Dubai, UAE – The UAE has issued three new ministerial decisions on corporate taxation, setting guidelines for businesses preparing their financial statements that will be used as the starting point to calculate taxable income for corporate tax.
The decision on Accounting Standards and Methods confirms that International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) are the applicable accounting standards in the UAE and must be used by larger businesses that have revenues of more than AED50 million (US$13.6 million).
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Larger #businesses with #revenues exceeding AED50,000,000 must apply International Financial Reporting Standards (#IFRS).@MOFUAE @uaetax pic.twitter.com/nzS6wCX7BW
The decision provides small and medium businesses that have revenues not exceeding AED50 million with the option of applying IFRS for SMEs. To reduce the compliance burden even further, the decision confirms that the cash basis accounting may be used by businesses that have less than AED3 million in revenue.
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The decision also provides clarity on what is meant by consolidated financial statements for tax grouping purposes. Where, such financial statements will be the aggregation of the parent company and each subsidiary’s (that is a member of the tax group) standalone financial statements once intra-group transactions are eliminated.
The three new decisions aim to enhance the flexibility of UAE’s Corporate Tax regime and ensure a supportive business environment for all sectors. The decisions cover several important aspects related to private regulated pension funds and social security funds normally exempt from corporate tax in other countries.Younis Haji Al Khouri, Undersecretary of the UAE’s Ministry of Finance
The decision on Pensions and Social Security Funds sets out further conditions for private regulated pension funds and social security funds in the UAE seeking exemption from corporate tax.
The decision ensures alignment with international tax practices so that UAE private pension or social security funds exempt status is also recognized when investing internationally, and double tax treaty benefits can be obtained.
In addition, the decision sets out details of maximum contributions per beneficiary and the annual confirmation of compliance by a statutory auditor to ensure integrity of the exemption.
AT A GLANCE
Ministerial Decision No.114 provides clear accounting standards for businesses. Larger businesses with revenues exceeding AED50,000,000 must apply International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
Small and medium businesses with revenues not exceeding AED50,000,000 can opt for IFRS for SMEs. Businesses with less than AED3,000,000 revenue may use cash basis accounting.
Ministerial Decision No.115 sets conditions for UAE private regulated pension and social security funds to be exempt from Corporate Tax, aligning with international tax practices.
This decision stipulates maximum contributions per beneficiary and requires annual confirmation of compliance from a statutory auditor.
Ministerial Decision No.116 provides Corporate Tax exemptions on dividends, profit distributions, and capital gains from a Participating Interest of at least 5% in another entity’s shares or capital, held for at least 12 months.
The exemption applies if the subsidiary is in a jurisdiction with a Corporate Tax rate of at least 9% or demonstrates an effective tax rate of at least 9%. The decision covers various ownership interest types and ensures UAE-based companies with specific foreign investments don’t incur UAE Corporate Tax on those investments, provided they meet the conditions.
The decision on Participation Exemption provides for corporate tax exemptions on dividends, profit distributions and capital gains from a participating interest, which is defined as a 5 percent or greater ownership interest in another entity’s shares or capital, held for at least 12 months.
The exemption applies if the subsidiary is in a jurisdiction with a corporate tax rate of at least 9 percent or can demonstrate an effective tax rate of at least 9 percent on profits, income, or equity.
The decision also clarifies that the relief will apply to various ownership interest types, including preferential shares, ordinary shares and redeemable shares and membership and partner interest, where the aggregated acquisition cost of the ownership interests is equal to or exceeds AED4 million.
This ensures UAE-based companies with specific investments in foreign entities that meet the required conditions do not suffer any UAE corporate tax on such investments.
Younis Haji Al Khouri, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance, said, “The three new decisions aim to enhance the flexibility of UAE’s Corporate Tax regime and ensure a supportive business environment for all sectors. The decisions cover several important aspects related to private regulated pension funds and social security funds normally exempt from corporate tax in other countries.
“Designating International Financial Reporting Standards as the applicable accounting standards and further simplifying accounting processes for SMEs reflects the Ministry of Finance’s commitment to imposing a minimal compliance burden for businesses in scope of the Corporate Tax regime. In addition, the participation exemption will prevent double corporate tax on the profits of one entity and eliminate international double taxation.”