VAT: A Possible New Revenue Source for MENA Economies ?


1-2 June 2010 - Manama, Bahrain

With over 150 countries in the world currently relying on value added taxes (VAT) to generate fiscal revenue, a number of MENA countries -- particularly in the Gulf -- are now exploring the possibility of implementing VAT in their jurisdictions.

The 5th meeting of MENA-OECD Investment Programme’s Working Group on Taxation, held on 1-2 June 2010 in Manama, Bahrain brought together over 60 senior experts from thirteen countries to discuss the tax policy and tax administration consequences of introducing a VAT, and specifically to consider the design and implementation of a VAT in GCC countries.

To help determine the most appropriate system for MENA economies, the meeting examined the different models of VAT that are applied throughout the world. The EU form of VAT, while widely employed, has an average standard rate across the 27 Member states of close to 20%, with some countries having a rate up to 25%. At the same time, it also tends to have a multiplicity of reduced rates that make for increased complexity and higher compliance costs for business. For this reason, Working Group experts pointed to VAT as applied in Singapore and Switzerland as a potentially more appropriate model for GCC countries


Meeting Documents



Session I.  Basic operation and elements of a VAT

Session II.  Main VAT administration issues

Session III.  GCC VAT proposal

Session IV. Taxation, innovation and training

  • Taxation, Innovation and Training
    Steven Clark, Head, Corporate Tax and Global Relations Unit, Tax Policy and Statistics Division
    OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration (CTPA)

Session V.  Other VAT design and administration issues

Session VI.  Roundtable discussion of the GCC VAT proposal





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