Effective from April 15, the program allows FTA to receive reports from individuals on tax evasion cases, tax-related fraud, and violations of tax legislation. It also enables the authority to verify the reports and grant monetary rewards to informants when certain conditions are met.

In a statement, the authority explained the whistleblower program aims to enhance transparency and competitiveness in the field of doing business, raise tax compliance rates, and boost tax awareness and society’s confidence in the tax system. It also motivates individuals to carry out their social responsibilities and contribute to combating tax violations.

The program grants the informants with monetary rewards if the report leads the authority to collect tax amounts worth more than Dhs50,000.

Reporting information can be done through FTA’s website, which also has a comprehensive guide on the program, how to report, the criteria and mechanism for obtaining monetary rewards for reporting, and other introductory, legal, and procedural matters related to the program.

According to FTA, the mechanism for reporting tax violations complies with the highest confidentiality standards and ensures that the identity of the informants is not disclosed to any party, and provides them with full protection and immunity to ensure that they are not exposed to any harmful consequences for carrying out their social responsibilities by reporting illegal practices.

Khalid Ali Al Bustani, director-general of FTA, said, “By implementing the whistleblower program for tax violations and evasion, the authority strives to provide an opportunity for all segments of the community to contribute to regulatory efforts, help protect markets and public funds from tax evasion, drive compliance among all taxpayers, and prevent illegal practices.”

Al Bustani added. “The program contributes to strengthening the concept of community partnership to reduce harmful practices in local markets and help protect the UAE’s financial resources. Tax evasion is one of the most significant challenges which the tax systems around the world face, considering that it is an illicit practice that is harmful to the economic systems, and curbing such practices requires joint efforts from the government and society.”

The authority explained that under the program, FTA may use the information provided by the informant to detect violations and tax evasion, determine the procedures for approving monetary rewards and the powers to grant such rewards, and determine the procedures and conditions that must be followed.

The authority may also set the requirements that must be fulfilled in relation to any information provided by the informant; including requirements for proof, verification, and documentation, along with other conditions and requirements necessary for the administration or implementation of the whistleblower program.

In other developments, Dubai Financial Services Authority recently launched its regulatory regime for ‘whistleblowing’. It’s the first of its kind to be introduced by a financial service regulator in the UAE and applies to all DFSA regulated entities operating in or from the Dubai International Financial Centre.

Source: UAE’s FTA launches whistleblower programme for tax violations (gulfbusiness.com)