Taxes in Dubai: A Complete Guide

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Living in Dubai as an expat means understanding the tax system in the UAE. Dubai is a stunning Emirate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is famous for its quality lifestyle, impressive architecture, and flourishing business environment. It has become a magnet for entrepreneurs, corporations, and individuals moving to Dubai due to its attractive economic ecosystem and tax advantages. Fortunately, the UAE does not levy income tax on individuals. However, there is a VAT (value-added tax) of 5% in place since 2018.

In this article, let’s discuss about the UAE tax benefits, corporate taxes, personal income taxes, indirect taxation, and value-added taxation in Dubai.

Do you have to pay UAE business tax? 

Expats living in Dubai may also be subject to taxes in their home country, such as US tax, due to tax treaties and international agreements. For US expats in Dubai, there are options for foreign tax credit and foreign earned income exclusion to avoid double taxation. Expats need to be aware of their obligations when it comes to expat taxes in the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, they need to be aware of any tax treaties that may apply to them. Dubai doesn’t impose personal income tax on individuals and has introduced a 9% corporate tax rate.

Let us discuss in detail about Dubai income tax and corporate tax in Dubai.   

Corporate tax in Dubai 

Under the new corporate tax (CT) system, there have been significant developments and changes occurred in Dubai’s taxation system. It is not that difficult to understand the implications of these changes for businesses operating within the Emirate. As per the revised regulations, all companies engaged in business activities in Dubai are now subjected to UAE business tax at 0% to 9%. However, the corporate tax is only applicable to those crossing annual net profit value.

The corporate tax includes a broad spectrum of companies, including both local and foreign entities. Even the branches and subsidiaries of foreign companies fall under the purview of this corporate income tax. Also, all free zone companies are now subjected to this 0 to 9% corporate tax rate in Dubai.

Dubai seeks to enhance its global competitiveness and position as a hub for finances and innovation. While the new corporate tax may change to the previous tax structure, it is intended to contribute to the development of the economy. It is a strategic tool for achieving those goals. However, the Federal Government of UAE’s implementation of a 9% corporate tax signifies its commitment to adapting to changing economic dynamics and strengthening its framework.

Companies operating within Dubai will need to assess their financial plans and strategies to accommodate this corporate tax. It is now compulsory for all business setups in the UAE to keep records and ensure compliance with the new regulations. Auditors can offer you bookkeeping and accounting services by keeping records on behalf of your company.

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Dubai personal income tax 

All personal income is entirely exempt from taxes, ensuring 100% tax-free status. The Federal government continues to uphold its no-income tax policy, which is applicable across the UAE. You will not be subjected to income tax until you have your business setup in UAE, inside or outside.  

Moreover, this tax-free status makes Dubai a preferred choice for individuals, even those with higher incomes. Dubai’s efforts to attract talent and maintain its global business appeal have increased due to no personal income tax in the country.    

Value-added tax in Dubai 

The Federal Government of UAE has implemented a 5 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) since 2018. Similar to Germany, this tax acts as a straightforward pass-through for companies engaged in Dubai, for services and goods.

That shows a remarkably modest 5 % consumption tax. Additionally, companies generating annual turnovers below 93,000 euros are not obliged to VAT registration.

Indirect taxation in Dubai 

In Dubai, indirect taxation involves only minor charges on certain goods and services. Importantly, these taxes have a negligible effect and hardly influence the overall cost of living. 

For instance, there are:

  • nominal tolls (approximately costs you 1 euro) for using main roads,
  • very small fees of around 2 to 5 euros per night for hotel accommodations,
  • and minimal costs for water supply and specific services which are insignificant.

Road tax in Dubai 

Contrary to Germany and most other countries, the federal government of UAE does not impose a vehicle tax. Notably, fuel prices are also very affordable and cheap when compared to other countries.   

In addition to the previously noted toll, a 5% import duty is solely applicable for imported cars, exempting those purchased within Dubai. Operational costs for cars in Dubai are notably lower than what Europeans typically encounter.   

Excise tax in Dubai 

In the UAE, a luxury or excise tax by the federal government targets items that are harmful to health or environmentally detrimental. For instance, products like tobacco, alcohol, and energy drinks face a hefty percentage consumption tax.  

Regarding alcohol, it’s not dispensed openly but is controllable in the UAE. To purchase, consumers need an additional license and incur a 30 % consumption tax. As a result, a six-pack of beer may cost approximately around 20 euros

How to calculate the tax rate in Dubai? 

Dubai’s attractive tax environment makes it a hotspot for global businesses. Here is general information on how to calculate Dubai tax rate for companies: 

Taxing on multi-national companies 

There are various methods to determine tax rates for international firms or multi-national companies. The calculation of tax is done by using the method of “Profit netting”. It is the calculation of all the company’s profits in each country. By adding all the profits, you will get the total profit. That total profit will get tax on it.   

Another method used is profit sharing. The profit is calculated by dividing it among the different countries where the company