Value added tax is expected to be introduced in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as of January 1, 2018. The VAT will apply to goods and services at the standard rate of five percent, with some limited exceptions on basic food items, healthcare, and education.

By way of background, the VAT Law is based on the common principles agreed by all Gulf Cooperation Council countries as outlined in the GCC VAT framework agreement. Each member state of the GCC is expected to establish their own separate national legislation concerning the VAT and as such the detailed compliance requirements and set of rules will be outlined in each respective legislation.

We expect the remaining GCC countries, which include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar to introduce the VAT at the same time or by January 1, 2019 at the latest.

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