Fiscal structure of the United Arab Emirates and the introduction of value added tax
133 , 2018-03 , 日本貿易振興機構アジア経済研究所
This study aims to investigate the effect of introducing the value-added tax (VAT), which is expected to be implemented in January 2018, on the economy and government finance of the UAE in the future. For this purpose, we use previous studies on the introduction of VAT in the developing countries as a reference. Analysing the experience of the developing countries in which VAT was already phased in will be beneficial to anticipate the future of the UAE economy after the new tax introduction. At the same time, characteristics such as the dependence of government finance on oil revenue, the fiscal structure which consists of seven emirates and the federal government, and Abu Dhabi’s grip on the other emirates, will make the impact more complicated.As a result of consideration, we first conclude that even if new taxes such as VAT are introduced in the UAE, tax revenue share is expected to be low in the UAE fiscal structure; thus, a significant increase in tax revenue will not be immediately expected. Second, if government revenues increase due to the new tax introduction, government expenditure may be easily expanded. Third, the introduction of VAT can cause inflation in the UAE, unless the government provides tax exemption for basic necessities. Finally, the introduction of new taxes will help to allocate a budget to the education and social welfare sectors in the less developed northern Emirates to eliminate regional income inequalities.