Is Dubai Really Tax-Free?

is dubai tax-free

No, Dubai is not tax-free. There are taxes on income and profits, import duties, and other fees. However, the overall tax burden is relatively low compared to other countries. And there are several free zones in Dubai where businesses can operate with 100% foreign ownership and pay no taxes. So it is possible to set up a tax-free business in Dubai. 

Doing Business In Dubai 

Setting up a business in Dubai is relatively straightforward, especially if you are set up in one of the many free zones. These free zones offer 100% foreign ownership, customs duty exemption, and other benefits. 

There are over 40 free zones in Dubai, each with its focus and target market. So it is important to choose the right free zone for your business. Once you have chosen a free zone, setting up your company is relatively simple and can be done online. 

The Dubai mainland is also a popular option for setting up a business. The process is a little more complicated than in a free zone, but there are still many benefits to doing business on the mainland, which is why you should contact Saudi's leading tax consulting services. These include lower costs, access to a larger customer base, and the ability to trade with businesses outside of the free zones. 

However, it is important to note that businesses on the mainland are subject to tax, which can be quite high. So if you are planning on setting up a business in Dubai, it is important to weigh the pros and cons carefully before making a decision. 

Taxes in Dubai are pretty low, with a standard rate of 5% on most goods and services. In addition, several free zones around the city offer tax-free status to businesses. However, it's worth noting that Dubai is not a tax-free city overall, and several taxes apply to individuals and businesses. 

Most Common Taxes In Dubai 

Income Tax: Individuals who earn more than AED 120,000 per year (roughly $32,500) are subject to a personal income tax rate of 5%. Expatriates who work in Dubai on a short-term basis (i.e., for less than 183 days in a calendar year) are not subject to income tax. 

Value Added Tax (VAT): A consumption tax applies to most goods and services in Dubai at a standard rate of 5%. VAT was introduced in the UAE on 1 January 2018 and only applied to businesses with an annual turnover of more than AED 375,000 (roughly $102,000). 

Corporate Tax: Companies registered in Dubai are subject to corporate tax of 20%. However, many free zones offer incentives such as 100% foreign ownership and zero taxation, which makes them very attractive for businesses. 

Import Duty: A 5% import duty is applied to most goods imported into Dubai. However, there are several exceptions and exemptions, so it's always best to check with the authorities before importing anything into the UAE. 

Other Taxes: Some several other taxes and fees may apply in Dubai, such as property tax, road tax, and visa fees. 

As you can see, taxes are relatively low compared to other countries. And if you choose to set up your business in one of the many free zones, you could potentially pay no taxes at all. So if you are considering doing business in Dubai, it's worth looking into the various options for setting up a tax-free business.

dubai taxes

VAT Refunds For Tourists 

Tourists can claim a refund on the VAT paid on purchases made in Dubai. To do so, they must present their passport, purchase receipts, and the items purchased to a customs officer at the airport before leaving the UAE. 

The customs officer will stamp the tourist's passport and issue a VAT refund form, which must be submitted to the retailer within 30 days of departure from the UAE. The retailer will then process the refund and send it to the tourist's home address. 

While Dubai may not be completely tax-free, there are still many advantages to living and working in the city Tax system is relatively simple and efficient, and several exemptions and benefits make Dubai an attractive destination for businesses and individuals. 


So, is Dubai tax-free? While it's not completely tax-free, the UAE's tax system is relatively simple and efficient. In addition, several exemptions and benefits make Dubai an attractive destination for businesses and individuals. If you're considering doing business in Dubai, it's worth looking into the various options for setting up a tax-free business.

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