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Expert says VAT is game changer

Bahrain Business
Sun, 05 Nov 2017

MANAMA: Keypoint, one of the GCC’s leading VAT specialists, organised a VAT update for members of the Professional Risk Managers’ International Association (PRMIA) and the Bahrain Compliance and Anti-Money Laundering (BCAML) group.

Dean Rowan, the Middle East regional director for PRMIA, the world’s leading risk management association, welcomed PRMIA and BCAML members and thanked Keypoint for its contribution.

Mubeen Khadir, the head of tax at Keypoint, and George Campbell, an associate director in Keypoint’s tax practice, explained the background to VAT in the GCC, some VAT technical considerations, such as the time, place and value of supply, and compliance issues.

Mr Khadir welcomed the opportunity to outline the opportunities and challenges that VAT will bring across the GCC.

“VAT is a game changer. Having agreed an initial standard rate of five per cent – a low rate globally – awareness is now growing, with implementation in the GCC’s two leading economies on January 1, 2018. Compliance is going to be key – and there is a growing realisation that VAT is going to affect every aspect of a business’ operations.”

Mr Campbell, recognised as one of the GCC’s leading VAT experts and one of very few chartered tax advisers (CTAs) in the region, explained some of VAT’s technical issues.

“VAT is complicated. Goods and services – and the supply of those goods and services – can be treated differently. Tax-exempt supplies include some financial services – but not all financial services. Businesses across the GCC need to understand what they have paid VAT on, what they use those supplies for, the VAT status of the supplies they provide to their customers – and how much of the input VAT they have paid can be recovered.”

The UAE and Saudi Arabia have both released their VAT laws and have said they will introduce VAT on January 1. Bahrain and the other GCC countries are expected to release details of their laws and implementing regulations very soon.

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