Understanding UAE Corporate Tax
Understanding UAE Corporate Tax: 7 Key Insights
1. UAE Corporate Tax Overview
The UAE corporate tax is applied to the taxable income of a person during the tax period, calculated through self-assessment and filed on the Federal Tax Authority website. The tax is imposed annually and is dependent on the net profit or loss before tax found on the financial statement. Adjustments must be made before determining taxable income for the period.
2. Registration Requirements
All taxable persons, including those falling under the Free Zone Persons category, must register for corporate tax. In certain instances, the FTA may require exempt individuals to register at its discretion. Upon registration, a corporate tax registration number is issued and used for filing returns within 9 months from the end of the relevant tax period. Failure to pay within this timeframe may result in penalties.
3. Small Business Tax Relief
Small businesses can benefit from tax relief, in addition to the 0% corporate tax rate for taxable income up to AED 375,000. The threshold for small business tax relief is yet to be announced, and businesses must make an election to the FTA to qualify. Relief includes simplified compliance obligations, with taxable income not considered during the tax period.
4. Group Relief and Tax Exemptions
Group relief is available for transfers between qualifying group companies, subject to specific criteria. Free Zone Persons (FZPs) enjoy a 0% CT rate on qualifying income and a 9% rate on other taxable income. Election to be subject to regular tax rates may apply, and non-qualifying Free Zone entities are subject to the standard corporate tax rate.
5. Financial Records and Auditing
Maintaining financial statements and records is mandatory for all taxpayers, with a requirement to store records for at least seven years. Businesses approved for tax groups can use consolidated financial statements. Auditing is only mandatory for entities specified in the Minister’s decision, while others can maintain unaudited statements.
6. Anti-Avoidance Provisions
Though specific anti-avoidance provisions are not explicitly stated, general anti-avoidance provisions are included in the corporate tax regime. The tax authority has a seven-year window for audits and applying anti-avoidance provisions. Penalties, in the form of interest payments and other fees, may apply based on the level of non-compliance.
7. Provisions for Individuals Doing Business
Individuals, termed as natural persons, engaged in business activities are subject to corporate tax. The taxable income includes earnings from business activities conducted within the UAE. Salary and employment income are not subject to corporate tax. Freelancers and influencers considered self-employed individuals, are subject to corporate tax only if engaged in specified taxable business activities.
As the UAE corporate tax regime unfolds, businesses and individuals must stay informed about the evolving landscape. Compliance with registration, understanding relief provisions, and maintaining accurate financial records are crucial for a smooth transition into the corporate tax era. Continuous updates from the Federal Tax Authority will provide further clarity on specific business activities subject to corporate tax.