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Owner of multiple ‘sole firms’ needs just one tax registration

Issac John /Dubai
issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com Filed on February 9, 2021
Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah account for 78.6% of the total sole establishments operating in the country

The UAE’s Federal Tax Authority (FTA) clarified on Monday that an individual (natural person) owning multiple sole companies is required to obtain only one tax registration for all of them, and not for each one separately.

The FTA said in a statement that a sole establishment (sole proprietorship) is a legal form of business which is 100 per cent owned by a natural person, and it does not have a legal personality independent of its owner, as the sole business and its owner are considered to be the same person.

This announcement was issued in a new public clarification regarding the VAT registration of sole establishments, which recorded a 1.3 per cent surge to 304,948 at the end of January month-on-month, reflecting the robust activity of the sector, which recently attracted many investors from both inside the country and abroad.

The National Economic Register’s recent figures show that relevant authorities issued over 4,000 new licences for sole establishment around the country in January 2021.

According to statistics, sole proprietorship account for nearly 41 per cent of total commercial licences of 740,717 at the end of January.

Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah account for 78.6 per cent of the total sole establishments operating in the country.

The FTA clarification on tax registration seeks to educate people with the aspects of the tax rule which need simplified explanations, “enabling them to apply the tax principles accurately and efficiently,” the tax authority said.

The FTA clarified that the sole proprietorship rule does not apply to a One-Person Company LLC or other similar legal entities, which are seen as “distinct and separate legal persons” from their owners (unless the applicable legislation treats such entity and the natural person as the same person). For the avoidance of doubt, it should be noted that a legal person (e.g. a company) cannot own a sole establishment.

In certain cases, tax registrations by taxpayers are reviewed with regards to sole establishments and such persons will be informed of the corrective measures to be taken, if needed, the FTA explained.

The tax authority noted that the taxable supplies made by a natural person, in addition to his sole establishment(s), must be considered collectively in order to determine whether the person exceeded the mandatory VAT registration threshold of Dh375,000.

The FTA said the registrant must inform the FTA of any undeclared output tax by submitting a voluntary disclosure in accordance with Federal Law No. 7 of 2017 on Tax Procedures, for example where the registrant disregarded any of his sole establishments or taxable supplies made in his personal capacity for VAT purposes. “This includes instances where a person failed to register for VAT on the basis that the mandatory VAT registration threshold was not exceeded on a stand-alone basis by that natural person or his sole establishment(s).”

A natural person is also required to notify the FTA if it failed to register for VAT and take the necessary corrective action to account for any outstanding dues.

issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com

author

Issac John

Editorial Director of Khaleej Times, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Khaleej Times. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene.





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