The Board of Directors of the Federal Tax Authority, FTA, has approved financial statements for 2019, and adopted a number of executive decisions on the FTA’s organisation, administration, and operations, during its 11th meeting, chaired by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Minister of Finance, and Chairman of the FTA’s Board of Directors, at the ministry’s Dubai headquarters on Monday.
Attendees explored a series of progress reports on ongoing projects; the FTA’s accomplishments; the results of phases one and two of the ‘Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products Scheme’ and future steps; the outcomes of the Authority’s activities regarding VAT and Excise Tax, such as receiving periodic Tax Returns, settling due taxes, and processing tax refund requests.
All indexes reviewed by the board revealed a noted increase in tax compliance rates, where the total value of the Tax Returns submitted to the Authority grew by 21 percent over the past year, compared with 2018.
The authority noted that the number of businesses registered with the Authority increased by seven percent, where the number of businesses registered for VAT – as individuals or tax groups – recorded 320,440, while the number of registrants for Excise Tax totalled 1,100, and the number of Tax Agents reached 355.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid asserted that the outstanding reports and results prove that the tax system succeeded, over the course of the past two years and this year, in accomplishing many of its objectives, most notable of which being the diversification of national sources of income, offer top-quality public services, and maintain a sustainable environment and integrated infrastructure.
"The results we have seen assert that the 100 percent digital tax system that was implemented in the UAE in accordance with international best practices has played a tremendous role in encouraging Taxable Persons to self-comply with the transparent and accurate procedures," he noted.
"The Federal Tax Authority has successfully achieved great success in all of the sectors it operates in and across all of its programmes," he continued, adding, "The FTA established a host of effective strategic partnerships with relevant entities in the public and private sectors; meanwhile, the number of users for the tax system grew exponentially as the number of registrants with the Authority grew, in parallel with the number of authorised clearance companies and Tax Agents."
He applauded the FTA’s success across various important projects, including the e-Services Portal for recovering VAT on the construction of new homes for UAE citizens, which offers facilities and streamlined procedures for refunding taxes, as well as the electronic system of the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme, which was expanded.
Sheikh Hamdan also noted the VAT Refunds for Business Visitors programme and the Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products Scheme, which seek to combat tax evasion, protect consumers from commercial fraud, and preserve the environment and public health.
According to reports raised to the Board of Directors, the e-Services Portal for VAT refund on the construction of new residences for UAE nationals, which was launched this year to further facilitate tax recovery procedures for UAE nationals, has processed AED97.06 million worth of applications up until March 2020 – a 15.48 percent growth in less than three months, up from AED84.07 million until December 2019.
As for the ‘Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products Scheme’, the Board explored a report on the results of phases one and two, as well as the plan set for phase three and future plans of expansion The reports indicated that as of 1st March 2020, importing any type of waterpipe tobacco (known in Arabic as ‘Mu’assel’) or electrically heated cigarette plugs that do not carry the Digital Tax Stamps was strictly prohibited as part of phase two of implementing the Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products Scheme.
Also, as of 1st June 2020, a ban will enter into effect on the supply, transfer, stockpiling, and possession of the Excise Goods outlined in the Decision (which include waterpipe tobacco and electrically heated cigarette plugs) not carrying the Digital Tax Stamp, which follows the successful implementation of phase one of the Scheme, where the sale or possession of any type of cigarette not bearing the Stamps was banned across local markets as of August 2019.
A smart application was launched allowing consumers to report illicit tobacco products by scanning the Digital Tax Stamps to ensure they meet specifications, are not contraband, and that the Excise Tax due on them has been paid.
The total number of Tax Clarifications issued by the Authority increased to nearly 464 in 2019, including 10 Public Clarifications issued and published through the FTA website, and 325 Special Clarifications for Taxpayers, compared to a total of 129 clarifications issued in 2018, including nine Public Clarifications and 120 Special Clarifications.
The Contact Centre and Customer Service received 166,470 phone calls and 89,240 emails during the past year.
Assistance was also provided to nearly 20,710 customers at the FTA’s Taxpayer Assistance Centres in 2019.
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