Khaleej Times, Tuesday, Mar 07, 2023 | Sha'ban 15, 1444
Tax residency rules in UAE: All your questions answered
Emirates: A UAE ministerial decision issued on the determination of tax
residency will ease the lives of expats living in the UAE and be in their best
interest - according to experts in the country.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) issued Ministerial Decision
No. 27 of 2023 on implementation of certain provisions of Cabinet Decision No.
85 of 2022 on determination of tax residency. The law regarding this was issued
in September 2022 and stipulates the number of days which an individual is
physically present in the UAE to be considered a tax resident among other
“The new decision simply aims to avoid double taxation,” said Mostafa Hegab,
Legal Counsel at Mansoor Lootah Advocates and Legal Consultants. “The new
cabinet decision has listed some requirements based on which any natural person
or legal entity could be characterized as a tax resident in UAE. Accordingly, a
tax residency certificate will be issued which can be provided back to the
birthplace in order to avoid double taxation.
On 2022 cabinet decision No.85 was issued and came in to force on 1 March 2023,
to illustrate the requirements and conditions for identifying a person or legal
entity as a tax resident in the state.
In doing so, they aligned the definition of domestic Tax Resident with
internationally recognized standards, according to Arun Leslie John, Chief
Market Analyst, Century Financial. “The newly introduced criterion will make it
easier for individuals and entities to have absolute clarity about their tax
residency position within the country,” he said. “This is important because the
UAE is home to individuals from across the world.”
So, what does this mean for UAE residents? The experts break it down here:
Who is a natural or juridical tax resident?
According to Libbie Burtinshaw, Head of Operations at PRO Partner Group, the
Domestic Tax Residency regulation defines a UAE tax resident as a either a
natural person or a juridical person.
A natural person is defined as an individual with a permanent place of residence
in the UAE or is employed or has a business in the UAE. It also refers to
- have spent 183 days or more in the UAE over a consecutive 12-month period
- the UAE is the individuals primary residence
- is the individuals base for financial and personal interest
For UAE Nationals, valid Permanent Resident Permit holders, or GCC member of
state nationalities - physically present for 90 days or more over a 12-month
A juridical person refers to a business/entity which is legally separated from
its owners. Tax residency applies to businesses/entities established or
recognised in the UAE.
How will this impact UAE residents?
Arun explains that the UAE has double taxation treaties and bilateral agreements
with 137 countries. These reference the UAE’s domestic laws and are crucial in
determining an individual’s tax residency status. Therefore, UAE residents that
are eligible can apply to the Federal Tax Authority requesting a tax residency
certificate. This is a formal requirement if the individual wishes to further
apply for tax relief or claim benefits in a different jurisdiction under the
applicable tax treaty.
Mostafa further clarifies that Articles 3 and 4 of the Cabinet decision No. 85
for 2022 has precisely demonstrated both juridical and natural person. If the
requirements mentioned are met, then a UAE resident can easily apply to obtain
tax residency certificate (TRC) to use it back as a proof of tax payment.
How will this impact their investment decisions in the country?
Libbie explains that being a UAE Tax Resident does not make the individual
subject to personal income tax but will help individuals who meet the criteria
understand their tax residency position. The UAE 9 per cent Corporate Tax (CT)
will be active from June 2023. Marked against global corporate tax rates, the
new CT policy is still very competitive. A 0 per cent CT rate for taxable income
up to Dh375,000 should support small and medium businesses as well as startups.