The Economic Substance Regulations (ESR) are now in force in the UAE. Under the ESR, all companies in the UAE will be required to assess whether they carry on a Relevant Activity and if they do, whether they have sufficient economic substance in the UAE.
Relevant Activities include:
- Investment fund management;
- Finance leasing;
- Headquarter operations;
- Intellectual property;
- Distribution and service centres; and
- Holding company operations (defined as a company with its main business being to own shares, securities or interest in other company and which does not conduct any other commercial business or derive income from other sources).
In many cases, companies must file notifications with regulators (irrespective of whether they carry on a Relevant Activity). A number of filing deadlines have been announced, including (amongst others):
|Dubai Airport Free Zone||31 May|
|Dubai International Financial Centre||12 June|
|Companies registered 'onshore' in an Emirate of the UAE (licensed by the competent authority in that Emirate, such as the Government of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi, or the Government of Dubai Department of Economic Development in Dubai)||30 June|
|Ajman Free Zone||30 June|
|Abu Dhabi Global Market||30 June|
|Dubai Multi Commodities Centre||30 June|
|Hamriyah Free Zone Authority||30 June|
|Ras Al Khaimah International Corporate Centre||30 June|
|Sharjah Airport International Free Zone||30 June|
|Other regulatory authorities||While we are awaiting official announcements from a number of regulatory authorities, we suggest working with a 30 June deadline in min|
Annual fines ranging from AED 10,000 to AED 300,000 may be imposed on companies which breach the ESR. A breach could also trigger other penalties and tax authority disclosures.
Clyde & Co can advise on the new ESR and your obligations under them. We can produce a largely automated advice on some of your obligations under the ESR for a low cost fixed fee (AED 2,500 excluding VAT), following you completing an online questionnaire, or provide more detailed bespoke advice.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.