Understanding UAE Corporate Tax: Expert Guide on PE Clause

Explore UAE corporate taxation with our guide to the PE clause. Get insights on tax laws and regulations for companies in the UAE.

Understanding UAE Corporate Tax: Expert Guide on PE Clause

In a significant move to strengthen its position as a global business and investment hub, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has introduced a Corporate Taxation (CT) regime. This new law, which came into effect in October 2022, aims to meet international tax transparency standards, boost the country's development, and attract more investments. One crucial aspect of this law is the Permanent Establishment (PE) clause, which plays a vital role in determining tax liabilities for companies. Let's delve into the key details of the PE clause under the UAE CT Law and explore its implications for businesses.

1. Understanding the Basics of UAE CT Law

The UAE CT Law focuses on business profits and does not impose personal income tax on other types of income. It follows a worldwide taxation system for entities with tax residency in the UAE and includes rules and definitions for Permanent Establishments (PEs).

2. Defining Permanent Establishment (PE)

Under the UAE CT Law, a PE refers to a fixed place of business where a company carries out its core activities or exercises managerial control. It encompasses both fixed PEs, such as offices or branches, and agency PEs, where a company operates through an agent. These definitions align closely with the internationally recognized OECD Model Tax Convention.

3. Exceptions and Exclusions

The UAE CT Law provides exceptions and exclusions to the PE definition for certain activities of a preparatory or auxiliary nature. This means that if a company engages in specific supporting activities that are considered secondary to its main operations, it may not be deemed to have a PE in the UAE for tax purposes.

4. Key Differences from International Tax Principles

While the PE definitions in the UAE CT Law align with international standards, there are some notable differences. For instance, the definition of a place of management includes 'commercial decisions,' and the definition of fixed PEs includes 'land, buildings, and other real property.' These variations reflect the unique aspects of the UAE's business environment.

5. Anti-Fragmentation Rule

To prevent companies from fragmenting their activities across multiple locations to avoid establishing a PE, the UAE CT Law introduces an anti-fragmentation rule. This rule sets specific conditions that must be met for a PE to be recognized when related parties conduct activities in different places within the UAE.

6. Exploring Agency PEs

The concept of an 'Agency PE' under the UAE CT Law closely aligns with the provisions outlined in the OECD Model Tax Convention. This means that if a company operates through an agent who has the authority to conclude contracts on its behalf, the company may be deemed to have an Agency PE.

7. Additional Provisions

The UAE CT Law also includes a provision for establishing a PE based on "any other form of nexus" within the UAE. Further details and clarifications regarding this provision are expected to be provided in a Cabinet Decision by the UAE Ministry of Finance.


The introduction of the UAE CT Law marks a significant step forward for the country's tax regime and its position in the global business landscape. By implementing the PE clause, the UAE aims to ensure transparency and fairness in taxation while attracting more investments and facilitating economic growth. It is essential for companies operating in the UAE to understand the PE definitions, exceptions, and anti-fragmentation rules to comply with the new tax requirements. Seeking professional advice from tax experts can help businesses navigate the complexities of the UAE CT Law and make informed decisions regarding their tax obligations.