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Sun 12 Jun 2016 12:16 PM

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No income tax on expats, says Oman official

Sultanate has no plans to impose tax on foreigners as mooted for Saudi Arabia

No income tax on expats, says Oman official
(Getty Images)

Oman has no plans to impose income tax on expats, an official has reportedly claimed.

Salem Al Saadi, an advisor at the Ministry of Manpower, was quoted as telling the Times of Oman that the sultanate “does not encourage such a tax”.

It followed reports that Saudi Arabia was planning to introduce income tax on expats and citizens, as part of the kingdom’s economic development plans contained in its recently published Vision 2030.

Saudi’s economy minister later insisted that officials had yet to make a decision on the proposal, but it prompted concern elsewhere across the GCC.

Al Saadi was quoted as saying this week: “We are not encouraging this. Every country has its own procedures, and in this country, we do not encourage such a tax.

“If there is any kind of tax, it will be for everyone – expats and Omanis. Expats are not strangers for us, and they work according to the Labour Law. The Labour Law controls all the expats and it does not involve income tax.”

Al Saadi’s comments were reportedly backed up by Tawfiq Al Lawati, head of the economic committee at Oman’s Shura council. He said: “We don’t have a system of imposing income tax on people here, whether Omanis or otherwise, and levy it only on companies.

“Personally, I would avoid it, especially with the current oil prices. It is not possible for people to pay tax when they don’t know what it will be spent on.”

He added: “If I, as a Shura member, implement the income tax, I wouldn’t be able to face people on the streets and I am not convinced about personal taxes,” he added.

The newspaper also quoted Ahmed Al Esry, managing partner at professional services firm EY as saying the introduction of an income tax in Oman would have a substantial impact on Oman citizens and he did not believe the country would take such a step in the foreseeable future.

“I don’t think it is the right time as so many things are happening,” he said. “With the removal of fuel subsidies, a factor that has added to inflation, and the VAT coming in, I don’t think the government will try clubbing it all together, because at the end of the day, this will affect ordinary people.”