The UAE's cabinet has made key changes to its penalty regime for tax violations, to help taxable businesses that are unable to pay retrospectively imposed late-payment penalties for voluntary disclosures.

The cabinet resolution also sought to encourage taxpayers to voluntarily correct previous tax declarations, as well as encouraging them to pay due taxes before the tax audit or assessment by the UAE Federal Tax Authority (FTA).

The time limit for notification of a tax return mistake is to be extended from ten to 40 working days. The FTA will then have 40 working days, starting from the date of receiving the application, to issue its decision to waive or reduce administrative penalties.

International law firm Baker McKenzie said in a briefing note: "The UAE Legislator have always taken into account the obstacles and complications that may delay the ability of any sectors covered by the legislations to achieve the desired results.

"It was also developed in line with the leadership keenness to create a supportive environment for businesses of different specialties, which requires the establishment of clear legislative and legal sequences in order to ensure the ability to deal effectively with the global and local economy's developments.

"The laws and regulations considered as a cornerstone to create a strong business sector that has a leading role in the region and the world, and a solid platform to meet the leadership aspirations of future foresight's requirements."

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