March 25, 2024

Navigating Corporate Tax for Freelancers in the UAE: Insights from an Expert

Navigating Corporate Tax for Freelancers in the UAE: Insights from an Expert

With the UAE introducing a federal corporate tax effective from June 2023, the freelance landscape is set to undergo transformational shifts. This all-encompassing guide aspires to be an indispensable resource for freelancers navigating these changes, offering lucidity, actionable insights, and examples to uncomplicated corporate tax obligations.

Who is Affected?

Freelancers with Business Licenses or Permits: Freelancers holding a business license or permit for commercial, industrial, or professional activities fall under the purview of the new corporate tax tool in sharjah regime. This is applicable to freelancers from diverse fields such as design, consulting, writing, influencing, and beyond.

Exempt Income

Certain types of income are exempt from corporate tax. Specifically, these include:

  • Employment income
  • Private real estate investments (without a commercial license)
  • Dividends and capital gains from personal securities
  • Interest accrued from personal bank deposits or savings schemes

Compliance Demystified

Tax Registration: In the UAE, freelancers are classified as conducting business or business activities for tax purposes. As a result, individual freelancers are subject to corporate tax dubai on their business operations. This encompasses freelancing in the UAE, provided that the total turnover from activities surpasses AED 1 million in a Gregorian calendar year.

Filing Corporate Tax Returns: Once a freelancer's turnover exceeds AED 1 million in a year, it becomes mandatory to file an annual tax return, detailing business income, expenses, and net profit. Maintaining comprehensive records is essential for precise filing and adherence to regulatory requirements.

Sector-specific Considerations

Certain sectors such as banking, real estate management, and construction have specific mentions, underscoring the need for sector-specific guidance for freelancers operating in these areas.

Practical Examples and Scenarios

Example 1: Influencer Income

Zara, an influencer, generates AED 500,000 annually through brand collaborations. Her income exceeding the set corporate tax threshold necessitates her registration for corporate tax tool , maintenance of records, and annual returns filing. However, her personal stock investments are tax-exempt.

Example 2: Graphic Designer with Multiple Income Sources

Ahmed, a graphic designer, earns:

  • AED 300,000 from client projects under a freelance permit
  • AED 100,000 from rental income on his personally-owned property
  • AED 50,000 from dividends in his personal investment portfolio

Ahmed's freelance income requires him to register for corporate tax, while his rental and dividend incomes are tax-exempt.

FAQs and Concerns

Q1: Do I need to form a company to freelance? A: Not necessarily. Freelancers can operate under individual permits or licenses. However, specific professional activities may necessitate particular business structures.

Q2: How do I handle taxes for services provided to clients outside the UAE? A: Corporate tax applies to income earned from services provided to international clients if the freelancer is based in the UAE and exceeds the income threshold.

Q3: What records should I maintain? A: Freelancers should keep comprehensive records of all business transactions, including invoices, expenses, and bank statements, for a minimum of seven years.

Q4: Can losses be carried forward? A: Yes, business losses can generally be carried forward to offset taxable income in subsequent tax periods, in accordance with the UAE's corporate tax guidelines.

Q5: Are there penalties for non-compliance? A: Yes, penalties can be levied for failing to register, file returns, or accurately report income. It is recommended to seek the advice of a tax advisor for compliance.

Conclusion: Embracing the Change

The advent of corporate tax signifies a substantial change for freelancers in the UAE. By gaining a thorough understanding of your obligations, preparing meticulously, and seeking professional advice when necessary, you can successfully navigate these changes. This guide is designed to equip you with the knowledge to prosper under the new tax regime, contributing to your professional development and the wider UAE economic landscape.

For more information and assistance with your corporate tax needs, visit

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