Bookkeeping is important for any business in U.A.E., large or small. Unfortunately, many businesses neglect the bookkeeping process in their business which later leads them to huge business failures.

The reason for this is either business owners’ lack of knowledge on the subject while others take it so lightly and don’t pay enough attention to keep up with the bookkeeping process effectively.

Either way, lack of proper books of accounts for a business always ends up in a nightmare no matter which industry you are in. Which is why in this article we discuss the U.A.E. Federal law you need to be aware of regarding bookkeeping in your business.

Before that’s let’s start by explaining what is bookkeeping for those who don’t have a clear idea what bookkeeping exactly is.

What is bookkeeping?

In simple words, bookkeeping is the process of recording financial transactions of a business. This is the very first step and the central aspect of the accounting process. Here, accurate, up-to-date, detailed records are been kept of all the aspects of financial accounting, preparing source documents for all operations, transactions, and other events of the business. From purchases, sales, receipts to payments by a person or another organization is recorded during the process.

Without a well maintained and well-organized bookkeeping process maintaining a healthy accounting process is impossible. The way of doing bookkeeping has changed significantly over last decade all over the world. Thanks to the cloud computing, there are number of sophisticated solutions available in the market for monthly fees where business can enjoy latest developments and it has gone to digital era. The technological developments as well the competition of providing value added services of the bookkeeping firms really benefited the business to have up to date bookkeeping system without considering the size or volume of the business.

Below are some mostly used solutions for SMEs worldwide. (Top 10 SMEs accounting software’s in the year 2019)

  1. Xero
  2. Fresh books
  3. Quick book
  4. Sage 50 Cloud
  5. Zoho books
  6. Sage
  7. Free Agent
  8. Netsuite ERP
  9. Tipalti
  10. Sage business cloud accounting

Further in UAE, there are some accounting software’s are listed in the FTA website which help business owners and or accountants to ensure they are compatible with UAE VAT requirements. You can find out such software’s through below link.

U.A.E. tax law for bookkeeping

According to the U.A.E. tax law, every business must maintain books of accounts. As per the Federal Law No. 7 of 2017 on Tax Procedures, every company should keep books of accounts of at least of 5 years from the end of its financial year.

And it’s a duty of the shareholders and the partners of the business to ensure that the bookkeeping process is been maintained according to the provisions of the tax law.

In accordance with Cabinet Decision No. (36) of 2017 on the Executive Regulation of Federal Law No. (7) of 2017 on Tax Procedures, it has established the responsibility with regards to the proper books of accounts that business owners need to maintain. Below are the articles you may refer to know exact requirements.

Article (2) Keeping Accounting Records and Commercial Books

Article (3) Period of Record-Keeping

Article (4) How to Keep Accounting Records and Commercial Books

Article (5) The use of a language other than the Arabic

Article (2) Keeping Accounting Records and Commercial Books

1. Accounting Records and Commercial Books shall include the following:

a). Accounting books in relation to that Business, which include records of payments and receipts, purchases and sales, revenues and expenditures, and any business, and any matters as required under any Tax Law or any other applicable law, including:

1) Balance sheet and profit and loss accounts.

2) Records of wages and salaries.

3) Records of fixed assets.

4) Inventory records and statements (including quantities and values) at the end of any relevant Tax Period and all records of stock-counts related to Inventory statements.

b).Additional records as may be required in the Tax Law and its Executive Regulation.

2. In addition to the Accounting Records and Commercial Books mentioned in Clause (1) of this Article, the Authority may require any other information in order to confirm, through an audit trail, the Person’s Tax obligations, including any liability to register for Tax purposes

Article (3) Period of Record-Keeping

1). Every Person holding and maintaining any of the records mentioned in Article (2) of this Decision, shall keep these records in a manner that enables the Authority, or an officer authorised by the Authority, to ascertain that Person’s Tax obligations, as follows:

a). For a period of (5) years after the end of the Tax Period to which they relate in the case of a Taxable Person.

b).For a period of (5) years from the end of the calendar year in which the concerned document was created in the case of non-Taxable Person.

c). For a period specified in the Tax Law for real estate records.

2). The Authority may, before the expiry of the period specified in paragraph (a) of Clause (1) of this Article, inform the Person to retain the records for a further period not exceeding (4) years, in cases where he is required to do so including the following:

a).If the Taxable Person’s tax obligations are subject to a dispute between him and the Authority.

b) If the Person is being subject to a Tax Audit and that Tax Audit has not yet been completed.

c). If the Authority has given notice to the Person that it intends to conduct a Tax Audit before the expiry of the period specified in Clause (1) of this Article.

3. If a Person is no longer a Taxable Person, he shall be required to comply with the provisions of paragraph (b) of Clause (1) of this Article.

4. Where a Person enters into bankruptcy proceedings, his Legal Representative is required to keep the records of that Person for 12 months from the date on which those proceedings have come to an end.

5. For the purposes of Clause (4) of this Article, should the Authority require the records to be kept for a longer period, it may take possession of them, at a time agreed with the Legal Representative responsible for the relevant bankruptcy proceedings.

Article (4) How to Keep Accounting Records and Commercial Books

1. Unless otherwise required by the Tax Law, the obligation to maintain Accounting Records and Commercial Books shall be met through any of the following:

a). Creating the record and the retention of original Documents which support the entries contained in the record.

b). Creating the record and preserving the information that was contained in the original document, provided that:

1) The information matches the data contained in the original document, and shall be available during the periods referred to in Article (3) of this Decision.

2) The information retained or stored in either photocopy or electronic form, and an easily readable copy of it can be reproduced within a reasonable period, if requested by the Authority.

2. The Authority may lay down the rules of preserving information contained in Accounting Records and Commercial Books, and impose such reasonable requirements for ensuring that the information will be as readily available to it as if the original records themselves had been preserved.

Article (5) The use of a language other than the Arabic

1. Tax Return, data, information, records and other Documents related to any Tax shall be submitted to the Authority in Arabic, as per the mechanism specified by the Tax Law.

2. As an exception to Clause (1) of this Article, the Authority may accept data, information, records and other Documents related to any Tax to be submitted to it in English; the Authority may, at its discretion, request the Person to translate some or all of these to Arabic.

3. Where the data, information, records and other Documents related to any Tax are issued in any foreign language other than English, the Person is required to submit these Documents to the Authority as translated into Arabic.

4. The Person submitting any translation of data, information, records and other Documents related to any Tax to the Authority shall be liable for the accuracy and correctness of the translation, and shall bear all associated costs. The Authority shall have the right to rely on the translation provided.

Please click following link for related laws.

Violation of the law

Violation of the above law might land businesses in penalties and specially reputation damage in the market is more costly and many other problems.

Apart from to comply with the VAT requirements, there are many benefits to bookkeeping. Following are a few of them

  • Track and complete control on the business
  • Ensure better financial analysis and management
  • Make reporting to business partners, banks and possible investors
  • Ensure easy fulfilment of tax obligations
  • Better cash flow management
  • Make business planning easy
  • Reduce financial risks

How Crevaty can help to maintain books of accounts as per U.A.E. tax law!

Although you are quite sure you need to be more serious about your bookkeeping process now, yet have no clue from where to pick it up from or from where to start, worry no more. Because we have the perfect solution for you.

Being experienced bookkeepers in U.A.E. we offer comprehensive bookkeeping outsourcing services in U.A.E. taking the hassle out of the process. So, the business owners can have peace of mind.

Not like having a bookkeeper in U.A.E. outsourcing your bookkeeping to us will leave you with many benefits including

  • Save time to focus on important business matters
  • Low costs
  • Lower turnovers and no statutory requirements and payments to staff
  • Unbiased opinion
  • Let you have experts in your industry
  • Digital bookkeeping solutions
 Learn more about our bookkeeping services in U.A.E.

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