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UAE ranked 6th globally in ease of paying taxes

Issac John / 12 December 2011

DUBAI - The UAE and three other GCC countries are ranked among the world’s top ten nations for the ease of paying taxes, according to a new report.

Now in its sixth edition, the annual report, “Paying Taxes 2012,” was issued by PwC in conjunction with the World Bank and International Finance Corporation, or IFC, a member of the World Bank Group.

The report has compared tax systems across 183 countries from a business perspective.

According to the finding, all six GCC states fall within the top 15 countries within the ranking. The UAE in particular was ranked sixth in the list. Qatar came second globally for the ease of tax paying. Saudi Arabia has been ranked 7th, Oman 8th, Kuwait 12th, and  Bahrain 13th.

The GCC has delayed the implementation of a proposed value-added tax (VAT) indefinitely until every member is ready with the internal systems and specialised staff required to implement such a tax regime.

In November, the UAE Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance said the country would not impose any new tax this year or next year. As a region, the Middle East has fewer and less complex tax laws in the world. The UAE has been ranked 6th in 2012 down from 5th in 2011. 

On average there are almost half as many taxes levied in the Middle East, compared to the global average. Moreover, the time to complete tax obligations is significantly lower than the rest of the world. The findings further support the region’s growth prospects and its position on the global stage.

“The UAE has again been ranked in the top 10 for the ease of paying taxes,” said Dean Rolfe Tax Partner at PwC.

“The Middle East has traditionally been, and continues to be, relatively straight forward when it comes to paying taxes due to the limited number of taxes that are currently levied. A key finding in this year’s report highlights that when governments continue to reform their tax systems they improve their overall rankings to become more internationally competitive. Such reforms might include the ability to file and pay taxes electronically.”

According to the key findings in this year’s report, tax reforms continue around the world, making paying taxes easier. In the past seven years more than 60 per cent of the economies made paying taxes easier with 244 reforms.

Between June 2010 and May 2011, 33 economies made it easier to pay taxes. Since the 2006 Paying Taxes study, the tax cost has fallen on average by 8.5 per cent, the time needed to comply dropped by over a week (54 hours), and the number of payments declined by almost five.

The Paying Taxes data is produced as part of the World Bank and IFC’s Doing Business study. Data on business taxes is taken from a questionnaire sent by the World Bank to PwC offices and other third-party contributors around the world. 

The methodology used to analyse this data and assess the Total Tax Rate in each country is based largely on PwC’s Total Tax Contribution framework.


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