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Long known as a Tax-free country, the UAE has finally announced Corporate Tax on 31st January 2022. The laws, regulations, and procedures governing the Corporate Tax are yet to be promulgated and published.
UAE is a signatory to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS). As a result, and to avoid Harmful Tax Practices amongst the businesses, UAE rolled out Economic Substance Regulations (ESR) and Country by Country Reporting in the year 2019.
OECD released a report on Pillar One and Pillar Two blueprints which addressed the BEPS Action 1 – “Addressing the Tax Challenges of the Digital Economy”. The report was widely accepted by all the forums including G7 and G20. Pillar Two solution which deals with a minimum tax rate (15%), was accepted by G20 in July 2021.
UAE's Corporate Tax proposes to incorporate global best practices and also reduce the compliance burden on the businesses. Corporate Tax would be paid on the taxable income, after making allowable adjustments to be specified in the proposed CT Law. The income or profit would be as reported in the financial statement prepared in accordance with internationally accepted accounting standards.
The Corporate Tax Law is a Federal Law. All businesses and commercial activities(legal entities)in the UAE will be subject to tax.
For now, no exemption is given to any specific industry.
However, businesses in the extraction of natural resources are subject to the existing tax laws and rates (Emirates level corporate taxation). As we understand, the Corporate Tax Law would also be applicable to the banking sector.
UAE Corporate Tax Law would be applicable to foreign entities and individuals if they conduct any business or commercial activities in the UAE on a regular basis.
Corporate Tax Law would be effective from financial years commencing on or after 1 June 2023. For e.g. if a company follows a calendar year as its financial year, i.e., 1 January to 31 December, its first corporate tax financial year would be 1 January 2024 to 31 December 2024. Likewise, if a company follows April to March as its financial year, its first corporate tax financial year would be 1 April 2024 to 31 March 2025.
No. Businesses can continue their current accounting or a financial year or choose a new accounting year/ financial year. This is like the Economic Substance Regulations compliance requirements. This is a welcome move as many businesses would not be required to change their accounting year/ financial year.
All business entities would be required to register with Federal Tax Authority under the proposed CT Law. Please remember VAT registration was mandatory only if a business attains a mandatory or voluntary threshold in terms of Turnover.
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has proposed the following tax rates:
An illustration: Taxable income of a business (after specified adjustments) for the financial year 2023-24 is AED 525,000. It would have to pay a corporate tax of AED 13,500, calculated as below
Businesses are not required to pay any Advance Tax or Provisional Tax
Corporate Tax Law would allow a business to avail credit of any foreign tax paid on its taxable income.
Dividends and capital gains earned by a UAE business from its "qualifying shareholdings" would not be included in computing the taxable income.
The foreign investor earns income in the UAE by way of dividends, capital gains, interest, royalties, or other investment returns, such income would not be taxed in the UAE.
Employment and salary income would not be taxable
Withholding tax will not be applicable on domestic and cross-border payments of any nature under the Corporate Tax Law. At the same time, the taxes withheld in other jurisdictions on income or payments made to UAE businesses will be allowed as a credit.
Businesses would be allowed to carry forward their business losses and set it off against the taxable profits from the subsequent years. This would be allowed once the conditions set in the Corporate Tax Law are met. However, the period up to which a business will be allowed to carry forward the losses is not defined yet.
Corporate Tax law allows UAE groups of companies to form a tax group and be treated as a single taxable person once it meets the required conditions. In such cases, the tax group as a whole would be required to file a single tax return for the entire group.
Tax losses of one group company may be offset against the taxable income of the other group company, subject to conditions.
UAE businesses will need to comply with transfer pricing rules and documentation requirements set with reference to OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines.
Free zones have committed the businesses inside the Zones, with corporate tax incentives of up to 50 years. Corporate Tax Law is applicable to all businesses in the UAE including the Free Zones. Corporate Tax Law will provide corporate tax incentives to such Free Zone businesses which comply with all regulatory requirements and that do not conduct business with mainland UAE.
The Ministry of Finance will remain as the Competent Authority for the purposes of bilateral/ multilateral agreements and the international exchange of information for tax purposes.
The Federal Tax Authority will be responsible for the administration, collection, and enforcement of Corporate Tax Law.
The Corporate Tax law will prescribe the administrative mechanism such as registration, compliance requirements, and penalties for non-compliance with the Corporate Tax Law.
Have a say in how the UAE Corporate Tax laws should be - submit your comments and learn more about the new CT Law.
All the answers on Tax loss carry forward under the new Corporate Tax Law.
Calculating your tax liability under the Corporate Tax Law
Are companies in UAE Free Zones subject to Corporate taxes?
The Corporate Tax Law is a Federal Law that will apply to all businesses and commercial activities(legal entities)in the UAE. Find out more.