Taxation in the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven emirates, with autonomous emirate and local governments. The United Arab Emirates does not have any federal income tax. An income tax decree has been enacted by each Emirate, but in practice, the enforcement of these decrees is restricted to foreign banks and to oil companies.

The UAE government implemented value added tax (VAT) in the country from January 1, 2018 at a standard rate of 5%.[1][2]


Most of the revenues have been generated from oil sales to other countries. UAE is looking to diversify from this source and other hydrocarbons and hence introducing other forms of revenue such as VAT.[3]

Registration Criteria

A business must register for VAT if their taxable supplies and imports exceed the mandatory registration threshold of AED 375,000. Furthermore, a business may choose to register for VAT voluntarily if their supplies and imports are less than the mandatory registration threshold, but exceed the voluntary registration threshold of AED 187,500. Similarly, a business may register voluntarily if their expenses exceed the voluntary registration threshold. This latter opportunity to register voluntarily is designed to enable start-up businesses with no turnover to register for VAT.[4]

Zero-Rated Items of VAT

VAT will be charged at 0% in respect of the following main categories of supplies:[5]

  • Exports of goods and services to outside the GCC;
  • International transportation, and related supplies;register for VAT
  • Supplies of certain sea, air and land means of transportation (such as aircraft and ships);
  • Certain investment grade precious metals (e.g. gold, silver, of 99% purity);
  • Newly constructed residential properties, that are supplied for the first time within 3 years of their construction ;
  • Supply of certain education services, and supply of relevant goods and services;
  • Supply of certain Healthcare services, and supply of relevant goods and services.

Exemptions of VAT

The following categories of supplies will be exempt from VAT:[6]

  • The supply of some financial services (clarified in VAT legislation);
  • Residential properties;
  • Bare land; and Local passenger transport

See Also



  1. "VAT in UAE 2018". Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  2. "VAT". Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  3. "VAT". Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  4. "New UAE VAT And Tax Procedures Laws - Tax - United Arab Emirates". Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  5. "New VAT law: housing exempt and education at 0%". The National. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  6. Fichte; Heaver, Co-Irina; Corrie, Priyasha. "Summary of the new VAT Law in the UAE | Lexology". Retrieved 2017-09-14.
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