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Global Tax 50 2016: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

13 December 2016

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The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf

 The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a new entry this year

A new entrant for this year is the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which is changing the tax landscape of the Middle East forever.

The council is made up of six member states, namely the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait. It was established in 1981 to join the six states in a framework fostering effective coordination, integration and inter-connection in all fields in order to achieve unity, according to Article 4 of the GCC Charter.

In 2016, the member states finally agreed to introduce a VAT regime to plug revenue gaps created from the fall in oil prices. Over the year, a multilateral agreement was concluded in principle to implement VAT, and each country has worked towards developing the structure, compliance requirements and rates of the new VAT regime. This big change has put the GCC firmly on the tax map and in this year's Global Tax 50. But this is only the beginning. Businesses worldwide are paying attention to what is happening as this VAT regime may be the first of several tax regimes that could be introduced in the region over the coming years to sustain tax revenues.

So far this year, all six member states have committed to introducing VAT from January 1 2018, at a rate of 5%. All member states will have a VAT by the beginning of 2019 and companies are gearing up for the change.

The progressive implementation of VAT throughout the GCC from January 1 2018 marks the "start of some of the most exciting, dramatic and far-reaching socioeconomic changes in the region since the discovery of oil reserves in commercial quantities during the 1960s", said Justin Whitehouse, Deloitte Middle East indirect tax leader.

The Global Tax 50 2016
View the full list and introduction
The top 10 • Ranked in order of influence
1. Margrethe Vestager 2. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
3. Brexit 4. Arun Jaitley
5. Jacob Lew 6. Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet
7. Operation Zealots 8. Guy Verhofstadt
9. Theresa May (and the 'three Brexiteers') 10. Donald Trump
The remaining 40 • In alphabetic order
Kemi Adeosun Piet Battiau
Elise Bean Monica Bhatia
Allison Christians Tim Cook
Rita de la Feria Caroline Flint
Judith Freedman Chrystia Freeland
Pravin Gordhan Orrin Hatch
Meg Hillier Mulyani Indrawati
Lou Jiwei Paul Johnson
Stephanie Johnston Chris Jordan
Pravind Jugnauth Wang Jun
Jean-Claude Juncker Kathleen Kerrigan
Christine Lagarde Werner Langen
Jolyon Maugham Angela Merkel
Narendra Modi Will Morris
Michael Noonan Grace Perez-Navarro
Platform for the Collaboration on Tax Donato Raponi
Pascal Saint-Amans Heather Self
Robert Stack Tax Justice Network
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Transparency International
US Committee on Ways and Means Rodrigo Valdés







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