Tuesday 3 August 2010

A Tax Free Zone for Every Need?

Dubai, one of seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates, is an oasis in the desert – a place that has built startlingly luxurious skyscrapers and beach front properties over sand dunes, as well as man-made islands off its coast. To develop its international reputation and bolster its revenues from sources other than oil, Dubai has tried, in essence, to rebrand itself over the years as a foreign investor-friendly locale.

Though the IP legal system is relatively new and still undergoing development, there are beneficial tax options available to owners of already-established IP. Dubai has established tax free zones that include the Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Dubai Airport Free Zone. Within each zone, companies enjoy zero percent tax on income with no restrictions on foreign ownership.

However, Dubai has been deeply affected by the global economic downturn and it appears to be realigning its interests with its local neighbors. This week comes news that Dubai will shut down Blackberry email and messaging services starting in October because those services are impossible for the government to monitor, thanks to Blackberry manufacturer RIM’s security features. If such communication services are indispensable to you, client representation is probably best handled from afar. It is a shame, since my trip to Dubai two years ago highlighted a warm, welcoming locale with friendly people, beautiful and luxurious coastline developments, and enjoyable restaurants and bars.

On the other hand, if you are trying to get away from work and don’t mind losing Blackberry service, The Guardian has this advice for a trip to Dubai.

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