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Deloitte survey: Businesses in the UAE need to be adequately prepared for the introduction of federal Corporate tax

28 February 2022 - On 31 January 2022, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) announced that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will introduce a federal Corporate Tax (CT) on business profits that will be effective for financial years starting on or after 1 June 2023. The introduction of a Corporate Tax regime in the UAE is a significant event for most businesses with broad implications for people, processes and technology. While the tax law has not yet been issued, Deloitte has conducted a client survey in order to understand the steps businesses have already taken to get ready for the introduction of the new tax.

“Some of the reasons behind this decision are that the UAE is looking to cement its position as a leading global business hub, in addition to accelerating its transformation to achieve its strategic objectives. Overall, this announcement reaffirms the UAE’s commitment to meeting international standards for tax transparency and preventing harmful tax practices,” said Nauman Ahmed, Middle East Tax leader.

The Deloitte survey shows that while the majority of respondents are following the development regarding the introduction of corporate tax, less than a quarter of respondents feel very well informed about the subject. This is not unexpected given that details of the tax law and any implementing regulations are yet to be released. 

“It is important to note that although the law has not yet been issued, the UAE Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has publicly communicated the key design principles and policy choices of the new regime. This provides a solid platform on which a preliminary (qualitative and quantitative) assessment can be performed with a view to assess the financial impact and identify key risks and weaknesses. Businesses should consider performing these assessments now so that they have adequate time to prepare,” said Muhammad Bahemia, Deloitte Middle East Business Tax leader.

Almost half of the Deloitte survey respondents represent local businesses or businesses headquartered in the UAE. Many of these businesses will be facing the challenge of dealing with CT for the first time and may have to significantly adapt their business processes and systems to deal with new compliance obligations. The remaining respondents represent foreign owned businesses or businesses headquartered outside the Middle East region. 

Foreign based groups and local businesses have different features/profiles. Local businesses typically have much larger operations in the UAE and have often had less exposure to direct taxes. Therefore, the tax function is typically smaller and less mature. Accordingly, the introduction will be likely present more challenges for local businesses. 

Although most businesses have a full understanding of what corporate tax is, have sufficient resources in place and have an in-house tax function, 69% of them are still planning to hire an external advisor to support them throughout their corporate tax journey according to survey respondents. 

“Businesses have 16 to 22 months to prepare and, therefore, it is important to consider that this a marathon and not a sprint. There is a great deal to be done for every business to be able to achieve day one compliance. We hope these results provide some interesting food for thought on the commencement of their implementation journey”, concluded said Alex Law, Partner and UAE Tax leader. 

To view the full survey results, please click here:  Preparing for Corporate Tax in the United Arab Emirates | Deloitte Middle East

For additional materials around the implementation of Corporate Tax in the UAE, please visit this page  Corporate Tax in the UAE | Deloitte Middle East

Press contact

Nadine El Hassan
Public Relations Regional Leader
Deloitte Middle East
Tel: +961 (0) 1 748444

Click here for the Arabic version

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