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Extension granted for filing of VAT returns with FTA

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has issued a directive extending the filing date for their VAT Return for the Tax Period ending 31 March 2020, from 28 April 2020 till 28 May 2020. The payment of the VAT due for this Tax Period will also only be payable on 28 May 2020. This extension should provide an extended period for Taxable Persons to collect payments for Tax Invoices due to them to allow them to meet their VAT obligations to the FTA.

The FTA further announced that the extension will also apply to Taxable Persons that lodge monthly VAT Returns and that the VAT Return and payment of the VAT due for the Tax Period from 1 March 2020 till 31 March 2020 will also only be due on 28 May 2020.

The abovementioned directive from the FTA will only pertain to VAT Returns for the Tax Periods that ended on 31 March 2020, and does not affect any other Tax Periods where the deadline for filing Tax Returns and settling of payable taxes does not fall in April 2020.

Tax period extended for excise tax registrants

In an effort to support Excise Tax Registrants during the difficult circumstances caused by COVID-19, the Federal Tax Authority has decided to extend the tax period for businesses registered for Excise Tax, which commenced on 1/3/2020 for one month on an exceptional basis, to end on 30/4/2020. The tax period shall now respectively cover the months of March 2020 and April 2020, allowing registered businesses sufficient time to fulfil their tax obligations before the deadline.

Excise Tax Registrants must fulfil the following obligations:

  • file two separate tax returns, one for March 2020 and one for April 2020, by no later than Sunday, May 17, 2020; and
  • ensure that the Federal Tax Authority has received the tax payable for the tax periods as reported in the March 2020 and April 2020 tax returns by no later than Sunday, May 17, 2020.

Our expert tax lawyers are available to assist with this and all your tax needs during these difficult times.

Economic Relief Measures for the UAE during COVID-19

The UAE government has introduced certain measures that will offer economic relief to UAE businesses suffering under the strain of COVID-19 ramifications.

Although the UAE has not announced any direct relief from tax payment obligations similar to those introduced in KSA, the governments of both the Emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi have introduced financial assistance measures due to the current COVID-19 crisis.

The Emirate of Dubai

In the Emirate of Dubai, the government has introduced the following measures:

  • An AED1,5 billion business stimulation package involving the reduction in fees payable by businesses for three months
  • Dubai Customs introduced the following measures which will be in place from 15 March 2020 till 30 June 2020
  • A refund of 20% of all Customs Duty paid on goods at 5% which have been sold locally
  • The revokation of the AED50,000 cash or bank guarantees required to conduct customs broker activities and the refund of existing guarantees held to these brokers and clearing companies
  • The exemption from berthing fees as well as direct and indirect loading fees for boats that qualify as traditional wooden commercial boats registered in the UAE at either Dubai Creek or Hamriyah Port

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi

In the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the government has introduced:

  • With effect from 16 March 2020, a 16 point stimulus plan involving fee exemptions, fine waivers, SME support initiatives
  • An AED 5 billion water and electricity subsidy scheme
  • An AED 3 billion SME credit guarantee programme
  • The establishment of a AED 1 billion market maker fund to sustain a balanced supply and demand balance for stocks
  • The suspension of performance bonds for bidding procedures
  • A 25% reduction on new industrial land leasing fees
  • The waiver of industrial and commercial penalties
  • Cancellation of individual and commercial real estate registration fees
  • The payment of government approved invoices within 15 days
  • The suspension of Tourism and Municipality Fees for the tourism and entertainment sectors for 2020
  • Waiver of performance guarantees for start-ups for projects up till AED 50 million

In addition to the government’s measures the private sector has also stepped up to the plate and numerous of the large property leasing companies have offered reduced and even exemptions from rental payments for commercial tenants that have had to shut down their businesses due to COVID-19. Various banks, property developers and even utility suppliers have also offered payment holidays and have deferred evictions and legal collections in the light of the current situation in the UAE relating to COVID-19.

Should you be experiencing financial pressures and would like to take advantage of any of the above measures, BSA is ready and eager to assist.

Dubai Notary Public Services to be Provided Remotely

A recent circular from the Notary Public in Dubai confirmed that due to COVID-19 all Notary Public services, in all branches, would cease up till the 9th April 2020. Up until this date it has been confirmed that certain Notary Public services may be conducted remotely.

The following Notary Services can be conducted remotely:

  • i) Power of Attorney notarisation;
  • ii) Notarisation of legal notices;
  • iii) Acknowledgements;
  • iv) Notarisation of Local Service Agent Agreements;
  • v) Notarisation of Memorandums of Association and addendum’s thereto for civil companies.

All services relating to commercial companies’ memoranda and addenda have been transferred to Dubai Economy and are no longer dealt with by the Dubai Notary Public.

The remote working times for the Dubai Notary Public will be from 8am till 4pm from Sunday to Thursday.

The service requires a subscription to BOTIM and the Notary office will contact the attestor to the document through this video connection to establish identity and knowledge of the document which must be sent to the Dubai Notary Public’s dedicated email address in PDF format with an approved reference to the remote signing on the bottom of each page. The fees will be payable by credit card and the courier will deliver the document at a cost of AED21 to your address.

There is therefore no need to wait for 9th April 2020 before important notarisation’s are attended to and BSA is able to assist you in finalising the arrangements for notarial execution of your documents during this already stressful time.