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06 December 2023

FTA participates in ‘Digitalisation and Digital Transformation of Tax Administrations’ seminar in Beijing


The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has successfully established an integrated digital tax system to provide all of its services electronically, maintaining high efficiency and precision, asserted Khalid Ali Al Bustani, Director-General of the FTA, in a keynote he delivered at a high-profile seminar on ‘Digitalisation and Digital Transformation of Tax Administrations’ in Beijing, China.

The UAE has set up one of the most advanced digital infrastructures in the world, guided by the vision of its wise leadership, Al Bustani explained, noting that the country has launched strategies and initiatives to drive the continuous development of government systems, improve quality of life in a sustainable environment, and enhance government services to spread happiness and wellbeing in the community and among visitors.

The FTA Director General’s keynote presented an overview of the UAE’s experience with digital tax systems for participants at the two-day seminar, which was held in the Chinese capital, bringing together delegations from tax authorities around the world.

Al Bustani headed the FTA delegation to the seminar, which included Sara Al Habshi, Executive Director of the Tax Compliance Sector, and Saida Qadumi Osman, Acting Director of the Tax Policy and International Relations Department.

“The Federal Tax Authority was launched only six years ago, however, in that short time, it has managed to cement its position among the leading tax authorities, not only in the region but also the world,” Al Bustani noted.

“From the beginning, the Authority has sought to implement a comprehensive electronic system, free of personal or paper transactions. We provide all of our services online through the EmaraTax digital tax services platform. This supports our efforts and plans to drive continuous development by providing seamless and proactive digital services and presenting innovative models that reflect the leadership and excellence of the UAE Government’s system, adding value to customers by saving time, cost, and effort, while ensuring immediate processing and boosting flexible data communication.”

“All procedures, including registration, filing Tax Returns, paying due taxes, and submitting requests for refund for taxpayers who are eligible for them, are all carried out online with clear and simple steps via the EmaraTax platform, which serves as a unified portal connecting the FTA’s services with all relevant public and private entities,” Al Bustani explained. “This allows tax system registrants to use their UAE PASS digital identity in all procedures and services the Authority provides on its website, which further strengthens the UAE’s digital transformation journey.”

He went on to say, “In collaboration with relevant entities, the Federal Tax Authority has provided a diverse range of electronic payment solutions ensuring speed and flexibility, in an effort to facilitate procedures for taxpayers. These include, most notably, tax payment procedures using the Generated International Bank Account Number (GIBAN), which is a personalised virtual bank account number for each taxpayer that ensures their tax account is automatically updated when due taxes are paid, instead of receiving tax payments using traditional methods.”

Moreover, the FTA Director-General presented some of the Authority’s digital systems to participants at the seminar, including the fully digital system for the Value Added Tax (VAT) Refund Scheme for Tourists with 100 percent paperless procedures. The system is the most advanced of its kind in the world; it uses electronic invoices issued by sales outlets registered in the FTA’s system, instead of traditional paper ones. This is made possible by electronic link between these outlets and the digital system for the VAT Refund Scheme for Tourists, where invoices are issued, sent, modified, and stored electronically between the seller, the buying tourist, and the system.

Al Bustani also shed light on Muwafaq package, launched by the Authority to facilitate business operations and tax compliance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). With this package, the FTA provides a range of services via its website, along with incentives and privileges tailored to the sector that ensure speed and accuracy, and that are specifically designed to enable these companies to become a driving force in the national economy, promoting a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation.

The seminar addressed several topics related to the electronic invoice systems, cross-border collaboration opportunities, thought leadership, the digital transformation maturity model, and the tax rules included in participating countries’ regular taxpayer systems.