gold coins, gold bars
The exempt categories for UAE corporate tax registration includes those businesses that are into the trading or refining of natural resources. But these need to be natural resources that should ideally be extracted from the UAE, and not imported, tax consultants say. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: Gold traders in the UAE will not be getting an exemption from corporate tax registrations.

There had been some talk in the local gold industry that some businesses operating in the bullion space could find themselves exempt after the UAE tax authorities put out a list of categories that do not have to register.

One relates to activities in ‘non-extractive’ natural resource business operations. This is what led gold traders to think they too might be covered. “Bullion is a natural resource – so, the question was whether gold trading – excluding retail sales, of course – could be part of the exemptions,” said a Dubai-based bullion dealer.

But industry analysts say that would be too broad an interpretation of what the UAE defines as exempt categories. And that further updates will be required from the Ministry of Finance or the Federal Tax Authority.

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"Yes, a non-extractive natural resource business covers activities ancillary to the actual extraction business,” said Pankaj S. Jain, Managing Director at AskPankaj Tax Advisors. “Such activities cover the separating, treating, refining, processing, storing, transporting, marketing or distributing of UAE’s natural resources.

“The CT registration exemption applies only if the businesses is covered under Emirates-level taxation.

Gold traders should be covered under corporate tax.

- Pankaj S. Jain, Managing Director at AskPankaj Tax Advisors

That the ‘natural resource’ should be from within the UAE is the main point, and not brought into the country, which is the case with bullion. It needs to be seen whether a business that’s not local refining would get any tax incentives.

Gold has been categorised as a high priority business by the federal government, and that means creating strengths in and above retail-related gold and jewellery sales.

So, which businesses in non-extractive natural resources can be considered for non-registration? Those in the oil business would be a natural fit.


Dr. Nabeel Ahmed is Senior Partner at One DVS. He reckons that some entities within the gold trade could still come under exemptions. This could be “if the trading firm engaged in gold and other precious metals is a government entity or a government-controlled entity,” said Ahmed. “Or, if trading is part of the non-extractive natural resource business, wherein conditions of Article 8 (Exempt Persons) of UAE CT law is applicable.

“To see if gold and other precious metal trading firms are exempt one needs to evaluate the underlying conditions:

“Does the trading firm directly or indirectly hold right, concession, licensing to undertake its non-extractive natural resource business in the UAE and meets all conditions of Clause (1) of Article 8 of UAE CT law and Article 8 in general.

“Is it a government or a government-controlled entity?

If the answers are in the negative, then the gold and other precious metal trading firms must register for the UAE CT.

- Dr. Nabeel Ahmed, Senior Partner at One DVS