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Bahraini businesses with annual sales exceeding 5m dinars to register for VAT by January 1, 2019 n to implement VAT effective 1 January 2019

The Kingdom of Bahrain (Bahrain) Ministry of Finance (MoF) announced yesterday that businesses with an annual turnover exceeding 5m Bahraini Dinars (BD), approximately 13.25m US Dollars, will be obliged to register for Value Added Tax (VAT) before January 1, 2019.

This suggests that the introduction of VAT into Bahrain will be staggered and dependent on annual sales. The MoF has not outlined when businesses with an annual turnover below 5m BD but exceeding the mandatory VAT registration threshold of 37 500 BD will be required to register for VAT. It is not known whether voluntarily registration will be permitted in this initial period, or the impact this will have on group registrations. 

The MoF has also announced a series of workshops will be held to support businesses to prepare for VAT implementation. In addition, the National Bureau for Gulf Taxation (the tax authority in Bahrain) will be supporting businesses with VAT queries through a call center which can be reached at 8000 8001 or on a centralized e-mail.

It is expected that more clarity on the VAT registration process will be provided in the coming days and weeks. The VAT regulations will also provide details on the operational and procedural aspects of VAT, and in principle should be released no later than mid-January 2019, but are anticipated to be well before.

“Taxpayers who have commenced their preparations should see them through” said Michael Camburn, Head of VAT for Deloitte in Bahrain, “as the interim threshold for VAT registration could be altered at any time which would leave little time for the necessary changes to be made to accounting, financial, and other systems”.

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