Small Business Relief in UAE Corporate Tax

Small Business Relief offers designated businesses the benefit of exemption from the obligation to calculate and remit Corporate Tax, as well as from adhering to standard Corporate Tax reporting requirements. Recently, the UAE Ministry of Finance (MOF) has introduced comprehensive updates to the Small Business Relief Scheme, aligning with Article 21 of the Corporate Tax Law and operating under Ministerial Decision No. 73/2023. This initiative aims to provide crucial support to startups and small businesses by easing their corporate tax burdens and reducing compliance costs.

Qualification and Conditions for Small Business Relief:

Below are the eligibility criteria to qualify for small business relief in the UAE, for corporate tax purposes:

 Eligibility Criteria:

To qualify for Small Business Relief, eligibility depends on the overall revenue of the Taxable Person, irrespective of the number of businesses or activities they are engaged in. Specific conditions must be met as stipulated by the Ministerial Decision:

  • The taxable entity must be a resident of the United Arab Emirates.
  • The total revenue for both the current and preceding tax periods should not exceed AED 3 million for each period.
  • This revenue threshold is applicable from June 1, 2023, to December 31, 2026.

Exclusion From Small Business Relief:

It's crucial to note that this exemption does not apply to Qualifying Free Zone Persons and participants of Multinational Enterprises Groups (MNE Group).

Revenue Requirement:

The revenue threshold, as per UAE's accepted accounting standards, must not surpass AED 3 million for each tax period. If this threshold is exceeded in any tax period, the relief will no longer be applicable.

Election and Implications:

A Free Zone entity initially opting for the standard scheme with a corporate income tax (CIT) rate of 9% can still apply for Small Business Relief, provided they meet the scheme's conditions. However, choosing the standard scheme renders the Free Zone entity ineligible for the Free Zone Exemption, granting them Qualifying Free Zone Person (QFZP) status.

Treatment To Tax Losses:

Tax Losses accumulated before claiming Small Business Relief can be carried forward and used in subsequent periods when Small Business Relief is not elected or does not apply.

Compliance and Federal Tax Authority:

To ensure compliance with the relief scheme, the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) retains the right to request relevant information and records from the taxable entity within prescribed timelines. The Small Business Relief Scheme operates under a "Sunset Clause," covering the tax period from June 1, 2023, to December 31, 2026.

Relief and Tax Exemption:

Upon fulfilling the necessary conditions and electing to be part of the Scheme, a Taxable Entity will be exempt from any tax payments during the respective tax period. Despite this relief, companies must continue to adhere to the requirements of maintaining financial records and fulfilling obligations as per the Tax Procedures Law.

Enrollment and Corporate Tax Registration:

Automatic enrollment in the Scheme is not automatic. Eligible taxable entities must voluntarily elect to participate in the scheme and satisfy all prescribed conditions. All businesses subject to Corporate Tax must register for corporate tax, regardless of whether they fulfill the Small Business Relief criteria.

Ineligibility For Small Business Relief:

The following are not eligible for the Small Business Relief Scheme:

  • Qualifying Free Zone Persons (subject to Exemption Rules)
  • Entities belonging to MNE Groups operate in more than one country, with total consolidated group revenue exceeding AED 3.15 billion in each financial period, as per Cabinet Decision No. 44/2020.

Excess Interest Expenditure:

Excess Interest expenditure from prior Tax Periods, before claiming Small Business Relief, can be carried forward for use in subsequent periods where Small Business Relief doesn't apply. Any Tax Period where a Taxable Person claims Small Business Relief still counts toward the '10-year' carry forward period.

Opting for Small Business Relief in the Current Tax Period:

One can opt for Small Business Relief in the current Tax Period even if they didn't choose it in prior periods, as long as their revenue didn't exceed AED 3 million in those previous Tax Periods. Upon selecting Small Business Relief, businesses can access various compliance reliefs, but they must still adhere to transfer pricing rules.

Seek the Expert Services of Top Tax Consultants in the UAE

It is advisable for taxable persons to carefully evaluate the benefits of joining the small business relief scheme, considering specific restrictions on losses, net interest expenditure, and other relevant factors. Thus, to fully comply with the provisions outlined in the Ministerial Decision and Guide, businesses are advised to seek the expert services of top Tax Consultants at Corporate Tax UAE. Thus, contact us today and we shall be glad to assist you.


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