• Economy/ Legal Update/ Taxation/ Uncategorized

    Federal Tax Authority announce list of Designated Zones in the UAE


    Cabinet decision No. (59) of 2017 on the Executive Regulations of the Federal Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017 (UAE VAT Law) has provided for 20 Designated Freezones in the UAE (as listed below), which will be treated for VAT purposes as being outside the UAE.

    Under the UAE VAT Law and Executive Regulations, a Designated Zone is defined as “a specific, fenced geographic area which has security measures and customs controls in place to monitor entry and exit of individuals and movement of goods to and from the area.”

    Subject to the below exceptions, in general, if a supply is deemed to have taken place in a designated zone, VAT should not be charged. The place of supply is generally determined by looking at the location of the goods, activities or parties to a transaction. The rules are as follows:

    • Goods that arrive into a Designated Zone from outside the UAE are not treated as imported into the UAE, and no VAT should be charged on the arrival of such goods; and
    • A transfer or sale of goods from a place in the UAE which isn’t a Designated Zone into a Designated Zone is not an export for VAT purposes, and therefore will not give rise to zero-rated VAT treatment.

    The transfer of goods between Designated Zones will not be subject to VAT, as stated in Article (51) of the VAT law, provided both of the following conditions are met:

    • The goods (or part of the goods) are not released, used, or altered during the transfer between Designated Zones; and
    • The transfer is in accordance with the rules for customs suspension pursuant to GCC Common Customs Law.

    The Federal Tax Authority may also request that, where goods are moved between Designated Zones, the owner of the goods provides a guarantee in respect of the VAT in case the conditions outlined above are not met.

    However, there are exceptions within the VAT Executive Regulations that state that certain types of supplies taking place in the Designated Zones are to be treated as if they actually took place within the UAE, and are therefore subject to VAT. These supplies include:

    • Any services provided;
    • Water and all forms of energy; and
    • Goods sold for use or consumption.

    Designated Zones:

    Abu Dhabi: Free Trade Zone of Khalifa Port; Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone; and Khalifa Industrial Zone.

    Dubai: Jebel Ali Free Zone (North-South); Dubai Cars and Automotive Zone (Ducamz); Dubai Textile City; Free Zone Area in Al Quoz; Free Zone Area in Al Qusais; Dubai Aviation City; and Dubai Airport Free Zone.

    Sharjah: Hamriyah Free Zone; and Sharjah Airport International Free Zone.

    Ajman: Ajman Free Zone.

    Umm Al Quwain: Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone in Ahmed Bin Rashid Port; and Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road.

    Ras Al Khaimah: RAK Free Trade Zone; RAK Maritime City Free Zone; and RAK Airport Free Zone.

    Fujairah: Fujairah Free Zone; and Fujairah Oil Industry Zone (FOIZ).


  • Economy/ Taxation

    Proposed removal of UAE from EU tax-haven blacklist


    The UAE is amongst 8 countries recommended to be removed from the EU tax-haven blacklist. The blacklist was introduced by the EU in December of last year, as part of an initiative against tax evasion and to urge countries to observe and adhere to EU standards of tax matters.

    The recommendation for removal comes from the UAE Code of Conduct working group on business taxation, and is likely to be implemented towards the end of the month. The effect of the recommendation will see the UAE move from a list of countries which are deemed non-cooperative for tax purposes, to a gray list of countries that will be observed to ensure that their tax practices are compliant with EU standards.

    The recommendation is due to be discussed and approved by EU finance ministers at their next meeting on 23rd January 2018.

  • Employment

    New visa requirements for working in the UAE


    The UAE Coordination Committee has announced that as of 4th February 2018, any expatriates looking to work within the UAE, must also acquire a Certificate of Good Conduct as a pre-requisite to being issued a work permit. Essentially a police check, this Certificate must be issued by an expatriate’s home country, or the country in which they resided for the past 5 years.

    In addition to obtaining the Certificate, expatriates must also have the Certificate attested by either the UAE Diplomatic Missions prior to departure, or at one of the Customer Happiness Centers at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on arrival. 

    The reasoning behind the additional requirement is a move by the Government to maintain a safe living environment for UAE residents, cementing the UAE’s position as one of the most secure countries in the world. 

    The Certificate is not required for individuals travelling to the UAE on a tourist visa, nor is it a requirement for dependents. Expatriates who already reside in the UAE on a valid work permit, will also not require to obtain a Certificate on renewal of their visas.

  • Uncategorized

    Bounced cheques in Dubai now subject to fines under new order

    bounced cheque

    In a move intended to promote business confidence and aide those who find themselves in debt, Dubai Public Prosecution have launched a new Penal Order system that will allow minor misdemeanors, such as a bounced cheque, to be dealt with through fines rather than the court system. It is also intended that the move away from civil prosecution will ease the burden on the Dubai Courts, and allow greater time and resources to be devoted to more serious offences including money laundering, assaults and cybercrime.

    The new Order comes under Law No. (1) of 2017 which was approved by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in March.

    Under the new Order, which comes into effect in December 2017, the current understanding is that any individual who issues a bounced cheque not exceeding the value of AED 200,000 will be subject to the following fines:

    • Bounced cheques not exceeding AED 50,000 –AED 2,000.
    • Bounced cheques between AED 50,000 and AED 100,000 –AED 5,000.
    • Bounced cheques between AED100,000 and AED 200,000 –AED 10,000.


    It is important to note however that any individual who finds themselves in debt may still have a civil case opened against them, and be liable for any interest on outstanding debts. It is therefore advisable to seek legal adviceshould you have any concerns regarding bounced cheques and/or personal or company debt.

    To find out how the Davidson & Co team could assist your specific requirements regarding any legal enquiries, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

  • Family Law/ Wills

    DIFC Wills and Probate Register release new Financial Assets Will

    Close up Human Hand Signing on Formal Paper at the Table on Black Background. Retro Filter Effect.

    The DIFC Wills and Probate Register (DIFC WPR) have introduced a new Financial Assets Will to encompass money and listed securities held in Dubai and/or Ras Al Khaimah bank and brokerage accounts. The new purpose Will can encompass up to 10 separate bank or brokerage accounts, or a share in 10 separate bank or brokerage accounts, and is available to register online or in person. The DIFC WPR have partnered up with the Emirates NBD to offer a discounted registration fee of AED 5,000.

    The addition of the new purpose Will now means that there are 5 different forms of DIFC Wills available for individuals, depending on their personal circumstances and the assets which they wish to protect:-

    1. Full Will
    2. Guardianship Will
    3. Property Will (limited to five separate properties or a share in up to five separate properties)
    4. Free Zone Company Will (limited to five separate shareholdings)
    5. Financial Assets Will (limited to ten separate bank or brokerage accounts or a share in 10 separate bank or brokerage accounts)

    A DIFC Will is available to any individual who is non-Muslim and over the age of 21, with assets based in Dubai and/or Ras Al Khaimah.  You do not require to be a resident of the UAE.

    There are a number of benefits to registering a DIFC Will including:-

    • Avoids the application of Sharia Law to your Dubai and/or Ras Al Khaimah assets.
    • Promotes certainty as a Will ensures your estate passes in accordance with your wishes.
    • Saves undue anguish, costs, and administration for your loved ones at time of probate.
    • Allows you to specify who you wish to act as a Guardian to any minor children under the age of 21.
    • DIFC WPR have a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dubai Land Department to ensure that at the time of probate, your property is passed in accordance with your Will.
    • No death tax applicable to Dubai and/or Ras Al Khaimah assets administered under the WPR rules.

    It is strongly advised that you seek legal advice and assistance when drafting either a DIFC or Common Law Will.

    For a free consultation, please get in touch to discuss your specific circumstances.




  • Private Client

    Announcing a new addition to our Private Client team

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    Award-winning legal consultants, Davidson & Co, have further strengthened their Private Client team with the appointment of Victoria Smylie as an Associate. Vicky, who is UK qualified, joins from Scotland’s top Private Client firm and specializes in succession planning, wealth structuring, asset protection and wills.

    Founding partner, Jonathon Davidson, commented “ Vicky’s appointment is further evidence of our commitment to, and confidence in, the Private Client market in the UAE. We measure our success in the quality of our clients and the quality of our people and on that basis we have a great deal to look forward in the coming years.”

    Andrew Young, Head of Davidson & Co’s Private Client Department, has recently been ranked Band 1 for Private Wealth Law in the UAE in the Chambers HNW 2017 Guide, one of only two lawyers to achieve this distinction.

    This is just the latest honour for the firm, which was recently ranked amongst the top 50 private client advisers globally in the prestigious Citywealth Leaders list, ranking number one in the Middle East.

    Jonathon added “These awards demonstrate that our growing Private Client team, supported by our experienced and commercially-oriented Corporate team, are expertly placed to advise individuals and families within the region on their private and business requirements”.


  • Corporate Law/ Employment/ Family Law/ Private Client/ Property

    Andrey Panferov heading up Davidson & Co Russian speaking desk

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    We are delighted to welcome Andrey Panferov to the growing Davidson & Co team.

    Fluent in both Russian and English Andrey has over 12 years of legal experience in both Russia and Dubai and supported by the firm’s talented legal team, Andrey is looking after the firm’s Russian speaking clients.

    Andrey is a fully qualified lawyer with expertise and knowledge across a broad range of areas including corporate law, mergers & acquisitions, commercial contracts, dispute resolution and construction.

    Holding a degree in Law from Russian reputable Law University, Andrey completed his MSc at Heriot Watt University (Dubai Campus) and trained to work with international legal practices.

    Andrey is based in our Dubai office and heads up the firm’s Russian speaking desk and is available to assist with any of your legal matters.

    He can be contacted directly at apanferov@davidsoncolaw.com or on +971 52 752 7758

  • Corporate Law/ Family Law/ Private Client

    Davidson & Co ranked by Chambers and Partners

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    Davidson & Co are pleased to announce that Andrew Young, head of our Private Client Department, has been recognised by Chambers and Partners in their renowned Chambers HNW 2017 guide.

    Andrew is one of only two lawyers to be ranked Band 1 for Private Wealth Law in the UAE. Andrew is described in the publication as “practical and charismatic” and “very experienced”, with his strengths lying in “his connections and timeliness”.

    This is the latest honour for Andrew and Davidson & Co, who were recently ranked amongst the top 50 private client advisors globally in the prestigious Citywealth Leaders List, ranking number one in the Middle East. Both of these recent awards are confirmation that Andrew’s Private Client team, supported by the firm’s talented Corporate team, are expertly placed to advise wealthy individuals and families within the region on their private, transactional and business requirements.

    To find out how the Davidson & Co team could assist your specific requirements please do not hesitate to get in touch.

  • Family Law/ Legal Update

    New Dubai Law on Wills & Inheritance


    His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, on Tuesday issued a new Law providing a clear set of rules and procedures for the registration and enforcement of foreign Wills in the Dubai Courts.

    Law No.15 of 2017 regulates Wills, Inheritance and Probate matters. The new Law seeks to eliminate any remaining uncertainty on the subject by providing a clear legal framework for non-Muslim expatriates to draft and register a Will which will be recognised and upheld in both the Dubai Courts and DIFC Courts. The commentary surrounding the new Law also clarifies that any pre-registered non-Muslim Wills in both the Dubai and DIFC Courts will remain valid after its enactment.

    In light of the new Law, many non-Muslim expatriates are taking fresh advice on how best to put a new Will in place or update their existing Wills.  

    Davidson & Co are here to help and advise on any matters related to wills and inheritance.  For advice and more information please get in touch with our resident private client expert, Victoria Smylie at vsmylie@davidsoncolaw.com

  • Economy/ Family Law/ Legal Update/ Private Client

    Davidson & Co recognised as one of the top 50 private client advisors globally

    andrew young

    Citywealth Leaders List

    We are delighted to announce that Andrew Young and Davidson & Co have been featured amongst the top 50 private client advisors globally in the prestigious Citywealth Leaders List, ranking ahead of other private client firms in the Middle East, and cementing our position as market leaders in this area of expertise.

    Andrew has over 30 years experience advising individuals, families, and family offices in relation to both personal and business assets.

    Private Client Services

    As our economy continues to expand and the private wealth of individuals across the globe is on the rise, at Davidson & Co we recognise that it is now more important than ever to make suitable arrangements to manage your assets and your families future.

    Accordingly, we are delighted to announce the expansion of our Private Client team headed up by Andrew Young. The addition of Victoria Smylie to the team makes Davidson & Co one of the largest dedicated private client teams in the region.

    Andrew and his team are expertly placed to advise expats, UAE residents, or international persons with a connection to the UAE on:-

    • Asset protection and wealth management
    • Estate and tax planning
    • DIFC Wills and Probate Register
    • Multi jurisdictional estate planning
    • Multi jurisdictional structuring for wealth preservation and family succession
    • DIFC trusts
    • Foreign trusts

    The value of making arrangements for you and your families future is often overlooked, and there is a false belief that wealth planning is only suited to the rich and famous.

    In order to ensure that your estate, big or small, passes in a tax efficient manner, in accordance with your wishes, and without any complications or ambiguities, it is crucial not to delay making the necessary arrangements.

    Not only is Davidson & Co one of a limited number of firms within the region offering private client services, as a multi servicing firm, we are able to draw on the expertise and skills of our corporate, litigation and employment experts to provide an all encompassing service for you, your family and your businesses.

    Please get in touch to discuss your specific circumstances with our friendly team who would be delighted to assist.