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Important changes to taxes and visas in the United Arab Emirates


08/03/2017

Important changes to taxes and visas in the United Arab EmiratesThe tax system in the United Arab Emirates is unique in the world. In the Free Zones, which drive the economy, there is no corporation tax, while the country’s residents are not subject to personal income tax. The only state income from taxation is the 5% import tax payable on goods imported from abroad. From 2018 the Emirates, together with other Gulf states, are planning a significant change with the introduction of VAT. The standard rate is expected to be 5%. This will lead to a considerable upheaval in the country, as up until now there hasn’t even been a state organisation responsible for collecting tax and with whom returns had to be filed. The details are still unknown, and as yet it is still not clear which companies, products and services will be subject to VAT. One thing which is clear, however, is that in order to be able to pay in the tax, those companies which operate within the country will have to keep continuous records.

At the same time, the local government would like to make it easier for businessmen wishing to settle or become resident, particularly those with high intellectual capabilities, to achieve their goals. Until now, if somebody wanted to settle in the country as an entrepreneur, they needed a company and the physical place or address which came with it. The requirements regarding visas for freelancers have still not been made public. The one thing we know for certain is that the fee which will have to be paid for them will be between 15 000 and 30 000 AED (1 USD = 3.66 AED). The reason for the large discrepancy is that prices will vary from free zone to free zone.

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