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Understanding VAT Penalties in UAE: Risks and Consequences of Non-compliance

It’s essential for UAE business owners to stay up-to-date on the latest tax regulations and requirements. This includes understanding penalties for non-filing of VAT returns in UAE that may be levied by the Federal Tax Authority as part of its efforts to ensure compliance with VAT laws. In this blog post, we will provide an overview of the risks and consequences associated with non-compliance in regards to VAT taxes, and an overview of the penalty for late payment of VAT in UAE and penalty for non-payment of VAT in UAE so you can get a better handle on your company's financial obligations and remain compliant with local legal requirements.

VAT Penalties Overview

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has introduced significant penalties for non-compliance with VAT regulations (Ribccs). The most common of these penalties are administrative fines, which range from AED 1000 to 50,000 depending on the severity and nature of the violation. Additionally, there may be criminal sanctions such as imprisonment for more serious offenses like intentional tax evasion.

Businesses may be subject to administrative fines for a variety of reasons, such as failing to register for VAT or file their returns on time (Ribccs). The FTA also has the authority to conduct audits and impose additional fines where they discover that incorrect information was submitted or records were not properly maintained.

Other penalties that are commonly imposed include charging late payment interest, the penalty for voluntary disclosure in UAE vat, the penalty for late payment of VAT in UAE, the penalty for non-payment of VAT in UAE, and imposing surcharges on late payments of taxes. In serious cases, the FTA may issue a suspension or revocation order which prevents businesses from continuing to conduct taxable activities until they become compliant with the relevant VAT laws.

Read More: How to Treat Discounts under VAT in UAE?

How Do These VAT Rules Benefit Taxpayers?

The rules create an incentive for taxpayers to come forward and declare any discrepancies or omissions in their VAT compliance as soon as possible. Under the new regulations, businesses that make a voluntary disclosure of errors before receiving any notification from the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) are eligible for reduced VAT fines and penalties in UAE (Innovate tax).

An additional benefit is that if the errors relate to returns from past periods, the taxpayer may be entitled to a waiver of fines and penalties for such errors. This presents an opportunity for businesses that have not been compliant in the past to come forward and seek a resolution before receiving any enforcement action from the FTA.

In addition, voluntary disclosure can help reduce costs associated with tax investigations and disputes. By submitting a voluntary disclosure, the taxpayer is proactively declaring any errors and mistakes, potentially avoiding lengthy investigations and potential litigation down the road. This can be an invaluable benefit for taxpayers who are looking to minimize the risks associated with non-compliance and prevent any VAT late filing penalty in UAE.

What Action is Taken Against Non-Compliant Businesses?

The UAE Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has put in place strict penalties for nonpayment of vat in UAE for businesses that fail to comply with VAT laws. Penalties can range from fines to disruption of services, or even court prosecution. Any non-compliance found by the FTA will be subject to a penalty. The severity of the penalty is based on the type and duration of non-compliance.

The FTA outlines six levels of penalties that can be imposed, depending on the circumstances. These range from a warning letter to criminal prosecution. The penalty will depend on whether non-compliance is intentional or unintentional and how long it has been occurring.

The penalties commonly include:

  • Vat Late Filing Penalty In Uae
  • Vat Late Payment Penalty In Uae
  • Vat Return Penalty In Uae 
  • Penalty for voluntary disclosure in Uae VAT

Any business that has not been compliant with VAT regulations must make a voluntary disclosure to the FTA. This is a process in which a business can notify the FTA of its non-compliance and submit a plan for rectifying it. Making a voluntary disclosure may reduce or avoid any potential penalties from the FTA.

It is important to remember that the risks and consequences of non-compliance with VAT regulations in UAE can be severe. Businesses should ensure that they are fully compliant to avoid any potential penalties and disruption of services. It is also advisable for businesses that have been non-compliant to make a voluntary disclosure in order to reduce the risks associated with non-compliance.

Stay up-to-date with the latest VAT news and regulations in UAE, to ensure that your business remains compliant. This should help to prevent any disruptions or penalties from the FTA.

Major Risks of VAT Non-Compliance:

  1. Penalties and interest charges: Companies that do not comply with VAT regulations are liable for fines and additional interest charges, which can be significant (VAT IT). Depending on The severity of the offense, businesses may be liable for a fine of up to 150% of the amount due.
  2. VAT inspections and extended audits: Companies that are found to be non-compliant may face a VAT inspection or extended audit by government tax officials. This can be a lengthy, costly and disruptive process.
  3. Reputational damage: Non-compliance with VAT regulations can cause serious damage to the reputation of a business, which could lead to loss of customers and suppliers as well as potential legal action.
  4. Barred from trading on platforms: Companies that fail to comply with VAT regulations may be barred from trading on platforms such as Amazon and eBay.
  5. Banned from trading: In extreme cases, businesses that fail to comply with VAT regulations can be banned from trading altogether.
  6. Criminal charges: Non-compliance with VAT regulations is considered a criminal offense in the UAE and companies that are found guilty of this can face criminal charges.
  7. Other tax liabilities: Companies that fail to comply with VAT regulations may be liable for other taxes, such as corporate income tax or customs duty. This could result in additional financial costs for the business.


It is essential that businesses are aware of their VAT obligations and VAT penalties in UAE and ensure they remain compliant with the regulations in order to avoid the risks associated with non-compliance. Failure to comply can have serious consequences and lead to significant financial losses. It is therefore essential that businesses seek help and advice from a professional VAT consultant in order to ensure they remain compliant with the relevant regulations.

By following best practices and staying up-to-date on the latest changes, businesses can reduce the risk of running into any potential issues.  Taking proactive steps to ensure compliance and staying informed is key to avoiding any unnecessary fines or penalties.  Ultimately, VAT compliance is essential for business success in the UAE.

Read More: Tax Credit Note under VAT in UAE

Ervee is a CPA with international experience in Tax and Accounting. He has over 12 years of experience in accounting and bookkeeping and over a year in VAT implementation, registration, and accounting in UAE. He regularly drives out inefficiencies in company operations and loves the challenge of helping clients find additional ways for an easier and improved compliance and verification of transactions.