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Corporate Tax in The UAE - An Overview of the Regulations and Exemptions

Corporate tax is an important component of a country’s fiscal policy since it generates income for the government while shaping the economic landscape. Corporate tax legislation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have experienced substantial revisions in recent years. This article seeks to offer an overview of UAE corporate tax rules, including the entities subject to taxation, applicable exemptions, deductible expenses, and the withholding tax rate on UAE-sourced revenue.

Certain organizations are excluded from profit tax in the UAE under a directive issued by the Ministry of Finance. Government and government-controlled entities, extractive and non-extractive natural resource businesses, qualifying public benefit entities, public or private pension and social security funds, businesses in liquidation or termination, and personal income earned are examples of these. It should be noted that some exclusions are subject to certain conditions.

  • Deductible Expenses: All legitimate business expenses incurred exclusively to generate taxable income are generally deductible. The timing of deductions may vary depending on the type of expenses and the accounting method employed. For capital assets, expenditure is typically recognized through depreciation or amortization deductions over the economic life of the asset or benefit.
  • Withholding Tax on UAE – Sourced Income: Certain forms of income from the UAE paid to non-residents may be subject to a zero percent withholding tax rate. In effect, no withholding tax would be due, and no registration requirements would apply to UAE businesses or international
    beneficiaries of UAE-sourced income.


UAE companies, juridical persons incorporated or effectively managed and controlled in the UAE, natural persons conducting business activities in the UAE, and non-resident juridical persons with a permanent establishment in the country are subject to Corporate Tax.

Understanding the UAE’s corporate tax laws is critical for organizations and people doing business in the UAE. While the tax applies to all taxable entities, there are many exclusions for specific categories. Deductible expenses can assist lower taxable income, and the zero percent withholding tax rate on income earned in the UAE reduces the burden on non-resident recipients. It is crucial for taxpayers to comply with the UAE’s corporate tax laws and seek professional advice to navigate the complexities of the tax system effectively.

This article was published on  24 May 2023

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