- Bank secrecy and protection of shareholders confidentiality in Dubai, UAE.

Bank secrecy and protection of shareholders confidentiality in Dubai, UAE.

On the background of common, to the present day, bank jurisdictions such as Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein, which have been long under considerable pressure from different countries and regulatory authorities, the UAE banking system is remarkably different for the better. The same principle is applicable to the confidentiality of information of the companies’ shareholders in the UAE.

Dubai and other Emirates of the UAE do not offer ”harmful tax practice” - the differences in the tax regime for “standard” i.e. ordinary resident companies which operate in the country, and companies with special tax regime, which make business only abroad. There are no corporate taxes on most types of business in the UAE, regardless of what kind of activity and where the company executes such activities – in the country or abroad. Due to this reason, the UAE is not exposed to pressure and accusations of creating a special tax regime for a particular type of companies working only overseas or which receive income solely from abroad.

Main characteristics of the UAE in terms of safekeeping the confidentiality of information:

  • Information about UAE companies’ owners is not public and cannot be disclosed.
  • The United Arab Emirates do not require any information about the shareholders of companies to be recorded in the central, publicly accessible, companies’ registry.
  • The United Arab Emirates do not require balance sheets to be published in the central, publicly accessible, companies’ registry.
  • The UAE do not require any information on beneficiary of non-resident company that the company in the UAE makes any payments or transfers to.
  • The United Arab Emirates do not support any unlawful avoidance of taxation of income from abroad, since taxes on most of the business activities in fact do not exist for most types of income –from inside the country and from abroad.
  • The United Arab Emirates maintain confidentiality policy and comply with compulsory international requirements and standards for conformity with requirements of anti-money laundering policies. This is the key reason why the UAE have never been in the international ”black list” of FATF.
  • The United Arab Emirates do not participate in agreements for automatic exchange of information between countries.


The evidence of the recognition of this jurisdiction by other countries, with the definite and absolutely legal absence of taxes on most of the activities in the UAE, is the availability of a wide network of double tax treaties, which is a unique combination itself.

Countries which have signed double tax treaties with the United Arab Emirates are:

Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Venezuela, Vietnam, Germany, Holland, Hong Kong, Georgia, Greece, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Italy, Spain, Yemen, Jordan, Canada, Cyprus, China, Colombia, Korea, Lebanon, Libya, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Morocco, Mauritius, Mongolia, Mozambique, New Zealand, Pakistan, Poland, Romania,  Seychelles, Singapore, Syria, Sudan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Finland, France, Czech Republic, Chile, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, South Korea and Japan.

According to the analysis done by Tax Justice Network and Financial Secrecy Index experts, the country was rated as one of the most reliable, in terms of confidentiality, countries in the world. In fact, the UAE is the Switzerland of the Persian Gulf with effective bank services and the high level of confidentiality.