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A Guide to VAT in UAE: 10 Things to Know

A GUIDE TO VAT IN UAE AND 10 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

The Federal Tax Agency (FCA) has published a list of the top ten things businesses should know before applying for VAT to raise awareness in the business society and community.

This, in turn, facilitates the smooth and efficient implementation of the VAT system – which will come into force on 1 January 2018 – in line with the highest international standards.

  1. WHAT IS VAT?

Value-added Tax (or VAT) is an indirect tax levied on the supply of most goods and services. This is one of the most common consumption taxes in the world. More than 100+ countries have implemented VAT (or equivalent, Goods and Services Tax), including all 29 EU member states, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia. VAT is calculated at each stage of the supply chain. Generally, the final consumer bears the VAT cost, while businesses collect and account for the Tax. Indeed, companies will collect taxes on behalf of the government.

Businesses pay the government the taxes they collect from consumers. In some cases, they can claim the VAT they paid to the supplier back from the government. Thus, the tax revenue collected by the government is a tax levied on this “value-added” at all supply chain stages.

  1. WHY DOES THE UAE CHARGE VAT?

The United Arab Emirates provides its citizens and residents with various high-quality public services, including hospitals, roads, public schools, parks, and amenities. These services are paid for by the government. Therefore, VAT will bring the country a new source of revenue, ensuring the continued provision of high-quality public services. It will also help the government achieve its vision of reducing its dependence on oil and building a sustainable knowledge economy for the future.

  1. WHAT IS THE VAT RATE, AND WHICH AREAS ARE SUBJECT TO VAT?

The VAT rate in the United Arab Emirates is set at 5%. It is applied to supply all goods and services, including food, commercial buildings, and hotel services. A zero tax rate or exemption will be applied if there is no express rule. Zero tax rates are levied on many goods and services, including health and education services, investment gold supplies, primary supplies for residential buildings, and transportation supplies. International passenger and cargo, and export.

Tax-exempt activities include vacant land, transporting local passengers, providing residential buildings, and providing financial services.

  1. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FREE AND ZERO-RATED SUPPLY?

Businesses that provide 0-rated goods or services must register for VAT but can claim back the VAT they incurred on their purchase. Meanwhile, businesses that provide tax-exempt goods or services cannot collect the VAT they incur on their purchases.

5. MANDATORY REGISTRATION LIMIT AND VOLUNTARY REGISTRATION LIMIT

Businesses must register for VAT if taxable imports and supplies exceed the mandatory registration threshold of AED 375,000. Alternatively, businesses can voluntarily register for VAT if their supplies and imports are below the mandatory registration threshold but above the voluntary registration threshold of AED 187,500.

Similarly, a company can register voluntarily if its costs exceed the threshold for voluntary registration. This special voluntary registration capability is designed to allow startups with no revenue to register for VAT.  

  1. IS THERE A SPECIFIC DATE FOR THE BUSINESS TO REGISTER FOR VAT?

All companies must submit their application as soon as possible to avoid the risk of not registering before 1 January 2018, resulting in penalties as stipulated in the Government’s Decision No (40) 2017 on administrative penalties for violations. Tax law in the United Arab Emirates.

  1. HOW TO REGISTER FOR VAT? 

Uae Corporate Tax registration can be done through the website of the Federal Tax Service, which is designed to meet the highest international standards. The subscription portal operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  1. WILL THERE BE TAX CONSOLIDATION?

Companies that meet certain requirements by law (such as having domicile in the United Arab Emirates and being related/affiliated) will be able to register as a tax group. For some businesses, tax grouping will be a useful tool to help simplify VAT accounting.

  1. CAN BUSINESS CALCULATE VAT BEFORE JANUARY 1, 2018?

Businesses are prohibited from imposing VAT on goods or services before January 1, 2018.

  1. RECORDS TO BE RETAINED

All businesses, registered and unregistered, must retain records such as Balance Sheets, Profit and Loss, and records of fixed assets, payroll, inventory, and stock levels, as well as accounting records (payments, receipts, purchases, sales, revenues, and expenses).

Businesses may be required to make changes to their financial management practices, core operations, the procedures they use to keep accounting records and books, the technology they use in their accounting practices, and changes in their human resources (accountants, tax advisers, etc.)

EXTRA BUT IMPORTANT DETAILS

ISSUE TAX INVOICES FOR ALL TAXABLE GOODS & SERVICES

As per Article (65) of VAT Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017, businesses making taxable supplies must issue an original tax invoice and deliver it to the recipient of goods and services. Likewise, VAT registrant persons making deemed supplies must issue an original tax invoice and deliver it to the recipient of goods and services if available or keep it in the records in case there is no recipient. The tax invoice must contain the following data:

  • The word ‘Tax Invoice’ (in clear writing)
  • Name, address, and the Tax Registration Number (TRN) of the supplier
  • Name, address, and TRN of the receiver (if registered)
  • The serial or relevant Tax Identification Number (TIN) that helps identify the Tax Invoice and its number in any number of invoices –
  • Issuance date
  • Supply date, if it is different from the issuance date
  • Details of the supplied goods or services
  • The unit price, quantity or size of supplies, payable VAT rate, and payable amount (in AED) for each good or service
  • Any offered discount rates
  • The total payable sum in AED
  • Payable Tax in AED with the applicable exchange rate
  • If the recipient demands the tax calculation, the invoice must contain said details, as per Article 48 of the Law 

DETERMINING THE SCOPE OF VAT REGISTRATION

Businesses should determine if they are subject to VAT in the UAE. Your business must proceed with VAT registration in the UAE if the total value of taxable supplies and imports has exceeded the required registration threshold of AED 375,000 in the last 12 months or if supplies are expected and imports exceeding the required threshold in the next 30 days.

Businesses can also apply for voluntary VAT in the UAE if the value of their total taxable supplies and imports has exceeded the AED 187,500 threshold in the past 12 months or if the business expects the value of supplies and imports exceeds the voluntary threshold. Registration threshold in the next 30 days. In either case, you should consult with VAT consultants in Dubai to apply.

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