Early registration key to a smooth Bahrain VAT transition

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Bahrain introduced a 5% value-added tax (VAT) in the Kingdom from January 1st, 2019.

The tax registration in the country is split across phases and requires businesses to enrol across each phase based on their threshold. As such, the larger businesses with annual supplies exceeding BHD 5,000,000 ($13.25 million) are mandated to register in the first phase, whereas businesses with the annual supplies value exceeding BHD 500,000 ($1.32 million) are mandated to register in the second phase.

Similarly, businesses whose annual supplies exceeds BHD 37,500 ($99,375) are mandated to register in the third phase. In addition, voluntary VAT registration is available for businesses even if the annual supplies are less than the mandated registration threshold limit. While it is voluntary, and entrepreneurs can register if their annual supplies exceed BHD 18,750 ($49,687) benefits of registering under VAT are immense and it is recommended that businesses that have not yet enrolled, start immediately to assess the impact of tax on their operations.

Upon registering under VAT, businesses are given a VAT number which can be displayed on invoices, letterheads, websites and other forms of business stationery. While early registrations help businesses add VAT to the sale price of goods and services when they sell to commercial and non-commercial consumers, it can also help in claiming the Input VAT – a mechanism by which a VAT registered business can deduct input tax from the output tax for a period and remit the balance tax payable to the National Bureau for Revenue.

VAT is a simple process, and The National Bureau for Revenue (NBR) has introduced several knowledge and process guides to make registration seamless and accurate. As such, with the help of NBR, early registered businesses can prepare well in advance and ensure that the process is completed easily, eliminating the risk for unnecessary delays, and incorrect information, which may lead to hefty fines or rejection.