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Four Gulf states not ready for VAT till end of 2019

  • Feb 15, 2018 | Richard Asquith

Four Gulf states not ready for VAT till end of 2019

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has declared that the Arab Gulf states of Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait will not be prepared for the launch of VAT until at least 2019 or even longer.

The four states had agreed to implement VAT in 2016 along with fellow Gulf Cooperation Council states, Saudi Arabia and UAE. The latter two went ahead on 1 January 2018 with a 5% VAT regime.

The IMF says that the four states have not reached the necessary internal political consensus on the tax, and would also not be technically ready for at least 18 months. “Technically they should be able to be ready in a year and a half,” Abdelhak Senhadji, deputy director of the fiscal affairs department at the IMF said this week.

The GCC is introducing a harmonised VAT regime to help close their large deficits. The low oil price in the past four years has meant that most of the states are operating large deficits.

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VP Global Indirect Tax
Richard Asquith
VP Global Indirect Tax Richard Asquith
Richard Asquith is VP Global Indirect Tax at Avalara, helping businesses understand their compliance obligations as they grow globally. He can be contacted at: He is part of the European leadership team which won International Tax Review's 2019 Tax Technology Firm of the Year. Richard qualified as an accountant with KPMG in the UK, and went on to work in Hungary, Russia and France with EY.