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Tue 15 Jan 2019 10:56 AM

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Video: The UAE's first year of VAT

A total of 296,000 businesses have registered with the VAT system in the UAE during the first year of operations, it was announced on Saturday.

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) also said that 176 Tax Agents were accredited and the number of tax returns received from businesses registered for VAT purposes exceeded 650,000 in the 12 months since the January 1 2018.

The FTA said the total number of queries it answered about the new tax regime exceeded 453,500 during the first year while the Federal Tax Authority was among the eight most searched names in the UAE on global search engine Google in 2018.

Khalid Ali Al Bustani, director general of the FTA, said the VAT system has been praised by experts and local, regional and international official bodies, adding that a "seamless and flexible tax system" has been rolled out.

His comments came in a statement issued by the FTA to mark the first anniversary of the introduction of VAT in the UAE at a 5 percent rate on the supply of most goods and services in the country.

He said the rates of compliance among taxable persons in the UAE were "increasing remarkably", adding that the total number of tax returns received from businesses registered for VAT purposes exceeded 650,000 in 2018.

“The FTA will continue to upgrade its integrated tax management systems, increasing efficiency and providing all facilities to ensure compliance with tax procedures and laws, designed to meet the highest international standards,” Al Bustani noted.

He said that he expected 2019 to witness a "significant leap forward" for the UAE tax system, as the FTA has set comprehensive plans to further improve tax compliance rates, promote registration among taxable businesses, and combat tax evasion.

On the recently launched Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme, covering 12 ports of entry into the UAE, he said the scheme now processes over 5,000 transactions per day.

(Source: YouTube channel)