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UAE has no plans to follow Saudi in VAT increase - official

DUBAI (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is not currently planning to raise its value-added tax (VAT) rate of 5%, the finance ministry said on Monday after Saudi Arabia announced it was tripling its rate.

Saudi Arabia earlier on Monday said that from July 1 VAT would increase to 15% from 5%, with the kingdom seeking to contain the financial hit caused by low oil prices.

In a statement, the UAE finance ministry said it denied there were “any plans currently to raise value-added tax.”

The six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states agreed in 2017 on a “Unified VAT Agreement”, and the UAE and Saudi Arabia introduced a 5% VAT rate in 2018. Bahrain implemented it in 2019.

Fellow GCC members Qatar, Kuwait and Oman have not introduced VAT.

UAE’s tax revenue, including VAT, made up 5.5% of its total public revenue in 2018, the official news agency WAM cited the Ministry of Finance as saying late last year. There was no separate breakdown of collections from VAT itself in the report.

Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh and Alexander Cornwell; Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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