RIYADH: The complete merger of the General Authority of Zakat and Tax with the General Authority of Customs will be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2023, revealed ZATCA Gov. Suhail Mohammed Abanmi.
While speaking at a panel discussion at the Zakat, Tax and Customs Conference in Riyadh on Wednesday, Abanmi said that ZATCA faced so many challenges to integrate these bodies, but it is successfully completing the process as the authority carried out several studies to understand the possible hurdles that may come up in the journey.
The integration between Zakat, Tax and Customs bodies was happening in phases, and the merging process is now in its final stages.
It was in 2021 that the Saudi cabinet approved the decision to merge the General Authority of Zakat and Tax with the General Authority of Customs, to form an umbrella authority named Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority, in line with the Kingdom’s efforts to restructure government agencies to speed the implementation of the goals outlined in Vision 2030.
“The decision to integrate tax and customs bodies was taken in 2021, and it will be completed by the first quarter of this year,” said Abanmi.
He added: “The integration of tax and customs bodies is a huge remarkable achievement. We faced so many challenges. But we successfully overcome those hurdles by conducting a study. The study was well detailed, and we found solutions for these challenges.”
During the panel discussion, Abanmi also outlined the benefits of integration and noted that these efforts will mutually benefit both the customers and the government.
“As customers use the same channel after the integration of tax and customs, it will increase the efficiency of the operations and enhance the satisfaction levels of the users. By integrating the two bodies; tax and customs, we reduced the cost of operational expenses and capital costs, and this will help the government,” he said.
Abanmi further noted that integrating zakat, tax and customs bodies will also enhance cybersecurity, and added that it will also help reduce risks and tax evasion.
Talking about the feasibility study conducted before taking the merging decision, Abanmi noted: “The decision to integrate tax and customs bodies under a single umbrella was decided after a study. This study looked into several international studies and analyzed previous experiences of integration that happened in UK, Estonia, Portuguese, and South Africa.”