Income and Capital Gains Tax planning: taking up residence in the UAE

Sovereign UK has recently been assisting a UK and a German individual to take up residence in Dubai via the establishment of a UAE Free Zone entity, a fast-track visa route that has taken less than two months to complete. Both individuals are active cryptocurrency traders, and both separately offer coaching to business owners, executives and intermediaries, especially those involved in the Fintech industry.

To secure their UAE Residency Visas, my colleagues at Sovereign Corporate Services in Dubai registered entities for them in the International Free Zone Authority (IFZA) and the Dubai World Trade Centre (WTC) free zones respectively. Both these entities are Free Zone Establishments (FZEs), which allow for 100% foreign ownership and provide for just one shareholder.

FZEs can only carry out business internationally or within the Free Zone itself. They are not permitted to carry on any business on the UAE mainland. Given their cryptocurrency trading activities and international client base, my clients have no requirement to carry out any business with Emirati’s and domestic entities.

A manager must be appointed to be responsible for the day-to-day running of the company, operation of the bank account and signing any contracts on behalf of the company. This manager must be a UAE resident or have the intention of taking up residency. In both cases, my clients will fulfil this role.

UAE free zones generally offer up to six Residence Visas per company established, not including the Residence Visas for family members of the initial visa holder. The number will depend on the specific free zone, the type and amount of office space that is leased, and sometimes on the nature of business. Residence Visas are typically issued with a validity of three years and can be renewed without limitation.

Once a UAE Residence Visa has been issued, the holder is entitled to become tax resident in the UAE and enjoy 100% personal and corporate income tax exemption. It is also possible to apply for a Tax Residency Certificate for a free zone company, which can be extremely beneficial if the intention is to utilise the UAE’s network of double tax treaties.

Separately, the same two clients continue to own crypto assets and continue to trade through multiple crypto exchanges. Their crypto assets will periodically be exchanged for fiat currency so that they can undertake asset diversification through investments in a range of non-digital assets.

In the case of my clients, both were able to establish their UAE entity and obtain their UAE Residence Visa within a four-week period. In the second month they were able to settle in the UAE and establish their tax residence in Dubai. This means they are no longer tax resident in the UK and Germany respectively and are no longer exposed to UK or German tax on their worldwide income and gains.

For further information on establishing tax residence in the UAE, please contact Sovereign (UK) Ltd, Managing Director Simon Denton by phone on +44 (0)7887 991649 or by email below.

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