New Federal Decree Clarifies Value Added Tax in UAE


President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued the Federal Decree-Law No. 8 of 2017 for Value Added Tax in UAE, with one of the lowest rates in the world.

A preliminary step to implementing VAT in the UAE as of January 2018, the 5% tax is set to be imposed on the import and supply of goods and services at each stage of production and distribution, including what is deemed to be a supply.

“The Federal Decree-Law issued by H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed is the bedrock of the UAE’s planned tax system, which was designed to meet the most stringent of standards and best practices,” said H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Federal Tax Authority.

“The Value-Added Tax, which is set to be implemented across all GCC countries over the next two years, will bring a new revenue stream for the national economy and GDP. This, in turn, will ensure consistency in the high quality of government services, to mirror the UAE’s advanced position on several global competitiveness indexes.”

“The new tax system will provide extra support for the Government to implement the vision of the UAE leadership and build a diversified and productive knowledge economy,” H.H. Sheikh Hamdan added.

“The newly introduced Value Added Tax that shall be implemented in the GCC depending on the readiness of each member State between 1 January 2018 and 1 January 2019 pertaining to the Common VAT Agreement of the States of the GCC, will have positive results on the economy, far exceeding its 5% rate, given that revenues will be redistributed to development projects that benefit society at large and accelerate progress until the UAE reaches the top of global rankings across all sectors.”

The Decree-Law provides that all supplies of goods and services are subject to VAT at a standard rate of 5% with the exception of specific supplies subject to the zero rate and what is exempted as specified in the Decree-law. Tax imposed shall be the responsibility of a Taxable Person who makes taxable supplies or what is deemed to be a supply or on import.

According to the Decree-Law, a supply of goods includes the transfer of ownership of the goods or the right to use them as an owner from one Person to another and an entry into a contract between two parties triggering the transfer of goods at a later time. A supply of service is any supply that is not considered a supply of goods.

The Decree-Law made two exceptions as to what constitutes a supply: the issuance or sale of any Voucher unless the received Consideration exceeds its declared monetary value; and the transfer of whole or an independent part of a Business from a Person to a Taxable Person for the purposes of continuing such Business that was transferred.

A Government entity is regarded as making a supply if said entity was not performing activities in sovereign capacity or if its activities are in competition with the private sector. The Cabinet – upon the suggestion of the Minister – issues a decision determining specific Government entities whose activities are considered as “activities in sovereign capacity” and instances where these activities are considered not in competition with the private sector.

A supply is considered “Deemed” if the supply of goods or services was all or part of a taxable person’s assets, but no longer considered to be as such (provided the supply was made without consideration).


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