VAT’s The Way To Broaden The GCC Tax Base

The GCC’s six member states recognize the need to broaden their revenue stream beyond hydrocarbons. They plan the coordinated introduction of VAT. But not for at least three years.

GCC members have reached an agreement in principle to introduce value-added tax (VAT) across their six countries following a meeting of representatives from their ministries, UAE finance ministry undersecretary Yunis al-Khouri says. Discussions are underway among the six member states – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain – to launch VAT simultaneously in all countries and at the same tax rates, he adds.

Rates for items subject to VAT will range from 3% to 5%, though the healthcare, education and social services sectors will all be zero-rated, as will 94 food items. Discussions are underway on whether or not to apply VAT to financial transactions and services. (CONTINUED - 1004 WORDS)