:

External URL:

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

  • Share:

External URL:

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

  • Share:

External URL:

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.

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

Date: 02 Jul, 2018

  • Share:

External URL:

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

  • Share:

External URL:

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

  • Share:

External URL:

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

  • Share:

External URL:

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

  • Share:

External URL:

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

  • Share:

External URL:

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

  • Share:

External URL:

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 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

  • Share:

External URL:

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.