FTA extends VAT tax return submission date amid Covid-19

The traditional filing date for the first quarterly return falls while residents are still observing movement restrictions

The extension applies both to companies that file tax returns monthly and quarterly. Alamy Stock Photo
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The Federal Tax Authority extended the deadline for VAT-registered businesses to submit their tax return as the Covid-19 stay-at-home directives continue to restrict movement in the UAE.

VAT registrants now have until May 28 to submit their return and pay the due tax for the period ending March 31, in an "exceptional" move. This applies both to companies that file tax returns monthly and quarterly.

Traditionally, tax returns must be submitted within 28 days of the end of the reporting quarter. When the 28th of the following month falls on either a Friday or Saturday, the deadline moves to the next working day.

“This exceptional directive for the deadline pertains only to VAT returns for the tax periods that ended on March 31, 2020, and does not affect any other tax periods where the deadline for filing tax returns and settling of payable taxes does not fall in April 2020,” the FTA said in a statement.

The authority added that the directive was issued in light of its “commitment to supporting VAT registrants and the unprecedented intensive precautionary measures undertaken by the UAE to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus".

Many countries around the world, including the Emirates, continue to enforce physical distancing and movement restrictions, including business closures, travel bans and stay-home directives, in a bid to stem the spread of the virus.

In Dubai, residents can only apply for a movement permit every three days to buy essentials or medicines or every five days for ATM cash withdrawals. To date, 7,755 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the UAE, according to Johns Hopkins University, and 1,443 have recovered.

The FTA said the extended tax return filing date aimed to help registrants “meet their tax obligations without facing any difficulties”.

The Authority said it now provides its full services remotely, relying on a fully automated electronic system that operates 24 hours a day for users to register, file tax returns and pay their taxes.

“The objective is to encourage registrants to comply with tax procedures, using the FTA’s online platform while avoiding direct physical interaction with relevant departments or the use of paper documents," the authority said.

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