Oman has exempted some key sectors such as healthcare, education and finance from the value-added tax which will be levied over the next six months.
State-run Oman TV last week said that five per cent VAT will be imposed on goods and services, but with some exceptions.
In addition to financial services, provisions of healthcare and education and their related goods and services, other exemptions are undeveloped lands (bare lands); resale of residential properties; local passenger transport; and renting real estate for residential purposes, said Thomas Vanhee, Partner at Aurifer Middle East Tax Consultancy.
He said import of investment gold, silver and platinum, supplies of international goods and passenger transport and related services; supply of rescue aircrafts, boats and auxiliary ships; supply of crude oil and its oil derivatives and natural gas; import of maritime, air and land transport vehicles for transport of goods for commercial purposes as well as import of related services; and supplies for the disabled and charity organisation have been designated as zero rated.
Supply of foodstuffs, medicines and medical equipment to be determined by the decision of the President, after coordination with the competent authorities. Some of the basic foodstuff will also be exempted from five per cent VAT.
Oman will be fourth Gulf nation to levy VAT after the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The Gulf countries have levied VAT in order to expand their revenue base amidst lower oil prices. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected that Oman's economy will shrink 10.0 per cent in 2020 and 0.5 per cent in 2020 and 2021, respectively. The Gulf economy will contract for third consecutive year as it shrank 0.8 per cent last year.
Muscat has set voluntary registration threshold of 19,250 Omani riyals and mandatory registration for businesses and individuals with turnover of 38,500 riyals.