The introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) in the United Arab Emirates has brought about significant changes in the way businesses operate. While VAT can be a valuable source of revenue for the government, it also poses several challenges for businesses. To help you navigate these complexities, we’ve compiled a list of common pain points and mistakes related to UAE VAT, along with strategies to avoid them.
- Incorrect VAT Registration:
Failing to register for VAT when required can result in penalties. Businesses need to monitor their turnover to determine if they meet the registration threshold.
Regularly review your sales and expense figures and ensure timely VAT registration when your turnover exceeds the specified threshold.
- Late VAT Returns:
Missing the deadlines for submitting VAT returns can lead to fines. Businesses should be aware of the filing frequency and due dates.
Establish a rigorous internal calendar to ensure VAT returns are filed accurately and on time. Consider setting up reminders and make sure all documents are ready and file returns on time to avoid missing deadlines and penalties.
- Inaccurate Input Tax Claims:
Claiming input tax on non-eligible expenses or making calculation errors can lead to over- or under-claimed VAT, which may result in penalties.
Implement strict controls and documentation processes to ensure that only eligible expenses are claimed as input tax. Regularly review and reconcile your records.
- Failure to Maintain Adequate Records:
Proper record-keeping is essential. Failing to maintain accurate records of transactions, invoices, and receipts can cause compliance issues.
Invest in robust accounting software and educate your team on the importance of meticulous record-keeping. Regularly audit your records to identify and rectify discrepancies. Keep your VAT records properly and in such a way that those should be recoverable whenever needed.
- Incorrect VAT Invoices:
Proper Tax Invoices must include specific requirements and information. Mistakes in invoice issuance can lead to non-compliance. Proper Tax Invoices should be issued to make sure that they are in compliance with VAT law
Conduct thorough training for your team on invoice requirements and ensure they follow these guidelines diligently. Also double check your tax invoices before issuing to customers.
- Failure to Account for Standard-rated, Zero-rated and Exempted supplies:
Not recognizing the difference between standard-rated, zero-rated, and exempt supplies can lead to incorrect VAT treatment.
Understand the VAT treatment for various types of supplies your business deals with and ensure your systems are configured correctly to apply the appropriate rates and proper treatment in your VAT returns.
- Intercompany and tax group transactions:
Errors can occur in transactions between related companies, such as incorrect application of reverse charge mechanism and charging of VAT on invoices
Seek professional advice when dealing with intercompany transactions to ensure compliance with VAT regulations. If registered as a tax group, inter-company transactions become out of scope. Identify those transactions and avoid charging VAT on them.
- Lack of VAT Knowledge:
Many businesses may not fully understand the UAE VAT regulations, leading to inadvertent errors. Staying informed and seeking professional advice is crucial.
Invest in continuous VAT training for your team and consider consulting with VAT experts to stay informed about changes and updates.
- Non-Compliance with VAT Penalties and Fines:
Ignoring or delaying payment of VAT penalties and fines can result in compounding financial issues for businesses.
Seek professional advice and try to avoid penalties and fines by complying with VAT regulations.
- Currency Conversion Mistakes:
For businesses dealing with multiple currencies, failing to accurately convert foreign currency transactions into UAE Dirhams for VAT purposes can lead to errors.
Use proper currency conversion rates notified by UAE Central bank to avoid incorrect conversion rate and changes in amount of VAT.
Why Spectrum Auditing?
Being a pioneer in the field of auditing, accounting, taxation and advisory services, we ensure we keep track of all the changes that are taking place in the UAE with respect to the changes in laws, rules, regulations and keep our clients informed as well as sharing the same information through our blog section or social media handles regularly. Spectrum Auditing will guide you with the laws and regulations of UAE, be it the Value Added Tax (VAT), Economic Substance Regulations (ESR), Corporate Tax (CT), Transfer Pricing (TP), Ultimate Beneficiary Owner (UBO), Anti Money Laundering (AML), etc after reviewing your business.