Laya Aoun-Hani


The insurance industry has been grappling with some Value Added Tax (VAT) related challenges since the introduction of VAT in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the start of 2018.

In its recently published VAT Guide on Insurance, the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) provides helpful clarifications on some of the issues faced by insurers and companies related to the insurance industry.

What has changed?

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government intends to further relax foreign ownership restrictions, allowing international investors to own 100% of companies operating in the UAE mainland and granting long-term residency permits for foreign investors for the first time.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia (KSA) are off to a strong start with value added tax (VAT) introduced in the GCC member states on 1 January 2018, and the first VAT returns filed on 28 February 2018. Businesses have started to adapt to the realities of conducting operations within the new VAT regime and to manage the inevitable challenges arising in the first phase of implementation.

The political and economic boycott of Qatar, which began on 5 June 2017 when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with the State of Qatar and imposed restrictions on the movement of good s and individuals to and from Qatar, continues to have a significant impact on trade in the Middle East and has caused significant disruption to supply chains.