Tax Haven at Dubai

 By: Adam J. Heist
Dubai is seen as a "no-tax" emirate, with lots of connections to the rich in India. Dubai has a network of treaties with other country in that taxation is only done in the "contracting" country, not both countries, which make it an even more advantageous place to do business. This can get a little bit complicated as some countries also have provisions to allow double taxation with their dealings with Dubai. Dubai is one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and is a key location to do business with India and countries further east.

As usual, the tricks of the trade include setting up shell companies to conceal the ownership of offshore trusts and companies.
Dubai has one of the world's largest free-trade zones and first-class infrastructure, much of it brand-new. It has no "Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties" or other information exchange agreements with the U.S. Further, Dubai has not yet agreed to the OECD's "harmful tax competition" initiative.

Dubai is a good choice for companies setting up distribution channels in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. It's worth considering for a bank account Residence permits are easy to acquire. The government of Dubai has assured the business community that it has no intention of instituting any taxes. This is despite the recent institution of income and other taxes in big brother country Saudi Arabia, after it joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). About the closest Dubai has gotten to taxing is an initiative to have sales tax on the purchase of tobacco products.

In addition, in September 2006, the Dubai government launched an initiative called the International Companies Registry that will let foreign investors to register offshore companies in the Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAK FTZ) with only a virtual registered agent presence, not a physical office. The objective is to promote Dubai as a tax haven like the Cayman Islands, the Isle of Man, and other famous entities. The CEO of the free trade zone, Osama Al Omari hopes to register 5,000 companies in the zone over the next couple of years. Three international law firms will check that companies are following anti-money laundering laws.

Prices to start an offshore corporation in Dubai are quite reasonable, and the charge for incorporating is about $5,000 with no necessity to actually travel to Dubai. Annual fees to the government of Dubai to maintain the corporation are $2500 per year. Other documents necessary include power of attorney, bank references and curriculum vitae of members of the corporation's board of directors.
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