The Value Added Tax will kick in from January 1, 2018 Image Credit: © XPRESS/ ADOR T. BUSTAMANTE

Dubai: Abby and his wife made the most of last Friday. They treated themselves to a sumptuous Arabic breakfast at an upmarket, themed cafe and went on a shopping spree at a mall. While Abby got himself a long-awaited smartphone, his wife Shally picked up a new designer bag, an evening dress and a pair of shoes for her New Year’s Eve party.

After a quick bite at the food court they watched a movie. Sufficiently relaxed now, they headed back home, but stopped at the gas station to get fuel for their rented car. They also bought a sandwich each from the adjacent convenience store. Back home, Abby remembered he had to pay his utility bills, so he quickly went online and did the needful before retiring for the night.

As the couple later took stock of the day’s expenses, the total came to Dh11,035: combo breakfast deal Dh190, dream phone Dh4,700, designer bag Dh2,800, evening dress Dh1,200, shoes Dh499, food court meal Dh88, movie tickts Dh120, car fuel Dh125, car rental Dh183, sandwich Dh30 and utilities Dh1,100.

Final countdown

Just a week from now, the same outing with similar spends would cost Abby and his wife Dh551.75 more. Their total expense would come up to Dh11,586.75, thanks to the Value Added Tax or VAT that will implemented across the UAE from January 1.

As the final countdown to 2018 begins, VAT’s the main difference in the New Year for UAE residents. XPRESS gives you a lowdown on what VAT is all about, what it will impact, what it will not, some expertspeak and how you can become compliant.


“We are taking all necessary measures to educate our customers so that they are fully aware of the government directives regarding VAT and the way that it will impact their telecommunications spend,” - - Fahad Al Hassawi, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company.

“The biggest confusion we are seeing is the mixing up of a real estate transaction (rent or sale) with the service of a real estate broker, whereby for a commercial building both will incur a five per cent VAT and for a residential building the first will not incur any VAT. As such, VAT should not have any major slowing down effect on a buyer-friendly real estate climate and should have a minimal impact on any of our residential rents.”

-Simon Comina, CFO, Propertyfinder Group

“VAT compliance requires significant changes to processes and systems, as well as getting employees trained. Companies are rushing to get their accounting and business systems ready. The right support and technology can drive efficient implementation and ease the administrative burdens of VAT,”

-Mansoor Sarwar, Director of Technical Services and Pre-sales at Sage, a market leader for integrated cloud accounting and payroll systems

“We are committed to helping businesses implement VAT effectively and seamlessly.With data compliance and security embedded in all our solutions, we enable business owners to focus on expanding their business, while we handle all accounting and tax compliance requirements.”

-Vikas Panchal, business development and operations head, Tally Solutions, compliance software provider