Startups might consider passing on some of the costs of being tax compliant onto their customers. As much as possible, avoid that thinking. Image Credit: Shutterstock

A landmark move that marks a departure from the UAE’s tax-free commercial environment, the corporate tax regime brings fresh challenges and opportunities to startups and early-stage companies. The ability to navigate this new fiscal landscape will prove a defining characteristic of the adaptable business.

It is imperative that startups comprehensively understand the new corporate tax law for effective restructuring and operational strategies. For startups, which often operate on tight budgets and thin margins, efficient tax planning can make a significant difference in terms of profitability and growth. Here are 7 areas where startups and new-age technology-led businesses could focus on.

Consider restructuring

The first step is to consider if your business would benefit from legal restructuring. Free zones are not subject to the tax, provided certain conditions are satisfied. If there’s a business case for setting up the entity in the free zone, it may prove beneficial to find and implement tax-efficient structure. And could be an excellent starting point.


Robust accounting practices

To ensure tax compliance, startups should consider upgrading their financial management systems. Maintaining accurate financial records has become a non-negotiable requirement. Companies should consider hiring qualified accountants or investing in efficient accounting software that can facilitate record-keeping and filing of tax returns.

Tax education

Education is key to successful tax planning. Understanding the nuances of the new tax law is crucial. Companies should invest in tax education for their employees, especially those involved in financial management and decision-making roles.

Compliance-oriented culture

Startups should aim to foster a compliance-oriented culture within their organization. This involves ensuring that all employees understand the importance of complying with the new tax laws and are actively involved in maintaining tax compliance. Penalties can be quite stringent and regularly reinforcing the importance of ethical business practices and adherence to the law can help ingrain compliance into the fabric of the company’s culture.

Industry associations

Startups should actively engage with industry associations and other professional bodies in the UAE. They can provide valuable support, information, and advocacy services during this transition period. Moreover, it is essential to stay abreast of the changes, especially given that changes are happening so rapidly and how it is impacting one’s sector.

Customer-centric approach

More often than not, startups operate on wafer-thin margins. It would be easier to give into the temptation of passing off the burden of the new tax onto customers. Despite the new financial burden that may be possibly imposed by the corporate tax, startups should be wary of passing this cost.

Fnding innovative ways to provide value, and building strong relationships can help maintain customer loyalty and market position. Striking the balance between maintaining profitability and offering value to customers will be a key challenge for startups in this new tax environment.

Professional assistance

Given the complexity of tax compliance, it might be beneficial to seek professional assistance, especially in the early stages of the tax transition. Even though hiring would incur extra costs, it could potentially save a lot more in the long run.

Finally, we need to come to terms with ‘nothing is certain but death and taxes’.

The new corporate tax era in the UAE presents an opportunity to reassess, restructure and streamline operations for better efficiency and profitability. Navigating this new landscape requires preparation, understanding, and strategic planning. With the right approach, young companies can thrive, even as they chart these new waters.