#Dubai tops the Middle East & ranks 5th globally ahead of Madrid, Amsterdam, Sydney & Tokyo in CEOWORLD magazine’s survey of the Best Cities to Live in the World for Expats 2020.
Dubai ranked as best city for expats in Middle East
Dubai has also ranked fifth globally higher on the list than cities such as Sydney, Amsterdam and Tokyo.
Dubai has been ranked first in the Middle East and fifth globally among the best cities for expats to live and work in 2020.
According to a CEOWORLD Magazine, Dubai has ranked higher on the list than cities such as Sydney, Amsterdam and Tokyo.
The cities were ranked based on local friendliness, cost of living, quality of healthcare, safety, ability to raise a family, and career opportunities.
The magazine asked 127,000 expats from 186 cities to rank the best cities in the world to live and work in 2020.
The survey, conducted by CEOWORLD magazine on Oct 10, 2019, to Jan 2, 2020, was open to all expats over 18 who are currently living away from their home countries.
Dubai introduces instant bank account for new entrepreneurs
Dubai Economy has established a blockchain consortium in partnership with six UAE banks, whereby freelancers and entrepreneurs in Dubai will soon be able open bank account instantly.
“KYC (Know Your Customer) Blockchain Consortium” consists of Emirates NBD, Emirates Islamic, HSBC, Rakbank, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Commercial Bank of Dubai.
Through the first KYC blockchain platform to be introduced in the UAE, authenticated and validated KYC data of companies will simultaneously be shared with financial institutions of their preference. This will expedite the opening of a bank account for newly registered companies and reduce the burdensome and costly requirements of managing KYC data for already registered companies. This is in stark contrast to the status quo, whereby multiple paper-based KYC files are redundantly originated and managed in silos.
Opening a bank account has been a major hassle for new entrepreneurs, freelancers and small businesses due to tough requirements from the banks and this platform will make life much more easier for them.
“The platform will offer a digital ‘Instant Bank Account’ functionality, allowing for faster and less cumbersome onboarding journey with banks and significantly improving the experience of new investors looking to establish themselves in the UAE. This in turn will boost customer satisfaction as well as ease of doing business in the UAE as a whole,” said Ali Ibrahim, deputy director-general of Dubai Economy.
He said this initiative will eventually become a nationwide ecosystem and invited other financial institutions and licensing authorities to join this initiative. The KYC platform will be launched in the first quarter of 2020 at which point it will open for additional qualified financial institutions and licensing authorities to join. Smart Dubai in collaboration with the UAE Central Bank will play a pivotal role in overseeing and regulating the Consortium operations.
Wesam Lootah, CEO of the Smart Dubai Government Establishment, said blockchain has tremendous potential to streamline services and operations, saving time, money, and resources for everyone involved – individuals, companies, or governments.
The consortium has partnered with global blockchain KYC firm norbloc as the technology provider to enable the ecosystem through its Fides KYC Platform while Dubai Pulse is the government-certified blockchain platform enabler.
Saoud Al Jassem, head of government banking at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, said, the Blockchain KYC Production Platform will allow corporate clients to experience seamless registration and account opening and enhanced KYC capabilities. “Additionally, it will ensure the UAE, in line with the Vision 2021, is a world leader in terms of the ease of doing business in the country. ADCB looks forward to working with the DED, norbloc and the consortium members to expand the Blockchain KYC Production Platform across the UAE.”
Geoff Stecyk, COO of RakBank, said they are thrilled to be a part of the nationwide initiative created by Dubai Economy called ‘Instant Bank Account’ that aims to digitize the onboarding process, making it more seamless, secure and frictionless.
“The concept of a Blockchain-based KYC platform will optimize costs by enabling financial and banking institutions to deviate from the outdated process of identification verification and take full advantage of today’s blockchain technology that has the potential to be faster, easier, safer and more efficient than the traditional verification processes,” he said.
VAT: Mind your boundaries
It is a fundamental principle of value-added tax (VAT) that it can be charged only on goods or services sold within the defined boundaries of a country – which in technical terms is referred to as ‘VAT jurisdiction’ or ‘territorial scope’. If goods or services are sold outside such boundaries, it would not attract VAT.
Every country which has introduced VAT, specifically defines its boundaries, either in the VAT Law or any other ancillary Law. The UAE’s VAT Law does not define ‘the UAE’. However, the Constitution of the UAE provides that the union shall exercise sovereignty over all territory and territorial waters lying within the international boundaries of the member Emirates. Further, it is understood that the sovereignty of the UAE extends beyond its land territory and internal waters, to its territorial sea, the airspace over the territorial sea as well as its bed and subsoil.
Thus, if goods or services are sold outside the defined boundaries of the UAE, be it soil, airspace or sea, it would be treated as outside the scope of UAE VAT and then tax would not apply. In the following cases, the VAT Law provides that the services shall be provided where they are performed or physically carried out.
. Services related to goods, such as the installation of goods supplied by others;
. Restaurant, hotel, and food and drink catering services;
. Any cultural, artistic, sporting, educational or similar services.
Additionally, for the supply of services related to real estate, the supply shall be made where the real estate is located.
Thus, any supply of service which is performed outside the boundaries or territorial limits of UAE or where the real estate is located outside the UAE, such services may be considered as outside the scope of UAE VAT Law and would not attract VAT. The following examples would be relevant.
. Catering services provided on rigs located beyond the territorial sea limits of UAE would not attract VAT since the services are performed outside the boundaries of the UAE.
. Instructor lead trainings provided outside the UAE to employees of a UAE-based company should be outside the scope of UAE VAT Law.
. For goods sold by one person to another in the UAE where the goods never physically come within the boundaries of the UAE; such transactions would not attract VAT.
. Oil exploration services provided beyond the continental shelf or boundaries of the UAE would be outside the scope of the UAE VAT Law since they are performed outside the boundaries of the UAE. This would be irrespective of where the supplier and customer are located.
. Repairs and maintenance services provided for ships or oil rigs located outside boundaries of the UAE may not attract VAT.
. Insurance of a property located outside the UAE, which is owned by a UAE resident may be outside the scope of UAE VAT Law. Again, this is irrespective of whether the insurance company or property owner are in the UAE.
Under the UAE VAT Law, a person who supplies goods or services which attract five per cent VAT, is eligible to claim back the VAT paid on goods and services purchased by such person. Further, the law provides that a person who supplies goods or services which are exempted from VAT is not allowed to claim back the VAT incurred on his expenses.
The law also provides that a person can claim back VAT paid on goods and services used for making supplies made outside the boundaries of the UAE which otherwise would have attracted five per cent VAT had they been made within the defined boundaries of the UAE.
In all the above cases, the supplier of the service would be eligible to claim back VAT paid on expenses incurred for rendering the out of scope supplies. This is in light of the fact that such services would have been taxable had they been performed within the boundaries of the UAE.
It may be noted that the above are few illustrations and there could be other supplies made outside the boundaries of UAE VAT Law. It is observed that some taxpayers have not considered the territorial scope of the UAE and have incorrectly charged five per cent VAT even though the supply is outside the scope of UAE VAT Law. Thus, the territorial scope and the place of supply needs to be carefully determined, i.e. whether the supplies are made within the boundaries of the UAE and hence would attract VAT. In the event of ambiguity, it would be ideal to approach the Federal Tax Authority to seek clarity on the territorial scope of UAE VAT Law.
Practice diligence while shopping online
During this time of year, cybercriminals and scammers like to get into the celebration spirit by increasing the quantity and sophistication of their scams to exploit victims for their own financial gains.
Cybercriminals and scammers often take advantage of the giving nature of people, especially during holidays and festivals. They leverage social engineering and other techniques to prey on their victim’s emotions and feelings of goodwill during the season to attempt to steal money and personal information. They also attempt to hide their attacks in the flurry of shopping and other activities hoping that their actions will go unnoticed.
Here are a few of the common scams to be on the lookout for.
Look-alike websites: As you do your online shopping, be sure the sites that you visit are legitimate. Watch out for URLs that use names of well-known brands along with extra words and characters. Look for “https” and a lock symbol in the web address to indicate that a site is using security. Look for misspelled words, requests for your personal information, and prices that seem especially low – especially for popular yet hard to find items. Chances are, those deals probably are too good to be true.
Fake shipping notifications: If you receive an e-mail notification that “your package has shipped,” and you suspect that the notification is fake (i.e. you aren’t expecting a package), exercise extra caution. Be suspicious of invoices for things you didn’t order, especially if the price seems especially high. Certainly don’t click on the e-mail on any attachments or embedded links because they could download malware onto your computer in an attempt to steal your personal information.
E-cards: We all enjoy greeting cards, even e-cards. But if you do receive one, beware of two red flags – the sender’s name is not clearly visible, or you are required to share personal information to get the card. Chances are, it’s a scam.
Emergency scams: If you get a call or e-mail claiming a family member or friend has been arrested, has been in an accident, or was hospitalized while traveling, never send money unless you can confirm the incident. Contact them or others that know them directly, and use traditional methods for sharing funds directly with the individual.
Phony charities: People are usually in the giving spirit during the festivals, and scammers take advantage of that with fake charity e-mails, social media pages, and even text messages. Make sure to verify that the charity is legitimate before contributing to it, and that any links provided are legitimate. Often, the best option is to go directly to the charity’s website to make a donation rather than using any links embedded in an e-mail or website.
Unusual forms of payment: Be wary of anyone asking you to pay for purchases using prepaid debit cards, wire transfers, third parties, etc. These payments often cannot be traced or undone if they are fraudulent transactions. Instead, shop with legitimate retailers that take traditional forms of payment and that provide things like receipts and a reasonable return policy.
Free gift cards: Pop-up ads or e-mails offering free gift cards may be legit – or, more likely, they are a phishing attempt to get your personal information it can later be sold on the dark web or used for identity theft. Again, if an opportunity sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Do your due diligence by contacting the organizations or merchants supposedly offering them.
Swiping Safely: Since most credit card companies offer fraud protection on fraudulent transactions, and financial protection if your card is lost, stolen, or misused, consider using your credit card instead of your debit card when making purchases – or even when making any larger purchase. When you need to get cash, it is best to find a bank and use the ATM located inside the building. If that is not an option, carefully inspect the ATM for card skimming devices or anything that looks out of the ordinary before inserting your card into the slot. ATMs are designed for thousands of transactions, so anything that can be wiggled, is the wrong size or color, or otherwise doesn’t seem to fit should be a warning sign.
Finally, if you see something, say something. Report suspicious activities to the merchants, banks, charities, and other organizations being misrepresented, as well as to the cybercrime division of your local law enforcement center.
Nothing can spoil the joy of shopping online more than being a victim of a cyber scam or other malicious activities. If you take the time to follow the guidelines posted above, you are likely to have a good online shopping experience you have been anticipating.