VAT ushers in second year, carrying positive influence on economic growth

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The Value-Added Tax will usher into its second year of implementation just in a few days from now in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia, carrying forward a positive influence on economic growth in both countries, with other GCC States projected to come aboard the VAT system either in 2019 or the year after.

According to the International Monetary Fund’s forecasts, cited by a report recently issued by the Federation Gulf Cooperation Council Chambers, the introduction of VAT in the Gulf region could generate new revenue of 1.5 to 3 percent of non-oil GDP.

The report spotlighted the impact generated by the new tax and its contribution to the economic diversification efforts ongoing across the Gulf region to secure the necessary funds required to finance infrastructure projects and public services.

On the UAE, the report said VAT was introduced on 1 January 2018 at a rate of 5 percent to provide a new source of income which will be continued to be utilised to provide high-quality public services and help government move towards its vision of reducing dependence on oil and other hydrocarbons as a source of revenue.

According to published reports, VAT in the UAE has helped drive the economy by building different streams of income to help the country wean itself off oil.

Along with its partners across the GCC, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has chosen to implement a standard VAT tax rate of 5 percent effective January 2018. In line with GCC Supreme Council Resolution made in its session No. 36 on authorising the Financial and Economic Committee to complete the necessary requirements of GCC VAT Unified Agreement, Saudi Arabia approved the Agreement with a Royal Decree No. M/51. The country issued its National VAT Law with Royal Decree No. M113 and published its Implementing Regulations issued by GAZT Board of Directors Resolution No.3839.

In the meantime, the Bahrain VAT Law has been published and sets out the general principles for the application of VAT in the country. In line with the GCC VAT Unified Agreement, VAT will be implemented in Bahrain on 1 January 2019.