Oman income tax expected in 2022 in fiscal shake-up

Oman ruler Sultan Haitham in mid-October said a 5 percent value-added tax would come into force in April 2021, as part of efforts to diversify government revenues. (AFP)
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Updated 02 November 2020

Oman income tax expected in 2022 in fiscal shake-up

  • Plan aims to bring Oman’s fiscal deficit down to 1.7 percent of gross domestic product by 2024
  • ‘An income tax on individuals would be a first in the Gulf’

DUBAI: Oman expects to introduce an income tax on high earners in 2022, the finance ministry said in a 2020-2024 economic plan, new details of which were published late on Sunday, as the Gulf state seeks to restore finances battered by low oil prices.
The plan aims to bring Oman’s fiscal deficit down to 1.7 percent of gross domestic product by 2024, from a preliminary deficit of 15.8 percent this year.
It also has a target of increasing non-oil revenues to 35 percent of total government revenue by 2024, from 28 percent this year.
None of the seven Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, all oil producers, currently collect income tax from individuals.
Oman’s Sultan Haitham, who took power in January, last month approved the medium-term fiscal plan to make government finances sustainable as the coronavirus crisis and low oil prices strain state coffers.
Some details of the plan emerged in a bond prospectus last month but without a date for the introduction of income tax. Revenues from it would be used to fund social programs, the plan said.
“An income tax on individuals would be a first in the Gulf. I think it will be a significant move and closely watched by other GCC countries,” said Monica Malik, chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.
“This initiative is still under study, all aspects of its application are being considered. It is expected to apply this tax in 2022,” the 2020-2024 medium term economic balance document said.
The plan also aims to redirect state subsidies to only those groups who need it, rather than subsidizing all users. Calculating new electricity and water tariffs will be done gradually in the coming years, the document said.
According to the International Monetary Fund, Oman’s economy is expected to shrink by 10 percent this year, the biggest contraction in the Gulf, and its fiscal deficit could widen to 18.3 percent of GDP from 7.1 percent last year.
Sultan Haitham in mid-October said a 5 percent value-added tax would come into force in April 2021, as part of efforts to diversify government revenues.
All six Gulf Arab states agreed to introduce 5 percent VAT in 2018 after a slump in oil prices hit their revenues.


Dubai carrier Emirates wins big at World Travel Awards

Updated 43 min 6 sec ago

Dubai carrier Emirates wins big at World Travel Awards

DUBAI: Dubai’s Emirates Airline was named as the “World’s Leading Airline” in three major categories at the World Travel Awards 2020.

Emirates took top rankings across global and regional categories based on a record voter turnout from tourism consumers.

The honors the airline took home were the “World’s Leading Economy Class,” “Airline Rewards Programme” and “Airline Lounge — Business Class.”

Earlier this month, Emirates also took home four regional World Travel Awards for the “Middle East’s Leading Airline Brand,” “Middle East’s Leading Airline Lounge — Business Class,” “Middle East’s Leading Airline Rewards Programme” and “Middle East’s Leading Airline Website.”