An image depicting a Impact of VAT on Different Departments

Impact of VAT on Different Departments

Table of Contents

The implementation of Value Added Tax (VAT) in the UAE affects virtually all functions of a business. With VAT applying on the majority of goods and services, it introduces wide-ranging operational, financial and compliance implications across departments.

Being unprepared to handle these VAT ramifications can risk financial losses, compliance penalties or customer dissatisfaction. The smart approach is to assess VAT consequences across all departments and implement comprehensive readiness plans 6-12 months before go-live.

Understanding VAT Basics

Before analysing VAT impact by department, let’s quickly recap some essential VAT fundamentals:

  • VAT Rate – UAE has a standard VAT rate of 5% on the value added at each stage of production and distribution
  • VAT Registration – Businesses with >375,000 AED revenue must register and account for VAT
  • Input VAT – VAT paid on business purchases can be claimed as input tax credit
  • Output VAT – VAT collected on sales invoices has to be regularly paid to tax authority
  • Exemptions – Certain services like finance, healthcare, education are zero-rated or exempt

Now let’s explore how core organizational functions are affected:

Finance and Accounting

Arguably the most impacted, finance teams handle extensive new compliance requirements:

  • New Tax Codes – Chart of accounts, accounting systems require new general ledger codes to track VAT liability, input and output taxes
  • VAT Invoices – Sales, purchase and debit/credit notes must be VAT compliant with details like GSTIN, tax amounts etc.
  • Filing VAT Returns – Regular filings outlining VAT collected & paid on transactions
  • Reconciliations – Accounts need reconciling with VAT returns to avoid discrepancies
  • Record Keeping – Invoices, contracts, transaction data needs archiving for up to 5 years to handle audits
  • Cash Flow – Monthly cash flow turbulence from input credit and output liabilities
  • Staffing – Hire tax accountants with VAT expertise for compliance
  • Training – Extensive education needed for finance staff on VAT accounting

In summary, finance must carry the biggest change management burden to enable VAT compliance.

Sales and Business Development

VAT also impacts sales management functions in various ways:

  • Pricing Strategies – Decide whether to absorb VAT to retain prices or pass it on through minimal mark-ups
  • Contracts & Paperwork – Sales agreements, proposals, invoices updated with VAT sections
  • Communications – Sensitively explain to customers reasons for price increases
  • Forecasting – Factor in potential demand contraction from increased prices
  • Target Setting – Adjust sales targets and incentives for the team keeping VAT impact in mind
  • Lead Conversion – Additional price points could deter some prospects during sales negotiations

The sales team needs to be equipped to handle these repercussions through training and customer interactions.


Similar effects are seen in marketing as well:

  • Campaigns & Collateral – Website, brochures, catalogues require complete pricing revision
  • Performance Tracking – Isolate VAT impact while analysing marketing ROI
  • Budgets – Account for 15% extra costs with VAT when planning annual budgets
  • Vendor Contracts – Update advertising, creative agency contracts to address VAT
  • Customer Communications – Timely notifications about impending price increases due to VAT

Marketing needs significant budgetary and operational recalibrations for business continuity.

Human Resources

While not immediately apparent, VAT has impacts on human resources as well:

  • Recruiting – Hire tax accountants if additional headcount needed for VAT compliance
  • Policy Updates – Employee contracts, handbook, payroll may need changes for VAT
  • Training – Schedule sessions to educate all staff across functions on VAT protocols
  • Vendor Contracts – Catering, facilities management and other HR vendor contracts need VAT clauses
  • T&E Policies – Employee travel and expenses rules may need tweaking for input tax eligibility

HR plays a key role in building organizational readiness through recruiting, training and policy interventions.

Procurement & Supply Chain

The purchasing function faces following VAT challenges:

  • Vendor Contracts – Negotiate VAT treatment for supplies & raw material imports
  • Budgets – Model for 10-15% extra costs from VAT in procurement budgets
  • Logistics – Streamline freight handling of tax invoices, customs clearance with VAT
  • Inventories – Boost buffer stock and reorder levels on key items to prevent stockouts from rising demand post-VAT

Astute supply chain planning is vital for uninterrupted production and preventing losses.

Legal teams need to ensure full VAT compliance:

  • Contracts – Insert VAT clauses in all customer/supplier contracts, SLAs, MOUs
  • Compliance Policies – Formulate rigorous VAT governance protocols across functions
  • Regulatory Updates – Actively track GCC VAT notifications and directives to ensure adherence
  • Audits – Compile all VAT transaction documentation needed for audits
  • Penalties – Avoid fines and business suspensions through strict compliance

Water-tight contracts and compliance practices are critical for error-free VAT implementation.

Technology and ERP

The IT function plays an instrumental role:

  • System Configuration – Extensively test and configure VAT logic into ERP, billing systems, accounting software
  • Integrations – Ensure VAT data seamlessly flows across linked legacy systems, billing portals, dashboards
  • Ecommerce – Program ecommerce platforms and payment gateways to handle VAT-inclusive pricing
  • Technical Support – Handhold users through new interfaces, provide system access to consultants

With much of VAT processing being technology-dependent, IT needs to deliver customized solutions aligned to the business.


As we’ve seen, nearly every department in an organization is impacted by VAT in diverse ways. Some overarching best practices include:

  • Involve all departments in upfront VAT planning
  • Continuously educate and update staff pre and post launch
  • Seek specialist VAT assistance if capacity falls short
  • Closely coordinate with vendors and customers

With meticulous preparation starting 12 months in advance, businesses can smoothly transition into the VAT regime.


How early should VAT preparedness begin?

Ideally 12 months in advance, even more for complex businesses.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

Penalties start from AED 500 and go up to 300% of unpaid VAT.

Will VAT registration be complicated?

Fairly straightforward for most companies with consultants assisting if needed.

Do existing contracts need VAT clauses?

Yes, so amend all current customer and vendor contracts.



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

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