Tax agents must hold certified Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in tax, accounting or law from “a recognized educational institution”.

The UAE’s Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has opened the registration process for anyone interested in working as tax agents or providing tax accounting software in the country, the FTA said in a press release.

Businesses eligible for VAT need to register before December 3 to avoid being liable for paying the tax themselves.

“Tax agents will be the mediators between the FTA and taxable persons in the UAE; they will be directly responsible for all of their obligations and rights,” Khalid Al Bustani, the FTA’s director general said.

“As a new profession in the local UAE labor market, the FTA’s conditions, qualifications and accreditation requirements for tax agents will set a benchmark for other businesses to follow while hiring for tax-related positions,” he added.

“These criteria will also work as a catalyst for the development of new job skills to meet the new employment opportunities that will result from implementing the tax system in the UAE.”

The FTA statement said tax agents must be of ethical conduct and holders of a certified Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in tax, accounting or law from “a recognized educational institution.”

Applicants to become a tax agent should also have at least three years’ recent experience in tax, accounting or law.

They also need to show a certificate proving their verbal and written skills in Arabic and English, along with a medical fitness certificate, according to the FTA press release.

The FTA said candidates must pass the authority’s tax agent exam to qualify as an agent.

The authority said other additional information could be requested, although it did not specify what type. Candidates could also be called in for separate interviews.

All applicants need to fill an official application form and the authority has said it will review applications and give a preliminary decision on them within 15 working days.

If further information is sought, the preliminary decision will be made within 15 days of receiving the extra information.

It said a final decision on whether to accept or reject an application will be made within 20 working days of the preliminary decision.

“If the authority finds a tax agent not qualified, or if his/her work adversely affects the integrity of the tax system, or if they commit any serious violation of the tax law, the agent’s permit will be revoked.

In this case, the authority notifies the said agent of the decision – as well as the reasons behind it – within five working days,” the authority said in the press release.

All six GCC countries agreed last year to introduce VAT, but only the UAE and Saudi Arabia have said they will implement the new tax starting from January.

“We at the GCC agreed that we all would implement the VAT,” Al Bustani said in a press conference last August.

“We are starting with Saudi Arabia, and the UAE in January and the rest could implement until the end of 2018,” he added.