Muscat: Eng. Redha Juma Al Saleh inaugurated the one day VAT practical masterclass organised by one of the leading and largest accounting and advisory firms Crowe Oman at the Crown Plaza hotel Qurum.
Speaking on the occasion Al Saleh said, “Many businesses are yet to comply with the registration requirements of Oman VAT law. The Oman Chamber of commerce and industry is interacting with the business community to mitigate the problems faced by them by coordinating with various ministries to bring these to the attention of the government." Al Saleh also lauded the efforts of Crowe Oman to bring awareness among the business community at large on the significance of the requirements to comply with the rules and regulations of value-added tax and the consequences of non-compliance.
Earlier, welcoming the participants to the workshop Davis Kallukaran, managing partner of Crowe Oman said that VAT in one form or other is in operation for just over 50 years, starting with Denmark in 1967, France and Germany in 1968, the Netherlands in 1969, and from there we have witnessed a remarkable global proliferation. Oman joins the group of 166 countries out of 193 United Nations full member countries in the introduction of Value added tax. Of these, Oman has one of the lowest rates of taxation with just 5 per cent for goods and services with a limited number of zero ratings and the highest number of exemptions compared to other countries in the region. This is significantly lower than the OECD average rate of 19 per cent.
Antony Kallukaran Associate partner for tax advisory services engaged the attendees at the first technical session on the Mechanics of Oman VAT. He said that the Vat regime is aligned to the GCC VAT framework. UAE and Saudi governments had gone ahead with the implementation of VAT in 2018 followed by Bahrain in 2019.
"This gave great advantage to Oman to learn the issues, challenges and solutions to problems being faced by those countries in the implementation of VAT. Right from the registration to the administration of the VAT regime, strict fines and penalties have been enacted in the law for Non-compliance. This is because businesses are merely tax collectors on behalf of the governments and they are expected to remit the money collected from the public to the government on a timely basis. In conclusion, business corporates need to be aware of the provisions of the VAT Law that can invite administrative fines and penalties for non-compliance and may also attract imprisonment for breaching the provisions of the VAT Law. Businesses should start doing a health check of their VAT readiness to evaluate compliance," he said.
Astha Rangan, Director Indirect taxes and Muhammed Faisal invited from the participants the major concerns being faced by the businesses in the implementation of VAT accounting and compliance which revealed many issues and challenges which were very convincingly responded to by the team assisted by Taysir Al Rawahi, Director Tax advisory services at Crowe Oman. He said that initial teething problems are bound to arise but hoped that these will be amicably solved by the tax department to the satisfaction of the business community.
The event was compered by Buthaina Al Abri, Assistant Manager, HR and compliance at Crowe. This being a major event post the major impact of Covid 19, a large number of professionals from a wide spectrum of businesses and representatives from the regulators attended the event.