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What is a Permanent Establishment in Corporate Tax?

In the heart of the Arabian Peninsula, the United Arab Emirates has emerged as a vibrant business destination, attracting enterprises from around the world. Its attractive tax regime, marked by low corporate taxes significantly appeal to international businesses. Amidst its mushrooming economic activities, one concept plays a pivotal role in corporate taxation: The Permanent Establishment (PE). In this blog, we will demystify permanent establishment under the UAE corporate tax law and talk about its significance.

What is a Permanent Establishment?

A permanent establishment (PE) determines the “taxable presence” of an entity in a particular country. A PE is created when a foreign entity establishes a fixed business location, like an office, within a given country. Understanding the concept of PE is imperative for all businesses due to its paramount significance in the realm of taxation. A PE renders the foreign entity liable to taxation on the income generated through that establishment in the host country. This is often in compliance with the country’s corporate tax laws and any relevant tax treaties that may exist between the home country of the foreign entity and the country in which the PE is located.

What Constitutes a Permanent Establishment in the UAE’s Corporate Tax Law?

Article 14 within the framework of Federal-Decree Law No. 47 of 2022, the corporate tax law, serves as an extensive guide on the subject of permanent establishment. The concept of PE is vital for determining when a non-resident entity becomes liable for taxation in the country. A PE can be established in the following scenarios:

a) Fixed or a Permanent Place of Business

When a non-resident entity maintains a fixed place in the UAE where it conducts its business or part of it.

A fixed or permanent place of business in the UAE includes several premises such as management offices, branches, and factories. Furthermore, it also includes workshops, real estate, and even installations related to natural resource exploration. If construction projects exceed a duration of six months, they may qualify as a PE.

b) Authority to Conduct Business

If an individual regularly conducts business activities on behalf of a non-resident entity in the UAE.

In the case of an individual acting on behalf of a non-resident entity in the UAE, they could be considered to have authority to conduct business if they regularly conclude contracts or negotiate contracts that don’t need substantial modification by the non-resident entity. However, this does not apply if the individual operates as an independent agent and isn’t almost exclusively representing the non-resident entity, or if they cannot be considered independent.

c) As Specified by the Cabinet

In other circumstances, the UAE Cabinet may define a PE based on the Minister’s recommendation.

d) Other Scenarios

It’s essential to note that if the same non-resident entity or its related party carries out a cohesive business operation at a place in the UAE that is not of a preparatory or auxiliary nature, it may qualify as a PE.

In specific instances, the mere presence of a natural person in the UAE does not create a PE for a non-resident entity, especially if it’s due to a temporary and exceptional situation. Additionally, if the activities of the natural person are not part of the core income-generating activities of the non-resident entity, and if the entity doesn’t generate income from the UAE, they may not establish a PE.

Understanding these rules is crucial for businesses and entities operating in the UAE to ensure compliance with corporate tax regulations.


The United Arab Emirates stands as a thriving inspiration for international business. Its tax-friendly environment, characterized by low corporate taxes, lures companies from across the globe. Amidst a vibrant economic landscape, the concept of a permanent establishment emerges as a cornerstone in corporate taxation. In this blog, we have unraveled the intricacies of what constitutes PE and highlighted its pivotal importance. Whether you are an established corporation or an entrepreneur, comprehending the notion of a PE is your compass to navigate the UAE’s tax framework effectively. Understanding these rules is paramount to ensuring compliance and making informed financial decisions.

Creative Zone Tax & Accounting

At Creative Zone Tax & Accounting, we understand the complexities of navigating international tax laws. We have well-versed experts who can guide you through the nuances of permanent establishment and corporate taxation in the UAE. Our dedicated team is here to provide comprehensive accounting, tax planning, and advisory services tailored to your unique needs. Let us help you make the right financial decisions while ensuring compliance and maximizing your business potential in the UAE. Contact us today to embark on a journey towards financial prosperity and peace of mind.