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UAE Tax Summaries: A Comprehensive Review

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a unique and advantageous tax landscape, making it a favoured destination for individuals, corporations, and investors across the globe. This comprehensive review utilizes information provided by AMY Consulting’s detailed tax summaries to provide an insightful view into the UAE tax system.

1. Corporate Tax

In the UAE, there is no federal corporate income tax legislation applicable across the UAE. Instead, each of the seven emirates has its own regulations, and only certain industries are typically subject to corporate income tax (CIT), such as oil, gas and petrochemical companies, and branches of foreign banks. Other businesses are not generally subject to CIT, but this can vary depending on the specific regulations of each emirate.

2. Personal Income Tax

A significant advantage of the UAE tax system is the absence of personal income tax. This tax benefit is a primary reason why the UAE is an attractive destination for global talent and investors.

3. Value-Added Tax (VAT)

VAT was introduced in the UAE on January 1, 2018. The standard rate is 5%, applicable to the majority of goods and services. Certain supplies of goods and services are zero-rated, and others are exempt from VAT. It’s essential for businesses to understand their VAT obligations to avoid penalties for non-compliance.

4. Excise Tax

The UAE introduced Excise Tax in 2017 on specified goods, which are typically those harmful to human health or the environment. Current rates range from 50% to 100%, depending on the goods in question. The tax is imposed at the point of production or importation and is typically included in the price paid by the consumer.

5. Customs Duties

The UAE applies a customs duty of 5% on the CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight) value of most goods imported into the UAE. Some goods, such as certain agricultural products, printed material, and pharmaceuticals, are exempt from customs duties.

6. Property Tax

The UAE does not levy taxes on property. However, individual emirates may impose fees related to property transactions. For instance, in Dubai, a property registration fee applies to the purchase of property.

7. Double Tax Treaties

The UAE has signed numerous double tax treaties with other countries to prevent double taxation of income. These agreements usually offer reductions in withholding tax rates on dividends, interest, and royalties paid to residents of the UAE.

8. Free Zones

The UAE is renowned for its numerous free zones, offering advantageous conditions such as zero corporate and personal taxes, 100% ownership for foreign investors, and 100% repatriation of capital and profits. Each free zone is designed around one or more business industry categories and only offers licenses to companies within those categories.

9. Economic Substance Regulations

In response to EU and OECD initiatives, the UAE introduced Economic Substance Regulations in 2019. These rules require UAE entities that conduct certain activities (like banking, insurance, fund management, etc.) to have adequate economic substance in the UAE.

10. Recent Developments

Recent years have seen a range of developments in UAE tax law, including the introduction of VAT and Excise Tax, the implementation of Economic Substance Regulations, and ongoing adjustments related to international tax standards.

This article provides a general guide to the tax system in the UAE, leveraging resources from AMY Consulting’s tax summaries. As always, given the complexity of tax laws and their application, it is recommended to seek professional advice for specific situations and complex tax planning.




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