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Understanding the VAT Late Payment Penalty in UAE: Avoiding Financial Consequences and Ensuring Compliance

In the dynamic business landscape of the United Arab Emirates, understanding the complexities of the Value Added Tax (VAT) system is crucial for every organization. One aspect that often flies under the radar is the VAT late payment penalty, which can have severe financial consequences if not handled properly.

In this article, we will delve into the details of the VAT late payment penalty in UAE, exploring its implications, and providing valuable insights on how to avoid these financial setbacks. By staying informed and ensuring compliance with VAT regulations, businesses can safeguard their financial stability while also maintaining a strong reputation with authorities. So, let’s dive deeper into the world of VAT late payment penalties, uncovering the strategies and best practices that will help you navigate this complex landscape with confidence.

As per the Federal Decree Law No. 7 of 2017 The VAT late payment penalty is imposed on businesses that fail to remit their VAT liabilities within the specified time frame. Under the UAE VAT law, businesses are required to submit their VAT returns and make the corresponding payment within 28 days from the end of the tax period. As per cabinet Decision No. 49 of 2021 the Rate of penalty will apply.

The taxable person must file the tax return to the FTA listing all supplies made and received during that tax period. The authority must receive the tax return and tax payment no later than the end of the relevant tax period or by the FTA’s specified deadline. A taxable person’s standard tax period is either on a quarterly or monthly basis as per the turnover of the company. Usually, it is observed a quarterly tax return period. To make an exception, the FTA may give a person or group of people a shorter or longer tax term if it believes that doing so will help or be essential to:

  • Reducing the risk of tax evasion.
  • Enabling the FTA to better monitor compliance.
  • And reducing the administrative load on the FTA or the compliance burden on an individual or class of individuals.


Under the VAT Law, tax procedure, and penal code, tax-related cases may result in both administrative penalties and tax evasion sanctions. The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has been granted significant authority under tax laws to scrutinize any discrepancies in the collection and payment of VAT. Administrative penalties require payment of fines, whereas tax evasion penalties may include both fines and imprisonment, which may be imposed together or separately.


The VAT law stipulates that the FTA must issue an administrative penalty assessment and inform the relevant individual within 5 business days of issuance in any of the following circumstances:


  • When the taxable person fails to display prices inclusive of tax.
  • When the taxable person neglects to inform the FTA of applying tax based on the margin.
  • When the taxable person violates the conditions and procedures associated with keeping goods in a designated zone or transferring them to another designated zone.
  • When the taxable person fails to issue a tax invoice or a substitute document during a supply transaction.
  • When the taxable person fails to issue a tax, credit note or an alternative document.
  • When the taxable person breaches the conditions and procedures related to the issuance of electronic tax invoices and electronic tax credit notes.


If an individual who is not registered is found to have obtained goods by falsely claiming to be a registered person, they will be deemed to have committed tax evasion and will be subject to the penalties outlined in Federal Law No. (7) of 2017 on Tax Procedures.


The purpose of the VAT late payment penalty is to incentivize businesses to comply with their tax obligations and discourage late payments. It is crucial for businesses to understand the implications of this penalty, as it can significantly impact their financial stability and reputation. Avoiding late VAT payments should be a top priority for organizations operating in the UAE.

Late VAT payments can have severe financial consequences for businesses. In addition to the penalty, businesses may also be subject to interest charges on the outstanding VAT amount – As per cabinet Decision No. 49 of 2021 the Rate of penalty will apply.

Moreover, late VAT payments can also result in damaged relationships with authorities. The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) in the UAE closely monitors VAT compliance and takes non-compliance seriously. Persistent late payments can lead to increased scrutiny, audits, and potential penalties for other tax-related offenses. This can tarnish a company’s reputation and make it more difficult to conduct business in the UAE.

To avoid late VAT payments and the associated penalties, businesses must have a thorough understanding of VAT compliance requirements. This includes keeping accurate records of all transactions, maintaining up-to-date financial records, and timely filing of VAT returns. Implementing robust accounting systems and processes can help businesses stay organized and ensure compliance with VAT regulations.

It is also essential to stay informed about any changes or updates to VAT laws and regulations. The FTA regularly issues guidelines, circulars, and updates that businesses should be aware of. Subscribing to official FTA communication channels, attending seminars and training sessions, and seeking professional assistance can help businesses stay abreast of any changes that may affect their VAT compliance.

Preventing late VAT payments requires a proactive approach and attention to detail. Here are some tips to help businesses avoid falling into the trap of late payments and penalties:

  1. Maintain a VAT calendar: Create a VAT calendar that includes all relevant deadlines for VAT returns and payments. This will serve as a visual reminder and help businesses stay on track.
  2. Set up automated reminders: Utilize technology to set up automated reminders for VAT deadlines. This can be done through accounting software, email notifications, or calendar alerts.
  3. Allocate dedicated resources: Assign specific personnel or teams to handle VAT compliance tasks. This ensures that someone is accountable for meeting VAT obligations and reduces the risk of oversight or neglect.
  4. Regularly reconcile VAT transactions: Conduct regular reconciliations of VAT transactions to identify any discrepancies or errors. This will help address issues promptly and avoid delays in payment.
  5. Maintain a healthy cash flow: Monitor cash flow regularly to ensure sufficient funds are available for VAT payments. This may involve implementing effective cash flow management practices, such as optimizing accounts receivable and payable.

By implementing these tips and establishing robust processes, businesses can significantly reduce the risk of late VAT payments and associated penalties.

In the unfortunate event that a business receives a VAT late payment penalty, it is essential to take immediate action to mitigate the financial consequences. Here are the steps that can be taken:

Review the penalty notice: Carefully review the penalty notice received from the FTA to understand the reasons for the penalty and the amount owed. Verify the accuracy of the information provided by comparing it with your records.

Assess the validity of the penalty: If you believe there are valid reasons for contesting the penalty, gather all relevant documentation and evidence to support your case. This may include proof of timely payment, communication with the FTA, or any other relevant information.

Contact the FTA: Reach out to the FTA to discuss the penalty and provide any supporting documentation. The FTA may be willing to reconsider the penalty if there are valid reasons for the delay in payment.

Pay the penalty: If the penalty is deemed valid, it is crucial to pay the outstanding amount as soon as possible to avoid further interest charges and potential escalation of the penalty.

Review internal processes: Take this opportunity to review internal processes and identify areas for improvement to prevent future late VAT payments. Consider implementing additional checks and balances or seeking professional assistance to ensure compliance.

To better understand the implications of VAT late payment penalties, let’s explore a couple of case studies highlighting businesses that faced financial consequences due to late VAT payments.

Case Study 1: ABC Trading Company

ABC Trading Company, a retail business in the UAE, failed to remit their VAT payment within the stipulated timeframe. As a result, they were slapped with a VAT late payment penalty of 5% of the outstanding VAT amount. Additionally, interest charges were imposed on the unpaid amount, further straining their cash flow. ABC Trading Company had to allocate additional funds to settle the penalty and interest charges, affecting their profitability and hindering their ability to invest in business growth.

Navigating the VAT landscape can be challenging, especially for businesses without prior experience or expertise in tax matters. Engaging professional assistance, such as a VAT consultant or tax advisor, can significantly simplify the process and ensure compliance. Here are some reasons why professional assistance is crucial for VAT compliance:

  1. Expert knowledge: VAT consultants and tax advisors have in-depth knowledge of VAT regulations and can provide accurate and up-to-date advice. They understand the complexities of VAT compliance and can guide businesses in implementing the necessary processes and controls.
  2. Risk mitigation: Professionals can help identify potential risks and areas of non-compliance, allowing businesses to address them proactively. By minimizing the risk of penalties and audits, businesses can safeguard their financial stability and reputation.
  3. Time and resource optimization: Outsourcing VAT compliance to professionals allows businesses to focus on their core operations. This frees up time and resources that can be dedicated to strategic initiatives and revenue-generating activities.
  4. Continual support: VAT consultants and tax advisors provide ongoing support and guidance, ensuring that businesses stay updated with any changes to VAT laws and regulations. They can also assist in resolving any issues or disputes with tax authorities.

Engaging professional assistance for VAT compliance is an investment that can save businesses time, money, and potential penalties in the long run.

In a business environment where every dirham counts, proactive VAT management and compliance are critical for maintaining financial stability and a good reputation. Understanding the VAT late payment penalty and its implications is the first step towards avoiding costly financial setbacks. By adhering to VAT compliance requirements, implementing robust processes, and seeking professional assistance when needed, businesses can minimize the risk of late VAT payments and associated penalties.

Remember, VAT compliance is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring and adaptation to changes in regulations. Stay informed, stay proactive, and ensure timely VAT payments to safeguard your business’s financial well-being in the UAE.

Staying informed about VAT regulations is essential for businesses operating in the UAE. The Federal Tax Authority provides various resources to help businesses understand and comply with VAT requirements. These resources include:

  1. FTA official website: The FTA’s official website is a valuable source of information on VAT laws, regulations, guidelines, and updates. It provides comprehensive guidance on various aspects of VAT compliance.
  2. Publications and guides: The FTA regularly publishes informative guides and publications to help businesses navigate the VAT landscape. These resources cover a wide range of topics, including registration, invoicing, record-keeping, and VAT treatment for specific industries.
  3. Seminars and workshops: The FTA organizes seminars, workshops, and training sessions to educate businesses on VAT compliance. These events provide an opportunity to learn directly from experts and clarify any doubts or queries.
  4. Professional assistance: Engaging a professional VAT consultant or tax advisor can provide businesses with expert guidance and support in navigating the complexities of VAT compliance. These professionals stay up to date with the latest regulations and can help businesses ensure compliance and avoid penalties.

By utilizing these resources, businesses can stay informed about VAT regulations and make informed decisions to ensure compliance.

This article was published on  10 July 2023

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