UAE tax authority outlines VAT exempt free zones

A number of free zones have been designated outside of the country for VAT purposes



The UAE’s Federal Tax Authority has published a list of free zones in the country that are able to transfer goods between each other without being subject to value added tax.

The emirates implemented the 5 per cent VAT rate on January 1 and it applies to most goods and services like food and beverage items, utilities and fuel.

Read: Revealed: Goods and services subject to VAT in the UAE

The cabinet list of 20 designated free zones in the country are considered outside of the UAE for tax purposes provided the zone managers have internal procedures for keeping, storing and processing of goods.

The acquisition of goods within a zone for incorporation into another unconsumed good within the same designated zone will not be subject to VAT.

However, the movement or supply of goods into a zone from the rest of the country will not be covered by this rule.

In addition, companies within the designated zones that provide services will still be considered onshore and have to pay tax.

Interestingly the list does not include most of those in Dubai, which is home to the majority of the 45 free zones in the country.

The list

Abu Dhabi
The free trade zone of Khalifa Port
Khalifa Industrial Zone
Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone

Dubai
Jebel Ali Free Zone
Dubai Cars and Automotive Zone
Dubai Textile City
The free zone areas of Al Quoz and Al Qusais
Dubai Aviation City
Dubai Airport Free Zone

Sharjah
Hamriyah Free Zone
Sharjah Airport International Free Zone

Ajman and Umm Al Quwain
Ajman Free Zone
Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone in Ahmed Bin Rashid Port
Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road

Ras Al Khaimah
RAK Free Trade Zone
RAK Maritime City Free Zone
RAK Airport Free Zone

Fujairah
Fujairah Free zone
Fujairah Oil Industry Zone

Earlier this week the UAE’s Ministry of Finance said the tax would have only a “small impact” on society, amid cost of living concerns from some residents.

Read: UAE finance ministry says VAT will have “small impact” on society

Ministry of Finance undersecretary Younis Haji al-Khouri said the tax would particularly provide a boost to exempt sectors like health and education.

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