The UAE imposed a 5 per cent Value-Added Tax beginning on January 1. Image Credit: Hadrian Hernandez/Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE’s government has no intention of raising the current rate of Value-Added Tax (VAT) or excise tax in the medium term, Obaid Al Tayer, the country’s Minister of State for Financial Affairs confirmed.

“If you’re referring to the next five years, we don’t see anything [relating to] increasing the VAT rate or the excise rate. I also want to confirm that there aren’t any studies or any legislation regarding introducing income tax,” Al Tayer told reporters in Dubai on Saturday.

He pointed, however, that the UAE’s Ministry of Finance is still working on introducing corporate tax, but is in very early stages of that.

“At the time being, we are not about to implement the corporate tax, but we are studying the possible tax framework. We are in the early stages of studying the [corporate] tax legislation,” Al Tayer said.

Asked about the impact of excise tax, which was implemented across the UAE on October 1, the minister said it was “too early to judge” and that the government will know exactly how much revenues the tax brought by the end of the year.

Al Tayer’s comments on the tax rates follow much speculation that the UAE may raise the VAT rate or the excise rate to increase government revenues.

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A report from S&P Global Ratings in late January suggested some GCC countries may double their VAT rate from the current 5 per cent to 10 per cent. VAT was implemented in January 1, 2018.

“The discrepancy between statutory and effective tax rates will likely influence policymakers’ discussions of future VAT rate increases – potentially to 10 per cent – in some GCC countries. Government revenues would likely advance by an additional 1.7-2 per cent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) on average,” the report said.

There was also speculation that the UAE may increase its excise tax rate as the executive regulations on that have a roof on the rate that is higher than the current rates. Excise tax is at a rate of 50 per cent on carbonated drinks, and 100 per cent on energy drinks and tobacco products.

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