UAE announces corporate tax relief for small businesses and startups - GulfToday

UAE announces corporate tax relief for small businesses and startups


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Inayat-ur-Rahman, Business Editor

The Ministry of Finance has issued Ministerial Decision No. 73 of 2023 on Small Business Relief for the purposes of Federal Decree-Law No. 47 of 2022 on the Taxation of Corporations and Businesses (the “Corporate Tax Law”).

The decision is issued in accordance with Article 21 of the Corporate Tax Law, which treats the taxable person as not having derived any taxable income in a given tax period where the revenue did not exceed a certain threshold. Small Business Relief is intended to support start-ups and other small or micro businesses by reducing their Corporate Tax burden and compliance costs.

The Ministerial Decision on Small Business Relief specifies the revenue threshold and conditions for a taxable person to elect for Small Business Relief and clarifies the provisions of the carried forward Tax Losses and disallowed Net Interest Expenditure under the Small Business Relief scheme.

The Ministerial Decision on Small Business Relief stipulates the following:

Taxable persons that are resident persons can claim Small Business Relief where their revenue in the relevant tax period and previous tax periods is below Dhs3 million for each tax period.

This means that once a taxable person exceeds the Dhs3 million revenue threshold in any tax period, then the Small Business Relief will no longer be available. The Dhs3 million revenue threshold will apply to tax periods starting on or after 1 June 2023 and will only continue to apply to subsequent tax periods that end before or on 31 December 2026.

Revenue can be determined based on the applicable accounting standards accepted in the UAE. Small Business Relief will not be available to Qualifying Free Zone Persons or members of Multinational Enterprises Groups (MNE Groups) as defined in Cabinet Decision No. 44 of 2020 on Organising Reports Submitted by Multinational Companies. MNE Groups are groups of companies with operations in more than one country that have consolidated group revenues of more than Dhs3.15 billion.

In tax periods defined in the decision where businesses do not elect to apply for Small Business Relief, they will be able to carry forward any incurred Tax Losses and any disallowed Net Interest Expenditure from such tax periods, for use in future tax periods in which the Small Business Relief is not elected. With regard to the artificial separation of business, the Ministerial Decision specifies that where the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) establishes that taxable persons have artificially separated their business or business activity and the total revenue of the entire business or business activity exceeds Dhs3 million in any tax period and such persons have elected to apply for Small Business Relief, this would be considered an arrangement to obtain a Corporate Tax advantage under Clause (1) of Article 50 regarding the general anti-abuse rules of the Corporate Tax Law.


CA Harikishan Rankawat, Chairman of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) Dubai Chapter told Gulf Today that the decision to provide tax relief to companies with revenue base below Dh3 million provides a welcome relief and reflects the visionary and pro-business leadership of the UAE. As per the new Ministerial Decision No 73 published on Thursday, the Dhs3 million revenue threshold will apply to tax periods starting on or after 1st June 2023 and will only continue to apply to subsequent tax periods that end before or on 31st December 2026.

“This means, even if a business generating more than Dh375,000 net profit but has revenue below Dh3 million, can seek Small Business Relief and thus get exemption from Corporate Tax.”

Abdul Jebbar PB, Group Managing Director and CEO, Hotpack Global, said: “We welcome the Ministry of Finance’s decision to introduce Small Business Relief as a positive step towards promoting competitiveness and supporting the economy. This will greatly benefit start-ups and other small businesses, which in turn will encourage more investment in the sector.

Naren Vijay, Executive VP-Growth, Lumenore, said: “The introduction of Small Business Relief by the Ministry of Finance will allow for greater reinvestment, job creation, and the country’s overall economic growth. It is a much-needed step towards empowering small and medium-sized enterprises and enabling them to be competitive in the market against larger, more established corporations.”

Karthik Jayaraman, Managing Director and CoFounder, WayCool Foods and Products, said: This initiative will not only encourage more investment in the sector and drive economic growth but will also encourage competition leading to greater innovation. Kamal Vachani, Group Director and Partner Al Maya Group, said: This is great news for investors looking to UAE as their start up launchpad. It is quite empowering and inspiring for them as well as us as industry leaders that Ministry of Finance’s will offer small businesses relief on corporate tax.”

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