What is Corporate Tax imposed on?
Corporate Tax is imposed on Taxable Income earned by a Taxable Person in a Tax Period.
Corporate Tax would generally be imposed annually, with the Corporate Tax liability calculated by the Taxable Person on a self-assessment basis. This means that the calculation and payment of Corporate Tax is done through the filing of a Corporate Tax Return with the Federal Tax Authority by the Taxable Person.
The starting point for calculating Taxable Income is the Taxable Person’s accounting income (i.e. net profit or loss before tax) as per their financial statements. The Taxable Person will then need to make certain adjustments to determine their Taxable Income for the relevant Tax Period. For example, adjustments to accounting income may need to be made for income that is exempt from Corporate Tax and for expenditure that is wholly or partially non-deductible for Corporate Tax purposes.
What income is exempt?
The Corporate Tax Law also exempts certain types of income from Corporate Tax. This means that a Taxable Persons will not be subject to Corporate Tax on such income and cannot claim a deduction for any related expenditure. Taxable Persons who earn exempt income will remain subject to Corporate Tax on their Taxable Income.
The main purpose of certain income being exempt from Corporate Tax is to prevent double taxation on certain types of income. Specifically, dividends and capital gains earned from domestic and foreign shareholdings will generally be exempt from Corporate Tax. Furthermore, a Resident Person can elect, subject to certain conditions, to not take into account income from a foreign Permanent Establishment for UAE Corporate Tax purposes.
What expenses are deductible?
In principle, all legitimate business expenses incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of deriving Taxable Income will be deductible, although the timing of the deduction may vary for different types of expenses and the accounting method applied. For capital assets, expenditure would generally be recognized by way of depreciation or amortization deductions over the economic life of the asset or benefit.
Expenditure that has a dual purpose, such as expenses incurred for both personal and business purposes, will need to be apportioned with the relevant portion of the expenditure treated as deductible if incurred wholly and exclusively for the purpose of the taxable person’s business.
Certain expenses which are deductible under general accounting rules may not be fully deductible for Corporate Tax purposes. These will need to be added back to the Accounting Income for the purposes of determining the Taxable Income. Examples of expenditure that is or may not be deductible (partially or in full) include: