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GCC Businesses Told to Familiarise Themselves with New Tax Laws

Manama, Bahrain : 22 July 2010

One of the world’s largest auditing companies, PricewaterhouseCoopers has warned businesses in the GCC to monitor changes in the tax laws and be sure to abide by them.

Any organisation that is not aware of the changes should make a point of reading PricewaterhouseCoopers’ new bi-annual Tax Update for the Middle East. PricewaterhouseCoopers is considered to be the leading organisation in the world that focuses on professional services. The bi-annual Tax Update, therefore, is seen as a valuable guide to changes in fiscal policy made in the region that is controlled by the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC).

The newly released document details the many changes in the GCC region’s tax system which the firm believes many businesses have not noted or complied with. PwC warns that organisations and business that do not comply run the risk of severe penalties.

Dean Rolfe, PwC tax expert for the Middle East, said in a statement that high tax penalties could be applied if the tax laws were “not respected” and the correct payments were not submitted at the right time. He referred to what he said were “sweeping reforms” that were being applied throughout the UAE region. In light of these, local businesses would need to adapt the way they operated, by changing “business practices” where necessary.

While there has been much talk of the region’s economy improving, Rolfe warned that the level of debt would continue to be monitored by the world’s governments. At the same time it was inevitable that tax laws would keep changing and evolving so that governments the world over would be able to balance their books. He said that the Middle East was “no exception” and that businesses in the region were strongly advised to study “proposed changes” in the tax laws and analyse the possible impact these might have on their businesses.

A huge number of different changes have already been made to tax legislation in the region. These include newly introduced tax laws in Oman, Jordan, Libya and Lebanon, as well as new conditions that apply to withholding claims for “tax relief” in Egypt. In Saudi Arabia tax payers must now pay tax in advance if they have a total yearly liability that is more than SR500,000. In Dubai a “housing tax” is to be enforced that will affect all owners of property and residents of the nation.

Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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