Covid impact: UAE reduces penalties on VAT, excise tax
The new provisions will be applicable 60 days as from April 28, 2021.
The UAE has reduced old penalties on value-added tax (VAT) and excise tax in order to help companies and individuals better cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to newly-released Cabinet Decision No. 49 of 2021, tax payers who currently have penalties pending can see those reduced to 30 per cent, provided they settle them before December 31, 2021.
Going forward, late payment penalties will be reduced to four per cent per month, a substantial reduction from one per cent per day while an overall cap stays at 300 per cent.
The new provisions will be applicable 60 days as from April 28, 2021.
Thomas Vanhee, founding partner of Aurifer Middle East, said technical provisions now determine that late payment penalties should only be calculated as from 20 weekdays after submitting the voluntary disclosure.
He said the Cabinet decision constitutes a very important reduction in the penalties and provides an excellent opportunity for tax payers to get a fresh start.
Anurag Chaturvedi, managing director of Chartered House, said this is a best relief provided by the government to the pandemic-hit businesses in the UAE.
“A number of businesses in the UAE succumbed to administrative penalties on account of delay in submission of the due tax. The new regime of administrative penalties are at par with global standards. The most relieving change is maximum penalty of four per cent of unpaid tax per month compared to one per cent of unpaid tax for each day of delay as per the old provisions,” said Chaturvedi.
Oman joins Gulf neighbours as it implements 5% VAT
Sultanate follows Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain as it looks to boost government revenues after taking big pandemic hit
Oman on Friday implemented a 5 percent value added tax (VAT) which is expected to boost government revenues by up to OR400 million ($1 billion).
The move comes after a six-month transitional period for the application of the tax on most goods and services in addition to goods imported into the sultanate, according to Oman News Agency.
It reported that the Oman government has expanded the list of goods subject to zero-rate VAT from 93 basic food commodities to 488 as part of a package of social protection initiatives approved by Sultan Haitham.
Food commodities subject to zero-rate VAT include vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, dates, spices, oils, fish, red meat and poultry while services such as education, healthcare and financial services will be exempt from VAT.
All six Gulf countries agreed to introduce a 5 percent VAT in 2018 after a slump in oil prices hit their revenues. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain have already introduced the tax.
In November, it was reported that cash-strapped Oman plans to take a step unheard of in the Gulf region – it’s going to start taxing the income of wealthy individuals beginning in 2022.
The move is part of a broader program to tackle a budget deficit that’s ballooned due to low oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic.
The sultanate’s finances were in trouble even before the breakout of the pandemic and a crash in oil prices. It is now on course to rack up the steepest budget deficit since 2016 at nearly 19 percent of gross domestic product, according to the International Monetary Fund.
S&P estimates Oman’s gross government debt will rise to about 84 percent of GDP by end-2020 from 60 percent in 2019, while government-related enterprises debt will reach 43 percent of GDP from 30 percent during the same period.
Failure to comply with tax audit to result in hefty fines, tax experts warn
Organisations across the UAE which fail to comply with the rules in place regarding the tax audits conducted by the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) will be liable to pay hefty fines, experts warned at a webinar on Wednesday.
Presented by Khaleej Times & MBG Corporate Services, the event sought to bring clarity to some of the key issues regarding tax audits, and brought together key experts in the field to share their insights.
Vipin Ahuja, director – Tax, MBG Corporate Services, started the event with a presentation on why the Federal Tax Authority is conducting tax audits. He explained that the provisions of the federal law on taxation have mandated the FTA with the legal right to perform a tax audit on any person to determine their compliance with the provisions of the relevant laws. FTA authorities will check the returns and other documents like sales invoices, purchase invoices, Customs & VAT documents related to the import and export of goods and services. The FTA can conduct these for any reason, or whenever they want, as per a set of criteria. It is advisable for all business entities in the UAE to prepare themselves for these tax audits in a timely manner as the FTA allows only five days for responding to their queries.
Under the Self-Assessment System of VAT returns filing, the onus is clearly placed on taxpayers and businesses have to interpret and apply the tax legislation correctly to comply with their respective tax obligations, he explained.
Ahuja also shared probable factors for tax audit selection. “The first has to do with if your company is in a VAT refundable position. Ever audit starts with your risk profile and how your company holds up against the FTA risk profile parameters. If you are in this position, then you will definitely be on the FTA’s radar. Another factor is if you are a large-scale business with high volumes.”
Other reasons include a history of late Return submissions, the occurrence of incorrect filings, a non-reconciliation with Customs Records, delay of payment of Taxes/Penalities, and negative adjustments to imports
Laila Aziki, tax agent, MBG Corporate Services, then revealed that there are several penalties for non-compliance with tax audits. One of the heftiest is a Dh20,000 fine that will be charged for failure to facilitate the work of the tax auditor.
“The submission of an incorrect tax return will result in a penalty of Dh3,000 for the first time, and Dh5,000 for repetition and five per cent, 30 per cent, and 50 per cent based on the time of correction,” she said. “Non-maintenance of any financial records will result in a Dh10,000 penalty; and failure to settle the amount payable as sated in the return will result in a one per cent daily penalty up to 300 per cent when unpaid for one calendar month. This is increased to four per cent due on the seventh day and two per cent due tax immediately.”
Ahuja noted that companies can start their journey towards VAT compliance by ensuring accurate and complete data capture into the system; reconciliation of VAT Returns with Books of Accounts & Custom Records; and the maintenance of all the relevant supporting documents.
Oman to levy 5% VAT from next month
It is estimated that VAT will raise around 400 million Omani riyals per year.
Oman will start implementing five per cent value-added tax (VAT) from April 16, Oman News Agency reported on Sunday
It is estimated that VAT will contribute 1.5 per cent towards the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and raise around 400 million Omani riyals (Dh3.8 billion; $1 billion) per year for the country’s exchequer.
The implementation of VAT comes in line with the GCC framework that was agreed between the six nation bloc. The UAE and Saudi Arabia levied five per cent VAT on January 1, 2018 followed by Bahrain. Saudi Arabia later hiked VAT to 15 per cent amidst shortfall in revenues due to plunge in oil prices.
A study by EY had predicted that the adoption of VAT by GCC countries would generate additional annual revenues of $25 billion.
Saud bin Nasser bin Rashid Al Shukaili, chairman of the Tax Authority in Oman, said all necessary preparations and requirements to implement VAT from April 16 have been completed.
Oman’s tax authority had opened registration process for the companies to register in the special tax system in February last year.
He explained that companies have been given the necessary time to prepare their accounting systems and other measures for tax compliance.