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TME Services

UAE: Professional Development for Natural Person Tax Agents6 min read

Author: Omar Sami
Managing Partner Attorney at German Law Legal- & Tax Consultant

As we enter the new year, the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has implemented noteworthy changes that will affect the way natural person tax agents approach their professional development. Federal Tax Authority Decision No. 15 of 2023 provides comprehensive guidelines, particularly emphasizing the continuous growth and enhancement of skills within the tax industry.

The Decision distinguishes between Structured Continuous Professional Development (SCPD) and Unstructured Continuous Professional Development (UCPD), emphasizing a commitment to lifelong learning.

Structured Continuous Professional Development (SCPD)

SCPD refers to formalized learning activities that can be measured and verified by the Federal Tax Authority. This includes interactions with peers, participation in programs, and assessments. For natural person tax agents, the Decision mandates a minimum of 20 hours of SCPD annually related to technical tax programs if listed for corporate tax or indirect taxes.

Unstructured Continuous Professional Development (UCPD)

On the other hand, UCPD encompasses more individualized learning methods, such as reading and research, without direct interaction with others. This self-directed approach to learning is also recognized, encouraging tax agents to explore diverse avenues for their professional growth.

Meeting the Requirements

For those listed in the Authority’s Register for corporate or indirect taxes, there is a mandatory annual requirement of 20 hours of SCPD. If a tax agent is listed for both corporate tax and indirect taxes, this requirement increases to 30 hours annually, with a specified distribution of hours between the two areas.

It’s crucial to note that failing to meet the specified SCPD hours in a given year requires tax agents to complete the deficit in the following year. Therefore, a proactive approach to meeting these requirements is recommended to ensure compliance.

Guidance and Record-Keeping

The Federal Tax Authority will provide guidance to natural person tax agents regarding the types of programs considered SCPD and UCPD. Additionally, a list of accredited courses falling under SCPD and recognized course providers will be made available.

Tax agents are required to maintain accurate records of their SCPD and UCPD hours using a form provided by the Authority. These records should include evidence of attended SCPD and undertaken UCPD activities and must be ready for submission to the Authority upon request.

How TME Services Can Support

As we move forward into 2024, these changes underscore the commitment to professionalism and continuous improvement within the tax industry. The Decision ensures that tax agents stay abreast of the latest developments, contributing to the overall growth and advancement of the profession.

TME Services is a team of 45 professionals in legal-, tax-, accounting and compliance with over 18 years of experience. We advised a significant number of SMEs in the context of the implementation of the tax framework in the UAE and KSA over the last decade to make sure that our clients are well-oriented in the new and fast-evolving tax landscape and to reduce the legal liability of managers which may arise in connection with non-compliance.


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