The first Law Update of 2024 is here, and our first focus of the year spotlights Healthcare and Lifesciences, a sector that is undergoing significant growth and development across the MENA region.
Our focus provides an insight into some of the most important regulatory updates across the region, such as the UAE’s groundbreaking law on the use of human genome, Kuwait’s resolution on nuclear and radioactive materials, the new regulations for healthcare services in Qatar, Egypt’s healthcare regulatory framework, and the impact of the Saudi Civil Transactions Law on the healthcare and life sciences sector … and there is so much more!
Beyond the healthcare pages our lawyers share with you multi-sector insights where you will discover articles on Dubai’s DIFC regulatory framework for startups, Bahrain’s commercial agencies law, and we also shed light on Kuwaiti civil code and the advantages of setting up a joint stock company in Saudi Arabia.Read the full edition
GAZT has published an English translation of VAT guidelines relating to employee benefits. These guidelines confirm that salaries are not subject to VAT and provide clarification on the VAT treatment of:
(i) benefits made available to employees;
(ii) the reimbursement of employee expenses; and
(iii) the recoverability of VAT incurred on employee related expenses.
GAZT also confirmed that it will take a broad interpretation of the term “employee” and individuals will be considered employees for VAT purposes where the substance of the arrangement is similar to an employer-employee relationship.
KSA has signed the Multilateral Convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting, becoming the 84th signatory to the Convention. The Multilateral Convention is the first multilateral treaty of its kind.
This will allow KSA to modify its existing treaties without the need for time consuming bilateral renegotiations and enable it to close gaps in the existing international tax rules which are used by companies to artificially shift profits to low or no tax jurisdictions where there is little or no economic substance or activity.
In 2017, certain provisions of the KSA income tax law were amended by Royal Decree M/113 to modify the current structure for resolving tax disputes by the establishment of two new committees – a committee for tax violations and disputes resolution and an appellate committee for tax violations and disputes resolution. According to the amendment, the appellate committee is required to prepare the detailed procedural rules for both these committees within 60 days from the appointment of the members. The detailed rules are expected to set out the formalities in relation to submitting an appeal against an assessment or appeal order and the transitional rules on resolving disputes currently being dealt with by the Preliminary Appeals Committee and the Higher Appeals Committee. GAZT had previously clarified that the current appeal procedures would remain in force until the new committees are formed.
His Highness King Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz has now approved the appointment of the heads and members of these two committees. As such, the operational rules are expected to be prepared before the end of year before being issued by royal decree. Once the changes to the tax law come into force, the time permitted to submit an appeal against an assessment or an appeal order will be reduced from 60 days to 30 days and the appellate committee’s decision will be considered final (under the current rules, the decisions can be appealed to the Board of Grievances).
It is not clear at this stage whether disputes in relation to Zakat will come under the jurisdiction of these committees and this is expected to be clarified in the future.
Al Tamimi can:
Al Tamimi has a strong regional tax practice and are well placed to advise in relation to income tax, Zakat, VAT, excise tax and customs issues.
Please do not hesitate to contact Al Tamimi’s Tax Team if you require any assistance.