India and the new UAE tax on corporations and businesses: Should Indian businesses be concerned?

Apr 1, 2023

With a population of about 10m, the UAE has roughly 2.75m Indian expatriates.

India and the UAE have had a cordial relationship since the beginning of times, and Indian merchants used to conduct trade via the Dubai port even before the discovery of oil in the UAE.

The oil discovery in 1958 led to the influx of several Indian workers hoping for economic and good lifestyle opportunities.

Today about 450,000 Indians in the UAE are professionals and businessmen. Many major businesses are owned by or operated by Indians, such as the Landmark Group, the Jashanmal Group, the Jumbo Group, the Lulu group, Aster DM Healthcare and VPS healthcare. Even the Indian government has invested about $85bn in the UAE market, making the UAE an important place for Indian Government investment!

With this substantial number of Indian companies, families and even the Indian government investing in businesses, properties and recreation in the UAE and with the UAE wanting to remain an attractive jurisdiction for business generally and a safe jurisdiction for ultra-high net worth individuals to live, we need to identify whether the recently introduced UAE Decree Law taxing corporations and businesses is likely to create any speed bumps on the road for ongoing and growing Indian investment into the UAE.

The attached thoughts cover three of the many difficulties identified to date in the Decree Law arising for Indian-owned UAE businesses, and in future thought pieces, we shall explain some of the other difficult questions now needing to be resolved.