Companies in the UAE enjoy the world’s least demanding tax framework, according to a new report compiled by the World Bank, International Financial Corporation, or IFC, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Qatar and Saudi Arabia are second and third respectively in the ranking of countries with the lightest administrative burden in paying taxes. Bahrain comes 7th, Oman 10th and Kuwait 11th in the ranking.
Companies operating in the UAE, which was last year ranked sixth globally for having the easiest tax structure, pay an annual total tax rate of 14.9 per cent, make four payments a year and spend just four hours preparing the administration required for payments, said the report.
Khaleej TimesThe UAE is among a those few countries in the world without a personal income tax regime. In April this year, the UAE Minister of Finance and Deputy Ruler of Dubai Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum reiterated that the country has no plans to impose income tax or new service fees on individuals and companies to fund any fiscal deficit.
Released today, the Paying Taxes 2013 study looks at tax regimes in 185 economies, including 13 from the Middle East, and finds that companies in the Middle East pay a total average tax rate of 23.6 per cent compared to a global average of 44.7 per cent, the lowest of any region in the world.
On average a medium company in the Middle East makes 17.6 payments (frequency with which the company has to file and pay different types of taxes and contributions), and spending 158 hours (time to prepare, file and pay three major types of taxes including labour taxes, mandatory contributions and consumption taxes), a figure which is well below the world average and the lowest for any region.
Labour taxes and social contributions account for the largest part of these three indicators in the Middle East, which is quite different to the average global profile. The average Total Tax Rate for Middle East region is 23.6 per cent, well below the world average of 44.7 per cent and the lowest of any region. The UAE and Saudi Arabia are ranked first and third respectively in 2013; up from sixth and 7th in 2012, while Qatar remains second for the fourth year.
Dean Kern, Tax Leader, PwC Middle East, said economies in the Middle East feature so prominently in the top jurisdiction of the Paying Taxes indicators. “This can be largely attributed to the relatively few taxes levied and the reliance on other sources of government revenues. With increased spending requirements and populations demanding greater economic rights, governments in the Middle East will face a challenge to raise additional tax revenues in the future, either by introducing new taxes, expanding the tax base or increasing tax rates,” Kern said in a statement.
“Electronic filing and payment reduces paperwork and complexity in tax systems and can help increase tax compliance and reduce the cost of tax administration,” said Augusto Lopez Claros, Director, Global Indicators and Analysis, World Bank Group.
“The report finds that over the last several years there has been a gradual reduction in the number of payments and in the number of hours spent by a medium-sized company to comply with its tax obligations. This reduction across all regions of the world in the burden of tax administration is a welcome development,” said Claros.