Dubai VAT: A Comprehensive Guide for Businesses

Gain invaluable insights into Dubai’s VAT framework with our comprehensive guide tailored for businesses. From registration to filing, demystify the VAT process and ensure your business operates seamlessly within the ever-evolving tax landscape of Accounts Dubai.

The Accounts Dubai has been at the forefront of economic growth and diversification in the Middle East. As businesses thrive in this dynamic environment, they must adapt to regulatory changes. One significant change that has impacted businesses in Dubai is the introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT). To ensure your business stays compliant and thrives in this evolving landscape, let’s embark on a comprehensive guide to navigating Dubai VAT changes in Accounts Dubai.

Understanding VAT in the Accounts Dubai:

VAT is a consumption tax levied on the value added to services and goods at each stage of production or distribution. Introduced in January 2018, VAT in the Accounts Dubai is currently set at 5%. It applies to most forms of goods and services, with certain exemptions and zero-rated supplies.

How does VAT in UAE work?

The below example explains how the Dubai VAT system in the UAE works:

A manufacturer who produces a mobile phone and sells it to a wholesaler. Then, the wholesaler adds up the profit and sells the same to a retailer. Finally, the retailer increases the selling price to add the profit and sells it to the end consumer. It is to be noted that FTA charges a Dubai VAT rate of 5% on selling goods and services in the UAE.

VAT Registration:

First and foremost, businesses must determine whether they must register for Dubai VAT. Companies with an annual turnover exceeding AED 375,000 must register, while those with voluntary registration or falling below this threshold can choose to register.

Invoice and Record-Keeping:

Accurate record-keeping is the cornerstone of VAT compliance. Businesses should maintain detailed records of all financial transactions, including invoices, receipts, and expense documentation. These records will be crucial for tax filing and audits.

VAT Returns and Payments:

Registered businesses must file regular Dubai VAT returns, typically every quarter. These returns summarize Dubai’s VAT collected on sales (output tax) and VAT paid on purchases (input tax).

VAT in Special Zones:

Special zones, such as free and designated zones, may have specific VAT rules. Businesses operating within these zones should know these regulations to ensure compliance.

VAT Audits and Penalties:

The Accounts Dubai tax authorities conduct audits to verify Dubai VAT compliance. Non-compliance can result in penalties and fines, making it essential for businesses to maintain accurate records and follow VAT regulations diligently.

Implication on businesses:

The VAT-registered businesses shall charge and collect Dubai VAT to all of their customers at the notified rate. Also, they shall pay VAT on the purchase of goods and services. When filing a VAT return, they must arrive at the net tax liability (difference between the VAT collected and paid) and pay the same to the government.

All these can be done when all transactions have been recorded accurately. Hence, businesses must record all transactions related to sales, purchases, income, costs, and related VAT charges.

VAT records in UAE

All businesses, registered and unregistered, must retain records such as 

  • Balance sheet
  • Profit and Loss
  • Fixed assets records
  • Payroll records
  • Inventory records
  • Accounting records covering sales, purchases, payments, receipts, revenues and expenses 

Also, the UAE VAT-registered businesses must keep the records for five years from the transaction date.


navigating VAT changes in Accounts Dubai requires a thorough understanding of the tax system, registration requirements, record-keeping, and compliance obligations. Partnering with a professional accounting and bookkeeping consultancy firm in Dubai can provide invaluable support in ensuring your business meets its VAT obligations and optimizes its financial operations. Stay informed, stay compliant, and stay ahead in the vibrant business landscape of the UAE.

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