Ministry of Finance holds Awareness Session on Free Zones Corporate Tax Regime

22 June 2023

The Ministry of Finance held a public awareness session on Corporate Tax for Free Zones today to explain and discuss the latest Cabinet and Ministerial Decisions relating to the implementation of the tax in UAE’s free zone areas.

The session was organized in collaboration with Dubai Chambers and saw attendance of high-level representatives including His Excellency, Younis Haji Al Khoori, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance; Maha Al Gargawi, Vice President of Business Advocacy at Dubai Chambers; Shabana Begum, Executive Director of Tax Policy at the Ministry of Finance; as well as more than 400 participants from UAE businesses and companies, legal and tax consultants, and financial professionals.

His Excellency, Younis Haji Al Khoori, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance, said: “Free Zones continue to be central to the UAE’s economic growth and the expansion of the country’s international trade and investment. Following the issuance of latest regulatory decisions on determining the eligible income for free zones as well as details of excluded activities and qualifying activities, it is important that we meet with the concerned businesses and stakeholders to further explain those decisions and demonstrate the UAE’s commitment to fostering further business growth in free zones with a special regime that allows these areas to pay 0% tax on income from certain qualifying activities and transactions.”

For his part, Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, said: “We thank the Ministry of Finance for organising today’s session in Dubai and their ongoing efforts to raise corporate tax awareness and ensure a flexible taxation system that enables business growth. As an organisation wholly driven by our members’ needs, we find today’s session timely and relevant as it provides companies and businesses with insight and clarification on the Free Zone Corporate Tax regime, ensuring they understand the conditions to benefit from a 0% tax rate and other facilities provided for businesses while being prepared to meet their legal obligations under the UAE Corporate Tax Law.”

The session, which was held at Dubai Chambers headquarters, featured an overview presentation by Shabana Begum, Executive Director of Tax Policy Sector at the Ministry of Finance, who gave an overview of the main features of the free zone Corporate Tax regime under the UAE Corporate Tax Law and explained the recently issued decisions relating to qualifying income, and details of qualifying activities and excluded activities. She highlighted the conditions for a free zone to qualify to benefit from the 0% tax rate on qualifying income and transactions.

This is the fifth open session held by the Ministry of Finance as part of its Corporate Tax Public Awareness Programme which was launched following the issuing of the Corporate Tax Law in December 2022. The aim is to support the business community in understanding the key features and general framework of the law and how it applies to various sectors and taxpayer segments.

The Corporate Tax Law entered into effect on 1 June 2023, subjecting businesses with profits exceeding AED 375,000 to a 9% tax rate from the beginning of their first financial year that starts on or after 1 June 2023.  In the next phase, the Federal Tax Authority will be responsible for the administration, collection and enforcement of the Corporate Tax Law.

All Cabinet and Ministerial Decisions and more information relating to Corporate Tax can be viewed on the Ministry of Finance’s website:

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