Monitoring the Tax impacts of COVID-19 in the Middle East

Compliance deadline extensions

The impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) has been felt globally, creating unprecedented challenges for businesses. In response, various tax authorities in the Middle East have also taken measures to support the business community in the form of compliance deadline extensions. A summary of the key changes as of 29 March 2020 is listed below. We will continue to update this summary if other tax authorities in the region issue any formal statements.


Economic Substance Regulations – notifications:
  • For entities with a 31 December 2019 year end, we understand the previous deadline of 31 March 2020 to notify and/or submit the return with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism (MOICT) has now been extended to 30 June 2020.

United Arab Emirates

Economic Substance Regulations – notifications:
  • Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) – The 31 March 2020 notification deadline previously advised is no longer applicable. A new deadline date has not yet been announced. 
  • Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) - The 31 March 2020 notification deadline previously advised is no longer applicable. A new deadline date has not yet been announced.

Ras Al Khaimah

  • International Corporate Centre (RAKICC) – The notification deadline for
    licensees registered at RAKICC will be 30 June 2020.
  • Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSO) – The notification deadline for entities licensed in DSO is 31 March 2020.


  • Extension of deadline for submitting the income tax returns for the year ended December 31, 2019 by an additional two months. The new deadline for submitting the tax returns for Tax Year 2019 will be June 30, 2020.
  • The General Tax Authority (GTA) has confirmed that the tax payment deadline is also extended until June 30, 2020

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

  • Extending the deadline by three months for filing Tax/Zakat returns, Withholding Tax (WHT) returns, Value Added Tax (VAT) returns, etc.
  • Extending the deadline by three months for making payments for Income tax, WHT, Zakat, VAT, excise duty, etc.
  • Zakat and tax certificates expiring for the fiscal year 2019 will be issued without any restrictions.
  • Deferring the collection of customs duties on imports for a period of thirty days against the submission of a bank guarantee for the next three months.
  • Relief on expat levy, fees of issued work visas, extending exit and re-entry visas, some government services fees municipal fees, etc. with certain conditions.

The media release does not specifically address other matters such as deadlines for filing objections and appeals.

 However, in a related matter, the General Authority of Zakat and Tax
(GAZT) and the General Secretariat for Tax Committees (GSTC) had previously
issued notifications that hearings by the Internal Settlement Committee and the
Appeal Committees respectively have been suspended until further notice. The
GAZT is expected to issue additional guidelines soon. 

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