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IMF Praises Saudi Tax Reforms

by Lorys Charalambous, Tax-News.com, Cyprus

24 July 2017


Saudi Arabia has received praise for the International Monetary Fund for recent and planned indirect tax reforms, to broaden the tax base away from oil, but said the timetable for introducing value-added tax could be challenging.

The IMF's Executive Board, in a July report for the country, said it commends efforts to enhance non-oil revenue. The board noted the recent implementation of excises on tobacco and carbonated/energy drinks, and welcomed the authorities' commitment to introduce the VAT at the beginning of 2018, although a few directors noted that "the timetable could be challenging." Directors recommended keeping exemptions and zero-rated items to a minimum.

Saudi Arabia's Government on January 30, 2017, approved the introduction of value-added tax at a five percent rate, as part of an initiative among Gulf Cooperation Council states. A pan-GCC VAT framework is planned to be in place from January 1, 2018.

The GCC is comprised of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman.

TAGS: United Arab Emirates | tax | value added tax (VAT) | Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | Bahrain | Qatar | excise duty | Oman

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