Reverse charge Supplies4 min read

What is Reverse Charge Mechanism?

The reverse charge mechanism is a provision in Value Added Tax (VAT) systems where the responsibility for reporting and paying the tax is shifted from the supplier to the recipient of the goods or services. Instead of the supplier charging and collecting VAT from the buyer, the recipient accounts for both the input tax (VAT on purchases) and output tax (VAT on sales) in their VAT return.

Key points regarding the reverse charge mechanism:

1. Nature of Transactions:

   – The reverse charge mechanism typically applies to specific types of transactions, often involving services or goods with certain characteristics.

2. Business-to-Business Transactions:

   – It is commonly applied to business-to-business (B2B) transactions, especially when the supplier and recipient are both registered for VAT.

3. Importance of Registration:

   – Both the supplier and recipient must be registered for VAT for the reverse charge mechanism to apply.

4. Reporting and Payment:

   – The recipient reports the VAT on both the input and output sides of the transaction in their VAT return. They pay the output tax on their sales and simultaneously reclaim the input tax on their purchases, resulting in a net payment or refund position.

5. Prevention of Tax Evasion:

   – The reverse charge mechanism is often implemented as a measure to prevent tax evasion, especially in cross-border transactions.

6. Common Scenarios:

   – Common scenarios where the reverse charge mechanism may be applied include services provided by non-resident suppliers to local businesses or certain goods and services specified by tax authorities.

7. Administrative Simplification:

   – The reverse charge mechanism can simplify the administrative process, as it reduces the need for non-resident suppliers to register for VAT in every jurisdiction where they provide taxable services.

8. Compliance Requirements:

   – Businesses must be aware of and comply with the specific rules and regulations related to the reverse charge mechanism in their respective jurisdictions.

It’s important to note that the application and details of the reverse charge mechanism can vary between countries, and businesses should refer to the specific VAT regulations in their jurisdiction for accurate and up-to-date information.

Reverse Charge supplies in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) applies the reverse charge mechanism in specific situations as outlined in the UAE VAT law. The reverse charge mechanism in the UAE is primarily applicable to designated zones and certain imported services.

Here are key points regarding reverse charge supplies in the UAE:

1. Designated Zones:

   – The reverse charge mechanism applies to supplies of goods and services within designated zones in the UAE. Designated zones are specific areas that meet criteria established by the UAE Cabinet.

2. Imported Services:

   – For certain imported services, the responsibility for reporting and paying VAT may shift to the recipient rather than the supplier. This applies when the services are supplied by a non-resident to a VAT-registered business in the UAE.

3. Conditions for Application:

   – The reverse charge mechanism is generally applicable when a taxable supply is made by a non-resident supplier to a VAT-registered recipient in the UAE.

4. Reporting and Payment:

   – In reverse charge scenarios, the recipient of the goods or services is required to account for both the input tax (VAT on purchases) and the output tax (VAT on sales) in their VAT return.

5. Designated Zones and Customs Territory:

   – Supplies between businesses within designated zones are considered to be outside the scope of VAT if certain conditions are met. However, if goods move from a designated zone to the customs territory, the reverse charge mechanism may apply.

6. Verification of Supplier’s VAT Registration:

   – To apply the reverse charge mechanism, the recipient must verify that the supplier is not established in the UAE or does not have a fixed establishment from which the supply is made.

7. Documentation Requirements:

   – Proper documentation, including invoices and relevant records, is crucial for compliance with the reverse charge mechanism. Invoices should clearly indicate the applicable VAT treatment.

It’s important to note that tax regulations are subject to updates and amendments. Businesses operating in the UAE should refer to the latest VAT regulations issued by the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) for the most accurate and current information on reverse charge supplies.

These are the various supplies for which Value Added Tax (VAT) is payable by the recipient of the supply, i.e the customer: 

  1. Import of goods/ services from other GCC and non-GCC countries. The supplier of these goods/ services must be located in another country and they may or may not have a business in the UAE
  2. Purchase of goods from a designated zone
  3. Supply of gold and diamonds
  4. Purchase of gold and diamonds for resale or further production/ manufacture
  5. Supply of hydrocarbons for resale by a registered supplier to a registered recipient in the UAE
  6. Supply of crude/ refined oil by a registered supplier to a registered recipient in the UAE
  7. Supply of processed/ unprocessed natural gas by a registered supplier to a registered recipient in the UAE
  8. Production and distribution of any form of energy supplied by  a registered recipient in the UAE