Over 5,000 jobs will be created in GCC with VAT introduction, tax law expert says

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will be the first GCC member states to introduce VAT, as of January 1, 2018. (Courtesy Shutterstock)
Updated 11 October 2017
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Over 5,000 jobs will be created in GCC with VAT introduction, tax law expert says

DUBAI: Around 5,000 finance and accounting jobs would be generated with the introduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT) in the Gulf region, a tax law expert said on Wednesday.
Paul Drum, Head of Policy at CPA Australia and an expert in taxation laws, in a Dubai tax workshop said that “VAT brings good news to current finance and accounting students and graduates as this form of taxation will create ample employment opportunities.”
The Unified Agreement for VAT of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, which was signed by the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, required signatories to enact domestic legislation that would introduce a 5 percent VAT on certain transactions.
Gulf states have been looking at other ways to reduce dependency on oil revenues, as well as create new income streams to fund government services including public health services, public owned or funded schools, parks and transport infrastructure.
It is estimated that the VAT’s imposition will raise between $7 billion and $21 billion annually — or between 0.5 percent and 1.5 percent of regional GDP.
The IMF has said the returns could reach around 2 percent of region’s output.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE are expected to be the first Arabian Gulf countries to introduce the GCC-wide VAT on January 1, 2018, while other member states Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman have committed to implement their own VAT taxation by next year.
“The UAE will apply a VAT rate of 5 percent on taxable supplies which is very low in comparison to the average tax rate of 19 percent globally. However, not everything will be charged VAT as the law makes provision for zero rated and tax exempted goods and services to ensure that the impact of VAT on consumers is kept to a minimum,” Drum said.
Among the goods and service that would be subjected to VAT include electronics, smartphones, cars, jewelry, certain beverages, financial and accounting services, legal services, dining out and entertainment.
Certain services and goods such as nearly 100 food items, basic health services, transport and public education will be exempted from VAT.
The UAE has separately started to collect excise taxes at a rate of 100 percent on tobacco and energy drinks and 50 percent on fizzy drinks on October 1.


For Iranians, economic crisis looms larger than US tensions

Updated 19 May 2019
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For Iranians, economic crisis looms larger than US tensions

  • Iran’s 80 million people struggle to buy meat, medicine and other staples of daily life
  • Many pointed to the economy, not the possible outbreak of war

TEHRAN: Across Iran’s capital, the talk always seems to come back to how things may get worse.
Battered by US sanctions and its depreciating rial currency, Iran’s 80 million people struggle to buy meat, medicine and other staples of daily life.
Many pointed to the economy, not the possible outbreak of war, as Iran’s major concern. Iran’s rial currency traded at 32,000 to $1 at the time of the 2015 nuclear deal. Now it is at 148,000, and many have seen their life’s savings wiped out.
Nationwide, the unemployment rate is 12 percent. For youth it’s even worse, with a quarter of all young people unemployed, according to Iran’s statistic center.
“The economic situation is very bad, very bad. Unemployment is very high, and those who had jobs have lost theirs,” said Sadeghi, the housewife. “Young people can’t find good jobs, or get married, or become independent.”
Sores Maleki, a 62-year-old retired accountant, said talks with the US to loosen sanctions would help jumpstart Iran’s economy.
“We should go and talk to America with courage and strength. We are able to do that, others have done it,” Maleki said. “We can make concessions and win concessions. We have no other choice.”
But such negotiations will be difficult, said Reza Forghani, a 51-year-old civil servant. He said Iran needed to get the US to “sign a very firm contract that they can’t escape and have to honor.” Otherwise, Iran should drop out of the nuclear deal.
“When someone refuses to keep promises and commitments, you can tolerate it a couple of times, but then certainly you can’t remain committed forever. You will react,” Forghani said. “So I don’t think we should remain committed to the deal until the end.”
Yet for Iran’s youth, many of whom celebrated the signing of the 2015 nuclear deal in the streets, the situation now feels more akin to a funeral. Many openly discuss their options to obtain a visa — any visa — to get abroad.
“Young people have a lot of stress and the future is unknown,” said Hamedzadeh, the 20-year-old civil servant. “The future is so unknown that you can’t plan. The only thing they can do is to somehow leave Iran and build a life abroad.”