Oman plans to implement 5% VAT in 6 months

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Cash-strapped Oman is planning to introduce a 5 percent value-added tax in April, following the lead of Gulf neighbors.

Essential food items, medical care, education and financial services will be exempt from the planned levy, according to a royal decree detailing the tax.

Oman, the biggest oil exporter outside OPEC, was among the more vulnerable economies in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council even before it was lashed by falling crude prices and the coronavirus pandemic. Its budget deficit as a share of gross domestic product is anticipated to be among the highest in the region, according to the International Monetary Fund.

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The UAE and Saudi Arabia imposed a 5 per cent VAT in 2018. Saudi Arabia tripled its tax this year.

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