Coronavirus: Emergency tax measures announced in the GCC so far

A tourist wearing a surgical mask bends down to take a picture in front of the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab luxury hotel in Dubai, on Friday, March 20, 2020. (AP)

As the coronavirus pandemic causes economic damage across the world, governments are responding with emergency tax measures to help support their economies.

For employers and employees alike, the end of the tax year in the GCC has come at a bad time as businesses close and uncertainty lies ahead due to the impact of the coronavirus. To support the economy, almost all the GCC countries have announced measures such as postponement of filing and payment of taxes and reductions in taxes and government fees.

Here is a full list of the temporary changes to the tax system and how they affect GCC residents.

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Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia the General Authority for Zakat and Tax (GAZT) introduced a general extension of three months for filing tax returns and payment related tax for registered taxpayers.

This means that taxpayers will not have to declare their income for the year until 30 June.

The extension applies for Zakat, income tax, withholding tax, value added tax (VAT), and excise tax due for the period from 18 March to 30 June 2020.

United Arab Emirates

In the United Arab Emirates, both Dubai and Abu Dhabi have introduced measures to help ease the pressure on taxpayers.

In Dubai, the government introduced a 20 percent refund on customs duties paid on imported goods and canceled the bank guarantee required to clear goods. Customs clearance fees have also been reduced by 90 percent for three months.

Abu Dhabi has reduced industrial land leasing fees by 25 per cent on new contracts and suspended tourism and municipality fees for the tourism and entertainment sectors until the end of this year.

In addition, commercial vehicles have been exempted from annual registration fees while all other vehicles were exempted from road toll tariffs until the end of 2020.

Oman

Oman’s Tax Authority announced on Tuesday a package of measures which include exemption from the usual penalties and fines for not submitting tax declarations.

Omani taxpayers are now allowed to pay taxes in installments, and these payments are exempted from additional penalties if affected due to coronavirus.

Donations given for the fight against coronavirus are also eligible for deductions from taxable income for the year 2020.

Earlier, Oman had announced that restaurants would be exemption from tourist and municipal tax until 31 August 2020, and commercial establishments would be exempt from municipal tax until the same date.

Qatar

The Qatari tax authority has extended the corporate income tax filing deadline for financial years ended 31 Dec 2019 from 30 April 2020 to 30 June 2020.

Bahrain

Bahrain has announced various tax measures including a three-month exemption from municipal fees and tourism levies starting April 2020.

Kuwait

Unlike its GCC neighbors, Kuwait has not announced any specific tax measures as part of its stimulus package.

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Last Update: 05:40 KSA 08:40 - GMT 05:40
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