UAE’s New Corporate Tax: What You Need To Do To Prepare

The UAE has long been known for its business-friendly policies and tax-free environment. However, the UAE has been looking to diversify its revenue streams with the global economic landscape constantly evolving. In January 2023, the UAE announced the introduction of a new federal corporate tax law to promote economic growth and broaden its revenue base.

This new tax law marks a significant departure from the previous tax-free environment, as it imposes a 9% corporate tax rate on companies operating in the UAE, with some exemptions and deductions available. UAE businesses must stay informed about the new corporate tax regulations to ensure compliance and avoid potential penal consequences.

The Taxman Cometh: What UAE’s Corporate Tax Means for Taxable Entities

The new corporate tax will come into effect on 1 June 2023 and apply to financial years commencing on or after that date. The corporate tax rate is set at 9% and will only apply to taxable income exceeding AED 375,000. Any income below this threshold will not be subject to tax.

Under the new law, resident companies will be taxed on their worldwide income, meaning any income derived from inside and outside the UAE. To be considered a tax resident of the UAE, a legal entity must meet specific criteria, including being established under UAE law, being effectively managed and controlled in the UAE even if established under foreign law or being determined as a tax resident by the tax authorities.

Meanwhile, non-resident companies will be subject to corporate tax under specific circumstances, such as having a permanent establishment in the UAE, deriving UAE-sourced income, or having a nexus in the UAE as determined by the tax authorities.

Free zone entities will also be subject to tax on non-qualifying income. The tax authorities will define qualifying income in due course.

Tax Breaks for the Lucky Few: Who’s Exempt from Corporate Tax in the UAE?

Certain entities will be exempt from the corporate tax. These exempt entities include government entities and government-controlled entities, as well as those engaged in extractive or non-extractive natural resource businesses. The exemption will ensure the growth of the UAE’s financial services and the oil and gas sector.

Qualifying public benefit entities, investment funds, and public or private pension or social security funds that meet certain conditions are also eligible for exemption.

Keeping Records: Your Key to Tax Compliance

Taxable entities will be required to maintain accurate records and documents for 7 years after the end of the relevant tax year. These records will be essential to back up the information provided in tax returns or any other documents filed with the tax authorities and will help the tax authorities determine the taxable income.

But it’s not just taxable persons who need to keep records. Even if you’re exempt from tax, you still need to maintain records that will allow the tax authorities to verify your exempt status. These records should also be kept for 7 years after the end of the relevant tax year.

Tick Tock Taxpayers: Deadlines for Tax Returns and Payments

Taxpayers must file a tax return within 9 months from the end of the tax year. They must also make corporate tax payments within 9 months from the end of the tax year. The good news is that taxpayers are not required to make advance corporate tax payments.

Although registration for e-filing of tax returns under the new federal corporate tax regime is yet to be notified by the FTA, the tax returns can be electronically filed on the EmaraTax portal of the tax administration once it is announced.

From Compliance to Optimization: Enhance Your UAE Business Operations

As UAE sets its sights on diversifying its economy, the recent announcement of a federal corporate tax law signals a new chapter for businesses operating there. Moglix supports businesses in the UAE, offering solutions to streamline procurement processes. Contact us to learn more.

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