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Dubai
14 Dec 2019

Is paying tax in GCC countries a cakewalk?

The GCC states gives more convenient environment to pay taxes compared to other countries around the world where the taxation regime exists for a longer duration.

As per the latest Paying Taxes 2020 report by World Bank and PriceWaterhouseCoopers on Tuesday, revealed that paying taxes in Bahrain is easiest internationally followed by Hong Kong, Qatar, Ireland, Mauritius, Kuwait, Singapore, Denmark, New Zealand and Finland making up the top 10 ranking. While Oman is ranked 11th, the UAE at 30th and Saudi Arabia at 57th.

The GCC countries is comparatively new to the taxes regime as governments have lately introduced value-added tax (VAT) and excise taxes on unhealthy products such as tobacco, sugar and carbonated drinks.

As per datas it is easier to pay taxes in the UAE than advanced countries with a long experience in taxation regime such as Norway, Spain, China, Austria, Germany, Japan, France, Russia, Malaysia and other countries.

“According to Paying Taxes case study, it takes 72 hours to comply with VAT in Saudi Arabia and 104 hours in the UAE. This is in line with the global average of 90 hours and somewhat higher than the European Union average of 52 hours. Given that most European countries have long established VAT systems, it is not surprising that newly-introduced systems may take longer to comply with in the GCC,” said Mark Schofield, partner and Tax and Legal Services Leader at PwC Middle East.

“Furthermore, the UAE has requested the reporting of output VAT by emirates. The process of registering as a taxpayer is not included within the time to comply, which looks only at the time to prepare, file and pay taxes, but it can present a considerable burden for businesses. Saudi Arabia automatically registered businesses based on existing registration for income (or Zakat) taxes, whereas in the UAE businesses had to submit registrations themselves,” he added.

GCC countries have the lowest time to comply in paying taxes at 155 hours inspite of increase in average time to comply for the region increased by 11 hours. Middle East is followed by European Union at 161 hours; 182 hours in North America; 191 hours in Asia-Pacific; 199 hours in Central America and the Caribbean.