Dubai International Financial Centre or DIFC

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is a special economic zone in Dubai established in 2004. It is a hub for Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) markets. DIFC is one of Dubai’s independent free-zones and an integrated platform with an independent regulatory and legal system and a specialized infrastructure.

DIFC was established to oversee the strategic development, operational management and administration of Dubai’s financial companies. The DIFC district features ultra-modern office space, retail outlets, cafes and restaurants, art galleries, residential apartments, public green areas and hotels. DIFC acts as a single point of contact for end-to-end client servicing.

Types of companies approved by DIFC:

The DIFC has its own Commercial Code which provides for the following types of structures:

  • Companies limited by shares
  • Limited liability companies
  • Branch offices of foreign companies, referred to as recognized companies
  • Partnerships

Types of licenses available for business set up in DIFC:

Non-regulated licenses: These licenses cover anything not related to banking and finance. Non-financial activities also extend to specialized establishments such as hotels and academic institutions.

Regulated licenses: These licenses encompass banking and finance-related business activities that are supported by an enabling and evolving financial regulatory body known as Dubai Financial Services Authority (“DFSA”).

What are the documents required in the setup / start of a company in DIFC?

Setting up a company in DIFC requires following list of documents:

  • Application form
  • A business plan, Letter of Intent
  • Company profile and brochure
  • Annual accounts (2 years) – for a startup company you can provide financials of the source of fund
  • CV and passport copy of shareholder and manager
  • Financial projection (3 years)

 Steps involved in registering a company in DIFC:-

  • Decide on the Business Activity
  • Decide on the Corporate Structure which will be determined by Companies Law, General Partnership Law, Limited Liability Partnership Law
  • Select a Business License for the Business
  • Registering Business involves the following steps:
  1. Submitting the application form to Registrar of Companies (ROC)
  2. ROC after the detailed review will seek for required forms and supporting documents to be submitted
  3. After the said documents are submitted the ROC will then issue a commercial license along with a certificate of incorporation

 Competitive advantages:

  1. No tax on personal income, corporate taxes and customs duty for 50 years guaranteed by law
  2. 100 per cent foreign ownership
  3. Full repatriation of capital and profits
  4. Regulatory environment
  5. Common law framework
  6. Access to an extensive tax treaty network for UAE-incorporated entities
  7. A wholly transparent operating environment compliant with global best practices
  8. Access to DIFC courts, which are subject to English law as well as DIFC wills
  9. Home to the NASDAQ Dubai international stock exchange with primary and secondary listings of debt and equity instruments

Regulatory bodies operating in DIFC:

  1. DIFC Authority
  2. Dubai Financial Services Authority (“DFSA”)
  3. DIFC Judicial Authority (“DIFC Courts”)
  4. Registrar of Companies (“ROC”)
  5. Registrar of Securities (“ROS”)
  6. Registrar of Real Property (“RORP”)
  7. DIFC Investments (Company)
  8. Hawkamah Institute of Corporate Governance
  9. Mudara – Institute of Directors (IOD)
  10. DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre

How to close or liquidate a company in DIFC?

Entities which are unable to continue the operations of their company in DIFC need to initiate the process of liquidation. Following is the process required for the liquidation process in DIFC:

  • Board resolution: The decision to liquidate the company is taken formally in the form of a board resolution. The shareholders also pass the resolution regarding the appointment of a liquidator who will carry out the entire liquidation process and the resolution must be attested by the Notary Public.
  • Official Letter from Liquidator: After the board resolution, the liquidator(A registered audit firm in Dubai – Spectrum Auditing and Accounting is a registered audit firm) has to present a confirmation letter accepting the responsibility of carrying out the liquidation of the company in DIFC.
  • Application for Liquidation: An application with required documents as required for liquidation has to be submitted to the free zone authority to initiate the liquidation process. The DIFC officials will verify the documents and will notify the management.
  • Notification of Liquidation: A notification about the liquidation of the company should be published in a local newspaper to announce the company’s liquidation. There will be a 45-day grace period granted by the DIFC during which any creditors or clients can come up with any claims over the company.
  • Vat and Branch Deregistration: The company management should apply for VAT account deregistration with the Federal Tax Authority (FTA). The management should also ensure that they have shut down the branches or subsidiaries if they have any.
  • Clearance letter from Service providers and Customs: The company should obtain a no due letter from the utility service providers and also customs clearance letter if applicable.
  • Cancellation of Visa, Bank account: The entity must cancel the visas of the employees, and also close the bank account and obtain a closure letter from the bank.
  • Liquidation report: The official liquidator will submit the liquidation report to the free zone authority.

Why choose Spectrum Auditing?

Spectrum Auditing is an expert firm in the Company Formation and Company Liquidation process. Our passion and heart lie in serving the clients and we aim at utmost client’s satisfaction. We are registered Auditors under the Ministry of Economy UAE and also registered Tax Agent from Federal Tax Agency UAE, Dubai providing dedicated Audit, Accounting, Tax services and various Business Advisory Services complying regulatory requirements.

Reach us to have a frills free life in your journey in Dubai, UAE. We at Spectrum will assist you in taking care of all the legal procedures involved in the registration and de-registration of your company in DIFC. Call us today for any kind of assistance at +971 4 2699329 or email us at info@spectrumaccounts.com to get all your queries addressed. Spectrum is your partner in your success.

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