Dubai VAT: rate, VAT exemption, information

As Dubai VAT is charged on all local services and goods, you should Dubai tax jurisdiction as a company director, it is important to know how it works. Find out in our article whether you need to register for VAT in Dubai, what VAT categories exist and what you need to be aware of when it comes to VAT administration. 

Dubai VAT: who needs to register?

If your UAE-registered business has taxable income of more than AED 375,000 in a 12-month period, you must register for VAT. You must also file a quarterly VAT return, even if you have not incurred any VAT payable.

You can also voluntarily choose to become VAT-registered if your total taxable income in the previous 12 months exceeded AED 187 500.

Whichever you choose, you should visit a Accounting in Dubai a specialist or team of experts in the field.

Dubai VAT categories

VAT was introduced in the United Arab Emirates on 1 January 2018, with the following VAT categories.

VAT at 5%

The standard VAT rate is 5%, which is charged on all local services and goods that are not subject to VAT rate 0%.

VAT at 0%

VAT 0% applies to:

  • Exports of goods and services
  • International transport of goods, passengers and transport related services
  • Many means of transport, such as trains, sea vessels and aircraft, and goods and services related to such means of transport
  • Aircraft and sea vessels designed for air or sea rescue or assistance
  • Investing in certain precious metals
  • First letting or sale of residential buildings, provided that it takes place within 3 years of the completion of construction
  • First letting or sale of buildings specifically designed for charitable institutions
  • Letting or sale of buildings converted from non-residential use into residential units
  • Trade in crude petroleum and natural gas
  • Certain educational services and related goods and services
  • Essential and preventive health services and related goods and services

VAT exemption

The following items are mostly exempt from Dubai VAT:

  • Certain financial services
  • Supply (rental or sale) of dwelling units, if such supply is not subject to VAT rate 0
  • Vacant land
  • Local passenger transport

To find out the exact rules, you should consult a VAT expert.

Dubai VAT calculation

You can calculate the VAT included in the transactions by dividing the price by 21.


Price including VAT = AED 330


VAT included in the price = AED 330 ÷ 21 = AED 15,71

VAT on the invoice in Dubai

In Dubai, you must also issue an invoice for each sale of goods or provision of services.

What mandatory information must be included on the invoice?

Make sure that the invoices you issue include the following:

  • The invoice must be clearly marked "TAX INVOICE"
  • Name, address and tax registration number (TRN) of the party issuing the invoice
  • The name, address and TRN number of the receiving party, if registered in a VAT register
  • The invoice serial number, which allows the invoice to be identified
  • Date of the exhibition
  • The date of performance, if different from the date of issue
  • Description of the products sold or services provided
  • Unit price, quantity or volume of the supply, VAT rate payable and amount payable in AED
  • The level of any discounts offered
  • Total amount in AED
  • The amount of tax payable in AED and the applicable rate
  • If the customer is liable to pay VAT, the invoice must contain a clear reference to this and refer to the relevant legal provision.

Issuing a simplified invoice

You can issue a simplified tax invoice in the following cases:

  1. If you are not registered for VAT
  2. If the recipient is registered for VAT but the invoice value does not exceed AED 10 000

The simplified invoice must also contain the following information:

  • The invoice must be clearly marked "TAX INVOICE".
  • Your company and the name, address and TRN number of the receiving party, if available
  • Date of issue of the tax invoice
  • Description of the products sold or services provided
  • Total consideration and VAT charged

VAT registration and administration in Dubai

As a VAT circular, your business has to keep a lot of documentation. To ensure that your business registered in Dubai is fully compliant with VAT rules, you should consult experts.

Documents that must be kept 

You must keep the following documents even if you are not a VAT payer:

  • Balance sheet and profit and loss account
  • Wage and salary records
  • Register of fixed assets
  • Inventory records and statements kept at the end of the tax year, including the quantity purchased and its value
  • All inventory records related to the inventory statements as required by the Tax Act and other legislation

Documentation of the VAT-registered business

In addition to the above, your VAT registered business in the UAE must keep the following documents:

  • Records of all goods and services purchased
  • All invoices received and issued and tax credit notes
  • Records of goods and services withdrawn from stock (exemplary faulty) or used for purposes unrelated to the business, with details of the VAT paid on them
  • Records of purchases of goods and services for which input VAT has not been deducted
  • Register of exported goods and services
  • Recording corrections or adjustments to invoices or other documents

Compulsory VAT record keeping

As a VAT-registered business, you must keep VAT records showing:

  • Tax payable and input tax charged on taxable purchases.
  • Tax payable on taxable purchases accounted for using the reverse charge method.
  • The tax content of costs accrued as assets or liabilities in the accounts. Includes expenditure paid or charged in the current year but charged to the following or previous year(s).
You must keep the above records for at least 5 years from the end of the tax period. If your business also owns real estate, you must keep the records for the real estate for 15 years.

VAT refund

You can reclaim VAT paid on goods and services purchased in the course of your business. To do this, it is important to keep the above VAT records correctly. The amount of VAT incurred in each tax period must also be shown on your tax return.

It is important to know that you cannot claim VAT back on the following expenses:

  • Entertainment-related costs, such as expenses for company team-building activities
  • Purchase of cars for personal use
  • Employee-related expenditure

Dubai company accounting with professional help

Since the introduction of VAT in 2018 and the introduction of corporate tax in 2023, the Dubai taxation requires even greater care. We can provide you with full accounting support for your Dubai business, whether you need About starting a company in Dubai, visa arrangements or VAT accounting in Dubai.

Contact us for legal and personalised solutions and fill in the form or contact us.

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