Middle East/North Africa

Impending VAT in the GCC: Much Still to be Clarified

The slump in oil prices in the last few years has increased the pressure on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) to seek more sustainable government revenues through taxation. Corporate income tax is currently the only direct tax imposed within the GCC, and even then Bahrain and the UAE only impose the tax on narrow sectors of the economy. Customs duty, imposed uniformly across the GCC, is currently the main indirect tax assessed in these countries. Just over three years ago, the need to introduce VAT intensified due to the ever increasing challenges on the governments to meet their budget commitments.

2017 Index of Economic Freedom

On 15 February, the Heritage Foundation published its annual report entitled, 2017 Index of Economic Freedom, comparing the performance of 186 economies. One key factor influencing the conclusions and rankings is the Tax Burden parameter of the Government Size performance measurement criterion.

Experts Convene at ITIC’s Middle East/North Africa Tax Forum

iticlogocolorhighresolution4 Washington, DC – Regional tax administration officials, business leaders and tax experts convened this week in Ankara, Turkey, for the seventh annual Middle East/North Africa Tax Forum hosted by the International Tax and Investment Center, in cooperation with the Revenue Administration of the Turkish Ministry of Finance.

The meeting focused on regional tax policy challenges; global tax policy initiatives and practical responses from the MENA region; tax administration automation, innovation and performance improvement; and the application and enforcement of regional indirect and direct taxation policy.

During his opening remarks, Adnan ERTÜRK, Commissioner of the Turkish Revenue Administration, discussed the increasing importance of direct and indirect taxation for fiscal systems in the MENA region, the role of multinational corporations in fostering regional economic growth, and the importance of strong cooperation between tax authorities.

The Middle East/North Africa Tax Forum is an annual conference organized by ITIC to bring together regional government officials, academic experts and investors to discuss solutions to common challenges and share best practices in taxation.

Contact: Diana McKelvey (Communications Manager, ITIC)