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Tax rates in the United Arab Emirates

Tax Rates

Consumption Taxes

Nature of the Tax
VAT (value-added tax)
Tax Rate
5%
Reduced Tax Rate
Zero-rated items include exports of goods and services to outside the GCC, international transportation, and related supplies, supplies of certain sea, air and land means of transportation (such as aircrafts and ships), certain investment grade precious metals (e.g. gold, silver, of 99% purity), newly constructed residential properties supplied for the first time within three years of their construction, supply of certain education services, and supply of relevant goods and services, supply of certain healthcare services, and supply of relevant goods and services.
Other Consumption Taxes
Excise duties were introduced in 2017 for three types of products: carbonated beverages and products with added sugar or other sweeteners (50%), tobacco and electronic smoking devices and tools (100%), energy drinks (100%).
Most Emirates have hotel levies, which are charged on hotel room rental, services, and entertainment, administered differently in each Emirate. In Dubai, guests and hotel apartment tenants pay a Tourism Dirham fee ranging from AED 7 to AED 20 per room per night based on the hotel's star classification. In Abu Dhabi, hotels charge a tourism fee of 6% of the room rental and a destination fee of AED 15 per night. Dubai hotels also apply a 7% municipality fee on sales, while Abu Dhabi imposes a 4% municipality fee. Additionally, all Emirates charge a 10% service charge on hotel sale revenue.

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Corporate Taxes

Company Tax
  • 0% on taxable income not exceeding AED 375,000
  • 9% on taxable income exceeding AED 375,000
Tax Rate For Foreign Companies
As a general rule, taxation in the UAE is based on the territoriality concept (and not on the worldwide one). Non-resident companies carrying out a trade or business in an Emirate through a permanent establishment in that Emirate are formally taxable under the relevant Emirate tax decree.

Branches of foreign banks are taxed at 20% in most Emirates.

Capital Gains Taxation
Capital gains are taxed at the corporate income tax rate, but gains from the sale of a participation are exempt if the participation exemption applies. Gains or losses from asset or liability transfers between group members, or from mergers and demergers, may also be exempt if certain conditions are met.
The participation exemption is applicable to income from participating interests of at least 5%, provided specific criteria are met: (i) a holding period of at least 12 months, (ii) meeting a subject-to-tax test at a minimum rate of 9%, (iii) entitlement to receive at least 5% of profit distributions and liquidation proceeds, and (iv) meeting an asset test ensuring no more than 50% of the participation's assets consist of non-qualifying ownership interests. Additionally, the subject-to-tax test is satisfied if the participation qualifies as a holding company or if underlying participations meet the conditions, or if it pertains to certain entities under corporate income tax law. This exemption covers dividends, profit distributions, gains or losses on disposal of the participation, and foreign exchange and impairment gains or losses, except for losses from liquidation. If the participation was acquired through a non-qualifying exchange or transfer, the exemption is suspended for two years.
Main Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits

Deductions are determined based on accounting principles and the tax decrees of the various Emirates. Expenditures that are not of a capital nature and are incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the business are generally deductible.
Companies
can deduct up to 50% of the expenses incurred for entertaining customers, shareholders, suppliers, and other business partners, including costs for meals, accommodation, transportation, admission fees, entertainment facilities, and equipment, as well as any other expenses specified by a Cabinet decision.
The deduction of net interest expenses is limited to 30% of tax-adjusted EBITDA. However, this exemption does not apply if the net interest expense for the relevant tax period remains below the AED 12 million threshold. If the threshold is surpassed, the taxpayer can deduct the higher of either the threshold or 30% of EBITDA.

Non-deductible expenses include fines, penalties (excluding compensation for breach of contract), bribes or illicit payments, donations made to entities that are not Qualifying Public Benefit Entities, dividends/profit distribution, CT, recoverable VAT, taxes imposed outside the UAE, and any other expenses specified in a Cabinet decision.

A business is permitted to offset tax losses against the taxable income of future tax periods when computing the taxable income for that period. However, during any tax period, the set-off amount cannot exceed 75% of the taxable income for that specific period. Any remaining tax losses can be carried forward indefinitely to subsequent tax years.

Other Corporate Taxes
Most Emirates impose a municipality tax on properties, often based on the annual rental value, typically paid by tenants. In some cases, separate fees are charged to both tenants and property owners. For instance, in Dubai, the municipality tax on properties is currently 2.5% for commercial properties (paid by owners) and 5% for residential properties (paid by tenants). Additionally, a registration fee, such as the 4% land registration fee in Dubai based on the property's fair market value, may be imposed on property ownership transfers. This fee can also apply to the transfer of shares in entities owning real estate. Each Emirate administers these levies differently.Most Emirates impose a municipality tax on properties, often based on the annual rental value, typically paid by tenants. In some cases, separate fees are charged to both tenants and property owners. For instance, in Dubai, the municipality tax on properties is currently 2.5% for commercial properties (paid by owners) and 5% for residential properties (paid by tenants). Additionally, a registration fee, such as the 4% land registration fee in Dubai based on the property's fair market value, may be imposed on property ownership transfers. This fee can also apply to the transfer of shares in entities owning real estate. Each Emirate administers these levies differently.

The United Arab Emirates has a social security regime applicable solely to qualifying UAE and other GCC national employees, exempting non-GCC nationals. For UAE nationals (excluding Abu Dhabi), contributions are 20% of gross remuneration, with 5% paid by the employee, 12.5% by the employer, and an additional 2.5% from the government. In Abu Dhabi, the rate is 26%, with the employer contributing 15%, the government 6%, and the employee 5%. Contributions are capped between AED 1,000 and AED 50,000. Free Zone employees are also subject to social security obligations. Other GCC nationals follow the social security regulations of their home countries.

Most Emirates have hotel levies, which are charged on hotel room rental, services, and entertainment, administered differently in each Emirate. In Dubai, guests and hotel apartment tenants pay a Tourism Dirham fee ranging from AED 7 to AED 20 per room per night based on the hotel's star classification. In Abu Dhabi, hotels charge a tourism fee of 6% of the room rental and a destination fee of AED 15 per night. Dubai hotels also apply a 7% municipality fee on sales, while Abu Dhabi imposes a 4% municipality fee. Additionally, all Emirates charge a 10% service charge on hotel sale revenue.

Other Domestic Resources
UAE Federal Tax Authority

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  United Arab Emirates Middle East & North Africa United States Germany
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 5.0 20.8 10.6 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 116.0 204.0 175.0 218.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 15.9 32.1 36.6 48.8

Source: Doing Business, Latest available data.

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Individual Taxes

Tax Rate

No personal tax is levied N/A
Most Emirates impose a rental tax Residential tenants pay 5% of annual rent and commercial tenants pay 5% of annual rent in Dubai. Expat tenants pay 3% of annual rent whereas UAE citizens do not pay any rental tax in Abu Dhabi. All tenants pay 2% of annual rent as rental tax in Sharjah.
Real property tax A transfer charge is levied on the transfer of real estate in the UAE (4% in the Emirate of Dubai, borne equally by the buyer and the seller).
Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
No personal tax is levied in the UAE, hence tax deductions are not applicable.
Special Expatriate Tax Regime
There is no special tax regime for expatriates in the UAE.

Non-GCC national employees who completed at least one year of service are entitled to an end-of-service benefit calculated as 21 days per year of basic wages for the first five years of employment, plus 30 days per year of the basic wage for each additional year of service (capped at two years’ remuneration).

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Double Taxation Treaties

Countries With Whom a Double Taxation Treaty Have Been Signed
Double-taxation agreements
Withholding Taxes
No withholding tax is levied by the federal government of the UAE.

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Latest Update: July 2024