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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 July 2018

UAE's VAT taxpayers can appoint agents via government website

Federal Tax Authority’s website connects taxpayers with authorised tax agents to oversee transactions on their behalf

“The FTA is committed to continuously developing its services to ensure flexibility and enable businesses to seamlessly implement the tax system and avoid any disruption to their activities,” FTA director-general Khalid Al Bustani. Antonie Robertson/The National
“The FTA is committed to continuously developing its services to ensure flexibility and enable businesses to seamlessly implement the tax system and avoid any disruption to their activities,” FTA director-general Khalid Al Bustani. Antonie Robertson/The National

UAE taxpayers can now connect directly with accredited tax agents – including accountants, lawyers or consultants – via a government website, the Federal Tax Authority said.

The new website feature allows payers of the 5 per cent VAT to nominate one or more parties as their official tax agent, who would represent them in all their transactions with the FTA and help them comply with the VAT requirements, state-run Wam news agency reported, citing an FTA statement. VAT payers can appoint agents to oversee VAT registration procedures, tax returns and any other necessary tax transactions on their behalf.

“The FTA is committed to continuously developing its services to ensure flexibility and enable businesses to seamlessly implement the tax system and avoid any disruption to their activities,” FTA director general Khalid Al Bustani said.

The UAE introduced VAT in January and excise taxes in October last year to help offset the effects of the three-year oil price slump, which has reduced government income from hydrocarbons and widened the fiscal deficit.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia are the only GCC states to introduce VAT and excise duties to date, although all member countries have signed to implement the measures.

Any person liable to pay VAT in the UAE can now link their FTA tax account with that of an accredited tax agency via the website Eservices.tax.gov.ae, the authority said.

The update was introduced following requests by taxpayers for easier interaction with tax experts, and “reflects the FTA’s commitment to constructive dialogue with the business community as a means to establish an environment that encourages voluntary auto-compliance with tax procedures”.

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The authority has to date approved 87 tax agents following their successful completion of the FTA exams, Mr Al Bustani said. In a progress update in April, the director general told reporters that more than 275,000 UAE businesses had registered for VAT – as required under the new law – but tens of thousands had yet to do so and the government planned to crack down on unregistered businesses.

Improving the digital platforms by which taxpayers conduct VAT transactions is one element of this, and the FTA said it launched an updated guide for registering for VAT, as well as amending or cancelling a registration, on its website this week.

“The FTA has set up advanced, world-class electronic procedures, and hired highly qualified personnel to facilitate registration procedures for taxable persons, tax agents and tax agencies alike,” Mr Al Bustani said.