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Assumptions of Corporate Tax in UAE

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The UAE has recently introduced a new tax policy requiring businesses operating in the UAE to pay corporate tax. This guide covers key aspects about corporate tax in the UAE in an easy-to-understand FAQ format.

What Exactly is Corporate Tax?

When it comes to running a successful business in the UAE, corporate tax is a key consideration. The good news? The UAE’s corporate tax regime is designed to be highly favorable for companies.

Here’s a quick overview:

  • Corporate Tax Rate: Companies operating in the UAE are subject to a corporate tax, but the rate is very low – just a percentage of your business profits.
  • Deductible Expenses: You can deduct various expenses from your taxable profits, which helps minimize your overall tax liability.
  • No Other Taxes: Apart from corporate tax and VAT, there are no other major taxes that businesses have to worry about in the UAE.

This streamlined tax structure creates a hugely attractive environment for entrepreneurs and companies looking to establish or expand their operations. By keeping more of your hard-earned profits, you’ll have greater flexibility to reinvest in your business, fund growth initiatives, and improve your bottom line.

So if you’re considering setting up shop in the UAE, the corporate tax landscape is definitely a major perk worth taking advantage of. It’s a straightforward, lucrative part of doing business in this thriving global hub.

What is the Corporate Tax Rate in the UAE?

The UAE offers a highly competitive corporate tax rate that makes it an appealing destination for businesses the standard corporate tax rate in the UAE is set at just 9%.

This 9% rate means that companies operating in the UAE are required to pay 9% of their tax-adjusted profits as corporate tax. Compared to many other countries, this low rate is considered internationally competitive.

The benefits of this favourable corporate tax structure are twofold. Firstly, it allows businesses to retain a larger portion of their earnings, which can then be reinvested into the company for expansion, innovation, or operational improvements. This financial flexibility is a significant advantage.

Additionally, the UAE’s tax laws enable companies to deduct a range of expenses from their taxable profits, further optimizing their tax burden. Coupled with the absence of other major taxes beyond the standard Value-Added Tax (VAT), the UAE offers a streamlined and efficient fiscal environment for businesses.

Overall, the 9% corporate tax rate, combined with the UAE’s broader tax-friendly policies, establishes a compelling landscape that continues to attract entrepreneurs, multinational corporations, and companies of all sizes. This makes the UAE an increasingly popular global hub for businesses seeking a competitive advantage.

When Will Businesses Have to Start Paying Corporate Tax?

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) implemented a federal corporate tax system in June 2023. This introduction of corporate tax applies to certain businesses operating within the UAE.

  • The new corporate tax will come into effect in the UAE from June 1, 2023.
  • All impacted businesses must be registered for corporate tax and be prepared to meet their first corporate tax compliance obligations from this effective date.

Which Businesses Will Have to Pay Corporate Tax in UAE?

Not all businesses in the UAE are subject to the recently implemented corporate tax system. This title digs deeper, providing the details you need to understand if your business falls under the UAE’s corporate tax umbrella. We’ll break down the key criteria for tax obligations and clarify who needs to comply with the new system.

  • The corporate tax will apply to most types and sizes of legal business entities and companies operating in the UAE mainland.
  • There are two major exceptions:
  • Businesses operating in designated “free zones”
  • Mainland businesses with taxable income under AED 375,000
  • More details of exempt categories will follow in the legislation.

What Kind of Expenses Can Businesses Claim to Reduce Tax?

  • Business expenses that are wholly and exclusively for business purposes are generally tax deductible, such as:
  • Employee salaries and staff costs
  • Rent for business premises
  • Cost of inventory and materials
  • Depreciation of assets used for business
  • Utilities, insurance, maintenance costs
  • There will be guidance on categories and limits of deductible expenses

What is the Loss Carry Forward Rule?

  • If a business incurs a net loss rather than a profit in a tax year, it can carry forward this loss and deduct it against profits in future years.
  • This will help to reduce future corporate tax liability.
  • Losses may generally be carried forward indefinitely until fully utilized.
  • Proper tax records must be maintained to claim carry forward losses.

What are Transfer Pricing and Anti-Tax Avoidance Rules?

  • The UAE corporate tax law aims to introduce international best practices to prevent tax avoidance.
  • There will be transfer pricing rules for transactions between a local entity and overseas related parties to prevent profit shifting.
  • Transactions must follow the “arm’s length principle” at fair market value.
  • Related party transactions will need documentation and economic justification.

What Tax Compliance and Reporting Requirements Are Expected?

  • Tax registered businesses must file corporate tax returns annually based on their accounting period.
  • Financial systems must be configured to capture necessary data points for tax reporting.
  • Proper accounts, bookkeeping records and supporting documents must be retained for at least 5 years.
  • Tax returns may be subject to audits and penalties will apply for errors or omissions.


  • The upcoming 9% corporate tax rate in UAE is internationally competitive.
  • With prudent planning, businesses can minimize risks and continue thriving.
  • Seeking guidance from a tax advisor is highly recommended to meet compliance duties correctly.


Are all businesses in the UAE subject to corporate tax?

No, not all businesses in the UAE are subject to corporate tax. Companies operating in mainland UAE are currently not subject to corporate tax, while companies operating in free zones may be subject to corporate tax depending on the free zone regulations.

What is the corporate tax rate in the UAE free zones?

The corporate tax rate in UAE free zones can vary, but it is typically between 0% and 20%, depending on the specific free zone and the nature of the business activity.

Are there any exemptions or exceptions to corporate tax in the UAE?

Yes, there are certain exemptions and exceptions to corporate tax in the UAE. Companies operating in specific industries or sectors, such as oil and gas, banking, and certain manufacturing activities, may be subject to different tax regimes or exemptions.

What are the key requirements for corporate tax compliance in the UAE?

Key requirements for corporate tax compliance in the UAE include maintaining proper accounting records, filing annual tax returns, paying any applicable taxes on time, and complying with transfer pricing regulations and other relevant laws and regulations.

Are there any double taxation avoidance agreements in place for UAE companies?

Yes, the UAE has signed double taxation avoidance agreements with several countries to prevent companies from being taxed twice on the same income. These agreements help companies avoid double taxation and promote cross-border trade and investment.



Ms. Vibha Modi, CA, is supported by 13+ Years of Corporate Tax, International Taxation and Accounting Expertise.

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