VAT to help strengthen UAE economy and wean dependence on oil

Angel Chan

ABU DHABI 2 January 2018: The concerns emanating from the application of the Value-Added Tax (VAT) are overrated, as its impact on the country’s business sector will be in the minimal and will rather generate myriad benefits for the economy, according to a senior official at the Department of Economic Development (DED) – Abu Dhabi.

“The application of VAT effective January 1st 2018 will reflect positively on the country’s developmental drive as it ideally goes in harmony with the government’s vision to ensure a robust, sustainable and diversified economy to ultimately wean the country off oil in the future,” Saif Mohammad Al Hajiri, DED Chairman, has stated.

“The Department has ensured the development of a well thought-out strategy across the emirate of Abu Dhabi to control prices and open up channels of communication with consumers and monitor any misuse of the tax application,” he added, noting that the UAE is applying the world’s lowest rate of VAT, which is 5 percent.

VAT Registration is mandatory for companies and individuals doing businesses in the UAE, having an annual turnover of more than AED375,000. All companies and individuals coming under the above threshold limit Рsubject to the provisions of the relevant law- have to register for VAT effective 31st December 2017. Registration for VAT in the UAE is an online process which is accessible in the Federal Tax Authority’s online portal.

For his part, Khalifa Salem Al Mansouri, Under-Secretary of the DED, has affirmed that the department has taken all necessary preemptive measures to nip in the bud any attempts to use consumers under the pretext of VAT, noting that the DED has dedicated different channels of communications with the public to report any violations, including the DED website and social media platforms, etc.

“The DED inspection teams have developed a comprehensive database on all commodity prices over the last months of 2017 that will help monitor the slightest price hikes that go counter to the law across all sales outlets in the emirate,” he said, adding that inspection campaigns will intensify during the first quarter of the new year to ensure the price rise will not exceed 5 percent as per the law.