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flag United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates: Business Environment

In this page: Accounting Rules | Tax Rates | Intellectual Property | Legal Framework | Standards | Business Practices

 

Accounting Rules

Tax Year
From 1st January to 31st December.
Accounting Standards
The accounting rules are still not very developed but the government to trying for the convergence of national practices towards international standards IAS/IFRS. There is no Accounting code in Emirates.
Accounting Regulation Bodies
UAE Ministry of Economy
Accounting Reports
Companies should provide to the Ministry of Finance (trading companies) or to the Ministry of Industry (industrial companies) an annual activity report audited by an auditor. This obligation is only meant for renewal of the company's license. In fact, no organization double-checks the accounts.
Publication Requirements
The companies listed on the stock exchange should submit their accounts to the "Emirates securities and commodities market authority" which imposes quarterly publication of balance sheets and income statements and an annual audited income statement.
Professional Accountancy Bodies
 ALLOITT GROUP in the region , Professional accountants
AAA (en anglais) , Accountants and Auditors Association
Certification and Auditing
Financial Statements must be prepared annually. The State Audit Institution of United Arab Emirates is one of the main audit organization in the country.
Accounting News
EIN News - Middle East Accounting News

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Tax Rates

Consumption Taxes

Nature of the Tax
Implementation of VAT is under process.
Tax Rate
The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG) is considering the introduction of GCC wide value-added-tax (VAT) of 5% shall be enforced soon.

Learn more about Service Providers in the United Arab Emirates on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Corporate Taxes

Company Tax
0%. There are no taxes levied by the Federal Government on income or wealth of companies and individuals.
Tax Rate For Foreign Companies
There is no difference between the residents and non-residents as far as taxation is concerned.
Capital Gains Taxation
None.
Main Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
None
Other Corporate Taxes
None
Other Domestic Resources
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.
 

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  United Arab Emirates Middle East & North Africa United States Germany
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 4.0 19.0 11.0 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 12.0 184.0 175.0 207.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 32.3 32.3 46.7 46.8

Source: Doing Business - Last Available Data.

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Individual Taxes

Tax Rate

Individuals are not taxed in UAE. 0%
There is however a property tax for the property owners. between 2 and 15% of the property price based on the Emirate and the owner's profession.
Dubai emirate also imposes a rent tax. 5% of the annual rent for the lesors.
Municipalities also impose tax on services. It is deducted on the services of restaurants and hotels. varies from Emirate to Emirate:  10% in Dubai; 16% in Abu Dhabi.
Real property tax A transfer charge of 2% is levied on the transfer of real estate in the UAE (seller paying 0.5% and buyers 1.5%).
Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Individuals are not taxed in UAE.
Special Expatriate Tax Regime
No special tax regime for expatriates.

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Double Taxation Treaties

Countries With Whom a Double Taxation Treaty Have Been Signed
Annexure of countries which have signed a double-taxation treaty with the Emirates (page 14).
Double Taxation Agreements signed by UAE
Withholding Taxes
No Whithholding taxes are imposed by the federal government of the United Arab Emirates.

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Sources of Fiscal Information

Tax Authorities
Dubai Customs
Sharjah customs
Abu Dhabi customs
Other Domestic Resources
Datamix Group. Provider of technical and business knowledge in the region.

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Learn more about Taxes and Accounting in the United Arab Emirates on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

Intellectual Property

National Organizations
Consult the Directorate of Industrial Property of the Ministry of Economy and Commerce. In 1992, Emirates has passed three laws for intellectual protection: one law on copyrights, another on trademarks and the last one on patents. It has been envisaged to provide them with a legal framework in conformity with the requirements of the TRIPS (Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights) agreements. A major weakness in the UAE’s intellectual property politic is the lack of regulations to allow for the establishment of organizations with the authority to collect royalties on behalf of its members.
Regional Organizations
None
International Membership
Member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
Signatory to the Paris Convention For the Protection of Intellectual Property
 

National Regulation and International Agreements

 
Type of property and law Validity International Agreements Signed
Patent
 
Federal Law no.17
20 years
Trademark
 
Federal Law no.37
10 years
Design
 
Federal Law no.17
10 years  
Copyright
 
Federal Law no.7
- 50 years after the death of the author
- 25 years for art works
- 20 years radio and television programs
WIPO Copyright Treaty
Industrial Models
 
Federal Law no. 17
10 years  

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Legal Framework

Independence of Justice
The judicial system is not independent.
Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
The judicial system of the country does not guarantee impartial justice to foreign nationals.
The Language of Justice
Classical Arabic is official language of the courts. Gulf Arabic and English can be used in all the federal courts. In local courts, only Arabic is used.
Recourse to an Interpreter
Recourse to an interpreter is possible.
Sources of the Law and Legal Similarities
The two main sources of law are the Sharia which affects the personal status, criminal cases and civil law for other cases. In some Emirates commercial disputes can be judged by Sharia courts.
Checking National Laws Online
National legal portal, only in Arabic
Website for information on the Emirates judicial system.

Learn more about Lawyers and Legal in the United Arab Emirates on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Standards

National Standards Organizations
Website of the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA).
Integration in the International Standards Network
Emirates have integrated in the international standardization system since 'ESMA becoming member of the Organisation ISO and the International Communication Union. Moreover, regionally there is an attempt for harmonization of the requirements related to standards in the framework of the Customs Union between member countries of the Gulf Council.
Classification of Standards
UAE + S+ GSO and after either a digit code corresponding to the area or a letter code and figures then the year. Internally, the code is composed of 2 digits corresponding to the product section, then a number composed of 2 to 3 digits based on the degree of detail.
Online Consultation of Standards
The norms and standards are available on the website 'ESMA. This is a paid service and technical guides should be ordered.
Certification Organizations
ESMA

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Business Practices

General Information
Website on etiquette for foreign relations in Emirates
Website on etiquette for foreign relations
Opening Hours and Days
- Administrations: 0730 hours to 1330 hours from Saturday to Wednesday and from 0730 hours to 1200 hours on Thursday.
- Banks: 0800 hours to 1300 hours from Saturday to Wednesday and 0800 hours to 1200 hours on Thursday. Stores: 1000 hours to 1300 hours and 1700 hours to 2200 hours from Saturday to Thursday and 1700 hours to 2200 hours on Sunday. The weekly holiday is Friday; the working week thus lasts from Saturday to Thursday.
- Oil companies are open from Saturday to Wednesday from 0730 hours to 1430 hours.
- Private companies are open from 0800 hours to 1300 hours, then from 1400 hours to 1900 hours from Saturday to Wednesday.
 

Public Holidays

New Year 1st January
Birth of the Prophet February - March (Religious festivals have flexible dates as they are determined by the lunar calendar).
Ascension of the Prophet to heaven July
Last day of Ramadan Variable
Eid ul Fitr Variable
Eid ul Adha Variable
Islamic New Year November - December
National Festival of the Federation 2 December
 
Holiday Compensation
The holidays can be subjected to variations by virtue of presidential decrees.
 

Periods When Companies Usually Close

Eid ul Fitr 3 days from end of Ramadan. This festival can shift.
Eid ul Adha 4 days, 60 days from the end of Ramadan and Eid el Fitr
The month of Ramadan This is as it is a month of vacation but you can expect you activity to be very slow during this month of fasting.
The month of August This is the hottest month of the year and most of the people of Emirates and expatriates go on vacation at this time. In this period a slowdown of activity should be expected.
 

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Last Updates: October 2014