Tax compliance in the UAE is one of the highest in the world, as 98.8 percent of all businesses and groups registered for Value Added Tax, VAT, have complied with submitting their Tax Returns on time, where the rate increased after follow-ups from the Federal Tax Authority,FTA, asserted Khalid Ali Al Bustani, Director-General of the FTA.
His remarks came during the media roundtable held in Dubai on Wednesday to look back at the first 100 days of VAT, which went into effect on 1st January 2018.
Al Bustani stated that this high level of commitment is due to the guidance provided by the FTA, as well as the clarity and simplicity of the procedures, which allow taxable persons to submit tax returns and pay their dues online, any time and from anywhere. Users can access the e-Services portal on the Authority’s official website, which was designed in accordance with international best practices to provide diverse and flexible payment solutions, as well as information and guidance to promote tax awareness and help businesses meet deadlines.
This advanced system now has 275,000 registrants, Al Bustani explained, noting that it allows taxable persons or their representatives to complete all procedures without having to be physically present at the authority. Starting from opening up an account on the portal, to registering for VAT, to paying due taxes.
He said that the UAE is one of the first countries in the world that has implemented a full e-service system. He pointed out that the results of the implementation reveal a steady increase in tax compliance rates, confirming the success of the model adopted by the Authority to encourage self-compliance and voluntary registration for tax purposes.
"The Federal Tax Authority’s call centre has addressed around 100,000 telephone enquiries in the period from 1st January to 8th April 2018, while our experts answered around 70,000 email queries in the same period. This brings the total number of queries and concerns addressed to more than 170,000, which clearly reflects the Authority’s commitment to interacting with its partners from various business sectors, as well as society in general," the FTA Director-General revealed, noting that the number of stakeholders within the UAE tax system is consistently and rapidly expanding, with the FTA having accredited 85 clearance companies and 21 tax agents – with 56 agents currently under process.
Al Bustani went on to say that as part of its comprehensive awareness campaign, which targets all segments of society, the Federal Tax Authority has issued 60 guides that cover all legislative and executive aspects of UAE tax regulations, as well as three e-learning modules and 22 infographics. The material covers many fields, including import and export declarations; registering for excise tax and VAT; tax groups; reclaiming excise tax; filing tax returns; and information on warehouse keepers and designated zones.
The FTA Director-General called on businesses to take advantage of these guides and study them extensively in order to educate their employees about UAE tax legislations and mechanisms, and ensure a smooth implementation of the tax system. He explained that the FTA’s website allows users to learn about their rights, obligations, and the procedures to follow for each tax requirement, as well as how to calculate tax.
He stressed the importance of paying tax well ahead of time in order to have it reach the Authority before the payment deadline; if the amount reaches the Authority after the date, the business in question will be subject to penalties as per the tax legislation.
"Various mechanisms have been put in place to facilitate these procedures," Al Bustani reiterated, "which include comprehensive electronic portals connecting a wide network of banks, exchange offices and finance companies operating in the UAE. These systems, which allow businesses to settle their taxes seamlessly, include e-Dirham cards, direct debits, and the GIBAN system."