UAE MINISTRY OF FINANCE AND FEDERAL TAX AUTHORITY
For the first time, the UAE was introducing the Value Added Tax (VAT) system. Everything about VAT was new to the public – and to the business community. There were concerns and apprehension, and the Ministry of Finance and the Federal Tax Authority was aware that only clear, structured and transparent communications alone could help introduce VAT and ensure its seamless adoption.
Demystify, deconstruct, discuss: That was our strategy to support the Ministry of Finance and the Federal Tax Authority when introducing VAT in the UAE.
The first step of demystifying VAT was to educate the public and the business community by underpinning its long-term value. A concerted media outreach campaign was rolled out with a focus on educating the audiences.
It was equally important to deconstruct the VAT process which meant engaging with the business community directly through workshops. The stakeholder outreach was clearly phased reaching out to business entities, the media and the public by promoting active discussions.
The media was encouraged to engage the community through ‘Ask the Editor’ campaigns on VAT and its implications. And above all, the core message was established – that at 5 per cent, the VAT introduced by the UAE is the lowest in the world.
Informational posters and audio-visual collaterals were prepared by the Agency, and a sustained Journalist Relationship Management programme implemented.
The VAT system was introduced seamlessly and has been adopted smoothly. The positive interaction with the media helped allay undue concerns about VAT.