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Tax Law

Oman introduces major tax reforms

Filed under Oman Business, Oman Economy, Tax Law

Oman corporate tax

Amendments to Oman’s corporate tax law have wide-ranging implications for companies doing business in Oman as well as foreign investors including those without a permanent establishment in the country. The reforms have been in the pipeline since they were presented to the Cabinet in January 2016. They are part of a package of fiscal measures announced in February 2017 aimed at diversifying revenue resources to offset Oman’s higher than forecast budgetary deficit for 2016 due to depressed oil prices.

The new rules introduced by Royal Decree 9/2017 and published in the Official Gazette on 26 February 2017, represent a radical overhaul of the previous tax regime under Royal Decree 28/2009. Changes include:

– removing the tax-free threshold of OMR 30,000 previously available to establishments, companies or foreign persons deemed to have a permanent establishment carrying on business in Oman;

– raising the corporate tax rate from 12 percent to 15 percent effective for all financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2017. A lower 3 percent micro tax rate is applicable to small tax payers who meet specific criteria;

– expanding the withholding tax net by imposing a 10 percent tax on dividends on shares and interests from 28 February 2017;

– extending the definition of ‘income’ to include fees for services paid to foreign persons who are based outside Oman. Whereas the amendments to the withholding tax provisions came into force on 28 February 2017, the amended definition of ‘income’ comes into effect only on 1 January 2018. It remains to be clarified whether withholding tax deductions on service fees payable to foreign persons take effect now or on 1 January 2018;

– applying withholding tax provisions to ministries and government bodies and other state administrative units; tax payers are required to deduct the withholding tax at source and remit to the government within 14 days of the month-end in which the fees are paid or credited to the account of the tax payer.

– introducing a requirement for all tax payers to obtain a tax card from the Department of Taxation of the Ministry of Finance. The tax card number must appear on all of the tax payer’s contracts, invoices and correspondence. Ministries, state administrative units and companies in which the Government has a 40 percent shareholding must obtain a copy of the tax card before undertaking any transaction with the tax payer; and

– removing tax exemptions previously available for a period of 10 years on income arising from operating hotels and tourism projects, agriculture, mining, export of local goods, fishing, health care and education. Only the manufacturing sector is now exempted from tax for a reduced period of up to 5 years.

In addition to the above, the tax regime has now moved on to a self-assessment regime with rules for increased fines and prison terms for officers of taxable entities for failure to comply with the provisions of the law.
For more information contact Mansoor Malik or Asad Qayyum Read More »

AMJ on Oman Tax Law at MABC seminar

Filed under AMJ News, Islamic Banking and Finance, Tax Law

tax-seminarAMJ’s Anthony Watson was a guest speaker at a tax seminar organised by the Muscat American Business Council on April 17. A joint presentation by Anthony, a senior associate in AMJ’s commercial law practice, and Philip Bond of KPMG, highlighted key corporate tax law issues such as withholding tax, exemptions, foreign capital investment rules and the Oman-US Free Trade Agreement for an audience of experts and businessmen. A hot topic on the sidelines of the seminar was the need to amend the Oman tax laws to reflect new Islamic banking requirements. Oman’s Islamic banks, Bank Nizwa and Izz Bank as well as the Islamic banking windows introduced by many other banks, are pressing for Sharia-compliant protocols to govern the tax returns they are required to file by the end of 2013. Also of interest to the business community is the introduction of value-add tax ‘VAT’ in the GCC tentatively slated for 2015-6.