MANAMA: Keypoint, a professional services firm with a value added tax VAT specialist team in Bahrain, hosted more than 100 key decision makers from businesses across the GCC at its “VAT chat” at the Downtown Rotana in Manama yesterday.
Mubeen Khadir and George Campbell, senior leaders of Keypoint’s tax team, highlighted a number of VAT issues, including VAT treatments, technical issues and legislation.
“As we get closer and closer to January 1, 2018, there is a growing awareness of the challenges that VAT will bring,” said Mr Khadir.
“It is noticeable that senior decision makers in key functions of leading businesses across the GCC are increasingly focused on ensuring that their people, systems and technologies are ready for VAT implementation.
“However, it is also clear that there are still businesses – some very large businesses – that haven’t yet started to make necessary changes. Those businesses are going to find it very hard to comply with the VAT legislation and are going to be liable to some fairly significant penalties.”
Sector-focused workshops – on major projects, financial services and trading – were led by senior members of Keypoint’s VAT team.
Omar Hisham, an insurance expert who is currently running seven VAT implementation engagements across the GCC, highlighted the specific issues facing financial services businesses.
“Because banks and insurance companies sell a mixture of standard-rated and VAT-exempt supplies, there are extra complications that may mean that VAT both increases their costs and makes compliance more difficult. Even for businesses in countries that haven’t yet introduced VAT – like Bahrain – the clock is already ticking.”