This week the spotlight is on tax developments in Bahrain, where the Kingdom’s Parliament has voted to approve a Decree-Law to impose 5% VAT on goods and services in a special joint session. They will become the third GCC member to join the GCC-wide VAT agreement. It will potentially come into effect on 1 January 2019, according to a schedule laid out by the Finance Minister in February. However, the Finance and Economic Committee of Bahrain’s Parliament had reportedly recommended the law be rejected.
In addition, a Bahraini newspaper has published the list of products to be zero-rated for VAT. Customers will not be charged VAT on the goods although they will still be VAT taxable for accounting purposes. The list includes 34 types of meat and fish, including tuna, lamb, camel and chicken. It includes 37 types of fruit and vegetables, including potatoes, onions, garlic, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, peas, zucchini, okra, parsley, apples, oranges, pomegranates and apricots. Eight types of coffee and tea are also included as well as grains, sugars, dairy products, water, oil and other foodstuffs. The Implementing Regulations for the VAT Law are expected to be published next week.