Corporate Tax Exemptions in the UAE: In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), certain businesses and organizations are exempt from Corporate Tax due to their significance and contributions to the country’s social fabric and economy.

These exemptions, granted to what is known as “Exempt Persons,” recognize the importance of these entities in the UAE’s development and growth. In this blog post, we will delve into the different categories of organizations that qualify for Corporate Tax exemptions and explore the benefits associated with them.

Corporate Tax Exemptions in the UAE

Corporate Tax Exemptions in the UAE
Corporate Tax Exemptions in the UAE

Corporate Tax is a crucial source of revenue for governments around the world, enabling them to fund public services and infrastructure. However, recognizing the significance of certain businesses and organizations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), exemptions from Corporate Tax are granted to specific entities.

List of Businesses and organizations are Automatically Exempt

  • Government Entities: Government entities in the UAE are automatically exempt from corporate tax. This exemption is given due to the essential role of these institutions in managing and providing public services.
  • Government Controlled Entities: Certain entities controlled by the Government and specified in the Cabinet decision also automatically come under the exemption category.

Exemption if notified to Ministry of Finance

  • Extractive businesses: Extractive businesses, which involve the exploration and extraction of natural resources such as oil, gas and minerals, are exempt from corporate tax if they meet certain conditions and are notified to the Ministry of Finance.
  • Non-productive natural resource businesses: Like extractive businesses, non-productive natural resource businesses may be exempt from corporate tax if they meet certain criteria and are notified to the Ministry of Finance.

Exemption if listed in Cabinet Decision

Qualifying public benefit organizations: Certain public benefit organizations that provide essential services to the community may be exempt from corporate tax if they are listed in a cabinet decision. These institutions contribute significantly to the social fabric and welfare of the UAE.

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Exemption if approved by Federal Tax Authority

  • Public or private pension and social security funds: Public and private pension funds, as well as social security funds, may be exempt from corporate tax if they apply for and receive approval from the federal tax authority. They must also satisfy certain conditions laid down by the authority.
  • Qualifying Investment Funds: Qualifying investment funds, which meet the requirements established by the UAE authorities, are eligible for exemption from corporate tax. These funds play an important role in attracting investment and contributing to the development of the UAE’s financial sector.
  • Wholly Owned and Controlled UAE Subsidiaries: Wholly owned and controlled UAE subsidiaries of government entities, government controlled entities, qualifying investment funds or public or private pension and social security funds are exempt from corporate tax. This exemption recognizes the affiliation and importance of these institutions with their respective parent institutions.

In addition to not being subject to Corporate Tax, Government Entities, Government Controlled Entities that are specified in a Cabinet Decision, Extractive Businesses and Non-Extractive Natural Resource Businesses may also be exempted from any registration, filing and other compliance obligations imposed by the Corporate Tax Law, unless they engage in an activity which is within the charge of Corporate Tax.

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Key Benefits of Corporate Tax Exemptions in the UAE

Key Benefits of Corporate Tax Exemptions in the UAE
Key Benefits of Corporate Tax Exemptions in the UAE

Here is a list of benefits that businesses can enjoy through corporate tax exemption in the UAE:

  • Tax-free income: Certain types of income, such as dividends and capital gains, may be exempt from corporate taxation, allowing businesses to retain more profits.
  • Competitive advantage: With a lower tax burden compared to many other countries, UAE businesses gain a competitive edge in attracting investment and expanding operations.
  • Double Taxation Avoidance: The UAE has signed double taxation avoidance agreements with many countries, ensuring that businesses are not taxed twice on the same income.
  • Free Zones: The UAE offers various free zones with tax incentives including exemption from corporate tax, import/export duty and personal income tax, enabling businesses to thrive in a business-friendly environment.
  • Strategic Location: The UAE’s strategic geographical location acts as a gateway between Asia, Europe and Africa, promoting international trade and providing access to a large consumer market.
  • Investment Incentives: The government provides investment incentives, grants and subsidies to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and promote economic growth in various sectors.
  • No Withholding Tax: The UAE does not impose withholding tax on dividends, interest, royalties or service fees, facilitating seamless cross-border transactions.
  • Repatriation of profits: Businesses can repatriate their profits and capital without any restrictions, ensuring ease of doing business and encouraging reinvestment.
  • Stability and Infrastructure: The UAE offers political stability, world-class infrastructure and a strong legal framework, providing a conducive environment for business growth and development.
  • Global Business Hub: The UAE’s reputation as a global business hub attracts multinational corporations, promoting networking opportunities, partnerships and access to a diverse talent pool.

Please consult a tax professional or refer to the latest regulations to ensure accuracy and up-to-date information regarding corporate tax exemptions in the UAE.

In our previous blog post, we discussed the steps to start a Bakala business in Abu Dhabi. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, you can read our detailed beginner’s guide here: Starting a Baqala Business in Abu Dhabi: A Beginner’s Guide.

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