VAT in UAE: Key facts on real estate

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VAT is set to be introduced from January 2018 in the UAE

The UAE will start implementing a value added tax (VAT) rate of five per cent from January 1 2018, and businesses in the first phase can start now registering on the website of the Federal Tax Authority (FTA). As the real estate sector affects most expat lives in the UAE, let us take a look at the implications of the new levy on this industry.

What is a residential building for VAT purposes?

A residential building is a building or part thereof that is intended and designed for occupation by individuals, and mainly includes buildings which can be occupied by any person as a main place of residence. It does not include:

  1. Any place that is not a building fixed to the ground and can be moved without being damaged.
  2. Any building that is used as a hotel, motel, bed and breakfast establishment or hospital or the like.
  3. A serviced apartment for which services in addition to the supply of accommodation are provided.
  4. Any building constructed or converted without lawful authority
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Is a residential building subject to VAT?

The first supply of a new residential building within the first three years of it being constructed shall be zero-rated. All subsequent supplies shall be exempt, even if within the first three years.

Does the owner of real estate have to register for VAT?

The owners of residential buildings do not have to register for VAT if they do not have any other business activities. The owner of any building that is not residential, will have to register, if the value of the supplies over the preceding 12 months exceeds Dh375,000 or it is expected that they will exceed Dh375,000 over the coming 30 days.

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How is a mixed-use building (residential and commercial) treated for VAT?

The rent or sale of a residential part of the building shall be treated as zero-rated or exempt, depending on whether this is a first supply or a subsequent supply.The rent or sale of a commercial part of the building shall be treated as subject to VAT at 5%.

The tax incurred by the owner on the building needs to be apportioned where there is an exempt supply, and the portion related to the taxable supply (at 0% and 5%) may be recovered.

Will VAT be charged on the property I am renting?

The rent of residential building will generally be exempt from VAT.The rent of commercial building will be subject to VAT at 5%.

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Source Credit: Khaleej Times

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