In 2020 Dubai was deemed 1st in the Arab world in terms of Economic Performance, the Best City for Expats in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, as well as the third most resilient economy for post COVID-19 recovery.
Prior to that and in 2019, Dubai was also recognized as the World's Leading Business Travel and MICE (the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions tourism segment) Destination. In addition, Dubai attracted 523 Foreign Direct Investment (“FDI”) projects in 2018—over 40% higher than the previous year.
Not only does the UAE have 0% corporate income tax for most businesses, but these other taxes are non-existent:
Stamp Duty on Contracts
Personal Income or Payroll Taxes
Capital Gains Tax
And the following taxes are as low as:
Value Added Tax as low as 5%
Import duty as low as 5%
No Import and Export customs duty within the Free Zones (with exceptions)
As of 2021, 117 countries have Double Tax Treaties with the UAE
If you have not heard by now, the UAE including the Emirate of Dubai allowed foreign investors to hold 100% ownership in the Mainland (outside the free zones) under the amended Commercial Companies Law, which came into effect on 1 June 2021.
Under this law, these business owners are now allowed full ownership without the need for UAE local nationals as sponsors holding 51% of the companies' shares—the one major requirement for forming a business in the country.
The 100% foreign ownership is permitted to over 1,000 business activities. Still there are some business activities that require the 51% UAE local ownership or even 100%.
the list of activities permitted for 100% foreign ownership here:
Dubai Foreign Ownership Activities
Abu Dhabi Foreign Ownership Activities
100% FOREIGN OWNERSHIP
Feel free to message me on LinkedIn for any specific questions on the 100% foreign ownership activities
Thousands of law firms, consultants and PROs can assist you in the establishment of your business in Dubai. In addition, the online platforms of the different licensing authorities are fairly easy to use.
The UAE has over 40 free zones, and 30 of those are in Dubai. Each jurisdiction has its own regulation and is usually used for different business activities. Are you setting up a distribution or service center? A manufacturing plant? or may be a headquarters? If yes, where are your customers located? Is it in the Middle East?
Every type is unique and should be looked at individually in order to determine the best location for a foreign investor.
Having an Arabic speaking Accredited Tax Agent with direct contact with the UAE Federal Tax Authority is critical to ensure accurate treatment of VAT for your business
Import and Customs
Availability of inventory system based on HS codes and declaration reference number is a must
Consumption of goods in free zones must be declared
Use of accurate customs declarations
You are in scope if you are:
A real estate firm that carries out transactions involving the buying and or selling of property.
An independent accounting (auditing) firm that provides professional financial services and assurance to third parties.
A dealer or manufacturer of precious metals or stones.
Trust or Company Service Provider involved in providing company establishment and/or business administration services to third parties.