Value Added Tax (VAT) implementation in the Gulf:
Focus on Qatar


28 Feb, 2024

The GCC’s collective initiative to introduce VAT aims to diversify revenue sources and align with global tax standards. While some member states have successfully implemented VAT, others, including Qatar, are in the process of implementation.

The GCC states, with the exception of Kuwait and Qatar, have successfully implemented VAT as part of their economic reform agenda. Saudi Arabia and the UAE were pioneers in adopting VAT in 2018, signaling a regional commitment to fiscal responsibility and economic diversification.

VAT Implementation Across GCC States:

  • Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain: These countries swiftly adopted VAT, with Saudi Arabia’s decision to increase the VAT rate to 15% in May 2022 highlighting the adaptability of VAT systems to economic needs.
  • Oman: Oman aligned itself with the GCC VAT framework in April 2021, joining the efforts to standardize tax regulations across the region.
  • Kuwait and Qatar: Kuwait and Qatar have yet to implement VAT, maintaining their tax-free status. However, Qatar is gearing up for VAT introduction, aligning with the GCC framework. The anticipated tax rate is set at 5%.

At the moment Qatar does not impose VAT or sales tax within its borders, similar to Kuwait. But there are some anticipated changes in order to align Qatar with the rest of the GCC. The expected 5% VAT rate reflects a balance between revenue generation and economic sustainability.

Implementing VAT poses several challenges for GCC nations, including adapting business practices, educating stakeholders, and ensuring compliance.