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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

VAT q&a: 'How do I know if an FTA email is a scam?'

The reader is unsure if a message from the Federal Tax Authority is genuine

The email requests the reader to update information on the VAT registration document. Photo: Getty Images
The email requests the reader to update information on the VAT registration document. Photo: Getty Images

I recently received an email from the Federal Tax Authority. Can you advise if this is a scam as I read online about a scam email that posed as Emirates NBD regarding VAT refunds. The FTA email says: "This is to bring to your kind attention that your VAT application needs to be amended as some information provided is missing, incorrect or expired. You are kindly requested to amend the application within 5 working days to avoid any difficulties during your fillings or imposing of relevant penalties". If the FTA email is genuine, what do I need to do? CB Dubai

The FTA email is not a scam and needs to be actioned. The Emirates NBD email was identified by the bank as a phishing scam and should be ignored.

VAT has now been in place for almost a year and therefore most registered companies will have renewed their trade license since they first registered for VAT. The FTA requires information uploaded at the time of registration to be updated each year as it expires. This includes the trade licence and the passports and Emirates IDs of the company owners.

To start the amendment, click on the link on your FTA dashboard. Once you start an amendment you are prompted to re-enter your Emirates ID and passport even if the documents uploaded at registration are still valid. Then work your way through the amendment pages which follow the format of the initial VAT registration.

While the portal does not force you to update the annual turnover or upload your most recent year-to-date financial statements, several VAT experts suggest doing this as you need to certify on the last page that the information you are submitting is correct. Note the FTA request that the amendment is filed within five working days to avoid difficulties.

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Read more:

Emirates NBD issues warning over VAT phishing email targeting clients

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VAT q&a: 'Does a company branch have to be registered separately for taxes?'

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I read your article on the VAT registration of branch companies. Has the FTA issued a clarification on this subject? I checked the authority's user guide but could not find anything matching this article. So I need clarification on this, as have similar concerns. NK, Sharjah

The FTA guidance regarding the VAT registration of branches was not included specifically in either the Decree Law or Executive regulations, rather it was clarified in the VAT registration guide on page 10. This guidance can be found at https://www.tax.gov.ae/pdf/Registration-User-Guide-VAT-VATG102_English_1.pdf .

The guidance states: “Please note, branches are not legally distinct from the wider entity to which they belong. Therefore, registration will not be made in the name of a branch but in the name of the parent where it meets the relevant criteria. Even if you are operating via branches in more than one emirate, only one VAT registration is required”. Once the parent company is registered, all branches and the parent company should use the same tax registration number. The parent and all its UAE branches should file a consolidated VAT return at the end of each quarter.

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Read more:

VAT q&a: 'How do I invoice a client in another currency?'

VAT q&a: What entertainment expenses can my company reclaim VAT on?

VAT q&a: As a start-up not paying VAT, how can I retain my big clients?

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One of my suppliers issued an invoice dated July 29, but I did not receive it until August when I had already completed and filed my return for the period May to July. Can I reclaim the input tax credit or has that opportunity been lost due to the time delay? LS, Abu Dhabi

VAT legislation recognises there may be delays between the invoice date and the date it is received by the customer, therefore the FTA allows you to reclaim input VAT in the next return. This is covered in Article 55 of the Decree Law and states you should recover the input VAT in the tax period following receipt of the invoice or the subsequent period. The legislation does not refer to the invoice date, rather to the date of receipt of the invoice by the customer.

Lisa Martin, a chartered accountant with more than 20 years commercial finance experience, is the founder of accounting, auditing and VAT consultancy, The Counting House. Email any VAT queries to pf@thenational.ae