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Under VAT, we have come across the terms 'Place of establishment', 'Fixed establishment' and 'Place of residence' frequently. In various provisions, you will see these terms used individually or in combination with each other. Let us understand the difference between each of these terms.
The place of establishment is the place where a business is legally established in a country, or in which significant management decisions are taken and central management functions are conducted.
For example: Jehan Electronics LLC is incorporated in Dubai. The office in Dubai is their Head Office and the central management functions from this office. Hence, Jehan Electronics LLC's place of establishment is their Dubai office in UAE.
A fixed establishment is a fixed place of business, other than the Place of Establishment, in which the person conducts his business regularly or permanently and where sufficient human and technology resources exist, to enable the person to supply or acquire goods or services.
For example: Jehan Electronics LLC opens offices in Abu Dhabi in UAE and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. Both these offices are branch offices where electronic items are traded. Hence, Jehan Electronics LLC has fixed establishments in UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Hence, branches of an enterprise are called fixed establishments, where they conduct business regularly and keep sufficient human and technology resources to conduct business.
Place of residence is a term used to denote a place where a person has a place of establishment or fixed establishment. Hence, a business's place of residence includes its place of establishment as well as fixed establishments. For registration under VAT, the supplies made in the place of residence should be calculated to check whether it exceeds the mandatory registration threshold. To learn more about registration under VAT, you can refer our article VAT registration in UAE.
For example: From the above examples, it is clear that Jehan Electronics LLC has a place of residence in UAE (owing to its place of establishment in Dubai) as well as Saudi Arabia (owing to its fixed establishment in Riyadh).
Hence, though the terms 'Place of establishment', 'Fixed establishment' and 'Place of residence' are usually used interchangeably, these actually have different meanings. These are especially relevant at the time of taking registration under VAT.
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