Key Steps accountants should take to guide SMEs out of the Covid-19 Crisis

Business survival tips, strategies for businesses during covid-19 crisis, accounting consultancy in Dubai

In the present situation where the whole world has come to a stop, it is now more important than ever to have savings in hand. There will be a massive impact felt due to the coronavirus, and businesses need to be ready for any situation which comes their way. It is because of this reason that outsourcing the accounting functions of a company will be more beneficial for the management.

Accountants – for many – are SME’s trusted advisors.

The Covid-19 crisis is a critical time where SMEs need all the guidance they can get to navigate through the storm. We call on accountants and small accountancy practices to help struggling SMEs through these difficult times.

The following actions are required to be taken by accountants to support their struggling SME clients:

1. Informing clients about all aid options

Accountants should be aware of all financial (and other) forms of aid provided by national governments. It would be helpful for the national accountancy body to be aware of aid that other countries provide, so they can flag the best practices to their own national policymakers.

2. Applying the available aid to client’s situations

Identify clients in high risk sectors and those that would benefit most from public support measures. Help them by:

  • Advising them on, and guiding them through, all the claims available to them
  • Identifying options to help them diversify their business
  • Providing a path to accessing emergency financing being provided by governments
  • If possible, consider renegotiating your fees and payment schedules with them

3. Helping with immediate business survival

One of the ways in which accountants can help is by informing their SME clients of immediate measures that might make the difference between survival and collapse. They should also help them implement these measures where required. Examples of this include:

  • Accessing the reliefs on offer as soon as possible to increase the impact.
  • Reviewing and adjusting their cash flow forecast to determine what impact cuts in sales will have on their ability to pay their suppliers and debt. Businesses should continue to pay their suppliers when they can to help avoid a wide-spread collapse of the financial system.
  • Considering the business model to ascertain whether the SME can deliver goods or services in an alternative manner – such as by home delivery or online, and whether it can downsize or stop certain activities, such as travel, sales and marketing.
  • Understanding their supply chains and planning for disruptions in the supply of products and services. This may involve scaling back production for some parts and stock and re-considering suppliers and clients from countries heavily impacted by the virus.
  • Checking their insurance to understand whether they are eligible for a claim for any financial losses.
  • Communicating with their staff to discuss the possibility of short term pay cuts.
  • Ensuring that their financials are up to date so they can monitor profitability, stock, and debtor-creditor balances. Many governments are offering deferment of tax returns and financial information filing. However, such deferments’ long-term impacts are not clear. They could result in a later bottleneck in filing such returns and the possible loss of financial and tax data.
  • Negotiating with their debtors- for example, to offer discounts in exchange for early payment.
  • Negotiating with their debtors– for example, to offer discounts in exchange for early payment.
  • Continually monitoring the situation and informing clients of new initiatives so that when lifting the restrictions becomes imminent, they are ready to recommence trading.
  • If all else fails, considering the options within insolvency as it may be possible to rescue viable businesses by debt reorganization rather than being forced into full liquidation.

4. Guiding SME’s plan for the medium term

Many SMEs are likely to be in a crisis mode. Our accountants help them avoid emergency measures that could endanger the business’ medium-term viability. They can, for example, help them to:

  • Reconsider whether laying off employees is unavoidable. On top of having negative social and societal impacts, cutting down on workforce also constitutes a loss of key skills for the business. This should be a last resort option only, so make your clients aware of that and help them access all alternative options, aid and financing available first. It is possible that staff would prefer taking a temporary pay cut over redundancy. This could increase staff loyalty and allow the business to resume operations once the restrictions are lifted.
  • Start building financial reserves as soon as possible, to prepare for a new peak in coronavirus cases even after the current restrictions are lifted.

Accounting For Covid-19-Related Rent Concessions

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Covid-19-Related Rent Concessions for Lessees, published by IASB on May 28, 2020:


As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many lessors are providing rent holidays / concessions to lessees.

Rent Concessions can be in the form of rent waivers, lease payment deferrals or one-off rent reductions. Prior to the amendment, such concessions may fall within the ambit of lease modifications.

What is a lease modification?

IFRS 16 defines a lease modification as:

“a change in the scope of a lease, or the consideration for a lease, that was not part of the original terms and conditions of the lease.” A lease modification results from renegotiations between the lessee and lessor.

Examples of lease modifications include (but are not limited to):

  • reducing or extending the contractual lease term;
  • hiking or lowering the lease payments; or
  • adding or removing the right to use one or more underlying assets.

Separate lease:

If a lease modification creates a separate lease, the lessee makes no adjustments to the original lease and accounts for the separate lease the same as any new lease.

Not a separate lease:

For a modification that is not a separate lease, the lessee’s accounting depends on the nature of the modification.

Lease Modifications – Amendment:

The following amendment makes it easier for lessee to account for COVID-19 related rent concessions as “not a lease modification” by exempting him to consider/evaluate the individual lease contracts to determine whether rent concessions are a lease modification or not as a direct rule with a criteria prescribed”.

Practical Expedient:

The accounting for lease modification is seemingly complex. It envisages the recalculation of lease assets and lease liabilities / (payments) using revised discount rates.

In order to simplify the Lessee Accounting for rent concessions, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), has proposed some amendments as a practical expedient:

All the following three conditions are required to be met for permitting a lessee to apply the practical expedient:

  • As a result of revised consideration, the change in lease payments is substantially the same or less than the original consideration; AND
  • the reduction in lease payments affects only payments, originally due on or before June 30, 2021; AND
  • there is no substantive change to other terms and conditions of the lease.


  • Thus, the proposed practical expedient obviates the need for lessees to carry out an assessment to decide whether a COVID-19 related rent concession received is a lease modification or not.
  • The lessee accounts for the rent concession as if the change was not a lease modification. Such rent concessions would generally be accounted for as a variable lease payment.
  • In this case, a lessee applies paragraph 38 of IFRS 16 and generally recognises the effect of the rent concession in profit or loss.


  • No practical expedient is provided for lessors
  • Lessors are required to continue to assess as if the rent concessions are lease modifications and account for them accordingly.
  • In case of operating lease, the lessor recognises the effect of the rent concession by recording lower income from leases.

Disclosure Requirements:

Lessees applying the practical expedient are required to disclose:

  • that fact, if they have applied the practical expedient to all eligible rent concessions and, if not, information about the nature of the contracts to which they have applied the practical expedient; and
  • the amount recognised in profit or loss for the reporting period arising from application of the practical expedient.

The information disclosed will need to be sufficient to enable users of financial statements to understand the impact of covid-19-related changes in lease payments on the entity’s financial position and financial performance (paragraph 31 of IAS 1).

Effective date:

The amendments are effective for periods beginning on or after June 01, 2020, with earlier application also permitted in Financial Statements not authorized for issue at May 28, 2020.


A lessee applies the amendments retrospectively and recognises the cumulative effect of initially applying them in the opening retained earnings of the reporting period in which they are first applied.

The disclosure requirements of Paragraph 28(f)1 of IAS 8 – Accounting Policies, Changes in Accounting Estimates and Errors do not apply in the reporting period in which a lessee first applies Covid-19-Related Rent Concessions.

ESR Filing Deadlines

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For ease of reference we have set out below details of the requirements to notify as communicated by the selected regulatory authorities, together with the deadline:

Regulatory AuthorityWho is required to fileDeadline
ADGMOnly entities/ licensees that are carrying out relevant activityBy 30 June 2020
DAFZAll entities/ licensees, including those who do not undertake relevant activityBy 15 June 2020 (extended from 31 May 2020)
DMCCAll entities/ licensees, including those who do not undertake relevant activityBy 30 June 2020
RAK ICCAll entities/ licensees, including those who do not undertake relevant activityBy 30 June 2020
Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA)SCA have contacted via email all Investment Management Firms, Management Company Firms regulated by SCA requesting submission of the notification formBy 30 June 2020 (extended from 31 March 2020)
AJMAN FZAll entities/ licensees, including those who do not undertake relevant activityBy 30 June 2020
RAK EZAll entities/ licensees, including those who do not undertake relevant activityBy 30 June 2020
Dubai World Trade CentreOnly entities/ licensees that are carrying out relevant activityBy 30 June 2020
Dubai Aviation City CorporationAll entities/ licensees, including those who do not undertake relevant activityBy 23 June 2020 (extended from 7 June 2020)
Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC)Only entities/ licensees that are carrying out relevant activityBy 7 June 2020 (extended form 31 May 2020)
Ministry of EconomyOnly entities/ licensees that are carrying out relevant activityBy 30 June 2020
Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA)Only entities/ licensees that are carrying out relevant activityBy 30 June 2020
Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF)Only entities/ licensees that are carrying out relevant activityBy 30 June 2020
International Free Zone Authorities (IFZA)Only entities/ licensees that are carrying out relevant activityBy 30 June 2020
Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO)All entities/ licensees, including those who do not undertake relevant activityBy 9 June 2020 (extended from 31 May 2020)
Dubai Development Authority (DDA)Only entities/ licensees that are carrying out relevant activityBy 25 June 2020
Abu Dhabi Media Zone AuthorityAll entities/ licensees, including those who do not undertake relevant activityBy 30 June 2020
Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone (UAQ)All entities/ licensees, including those who do not undertake relevant activityBy 30 June 2020
Fujairah FreezoneAll entities/ licensees, including those who do not undertake relevant activityBy 15 June 2020
KIZADAll entities/ licensees, including those who do not undertake relevant activityBy 20 June 2020
Jebel Ali Freezone (JAFZA)Only entities/ licensees that are carrying out relevant activityBy 30 June 2020

Please contact if you wish to find out more or require assistance with your notification requirements.

Accounting of Unexpected Covid-19 related Costs

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COVID -19 has taught us a new lifestyle as well as new business structures. Staying at home and social distancing is becoming a part of our day-to-day life. Every business and every person has been affected by this epidemic and it will go down in history as an event that paused the economy and the beginning of a new culture.

In addition to various financial impacts being felt due to COVID-19, we must consider the unexpected/unusual expenses and their classification. Nowadays, every organisation requires a restructured business model. Most businesses would be remodelled and relaunched as a part of a turnaround strategy to recover all the financial impacts. Let us discuss the major unusual expenses that would affect cash flow due to COVID-19.

  • Cost related to digital ecosystem: As we know, most of the countries have imposed lockdown in order to reduce the spread of COVID19. Due to this, majority of the companies have implemented a remote working model in order to continue operations. Cost incurred for implementing remote working such as IT Consultation, related hardware installations, etc. can be considered as restructuring costs and treated accordingly.
  • Costs related to Inventory: Verification and valuation of inventory would be required before re-opening the regular activities of trading and manufacturing companies. Companies may require additional manpower for the verification of inventories, an inevitable cost. Due to the lapse in time, there is a high chance of goods being found to be unfit for sale, which may lead to high abolishment costs. Valuation is required because it reduces risk and return of goods. High maintenance cost of inventory may also be incurred due to lockdown.
  • Supply chain interruption: Production delays due to supply chain interruption would be a major cost which adversely affects the overall operation and the cash flow of the business.
  • Marketing expenses: Remodelling and recovery of business stability would be a great challenge, especially during the initial phases. Door to door communication may not be allowed and hence marketing divisions should be more focused on online marketing. Customer relationship expenses will also be part of this.
  • Sanitisation costs: As it may take more time to fully recover from COVID-19, cost of sanitisation will continue, at least in the short-term.

Accounting Treatment

When items of income or expenses are material, an entity shall disclose their nature and amount separately (IAS 1:97). An entity shall present additional line items, headings and subtotals in the statement(s) presenting profit and loss and other comprehensive income when such presentation is relevant to an understanding of the entity’s financial performance (IAS 1:85). However, an entity shall not present any items of income or expenses as extraordinary items, in the statement(s) presenting profit or loss and other comprehensive income or in the notes (IAS 1:87).

According to IAS 1:86, because the effect of an entity’s various activities, transactions and other events differ in frequency, potential for gain or loss and predictability, disclosing the components of financial performance assists users in understanding the financial performance achieved and in making projections of future financial performance. An entity includes additional line items in the statement(s) presenting profit or loss and other comprehensive income and it amends the descriptions used and the ordering of items when this is necessary to explain the elements of financial performance. An entity considers factors including materiality and the nature and function of the items of income and expense.

Based on these explanations in IAS 1, we can conclude that the overall effect of COVID-19 can be accounted separately if the total expenses are material, as decided by the management. If the expenses incurred are not material, it should be accounted within the appropriate heads of accounts itself. For e.g If there are any additional expenses (which are immaterial) related to marketing, it should be part of marketing expenses. Similarly, if there is any restructuring cost which is material, an entity shall disclose it separately under appropriate head.

Accounting Technologies

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Accountants need to stay up to date with technological advances in order to respond to market conditions and their clients’ needs. Technological innovations have led the way, establishing how accounting is done nowadays. Digital resources and online tools help improve productivity and organization.

Now, we can find advanced technology to help streamline accounting processes and management of books of accounts.

How does technology impact accounting?

The biggest impact IT has made on accounting is enabling companies to develop and use computerized systems to track and record financial transactions. This system allows companies to create individual reports quickly and easily, enabling management to make decisions faster, using up-to-date information.

There are many applications of modern technology in accounting. Out of the many available options, in this blog we summarize the five types of accounting technologies that are currently transforming the accounting industry:

  1. Artificial Intelligence & Robotics

    In simple terms, Artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability of a computer or a robot controlled by a computer to do tasks that are usually done by humans because they require human intelligence and discernment.

  2. Cloud Computing

    Cloud computing accounting software is accounting software that is hosted on remote servers. It provides accounting capabilities to businesses in a fashion similar to the SaaS (Software as a Service) business model. Data is sent into “the cloud“, where it is processed and returned to the user.

    A Simple Advantage
    This opens up a new way for accountants to work with their clients. Using cloud accounting, there is more time to engage with the client and focus on business strategy instead of getting burdened with detailed processes.

    Difference between Traditional Accounting and Cloud Computing?
    Traditional Accounting Software comes with initial infrastructure costs as well as maintenance costs of on-site software and hardware.

    Cloud computing, on the other hand, provides a software function without large upfront costs or licensing fees.

  3. Innovations in Tax Software

    An innovation is defined as the process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay. To be called an innovation, an idea must be replicable at an economical cost and must satisfy a specific need.

    Tax preparation software is an online, automated system for preparing individual and business income taxes. It’s used by both tax preparation businesses, like CPA’s(Certified Public Accountant), and individual taxpayers who prefer to do their own returns. It eliminates the need for the taxpayer to complete his or her return using actual forms.

    The tax software of today has helped improve accuracy while reducing margins of error – something businesses want to embrace in order to avoid tax penalties and prevent issues with stakeholders. Better tax software also helps streamline audits by making them more efficient and effective.

  4. Mobile Accounting

    Mobile accounting is the ability to access and process accounting information, which could be data, applications, etc. over devices that are not restricted by physical locations.

    Mobile accounting could mean different things to different people and businesses, so the first step in a successful rollout is defining what it means to you and your company. For example, consider who the users will be and what they will be using it for. Think about the different functions you’d want your mobile accounting and financial solution to cover.”

  5. Social Media

    Social media has become an essential tool for firms wanting to engage with current and potential clients while expanding their brand reach. Social media is a tool that will continue to evolve and provide accountants with a valuable sales and marketing platform that can instantly connect firms to current and future clients.

    Most accounting firms understand the importance of implementing traditional marketing into their overall business development plans, but many firms may not realize the power of integrating social media marketing into their long-term marketing strategies.

    Social media should be a part of a firm’s overall business development strategy, and if done consistently, will help amplify the effectiveness of all other marketing and business development efforts.

DMCC Launches Employee Protection Scheme

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Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), in collaboration with Dubai Insurance Company (DIC) have launched a new “Employee Protection Insurance (EPI) Programme” to provide more comprehensive benefits for all DMCC and member company employees. The said programme will offer increased protection for DMCC employees in the event their employers default on salaries, gratuity or repatriation cost.

Effective 19th May, 2020, Employee Insurance Scheme (EPI) programme will replace the bank guarantee requirements for every DMCC member’s employees during the submission of visa and permanent identity card related service request, with a certificate of insurance to be issued upon completion of the application.

To avail this benefit, as per DMCC notes:

  • All visa-related service requests saved as ‘Draft’ on the Member Portal will be cancelled on 19th May, 2020, therefore you will need to initiate a fresh service request
  • All visa-related service requests in progress on the Member Portal will go through the existing Bank Guarantee process
  • DMCC encourages you to renew your due employee visas to avail the benefits below:
    • The AED 3,000 bank guarantee will be refunded upon the renewal service request being approved and closed
    • The EPI for renewed employees will cover the following in case their employer defaults:
      • Unpaid salaries
      • Unpaid air ticket allowance
      • End of service payments.

Dubai South Announces Economic Stimulus Package

Dubai South Free Zone, DSFZA, Economic Stimulus Package

To lighten the effects of the current situation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the world due to the coronavirus, Dubai South Free Zone announced several economic stimulus incentives. The stimulus package is a part of the UAE Leadership’s vision to stimulate the economy and support different sectors of the business society so that Dubai will remain a sought-after business destination.

Dubai South joined other free zones and government departments in coming out with measures that will help individuals and companies during this challenging time and beyond. The stimulus package includes:

  • Flexible payment plans with easy instalment schemes
  • Waivers of penalties on late renewals and cancellation of contracts and licenses
  • 20% reduction on fees for license renewals [please confirm that this is what is meant by license fees renewals] for individuals and companies operating in Dubai South Free Zone
  • First year license fees for new customers in the aviation, logistics and E-commerce sectors and the Business Parks will be waived
  • Reduction of up to 25% on the renewal fees for Dubai South Business Centre customers renewing their contracts between now and October, 2020
  • Flexibility to settle annual rental fees in up to four instalments
  • Rental fees for individuals and companies looking to establish a new business will have a reduction of up to 25%
  • Opportunity to apply for a lease deferral request of up to six months for customers who operate in the Business Park Free Zone, which will be granted on a case-by-case basis.

The said incentive package complements the measures announced by the Government of Dubai and its ongoing efforts to reduce the cost of doing business in the Emirate and help the companies to maintain their resources and employees.

To know more about the Dubai South Free Zone stimulus package, please feel free to contact us at

E-commerce Business Setup in United Arab Emirates

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E-commerce means buying and selling of goods, products or services over the internet. E-commerce is also known as electronic commerce or internet commerce. These services are provided online over the internet. Transaction of money, funds and data are also considered to be E-commerce. While it is not new, this sector is growing rapidly across the world and creating new opportunities for businesses, particularly in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The current situation is further boosting the E-commerce sector in the UAE, as the behaviour of consumers is changing and social distancing is becoming the new norm, forcing businesses to transition to digital models in order to adapt. With the internet becoming an essential requirement of everyday life, many businesses are learning to take advantage of the numerous benefits of E-commerce, as it shifts from a luxury to a necessity.

Several Free Zones in the UAE offer E-commerce licenses with incredibly affordable options. However, there are several reasons aside from the cost to set up E-commerce operations in a UAE Free Zone. Some of them are:

  • Free Zones allow for 100% company ownership
  • Businesses can be started with relatively low capital investment
  • Free Zone businesses have no time barrier
  • No import duties on E-commerce license
  • 0% corporate and personal tax
  • Repatriation of capital and profits
  • Ease of opening bank accounts
  • Visa eligibility
  • Flexible office facility

E-commerce is a great way for businesses to interact with consumers internationally. It has become an important part of our society. It has also become more affordable for small businesses to use the world wide web to sell their products. E-commerce will continue to progress radically over the years as the number of internet users among businesses and consumers continues to grow.

E-commerce licenses can also be set-up with Dubai Economy- once you identify your requirements, you are good to go.

To know more about E-commerce license setup, please feel free to contact us at


Corporate Services Provider Dubai, HR Consultancy in Dubai. DMCC Regulations 2020

In line with the new rules and regulations set out on 2nd January 2020, DMCC has introduced guidelines to define the roles and responsibilities of DMCC member entities, who are required to comply with the following changes.

Officer Designation Applicable Rules
  • Appointment of Director is mandatory for all Companies except Branches entities.
  • There is no maximum limit to the number of Directors that a DMCC Company can appoint, but a minimum of one Director is required.
  • Appointment of Manager is mandatory for DMCC member entities
  • Appointment of Secretary is now mandatory for all DMCC Member Entities except Branches. Branches have the option of appointing a Secretary if they wish to do so
  • Only one Secretary is allowed per DMCC Member entity.
Legal Representative
  • Appointment of Legal Representative is no longer allowed for any DMCC member entity, but an Authorised Representative of the Company can be appointed with duly issued Power of Attorney.

DMCC Companies registered and licensed prior to the introduction of Company Regulations 2020, which has appointed a Legal Representative and has not appointed a Company Secretary will have a maximum of twenty-four months to comply with the new rules.

The registered Legal Representative will have to resign, and if the Company wishes, it can issue a Power of Attorney to the Legal Representatives in order to make him/her an Authorized Representative. A Company Secretary must be appointed in line with the new rules.

Branches established prior to the introduction of the new Company Regulations 2020, which have appointed a Director and Legal Representatives, will have to arrange for the removal of such Directors and Legal Representatives.

To know more about this, feel free to get in touch with one of our team members at or call us on +971 4 425 6616.

Economic Substance Regulations – Deadlines Announced so far

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The UAE Economic Substance Regulations (ES Regulations) require all UAE entities that fall within the scope of the regulations by carrying on a “relevant activity” as defined by the ES Regulations to comply with annual reporting obligations.

Due to the current pandemic and subsequent lockdown, several Free Zone Regulatory Authorities have extended the last date for making filings in compliance with the ES Regulations. The Free Zone Regulatory authorities that have extended the filing dates are as follows:

  • Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM): The 31st March 2020 notification deadline is no longer applicable and the new deadline is 30th June, 2020. Guidance on the filing process is available on the ADGM website.
  • Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA): The notification deadline of 3rd May 2020 was extended to 31st May, 2020. Guidance on the filing process has been shared with DAFZA licensees via email.
  • Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC): The 31st March 2020 notification deadline is no longer applicable and the new deadline is 12th June, 2020. Guidance on the filing process is available on the DIFC website.
  • Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC): The notification deadline is 30th June 2020. Guidance on the filing process is available on the DMCC website.
  • Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA): The notification deadline was 31st March 2020. Guidance on the filing process has been shared with DSOA licensees via email.
  • Ras Al Khaimah International Corporate Centre (RAKICC): The notification deadline is 30th June 2020. Guidance on the filing process has been shared with RAKICC licensees via email.
  • Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA): Entities that are governed by the Regulations will need to submit a notification by 30th June 2020, and where required prepare and submit to HFZA an economic substance declaration within 12 months from the end of their financial year (e.g. 31 December 2020 for entities with a financial year ending 31 December 2019.)
  • Sharjah International Airport Free Zone (SAIF): Entities incorporated under the jurisdiction of the SAIF ZONE Authority will need to submit a notification by 30 June 2020.
  • Ajman Free Zone (AJMAN FZ): All entities/licensees, including those who do not undertake relevant activity are required to file by 30th June, 2020.
  • Dubai World Trade Centre: Only entities/licensees that are carrying out relevant activity are required to file by 30th June, 2020.
  • Securities & Commodities Authority (SCA): Investment Management Firms, Management Company Firms regulated by SCA were emailed requesting submission of the notification form by 31st March, 2020.
  • Dubai Aviation City Corporation: All entities/licensees, including those who do not undertake relevant activity are required to file the notification by 7th June, 2020.
  • Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC): Only entities/licensees that are carrying out relevant activity are required to file by 6th June, 2020.
  • Ministry of Economy (DED): Only entities/licensees that are carrying out relevant activities are required to file by 30th June, 2020.
  • Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA): Entities carrying out relevant activities must file by the 30th of June, 2020.

In case you have any questions regarding your organisation’s reporting obligations or the deadline for your organisation, please contact us at