Key decision makers, including CFOs, heads of finance, chief accountants and lawyers, gathered at the Downtown Rotana to discuss how they and their businesses should react to VAT, described by one seasoned observer as the single most significant change to have impacted Bahraini businesses in living memory.
Mubeen Khadir, who heads Keypoint’s tax practice, said that while Bahrain’s largest businesses are now largely registered for VAT, it was clear that the government, businesses and advisers were all going to have to work together if implementation was to be a success.
“We saw in the UAE – which did not stagger VAT implementation – and in Saudi Arabia – where VAT went live for smaller businesses on January 1 – that learning curves are steep and the consequences of mistakes can be sizeable. Businesses large and small – as well as the National Bureau for Revenue and tax advisers like us – can all learn from what went well, and not so well, with their peers in other GCC countries – and also from the experiences of Bahrain’s largest businesses over the last six weeks.
Presenters – including Mr Khadir and Chris Park, Raman Ohri and Tariq Haq, managers with Keypoint – discussed VAT fundamentals and explored answers to many of the questions clients – and the market – were asking: what are the advantages of registering early for VAT – and who benefits most; what does implementation suggest key decision makers should be doing now; and what has changed – in terms of legislation and interpretation – since VAT was introduced for Bahrain’s largest businesses on January 1?”
At the seminar, Keypoint announced that its next seminar – aimed at larger businesses which had already registered for VAT, would be held towards the end of March, with submitting the first VAT return a key talking point.
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