UAE: Amendments to excise tax executive regulations

The UAE Cabinet of Ministers issued a Cabinet Decision amending provisions of excise tax executive regulations

Amendments to excise tax executive regulations

The UAE Cabinet of Ministers issued Cabinet Decision No. 108 of 2023 (6 November 2023), amending the following provisions of the excise tax executive regulations effective 1 December 2023 (with the exception of refund provisions which become effective 1 June 2024):

Legislative reference


Key highlights and comments

Article 1

Introduction of new definitions

  • Three new terms have been defined in line with the UAE value added tax (VAT) legislation—"official evidence," "commercial evidence," and "shipping certificate."

Article 5

Excise tax registration

  • Rejection of an excise tax registration application does not prevent entities from reapplying, nor does it mean that the entities can avoid compliance with excise tax provisions.

Article 6

Excise tax deregistration


  • The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) can now deregister a business after six months of ceasing relevant activities, unless intent to resume is proven.

Article 11

Stockpiling of excise goods

  • Failure to maintain audited records for stockpiled excise goods may lead to the FTA considering the entire stock as excess excise goods on which excise tax may become due in full.

Article 12

Natural shortages

  • Excise goods are no longer considered “released for consumption” when there is a natural shortage in the quantity of excise goods, subject to meeting certain conditions.
This specific amendment is especially relevant for manufacturers of excise goods located in designated zones. The most likely beneficiaries are those dealing with tobacco products as these producers often encountered difficulties related to issues such as shrinkage or moisture evaporation of their products during storage.

Article 14

Exemption for exports


  • Documents required to claim exemption from excise tax on export of goods have been clearly specified and refer to the newly included definitions of official and commercial evidence.
With the new definition of official evidence, it is possible to rely not only on UAE official documentation, but also documents certified by authorities in the countries of destination.

Article 15

Designated zones


  • The requirement around financial guarantee has been amended and now can be requested by the FTA not only at registration, but also at the time of amendment or renewal of the designated zone status.
  • Further, a designated zone which fails to meet the conditions and requirements may be treated as mainland UAE for excise tax purposes.

Article 16

Deductible excise tax


  • Taxable persons may now claim deduction of excise tax paid on goods exported outside the UAE using the same documents required for claiming exemption.
  • The authority may also specify alternative forms of evidence if the submitted documents are insufficient.

Article 22

Excise tax refunds

  • Unregistered businesses will also be eligible to request for refunds for excise tax paid on goods exported outside the UAE, subject to meeting certain conditions.  
  • This amendment is effective 1 June 2024.

Previously, only excise registered businesses were eligible for refunds, and therefore this is a welcome move, particularly for export traders (who are not producers or importers of excise goods and therefore are not eligible to register for excise tax).

Read a December 2023 report prepared by the KPMG member firm in the United Arab Emirates


The KPMG name and logo are trademarks used under license by the independent member firms of the KPMG global organization. KPMG International Limited is a private English company limited by guarantee and does not provide services to clients. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm. The information contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation. For more information, contact KPMG's Federal Tax Legislative and Regulatory Services Group at: + 1 202 533 3712, 1801 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006.