The UAE’s Finance Ministry has confirmed certain financial services, residential properties, bare land and local passenger transport will be exempt from VAT. The UAE is set to implement 5% VAT on 1 January 2018. Supplies, including sales or leases, of commercial properties will be taxable at the standard VAT rate of 5% percent but supplies of residential properties will generally be exempt from VAT. In addition, the first supply of newly-constructed residential properties within 3 years of their completion will be zero-rated for VAT purposes. VAT will also be charged at 0% for exports of goods and services outside the GCC and international transportation and related supplies. Supplies of certain sea, air and land transportation (like aircrafts and ships), certain investment grade precious metals (like gold or silver which reach 99% purity), supply of certain education services and supply of relevant goods and services and supply of certain healthcare services and supply of relevant goods and services will be taxed at 0%.
Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Zakat and Tax (GAZT) has launched a public consultation on the draft VAT Law
Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Zakat and Tax (GAZT) has launched a public consultation on the draft VAT Law, which is going to be introduced in the Kingdom on 1 January 2018. The consultation ends on 29 June 2017. The consultation will allow members of the public and businesses to provide feedback before the final law is sent for final approval. The consultation comes after the Gulf Cooperation Council announced the ratification of the unified framework agreement to introduce VAT.
The Manager of Saudi Arabia’s VAT Project, Hammoud Alharby has confirmed companies suffering financial losses will not be exempted from VAT and sectors which generate more than 375,000 Riyals will have to register for the tax. Registration will be optional for sectors generating up to 185,000 Riyals. Alharby confirmed the draft VAT law will be issued in the next fortnight. Its provisions will come into force in January 2018. The penalties are expected to include paying half of the value of the tax due in addition to the tax payment if the business fails to register or if a mistake is made in the tax return.
Qatar’s Cabinet has approved a draft VAT Law and its Executive Regulations. The Cabinet also approved a draft income tax law and its draft executive regulation. If approved further, the amendments will replace Qatar Law No. 21/2009 and Qatar Law No. 17/2014. In addition, a draft Ministerial Decision issuing the Executive Regulations to the selective tax law were approved. It include provisions on tax entitlement, declarations of loss or damage of selective goods, inspection of damaged goods, registration, tax declaration, rules of payment of tax for locally produced goods, maintenance of accounting systems, accounting records and control and inspection rules.
A senior economist has said the Governments of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) could increase VAT from 5 to 10% by 2020. In addition, the Governments of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia are looking at introducing a 10% tax on business profits. Qatar already has this type of tax and the UAE imposes 20% on the profits of foreign banks.