16/08/2017 07:04 AST

The UAE and Saudi Arabia will be the first countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to introduce Value Added Tax (VAT) from January 1 next year, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

“The UAE and Saudi Arabia will be the first countries to roll out VAT in the GCC from early 2018 while other Gulf countries have time till the end of next year to implement the new tax system,” said Khalid Ali Al Bustani, Director General of Federal Tax Authority (FTA), at a press conference in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

The rate for VAT is set at 5 per cent whereas excise tax will be 100 per cent on tobacco and energy drinks and 50 per cent on soft drinks excluding sparkling water. All business that meet the minimum annual income of Dh375,000 as confirmed by their financial records are required for compulsory registration with the VAT system. The new tax laws and procedures are expected to strengthen the UAE’s economic development and enable it to be a real competitor among the world’s advanced economies, he said.

“This will be led by providing resources to support the expansion of key sectors that are related to the community and providing the best services especially in the fields of health care, education and infrastructure projects,” Al Bustani said. “The application of the tax system will not affect the country’s competitiveness because it is among the lowest in the world.”

The FTA, along with the Ministry of Finance, conducted the first phase of the awareness sessions on the tax system for various business sectors and relevant stakeholders from March to May 2017, which witnessed the strong participation of more than 15,000 companies from different business sectors operating in various emirates.

They have also recently launched the second phase of the tax system’s awareness plan, which focuses on conducting 21 specialised workshops on the VAT and excise tax treatment of the different business sectors, in cooperation with institutions and government authorities such as Chambers of Commerce.

Around 350,000 firms under VAT in UAE The workshops will specifically address the retail sector, real estate, imports and exports, and the financial services and insurance, FTA said.

“Tax is a new concept in the UAE community and the region. It is important to emphasise the great role of our strategic partners in raising awareness of tax procedures and ensuring the success and excellence of the UAE tax system,” Al Bustani said.

“The UAE has the lowest rates, and is the most competitive globally with a rate of 5 per cent on the supply of goods and services. The success of the UAE tax system is, therefore, a shared responsibility and requires strategic cooperation based on three pillars, the government, the business sector and the community,” he added.

The new tax system comes as GCC governments struggle due to low oil revenues in the last three years.

Last month, President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued the landmark Federal Law No. 7 of 2017 for Tax Procedures, which sets the foundations for the planned UAE tax system, regulating the administration and collection of taxes and clearly defining the role of the Federal Tax Authority.


Gulfnews

Ticker Price Volume
QNBK 123.50 779,629
SABIC 100.76 3,731,730
MMG 0.00 0
EMAAR 8.80 5,927,271
WALAA 26.91 110,729
CHEMANOL 7.10 1,550,059
SALAMA 20.68 450,290
$72bn hospitality projects under way in UAE

20/09/2017

A total of 543 hospitality projects worth Dh262.77 billion ($71.6 billion) are currently under way across the UAE, thus reflecting the vibrancy of the leisure, tourism and the entertainment sectors,

Trade Arabia

Khalifa Port's expansion work to enlarge and deepen the facility

20/09/2017

Abu Dhabi’s US$7 billion Khalifa Port is on track to complete marine works by the second quarter of next year in an expansion project to accommodate a new terminal that will be managed by China’s Cos

The National

UAE Central Bank ramps up clampdown on banks mis-selling consumer

20/09/2017

The Central Bank of the UAE has stepped up action against banks following complaints of mis-selling on consumer and investment products, a senior executive at the institution said on Tuesday, Nari

The National

Non-banking finance firms expect marginal growth in demand for funds

20/09/2017

Leasing and hire purchase firms are showing signs of stability and overall asset growth is expected to be around 5 per cent this year, a top-level official from a non-banking finance company said.

Times of Oman

NBC’s Reyooq initiative sheds light on energy sector investment

20/09/2017

The National Business Centre (NBC), which is part of the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE), hosted on Tuesday an edition of its Reyooq initiative, highlighting the significance of in

Oman Daily Observer