VAT in Bahrain – Update your Sunsystem financials with Synergy Software Systems

October 23rd, 2018 by Stephen Jones Leave a reply »

Bahrain will be the next country to implement five per cent value-added tax (VAT) after the UAE and Saudi Arabia as part of the GCC framework agreed between the six states, according to tax experts. Bahrain’s parliament in an extraordinary session ordered by royal decree. has approved the introduction of 5 percent value-added tax (VAT) in the kingdom from January 1 2019. The move must also be approved by Bahrain’s upper house.

The introduction of VAT will be a big challenge for the local Bahrain market, and businesses now have less than 3 months to be prepared for these changes. This announcement of a definitive date for the tax to become effective means that businesses should accelerate their VAT readiness preparations. Last week, Bahrain announced a fiscal overhaul meant to balance its budget by 2022, backed up by a $10 billion economic support package from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait. The plan aims to raise $2.1 billion a year as Bahrain looks to curb its debt after years of lower oil prices.

At the start of 2018 VAT was introduced in both K.S.A, and the U.A.E. Synergy Software Systems has extensive experience of VAT implementation in business systems like Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, Dynamics Ax, and Infor SunSystems in both K.S..A and the U.A.E, across almost 200 customers in varied vertical sectors.

VAT Registration
• The compulsory VAT registration threshold in Bahrain is BHD 37,000 per annum.
• A voluntary registration for businesses below this threshold is permitted, although this has its own minimum threshold of BHD 18,850 per annum.
• There is scope for related businesses to apply for a single, Group VAT registration.
• There is no threshold for non-resident businesses, which must register prior to their first supply. Foreign registrations may be either direct, or via a local Fiscal Representative.

Bahraini VAT rates
Generally, Bahrain follows the terms of the Agreement, including the harmonised standard VAT rate of 5%, but has a wider range of zero and reduced VAT rates to provide subsidies to the less well off in society.

Which goods or services, at what rate?:

% Zero Basic foodstuffs; domestic and international transport; new properties; healthcare; exports of goods and services; high-value metals; oil and gas; education; and medicine and medical equipment.

Exempt: Sale and lease of real estate; and financial services.

5% Standard From 1 January 2019: All other supplies of goods, or services, including imports, in accordance with the Unified VAT Agreement.

Bahraini VAT invoices
VAT invoices must contain the following information as a minimum:
• Date of invoice (and date of supply if different)
• Unique, sequential invoice number
• Tax ID number of the supplier
• Name and address of the supplier and customer
• Description and quantity of the goods supplies; nature of services provided
• Gross, VAT and net values of supply
• VAT rate applied, and explanation where not the standard rate
Invoices must be issued within 15 days following the month of supply of the taxable goods or services.

Bahraini VAT Returns
Registered tax payers must submit their periodic returns each month.
Returns must be filed by the last working day of the month following the reporting period.

Penalties for non-compliance
Timely preparation is critical because VAT is generally a self-assessed tax, and errors are often subject to severe penalties and business disruption.
Businesses that have been operating in a largely non-tax environment should already have started to prepare and to analyze in detail what the implications of the new tax will be for example on: their pricing, contracts and IT systems.
The following penalty regime for non-compliance is in place, with financial penalties and potential prison terms:
• BD10,000 for failure to register for VAT within 60 days of the required date
• Failing to issue a VAT invoice within 15 days of the month following the taxable supply
• Failing to submit a VAT return and/or pay any VAT due by the end of the month following the reporting month,

Transition rules
The following rules will apply to supplies contracted and supplied over the introductory period:
• Where invoices were issued, or payments made, prior to 1 January 2019 for post-implementation supplies, then VAT is still due. In this case, a debit note for the original invoice should be issued with the correct VAT indicated.
• Initially, goods supplied to other GCC states that have also implemented VAT (Saudi Arabia and UAE) will be treated as exports. There are plans to introduce zero-rating with reverse charge supplies to eliminate import VAT, but this is dependent on the introduction of an Electronic Services System transaction reporting platform, which has yet to be developed.
• For pre-January 2019 contracts which are silent on the VAT treatment, then the price will be VAT inclusive. This presents a cash flow risk for the supplier.

Other GCC Countries
The Sultanate of Oman announced that VAT would be introduced in 2019, most likely mid-2019.
The Kuwaiti parliament is yet to vote on the VAT bill which should be introduced in the upcoming session before the year-end. The expected timeline of introduction of VAT in Kuwait is late 2019 or 2020.

EY, estimated that a five per cent VAT rate will produce revenues of over $25 billion per annum for the six GCC countries.

Contact:
Synergy Software Systems: 009714 3365589/ 33734282
Deyafa Systems: 009714 3240066

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