5 Ways to Make the Most Out of Tax Free Dubai

Dubai is famous for being a tax-free mecca. Tax-free income in Dubai is a dream especially compared to the high taxes faced in the Philippines. A job in Dubai may afford OFWs a higher standard of living, with salaries not levied by income tax; OFWs enjoy the maximum of their salaries with the palatial malls and luxury entertainment found in Dubai. While the fast and exciting lifestyle is what working in Dubai looks like on paper, a higher standard of living is synonymous with a higher cost of living in a city where gold and opulent skyscrapers are aplenty.  With most OFWs looking to return to the Philippines after their Dubai stint, it’s imperative to learn how to manage your salary, enjoy the tax-free Dubai and have enough to come home happy.

Invest for Passive Income

Those who head to Dubai for workabroad, whether an executive or in a rank and file position, believe that they won’t have any problems saving money. With a hefty salary increase, an immediate response would be to spend a little more in a new playground. However, most OFWs come home with no savings, or even debt due to over spending. What needs to be done is to turn the tax-free income one earns in Dubai into passive income. It’s possible for OFWs to invest in financial products in the Philippines. OFWs have the opportunity to invest in stocks, bonds, UITFs and mutual funds with local banks. One would just require a representative from the Philippines to handle the paper work. As banks in the Philippines are growing their online presence, it’s convenient for OFWs to manage their investments online in real time.

Real Estate for a Real Escape

Real Estate is one of the more stable investments one can make. One of the major problems OFWs and Dubai expatriates face is with a rise in income, comes the sudden need to improve their homes, move into a home with more rooms, or to a condo with a good view for a much higher price. Why pay for the “high” rents in Dubai if OFWs plan to move back to the Philippines? The reason I don’t know; however, it’s definite that more OFWs are sailing their remittances to the Philippines and investing in property. Owning a piece of land or home back in the Philippines will not only grant one an assurance of safety back home, but will be able to earn passive income through renting out the property. This provides a ticket back home. More than 10% of the Philippines’ GDP is attributed to OFW remittances and 70% of this comprises real estate investment.

Smart Shopping

Dubai is a shoppers’ paradise.  Most establishments are tax-free and one can purchase items for a percentage of the actual price from cutting-edge vehicles to the hottest consumer electronics. While the marketing strategy of malls is to lure shoppers with the idea that it’s the ideal to go back home with lofty shopping bags in hand, OFWs can still take advantage of tax-free shopping, but for the right items. Commodities that have long-lasting worth like gold (found everywhere in Dubai and best purchased at the Gold Souk), textiles and spices unique to the Middle East are advised buys. Consumer electronics and appliances are steals since these brands have a standard price worldwide, except these are tax-free in Dubai.

Shopping Steals: Dubai Shopping Festival

The Dubai Shopping Festival (DFS) is the biggest retail event in Dubai that draws millions to the sunny sand scape of Dubai City. Malls, online retailers and any type of retail establishment have massive affairs like cult fashion pop-up markets, hallways embedded with stalls of beauty products and mega-raffles where shoppers can win luxury cars. The best part of DFS is that not only is shopping already tax-free, but items are on a huge discount. While it’s great to save and purchase only important needs, shopping is also part of making the most of Dubai. DFS is primetime to fill those balikbayan boxes with gifts for your loved ones back home.

Live Thrifty

While Dubai is Tax-Free and shopping is inexpensive, leisure and past time activities can cost an arm and a leg. Camel racing, racecar driving and gambling, the usual past time activities of expats and wealthy tourists, may not be the best option if you’re planning on spending smart. A few cost-efficient ways to enjoy Dubai would be to go dune bashing (riding over sand dunes in breaking speed), heading to Al Phiya Fah Road for cheap Iranian and Lebanese Food (think of a gleaming roasted lamb leg, with a side of rice and tzatziki), or head to Al Fahidi Fort to learn about Dubai culture and check out classic artwork for just 3 dirham. If all else fails, head to one of the lavish malls and go window-shopping for free. 

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