Understanding VAT in the UAE 2019

Value-Added Tax or VAT is a tax on the consumption or use of goods and services levied at the point of sale. VAT is a form of indirect tax and is used in more than 180 countries around the world. All OECD countries except for the US have VAT (or a variation). While it feels exactly the same as a general sales tax to end-consumers, VAT is a more sophisticated tax and overcomes many challenges that affect the general sales tax.

VAT is charged at each step of the ‘supply chain’. End consumers generally bear the VAT cost while registered businesses collect and account for the tax, in a way acting as a tax collector on behalf of the Federal Tax Authority.

NEED TO MAINTAIN RECORDS

VAT registered businesses will need to charge and account for VAT however, all businesses are required to maintain their business records and other information as specified in Tax Procedures Law and the Tax Law.

The fine for failure of the person conducting Business to keep the required records and other information specified in Tax Procedures Law and the Tax Law is AED 10,000 the first time and AED 50,000 if repeated.

Administrative penalties for violations have been issued by Cabinet Decision No. (40) of 2017 and can be found under the Legislation section on the FTA website.

EXECUTIVE REGULATION

As per Article 2 of the Cabinet Decision No. (36) of 2017 on the Executive Regulation of Federal Law No. (7) of 2017 on Tax Procedures Accounting Records and Commercial Books shall include the following:

accounting books in relation to that business, which include records of payments and receipts, purchases and sales, revenues and expenditures, and any business, and any matters as required under any Tax Law or any other applicable law, including:

1) Balance sheet and profit and loss accounts.
2) Records of wages and salaries.
3) Records of fixed assets.
4) Inventory records and statements (including quantities and values) at the end of any relevant Tax Period and all records of stock-counts related to Inventory statements.

BRITISH ACCOUNTANTS IN DUBAI

Profits Plus Accountants are British accountants based in Dubai. We deploy the most advanced software in the World in order to make sure that you remain 100% compliant and we leave no room for error when it comes to your accounting records.

Mubashir Malik the Managing Partner can be reached on +971529834145 and welcomes meeting in person to discuss how he can help your business or email us on [email protected]

www.profitsplus.ae is a domain belonging to Profits Accounting and Bookkeeping, an accounting and bookkeeping consultancy registered with Dubai Economy, Trade License No. 796316 and trading with the name Profits Plus Accountants.

 

The guaranteed way to raise money for your small business

Business loans used to be the responsibility of the banks, but that is no longer the situation. Banks want to lend to companies that carry a low risk or have enough assets to secure against the loan amount.

Business loans in Dubai are even more difficult, especially since 80% of the population is made up of Expats that could exit anytime their situation changes either in Dubai or in their hometown. Not that they would leave without paying their debts………..

Small businesses are the lifeline of a any country but most small businesses struggle with cashflow and this can significantly hinder growth. Lack of funding is also required when a business ends up having to write off bad debt and lack of access to timely funding can cripple a business if that was to happen.

So how can a small business owner access funding in such a global market when they are competing not only with local competition but with a freelancer living on the other side of the World with less than half the overheads.

Good Practice for Business Owners

Investors, individuals or institutional, look for a number of things when making a decision to lend:

1. Owner – the individual behind the company is the most important, so become a likeable person and professional in your business endeavours. If you arrange a meeting, keep to it, if you need to make a payment do it straight away, if you make a promise, make sure to deliver on it. Your reputation will spread quickly within the business community and amongst your peers. These are the same individuals who could be contacted or approached for lending in future.

2. Accounts – maintain good accounts from the day you start and not when you need a loan. Maintaining accurate books is so important and should not be ignored. Try to use a cloud accounting software that gives you access to real-time management accounts.

3. Processes – create solid workflow in your business, get organised, paperwork goes in files not draws. Keep records well organised, maintain a CRM system if possible.
These are just the basics of any company and without these you will struggle to raise even the smallest loan.

Personal Loans

When borrowing for your small business it may be easier to borrow personally, especially if you are on an employee visa within your own company. Banks and Credit Cards (not recommended) will lend to employees with 3-6 months of salary proof.

The following are links to platforms that would be a good start to personal lending:
• SouqMal: This is a great place to start for personal lending. Applying through SouqMal will help you access hundreds of lenders in the UAE with just one application.
• MyMoneySouq: Another great platform to access hundreds of personal lending options with just one application. Review the lending rates and the terms all online before speaking to anyone.
• Friends & Family: Always the best and cheapest option, hence the reason to be a nice person 😊.

Business Loans

Banks are the last place we recommend for Business Loans, there are many small business friendly options and we analyse some of these below:

1. Friends and family. At the top of the list is friends and family. Consider approaching those who are employed rather than entrepreneurs. People who work have less time to consider creative investment options and usually end of storing their money in savings accounts paying less than 3% per annum. If you can offer them a return of over 5%-10% per annum then you could be a better option for most people who simply work and save.

2. Beehive.ae, consider going to people but through a platform. Beehive is a peer-to-peer lending platform that connects small business owners with investors without the need for a conventional intermediary. Its focus is on finance from AED 100k on repayment terms from 6-36 months. Check it out on www.beehive.ae

3. Eureeca.com, an amazing platform for those wanting to raise more than $200k. Launched in 2013 the team at Eureeca have helped many high growth businesses raise significant amounts. Check them out on www.eureeca.com

4. Dubizzle, What the…? I hear you ask, Dubizzle, Really? Well, Yes. Dubizzle is amazing platform in Dubai and posting in their business section for an investor, with as much detail as possible, does actually work. Just be careful to select the right person.

Although there are many other options I personally believe these are a great place to start, but remember to ensure the following information in place:

1. Access to a good set of accounts. We can help with that www.profitsplus.ae
2. Good processes, softwares, and CRM. Check out Zoho CRM
3. Try to keep the business in the blue by lowering overheads and increasing your fees. Only grow when it is justified.
4. Solid website will also help and a good positive online presence.

Good Luck with your fund raising exercise and do message me if you need any help. If you want to speak to an advisor to help you with VAT, Funding or Accounting then contact me, Ali Afzal, on +971585442030 or email me on [email protected]

Cloud Accounting [Xero] v’s Traditional Accounting [Tally]

The Evolution of Cloud Accounting 

In the past few years, we have witnessed the birth and rapid evolution of cloud computing, with more and more traditional services being replaced by their far more efficient, affordable and secure cloud alternatives. Accounting is no different and thanks to the hectic pace technology is moving at, the question is no longer whether you should move to cloud accounting but rather, when.

Problems with traditional accounting software

The drawbacks of traditional accounting software certainly play a role in the shift to cloud accounting. The data in the traditional accounting software system isn’t up to date and neither is the software. What’s more, the software only works on one computer – the data needs to be manually transferred between devices, usually by virtue of USB drives. This presents a myriad of other issues, mostly to do with security and reliability.

Traditional accounting software and services are outdated since they are rooted in the idea that only one person should have access to the data. This means that important people within your business may not have access to the financial and customer details, which impairs productivity and diminishes the level of customer service your organization can provide.

What’s more, traditional accounting software tends to be costly and updates and regular maintenance are expensive (often not included in the initial price), time-consuming and challenging especially if you’re not tech-savvy. Keeping backups is rarely one and even then, it may cost you more time and money than it’s worth.

When it comes to your company’s financial needs, you cannot afford to settle for outdated accounting services that charge you too much while bringing almost no value to the table. What you need is an experienced, qualified and pioneering accounting firm that will handle every single detail, provide you with cutting-edge accounting tools and allow you to focus on your company’s future growth instead of book-keeping.

What is cloud accounting

Cloud accounting is the alternative to traditional accounting software, whether it’s on-premises or self-install. The only difference is that cloud accounting is hosted on remote servers, similar to the Software as Service business model: data is sent to the cloud where it can be processed and returned to the user.

This means that all functions are performed off-site, rather than on your desktop which minimizes issues related to reliability and security. All you need to take advantage of cloud computing is a reliable connection to the Internet or another network via a cloud application service provider. Because of that, cloud accounting is far more flexible than traditional software – the accounting data can be accessed from any point around the world and from any device that has an Internet connection. What’s more, cloud accounting software like the one Profits Tax Consultants use can update your financial information automatically and provide you with real-time financial reporting.

Profits Tax Consultants is a cloud-based accounting firm based in Dubai that will go above and beyond to ensure that your company is provided with CFO-level accounting services and support your company’s growth and expansion. Our state-of-the-art cloud-based software is run by experienced British accountants who have spent more than 20 years of working with British companies and VAT.

Xero Cloud Accounting Software

One of the key players in the shift towards cloud accounting is Xero, a New-Zealand-based software company that develops cloud-based software for small and medium-sized businesses. Their software lets companies share access to the latest business numbers with their teams, accountants and bookkeepers so everyone – including team members around the world – are kept in the loop and up to speed.

This means that you can easily log into any Xero file you want by simply using your Internet connection. You can share access with your accountant who in turn can not only open the file but make adjustments, prepare and lodge BAS and tax returns, and provide real-time assistance if needed. This saves up time and money as the accountant doesn’t necessarily have to send the data back and forth, either digitally or physically.

We at Profits Tax Consultants truly believe Xero has transformed the modern world of accounting. Instead of having a monthly meeting with your accountant where you pile mountains and mountains of paper files, you can easily manage your accounting information in real-time. This helps you make faster and more effective decisions. Unsurprisingly, in the past 12 months alone, Xero has shipped more than 1,2000 features and product updates, most of them designed to provide accountants with back time and helping them migrate to methods of value-priced billing while increasing their workload at the same time.

Profits Tax Consultants is a 100% cloud-based accounting service, which means that you will be able to take advantage of the flexibility, convenience, and practicality of a cloud service based on the Xero Cloud Accounting Software. In addition, we will integrate accounting systems inside your company, offer you book-keeping as well as expense management services that will enable you to monitor your company’s growth, expenses and earnings.

Benefits

In a nutshell, cloud accounting software like Xero enables professionals to save time, and businesses to enjoy greater flexibility, reliability, and security when it comes to financial operations. Xero certified accountants can create a lot of efficiencies going beyond that of manual data entry: using the cloud service, they can finally have time to analyze the work and truly help small businesses remain cash flow-positive.

Some of the benefits associated with using cloud accounting software are increased accessibility, productivity, organizational reporting and improved back-up and recovery. Cloud accounting can improve the productivity within your organization by saving you enough time to focus on actually running your business rather than spending valuable resources on bookkeeping and accounting.

What’s more, a Xero certified accountant can access your accounting and financial information from any point around the world. This makes it the ideal option for businesses that have remote employees or work with accountants from abroad. This also frees you from having to install and maintain software on individual desktop computers (so you can save money on your IT infrastructure and training expenses). With cloud accounting, you can also improve the communication within your business as employees in other departments, branch offices or remote areas can access the same data and version of the software, and make changes if needed.

Xero also makes it easier for you to get real-time reporting and visibility throughout your organization. With cloud computing, subscription-based models are the most popular option – you can pay a subscription to receive updates as soon as they’re launched, without having to invest more money in additional software purchases.

Xero also provides you with better backup and recovery capabilities. Cloud accounting makes storing and recovering data more convenient and reliable than in-house servers. All these benefits also ensure cloud computing is one of the most, if not the most, cost-effective option on the market. If you’re looking for a Dubai accountant, working with someone who is Xero certified can save you a lot of time and expenses in terms of maintenance and management of data and servers.

What the future holds

Given the many benefits cloud accounting offers to small and medium businesses, it’s not surprising that experts believe that cloud accounting will become the new normal. What’s more, Xero and similar software may become even more important and relevant as AI and machine learning grows in popularity.

Since we are a 100% cloud-based firm, we are able to offer you high-value, low-cost accounting services by cutting down on conventional, obsolete and expensive hardware and software and passing those savings on to you and your brand. Our mission is to establish an honest, trusting and lasting relationship by going the extra mile and ensuring your satisfaction. Choosing Profits Tax Consultants means having a whole team of highly-experienced British accountants at your disposal 24/7.

If you’re looking for a Dubai accountant but have not yet made the switch to cloud accounting software, it may be a good idea to put a framework in place as soon as possible. Steadily working towards a plan is the key to enhancing what you already have and prepare for the future – and by the looks of it, the future of accounting is synonymous with cloud accounting.

This whitepaper was written by Ali Afzal, the Managing Director of Profits Tax Consultants and Accountants in Dubai. We provide cloud accounting services starting from AED 850 per month and you can learn more about the software on www.profitsplus.ae/software or visit us Xero on https://www.xero.com/uk/advisors/accountant/2017/profits-tax-consultants/ .

Paying your VAT to the FTA by Profits Tax Consultants

That time of the year has arrived when many small businesses have submitted their VAT return and are now making VAT payment to the FTA.

Below are the options on how to make payment to the FTA (caution each one has a cost associated and you should check all options to find out which is the cheapest – we suggest the exchanges):

  1. Paying via e-Dirham or credit card through the FTA Portal.

Yes the most obvious is to log in and pay via e-dhirham or VISA and Mastercard. This option is simple, quick and for those last minute payments probably the best option. Although we have not tested the e-dhirham option the VISA and Mastercard do seem to be very expensive option.

  1. e-Debit payment option allows the Taxable Person to directly debit the amount to FTA’s bank account when making any due payments.

You can make a payment through e-debit and the fee for using eDebit is AED 10 which will be charged by e-Dirham. This option only works if you have a bank account with any of the following banks:

  • Citibank (Retail)
  • Commercial Bank of Dubai (Corporate and Retail)
  • Dubai Islamic Bank (Retail)
  • Emirates NBD (Corporate and Retail)
  • First Abu Dhabi Bank (Corporate and Retail)
  • Noor Bank (Retail)
  • Standard Chartered (Corporate and Retail)

Please note that this is an initial list of banks and the list may have changed and its ideal to check with your bank.

e-debit payment is made through the FTA portal by clicking ’Pay via Bank’.

  1. Paying via bank transfer (GIBAN). A GIBAN is a unique IBAN number that is given to every taxable person and should be displayed on your FTA Portal.

Once you get your GIBAN you can then proceed to make a normal local bank transfer via your bank and add the FTA as a beneficiary using the GIBAN number and FTA Details.

Please note this option can take up to 24hrs to appear in your account.

  1. Exchanges (UAE Exchange or Al-Ansari Exchange)

It is now possible to make a payment to the FTA through a number of the exchanges in Dubai. You will require the following information:

  • TRN No
  • GIBAN Number
  • Amount Payable
  • And take some ID (always handy)

REMEMBER: In case a payment is not received on time, a penalty of late payment will apply. In order for the payment to be credited to your account by the 28th you should make the payment before by the 25th of the month (at the latest). 

For help on submitting your VAT Return, Profits Tax Consultants offer a vat submission only package for AED 2000 per quarter. Visit our website on www.profitsplus.ae

This article was written by Ali Afzal, a tax consultant in Dubai and the Managing Director of Profits Tax Consultants.

It is possible that this information is out-of-date and you should confirm the facts by visiting the FTA Payment User Guide by clicking here.

How to register for VAT by Profits Tax Consultants

 

VAT Registration can be complex and getting it wrong could mean that your application is ‘denied’. We decided to write this article in order help applicants avoid the common errors that we have had to deal with on behalf of our clients.

About Us

Profits Tax Consultants is a tax consultancy and accounting firm based in Dubai and licensed by the DED. We provide fixed fee accounting services to businesses all over Dubai and Sharjah.  We provide free Vat Registration compliant software and we are the only firm in the UAE to provide real-time accounting services through our unique cloud accounting business model. Visit us on www.profitsplus.ae

VAT Registration – Mandatory

Ultimately if you are an existing business and in the last 12 months (no longer 2017 but till date)your sales exceeded AED 375,000 then you must register for VAT. This is considered Mandatory registration. If however your sales in the last 12 months were below AED 375,000 but above AED 187,500 then you can still register for VAT on a Voluntary basis.

Penalty Extension

Vat Registration for Businesses not registering could face a penalty of AED 20,000 as per the FTA and this deadline has now been extended to the end of April 2018. You must apply to register before this date.

Getting Started

Firstly, you need to create a user name and ID which is a very simple process and takes only 5mins. You can do that by visiting this link: https://eservices.tax.gov.ae/en-us/signup

Once registered you have to wait for the confirmation email to be sent to your email address used in the registration. Note: please do not forget your email ID and PW or security questions (and yes many people go forget).

 

Section 1 – About the applicant

Key mistakes made in this section are what to select when the trade license is a professional license? From our experience we have had no problems with selecting Legal person – Other and then entering Sole Establishment in the ‘If other, please specify’ section.

Also it is very important to select Mandatorily v’s Voluntarily. Only select Mandatorily if your past sales are over AED 375,000 otherwise always select Voluntarily.

 

Always select no to Tax Group unless you are registering for a Tax Group and this subject area will be covered in another article.

 

Section 2 – Details of the applicant

Legal entity name needs to be exact and do not worry about the Arabic as you can go to the DED website here: http://www.dubaided.ae/English/Pages/default.aspx and actually search your trade name and copy and paste the Arabic wording.

Trade License information should be exact and the rest of this section is pretty straightforward.

 

Section 3 – Contact details

A simple point to note here is that whatever contact number is entered here will  receive SMS updates from the FTA in regards to the Vat Registration matters of the company.

Section 4 – Bank Details

Bank details have not always been a mandatory requirement and in our opinion where it is voluntary I would just leave it blank. If mandatory then complete with the main bank account details used by the business.

 

Section 5 – Business Relationships (optional)

This section has always been optional and therefore we always choose not to complete this section.

 

Section 6  – About the VAT Registration

Very important section and a ‘must get right’ section. Select the closest activity as you will not always find the right activity.

Turnover is your gross sales for the last 12 months – NOT 12 months of 2017 – but the 12 months till the date of application. Upload of proof is nearly always optional and I would only use this section if you are a commercial landlord whereby you will need to upload the title deed of the commercial property.

Expect turnover in the next 30 days is provisional but try to keep it as realistic as possible and in any case is should be over AED 15,000 in order to qualify for Voluntary Registration.

Import and Export and the rest of these areas are a very technical point and not possible to discuss in this article. We may soon write an article on Import & Export and in that article we will cover this section in more detail.

For those of you who do not Import or Export then its simple NO, NO, NO, NO.

 

Section 7 – Declaration

The declaration will require you to enter all your details again and it does always ask for Proof of Authorization and in the past we have always uploaded the Visa Page of the Manager in this section as it effectively confirms that the person has a Manager Visa from the company and typically this seems to work as a POA to manage the affairs of the company.

If you are operating in the name of a local sponsor then you really need to get a Power of Authority letter drafted and signed by the sponsor giving you authority to act on behalf of the company ‘on all matters relating to VAT Accounting and the FTA’.

Section 8 – Review and Submit

I would recommend that you make a printout of the initial submission and review in detail against all IDs and make sure that it is 100% correct. This will save you weeks in time if it is submitted incorrectly.

Once submitted you must make sure that you always have access to the email ID used in the initial registration process as this is where all communication will be sent as well as the mobile number used.

The standard time is takes for the FTA to respond is 20 working days and they normally revert much sooner. Just expect that it can take up to 30 days in total.

If any amendments are required it is ideal to make them sooner than later.

That’s all from us at Profits Tax Consultants and remember we charge AED 500 to apply for your VAT Accounting although you could manage it yourself using this article. Contact us on www.profitsplus.ae

This article was written by Ali Afzal, a tax consultant in Dubai and the Managing Director of Profits Tax Consultants.

5 Killer must have’s [small business] by Profits Tax Consultants

Starting a small business is one of the toughest things you will do in your life, so its important that you are equipped with the best tools on the market to make it as easy as possible. The following are the tools you must have when starting a small business:

  1. Lead management system, or better known as CRM. It is critical to have a practical lead management system in place. Many small businesses spend thousand’s of £££ not to mention the time investment in tracking down their first few potential clients but when they are rejected they quickly move on to the next potential and never actually keep in touch with their initial leads.

Note, that it can take weeks, months or even years to build professional trust with some clients before actually closing any form of business, therefore it is vital to stay in touch with ALL clients in the past and this can be done cost effectively from the start if a good CRM is employed.

Here are a few suggestions:

There are many more out there and you should feel free to trial each one before reaching a decision. Important: Make sure that you are happy with the Email Integration options with whichever CRM you choose. It should be easy for you to send mass emails to the database.

  1. Good smartphone with ample data package. It maybe normal for teenagers to have the latest phone but it should be mandatory for an entrepreneur.

Imagine travelling to a meeting in the City on a train and finishing late, you are travelling back around 5pm and a new client wants to have a final chat regarding the proposal you just sent and then – shock – your phone beeps it’s ‘low battery’ indicator and its all apologies thereafter.

Try your best to take a new phone and ideally one with a good data package as google maps can really help when navigating around the city looking for that new meeting point.

  1. Email on the GO and all other business things mobile. Did you know that Microsoft recently made all their MS Apps available free to download to mobile platforms. Although we do need to take a break from work it is important to be able to access critical applications on the go if the need arises. I would recommend that you at least have your business email app, linkedin and whatsapp.
  2. Dropbox or Box for data in the cloud storage. Its important to keep all your files safe from thieves and yes if they steal your laptop or you drop it then at least your data is secure. 6 months of work is priceless to you compared to your laptop. So make sure you get into a good habit of working from the cloud and storing all your files straight to the cloud.
  3. Cloud Accountant. Profits Tax Consultants are committed to providing all accounting services through Xero Cloud Accounting Software. Getting to grips with the Profit and Loss is very important to start-ups and leaving it to an accountant who will produce your accounts after 15months at the earliest is just suicide. Cloud accountants like us help our clients produce monthly management reports through real-time accounting solutions like Xero which offer invoicing and payment integrations. Visit us on profitsplus.ae to learn more about of cost effective vat accounting packages.

In my opinion these are very important and critical items for entrepreneurs. Please feel free to share your suggestions.

Xero Cloud Accounting

Xero cloud accounting is one of the most exciting innovations in accounting and Profits Tax Consultants engage with all their clients through Xero Cloud Accounting only. We are 100% dedicated to becoming the No.1 Xero Partner in the UAE.

Currently 95% of our clients are taking advantage of free subscription to Xero through Profits Tax Consultants. You too can get your business on Xero and work with the fastest growing cloud accounting company in the World.

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