Zoho launches VAT-compliant software in Oman

date: 20201217

Organized By: Muscat Daily

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Muscat- December 17, 2020:

Zoho, a global information technology company that offers over 45 business applications including CRM, business email and help desk, has launched its VAT-compliant accounting software, Zoho Books in the region.

As businesses in the sultanate prepare for the implementation of VAT, Zoho Books helps their seamless transition to the new tax law and ensure VAT compliance.

Having helped tens of thousands of businesses in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain easily transition to VAT with country-specific editions, Zoho Books is now offering its expertise to businesses in Oman to help with their accounting and VAT filing needs. The software has also been accredited by the Federal Tax Authority in the UAE and General Authority of Zakat and Tax in Saudi Arabia.

Hyther Nizam, president – MEA, Zoho Corp, said, “With the experience that we gained from bringing out tax-specific editions in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, we’ve built Zoho Books to provide a complete accounting solution for Omani business owners. Zoho Books, with its in-built features can help businesses create VAT-compliant transactions, record and file VAT returns with ease. It is also a great opportunity for businesses to transform their current business processes and adopt digitalization and automation of business finances.”

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Income tax to be introduced in Oman: Ministry

date: 20201104

Organized By: Khaleej Times

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Dubai- November 4, 2020:

Oman is said to be weighing up plans to introduce income tax on high earners in 2022 as part of the finance ministry’s 2020-2024 economic scheme, as the Gulf state seeks to restore finances battered by low oil prices.

The plan aims to bring Oman’s fiscal deficit down to 1.7 per cent of gross domestic product by 2024, from a preliminary deficit of 15.8 per cent this year.It also has a target of increasing non-oil revenues to 35 per cent of total government revenue by 2024, from 28 per cent this year.

“The government recognizes the need to strengthen the Sultanate’s revenue-raising framework by decreasing its reliance on hydrocarbon revenues,” it said in its bond prospectus.

“The initiative is under study and all aspects of its application are being considered. It is expected to apply the tax in 2022,” the 2020-2024 medium term economic balance document said.

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Tax payment through the new version of the eDirham card

date: 20201019

Organized By: Federal Tax Authority

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Abu Dhabi- October 19, 2020:

The new generation of the eDirham cards have been included as one of the official payment channels provided by the authority. Tax payments can be processed via the new eDirham cards as of Sunday 1st November, 2020, as payments will not be accepted through the existing eDirham cards with effect from the same date.

In order to ensure a smooth transition to the new generation of the eDirham, the authority calls on VAT registrants to prepare to make the switch to the new version. This comes to replace the old version of the eDirham, which will be suspended and will not be available to use for the Authority’s transactions as from the beginning of November 2020.

The FTA stresses that the new version of the eDirham will provide users with a more diverse set of options that are both easier to use and adhere to the highest standards of safety and excellence.

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Oman to implement 5% VAT in six months

date: 20201013

Organized By: The National

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Oman- October 13, 2020: Oman has issued a decree to start levying a 5 per cent value-added tax (VAT) in six months’ time to offset a slump in oil prices and an economic downturn exacerbated by coronavirus.

The tax will be on most goods and services, though with some exceptions. Essential food items, medical care, education and financial services will be exempt from the planned levy, according to a royal decree detailing the tax.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain have already introduced the tax, with Riyadh tripling it this year. Oman, Kuwait and Qatar have not yet introduced the tax.

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Oman removed from the EU Blacklist

date: 20201006

Organized By: KPMG

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Oman- October 6, 2020: Oman was eliminated from the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes (the “EU Blacklist”). Oman was previously included on the EU Blacklist on 12 March 2019 for not making sufficient progress in implementing information exchange protocols.

Oman has been removed from the EU blacklist as per the Council of the EU press release dated 6th October 2020. Oman is, therefore, no longer regarded as a non-cooperative tax jurisdiction by the EU Council.

This development comes after recent steps taken by Oman to improve its tax framework and implement exchange of information protocols.

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Oman’s ruler expected to approve VAT to boost economy

date: 20200903

Organized By: Bloomberg

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03 Sept, 2020– Oman’s legislature is proposing to implement a value-added tax after January 2022 as falling oil revenue pressures its finances, following similar moves by Gulf Arab neighbours.

A joint committee of the State Council and Shura Council suggested the time frame and sent a draft law for approval to Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq Al Said. He took power in January vowing to take steps to bolster the near $80 billion economy that his predecessor had sidestepped.

Oman would become the fourth of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s six states to collect VAT, a move agreed by the bloc years ago. The UAE imposed a 5 per cent VAT in 2018 on most goods and services.

IMF urges Oman to introduce VAT as soon as possible

date: 20190712

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The International Monetary Fund has urged Oman to introduce VAT as soon as possible as the sultanate’s economic recovery from the 2014 oil price shock remains subdued.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia were the first countries in the GCC to introduce a 5 percent VAT on January 1 2018 while Bahrain made the move a year later but Oman, Kuwait and Qatar have not yet implemented the tax.

While welcoming the Oman’s plans to continue with fiscal consolidation, IMF directors called for an expeditious introduction of VAT and measures to adjust government spending.
They also encouraged Omani authorities to implement an ambitious medium-term fiscal adjustment plan, based on reforms to tackle current spending rigidities, streamline public investment, and raise non-hydrocarbon revenue.

The recommendations were made by the executive board of the IMF following the conclusion of a Article IV consultation with Oman.

The IMF said since the 2014 oil price shock, Oman’s policy efforts have aimed at strengthening the fiscal position, enhancing private sector-led growth and employment, and encouraging diversification.

It added that economic activity started to recover last year, and the overall fiscal and current account deficits improved somewhat, reflecting mainly higher oil prices.

Top 5 positive changes in GCC, thanks to VAT

date: 20190609

Organized By: Vikas Panchal

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Following the signing of the Common VAT Agreement by GCC member states, value-added tax (VAT) has become an important step towards ensuring the region’s socio-economic resilience. The new tax regime is a proactive policy meant to diversify the GCC economy, bringing fundamental positive changes to the region. Below are some of these transformative effects felt just more than a year after the system’s implementation.

Increased transparency and accountability

VAT is simpler to implement compared to other indirect taxes. It is also more transparent because the system entails that it be levied at each stage of the supply chain. Indeed, higher transparency and accountability levels are among the benefits of introducing VAT to the regional market.

Companies required to register for VAT purposes contributes to the transparency level by enabling concerned government authorities to track businesses and monitor effectively their compliance. This provision also leads to the creation of a reliable and updated database, thereby aiding the governments in their respective economic performance assessments.

Businesses are critical to collecting VAT from consumers. While before they have limited reporting requirements, companies are now required to maintain all necessary records such as tax invoices and make timely report to the government. To comply with their duties under the VAT tax regime, it is imperative, therefore, that they make sure that their relevant processes and transactions are compliant with the provisions of the law.

Saudi imposes tax on e-cigarettes and sugary drinks

date: 20190520

Organized By: Reuters

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Saudi Arabia has imposed a special tax on electronic cigarettes and sugary drinks, extending similar taxes introduced in 2017 as it seeks to reduce a budget deficit caused by low oil prices.

The General Authority of Zakat and Tax said a 100 per cent tax would be levied on electronic cigarettes and products used in them, and a 50 per cent tax on sugared drinks.

Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s largest economy, already had a 100 per cent tax on cigarettes and tobacco products, a 100 per cent tax on energy drinks and a 50 per cent one on fizzy drinks.

The authority took the decision on May 15 and it became effective from Saturday after publication in the official gazette.

The taxes fall under the category of selective taxes on products deemed harmful to public health.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, introduced a 5 per cent value-added tax (VAT) in January 2018 to improve non-oil revenue generation after a plunge in oil prices from mid-2014 bruised its revenues.

The IMF last week said the VAT introduction had been successful, but that the Saudi government should consider raising the rate, which is low by global standards.

IMF urges Saudi Arabia to mull VAT rate increase

date: 20190515

Organized By: Sam Bridge

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Economic reforms in Saudi Arabia have started to yield positive results, with non-oil growth picking up and female labour force participation and employment increasing, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF hailed the successful introduction of value-added tax, saying it has underpinned an increase in non-oil fiscal revenues.

It added that consideration should be given to raising the rate from 5 percent, which is low by global standards, in consultation with other GCC countries.

IMF suggests hiking VAT; commends Saudi reforms

date: 20190516

Organized By: waheedabbas

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The International Monetary Fund has recommended that the 5 per cent value-added tax (VAT) levied in Saudi Arabia and the UAE as part of a GCC-wide framework should be raised, saying it is low by global standards.

The IMF suggested in a country note on the kingdom released late on Wednesday that the decision should be taken following consultations with GCC countries.

“The introduction of VAT has been very successful, and consideration should be given to raising the rate from 5 per cent, which is low by global standards, in consultation with other GCC countries,” it said in the note.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia levied 5 per cent VAT on a host of goods and services from January 1, 2018, in order to bolster the revenues of the Gulf governments as part of diversification initiatives. Other Gulf countries will levy VAT at a later stage. Currently, it is one of the lowest in the world.

MCA is now a FTA approved Tax Agent

date: 20190327

MCA Management Consultants has qualified to represent clients to FTA in matters relating to VAT after earning the approval as a FTA accredited Tax Agent.

MCA has met the stringent conditions specified by the Federal Tax Authorities to attain this approval. The conditions safeguard the interest of registered VAT entities and ensure that VAT computation, filing and audit is as per the guidelines contained in the various statutes of the VAT law in UAE.

Could blockchain transform the GCC's VAT system?

date: 20190320

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With the introduction of VAT in the Middle East (UAE, Saudi in 2018 and Bahrain in 2019), the governments had a clean sheet to work with.

From e-registration to manual e-filing, they’ve introduced a lot of technology in a very short amount of time. Companies also had to adapt very quickly and both parties are just beginning their journey of tax and revenue automation.

While the GCC VAT system has just been born, other parts of the world have already traveled a long way in this automation path and there is no doubt these developments will come sooner rather than later in the region.

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How to claim VAT refund for Tourist?

date: 20190314

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Tourist leaving the country can claim the VAT refund within 90 days from the date of purchase.

You will receive 85% of the tax paid, minus a fee of 5 AED per Tax Free tag validated. Tax Free tags are stuck to every invoice that you obtain.

There are two counters for claiming the refund. One in the checkin area and the other past immigration. The check-in area counter can process refunds of bills upto 8000 AED and can refund to your credit card directly. If you need cash, you can process the claim at this counter, but to obtain the refund in cash you must go past immigration and collect in US Dollars from Travelex counter.

To claim for bills of value over 8000 AED you are expected to carry and show the item at the counter after immigration in the terminal. They will follow the similar method of directly crediting your card or collect cash from Travelex.

You will not get the full VAT refunded as you are supposed to get only 85% refund, plus pay 5 AED for the tag placed on your bill and the exchange fee to convert to US dollars.

Planet is the official agent for processing refunds and has counters in the check in area, and inside the airport.

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Finance Ministry committed to ensuring transparency, consumer protection in VAT implementation

date: 20181222

Organized By: National Bureau of Taxation

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The Assistant Undersecretary for Development and Policy of Public Revenues at the Ministry of Finance and National Economy (MoFNE), Rana Ebrahim Faqihi, affirmed the Ministry’s commitment to increasing consumers and businesses’ awareness about the VAT procedures and legal framework, in line with the VAT Law and its Executive Regulations, underscoring the Ministry’s commitment to strengthening consumer protection and transparency.

Faqihi added that the Ministry of Finance and National Economy and the National Bureau for Taxation have dedicated resources towards raising VAT procedural and legal framework awareness, including an extensive series of workshops for business owners and companies that will be subject to the VAT, in addition to directly communicating with businesses to ensure effective and seamless implementation of VAT on January 1, 2019.

The Assistant Undersecretary noted that all registered businesses are required to display their VAT registration certificate, which includes the business’s Commercial Registration number and the VAT registration date, in a prominent place that is clearly visible to consumers prior to levying the 5% VAT, to avoid violations.

The Assistant Undersecretary stressed that all registered businesses are also legally required to display the final prices of all goods and services – inclusive of tax before any sale.

The Assistant Undersecretary went on noting that it is a violation to mislead consumers.

The Assistant Undersecretary concluded by highlighting NBT’s efforts towards establishing multiple communication channels including the hotline 80008001, establishing the email, as well as detailing VAT information uploaded on NBT’s recently launched website

Royal directives to review VAT application mechanisms during trial period hailed

date: 20181225

Organized By: National Bureau of Taxation

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Finance and National Economy Minister Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa hailed the Royal directives of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to review the VAT mechanisms during the trial application period and observe the citizens needs through the exemption of basic commodities and services.

The Ministry of Finance and National Economy as well as the governmental entities concerned with the application of VAT will implement the Royal directives by ensuring the soundness of application procedures from day one of the trial period while taking into consideration the importance of market stability and the steady and smooth supplies of commodities and services to the citizens and residents to ensure the continuity of development and growth of the sectors whilst ensuring the citizens’ needs, he said.

This came during the meeting held at the Ministry of Finance and National Economy premises in the presence of Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed bin Rashid Alzayani and Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI)’s deputy chairman Khalid Najibi.

Shaikh Salman stressed the importance of continuous communication, consultation and discussion with the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry regarding the VAT mechanisms. He cited the ongoing cooperation and discussion of viewpoints to reach the results that would serve the aspirations in the interest of the homeland and the citizen foremost.

Event in Bahrain on VAT implementation regulations and VAT challenges

date: 20181221

Organized By: Bahrain Chapter-The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India

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Bahrain Chapter-The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India in association with MCA Pyramid Consulting hosted a successful event on VAT implementation regulations and VAT challenges. A session on Supply chain Digitization was also conducted. Excom members with speakers Mr Girish Chand, Mr Ashish Chakravarti. Thank you to the speakers, MCA Pyramid consulting and, CA Lakshmanan R

Vat event in Bahrain by MCA Pyramid and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India

Federal Tax Authority: Profit Margin Scheme applies only to used cars already subjected to VAT

date: 20181203

Organized By: WAM/Rasha Abubaker/Esraa Ismail

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The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has announced that only those goods which have previously been subject to VAT before the supply in question may be subject to the Profit Margin Scheme. As a result, stock on hand of used goods which were acquired prior to the effective date of Federal Decree-Law No. (8) on Value Added Tax (VAT law), or which have not previously been subject to VAT for other reasons, are not eligible to be sold under the profit margin scheme. VAT is therefore due on the full selling price of such goods.

The Authority had clarified the above to address questions from the audience at an awareness session recently organised at the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry to raise awareness among car dealers about the procedures and tax treatment for this vital sector, as well as the efforts made by the FTA to remove obstacles facing those working in the sector.

The session brought together several car dealers, experts and other stakeholders from the industry, where the FTA team introduced them to the procedures for implementing VAT and the Profit Margin Scheme.

In a press statement issued today, FTA Director-General Khalid Ali Al Bustani asserted that the Federal Tax Authority has been committed, since the tax system went into effect, to raising awareness among all business sectors to abide by their tax obligations, by means of various media and digital channels, as well as direct contact through awareness campaigns across all seven emirates. The Authority also provides various tax awareness instruments through its website, which was designed according to international best practices.

“The Federal Tax Authority is committed to enhancing its partnerships with business sectors and providing assistance for them to fully comply with tax regulations,” Al Bustani said. “The Authority maintains constant communication with retailers, producers and service providers to identify their views and ensure a smooth and seamless implementation of the UAE tax system with minimal effects on their business activities.”

Saudi Arabia collects twice as much VAT as expected in 2018- budget document

date: 20181218

Organized By: BONDS NEWS - Reporting by Stephen Kalin and Marwa Rashad; Editing by Gareth Jones

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Saudi Arabia collected 45.6 billion riyals ($12.16 billion) from value-added tax (VAT) in 2018, more than double its initial estimate, budget documents showed.

The Saudi budget expects total tax revenues of 166 billion riyals this year, up from an initial estimate of 142 billion riyals, the document showed.

The Saudi government has said it expects VAT, which was introduced earlier this year, to be one of the main generators of non-oil revenue. ($1 = 3.7507 riyals) (Reporting by Stephen Kalin and Marwa Rashad; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Phase 2 of tourist VAT refund scheme rollout from Dec 16

date: 20181213

Organized By: Khaleej Times - Waheed Abbas

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The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) on Wednesday said all preparations were complete to launch phase 2 of the Tax Refunds for Tourists Scheme from Sunday, December 16. The scheme would cover 12 air, land and sea ports across the UAE.

The first phase went into effect on November 18, 2018, covering the Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah international airports.

The second phase will cover Al Ain International Airport, Al Maktoum International Airport and Ras Al Khaimah International Airport; as well as 2 sea ports: Zayed Port in Abu Dhabi and Port Rashid in Dubai; and 4 land ports: Al Ghuwaifat Border Post in Abu Dhabi, Hili Border Port and Al Madheef Border Crossing in Al Ain, and Dubai’s Hatta Border Exit.

“The FTA coordinated with the system operator Planet, running all necessary experiments to ensure the scheme is implemented smoothly and accurately,” said Khalid Ali Al Bustani, director-general of FTA.

Al Bustani projects daily refunds of value-added tax (VAT) to grow quickly in the coming period. The number of refund requests processed surpassed 3,800 daily transactions.

The FTA asserted that to be refundable, tax invoices must be issued by retail stores included in the scheme and registered in the system; these venues can be identified by visibly showcasing ‘tax-free’ stickers on their storefronts.

The FTA had outlined conditions for a tourist to be eligible for a tax refund, namely: The tourist in question is at least 18 years old; goods eligible for the scheme are supplied to an overseas tourist who was on UAE soil when the purchase was made, and who intends to exit the UAE along with the purchased items within 90 days; goods must be exported out of the UAE by the tourist within 3 months of the date of supply.

Saudi Arabia & Bahrain VAT deadlines fall in December

date: 20181211

Organized By: Out Law - Joanne Clarke

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VAT will also come into effect in the Kingdom of Bahrain with effect from 1 January 2019, with an obligation for some businesses to register in December 2018.

Small businesses whose obligation to register for VAT in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) was deferred under transitional provisions will have to submit an application for registration by 20 December 2018. In addition transitional arrangements which meant that VAT did not have to be paid in respect of existing contracts come to an end on 31 December, meaning that contract prices may need to be renegotiated.

VAT was introduced in the KSA with effect from 1 January 2018.

Appreciating the challenge facing businesses in the region, the minister of finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan, together with the board of the General Authority on Zakat & Tax (GAZT), approved the inclusion of transitional provisions in the VAT Implementing Regulations in September 2017. Two of these transitional provisions may now require action by businesses.

Under KSA VAT rules, any person whose annual value of taxable supplies exceeds or is expected to exceed the mandatory registration threshold of SAR375,000 ($100,000) is required to register for VAT with GAZT within 30 days.

However, if the annual value of their supplies does not exceed SAR1 million ($267,000) the transitional rules provided relief from registration in advance of 1 January 2018. The rules defer the effective date of registration for these businesses to 1 January 2019, but the application for registration has to be submitted by 20 December 2018.

“To allow sufficient time to gather the necessary information and documentation for the registration application, together with the time it may take for GAZT to process your application, it is important that businesses affected by this transitional provision, who have not already voluntarily registered, start the process as soon as possible,” Joanne Clarke said.

How VAT in Bahrain impacts neighbouring GCC countries

date: 20181105

Organized By: Khaleej Times - Surandar Jesrani

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Value-added tax, being all pervasive, impacts a country’s economy as well as the industries therein. Furthermore, VAT impact also spills over to the import and export of goods and services. The UAE, all along, has business ties with Bahrain through either a local presence in Bahrain (as branch or local entity) or through export/import of goods or services.

Typically, after the introduction of VAT in a country, businesses discover that their entire business ecosystem – i.e., their vendors, suppliers and customers located in and outside the country – are also part of their business. Underlying reason for this tectonic shift is the fact that in VAT, businesses cannot take unilateral decisions and have to take decisions bilaterally as a buyer can debate on the applicability of VAT (for example, whether the transaction qualifies as ‘export’ or not).

Outbound transactions

As mentioned above, dependency between the supply chain intensifies, particularly, in cases of outbound supply of goods (like goods being supplied to Bahrain from the UAE).

Typically, in such transactions there are two aspects to be vetted, one whether the supply qualifies as export from UAE and whether the transaction qualifies as import in Bahrain. Thus, it is advisable for UAE entities having business interests in Bahrain to initiate early dialogue on the likely impact to identify possible issues and documentation requirements to avoid VAT debates/disputes with customers.

Import of goods

Typically, VAT is payable at the time of import of goods (unless facility of deferment is provided) along with customs duty.

Thus, after introduction of VAT, imports in Bahrain may attract VAT and thus, at the time of import itself it will be critical to determine the applicability of VAT on goods being imported in Bahrain (as certain goods such as specified medicines may not attract VAT). Also, procedural aspects like declaration of the VAT registration number on import documents, linking of the VAT number with customs, etc, also become critical during transition.