Oman introduces jail terms for tax evaders

6th March 2017

As we’ve mentioned before, Oman is one of the safest places to operate in the Middle East. And with growing demand for specialists in the oil and gas market, as well as expertise in the utilities and construction sectors, contractors are in high demand.

However, there have recently been important legislative changes that professionals and the agencies placing them need to be aware of.

Jail terms for evasion

The government in Oman has joined the global fight on tax evasion by announcing new punishments for fraudulent activity, with a jail term of up to three years and a possible fine of OMR50,000 forming part of the tax law amendments published by the Ministry of Finance.

This move comes at a time when authorities are seeking to increase finances through better compliance and directly targets those who have historically failed to submit their accounts to the government or have concealed them in order to evade taxes. Punishment for such activity previously saw no jail term for guilty parties, with evaders facing a fine of just OMR5,000.

Contractor specific changes

For professionals seeking contract opportunities in the country, there are a number of changes to be aware of. In the first instance, every tax payer will be required to obtain a Tax Card, which contractors will need to apply for. Secondly, the threshold for tax free earnings will be removed, with the tax rate increasing to 15 percent.

Finally, for contractors in particular, your employment status could impact the payments required. According to the changes, any foreign person not carrying out activity in the country through a permanent establishment will be taxed for dividends on shares of joint stock firms, interest and fees from provision of services.

At 6CATS we recognise that the world of tax and compliance can be a minefield to navigate and will require a lot of time from contractors and agencies alike to truly manage – time that simply isn’t available. So why not partner with an expert who can remove this headache and ensure you remain on the right side of the law?

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