Tax reforms hit Middle East enterprises: ERP, RPA and AI can help

Many GCC businesses plan to undertake large scale tax technology adoption in the next five years – with robotic process automation, artificial intelligence and ERP leading the way.

CIO | Middle East  >  Stress / fatigue / working late
PeopleImages / Getty Images

The Middle East, and in particular the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, is currently undergoing a dramatic tax transformation, with technology playing a big part.

Historically the region has had little tax; Saudi Arabia had corporate tax and a religious tax called Zakat, whereas the UAE had none. In the last few years, though, Middle Eastern countries have begun to introduce new duties. In 2018 Saudi Arabia and the UAE introduced VAT and excise tax. Bahrain followed suit the next year, while the other GCC countries are expected to introduce VAT in the near future.

The new tax regimes serve different purposes, whether helping to meet the governments' need for new revenue streams outside of oil, or "legitimising" the countries' markets in the eyes of economic bodies like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank, helping to raise their global standing and bring in overseas investment.

At the same time, the region has been closely watching the wider world move towards digitisation of tax accounting, reporting and compliance. Many GCC governments have already begun to embrace this themselves, using technology to change how authorities manage tax payments and compliance.

Enterprises adopt  tax software  

To continue reading this article register now

Discover what your peers are reading. Sign up for our FREE email newsletters today!