The Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies (EIBFS) recently hosted a conference dedicated to Value Added Tax (VAT), implemented on 1 January, and its impact primarily on the banking and financial sector.
Representatives from prominent local and multinational companies including KPMG Lower Gulf, Grant Thornton, TALLY Solutions, Emirates Chartered Accountant Group and Al Tamimi, were present to share insights and discuss some of the latest developments.
The conference, attended by over 200 people, focused on a variety of topics, including an overview of the VAT law, its long-term impact on the banking and financial sector and an analysis on VAT’s post-implementation. Different perspectives of VAT from the accounting, compliance and technology functions were also considered.
“The event comes at a good time to take stock of how VAT has been implemented, as well as analyse some of the challenges and progress that has been made post implementation. In the banking and finance services industry, VAT impacts all corporates and small-and-medium enterprises, making it an important for all financial institutions to understand,” said Jamal Al Jassmi, General Manager of EIBFS.
Shiraz Khan, Senior Tax Advisor, Al Tamimi, said that while most businesses were focused on preparing for the implementation of VAT in 2017, the focus has now shifted to the completion of the first VAT return—some companies have already filed their VAT return and other companies will file their first VAT return over the next few months. “It is important to ensure that the VAT return is as accurate as possible given that the penalties for errors are very high. As the VAT law is still very new, the interpretation and application of the law will present challenges for the Federal Tax Authority, tax advisors and businesses. In the absence of any published practise of the Federal Tax Authority and precedent, there is likely to be considerable uncertainty on the VAT treatment for many transactions. My key message to internal departments within an organisation that are responsible for the VAT function is to proactively manage the VAT risk by documenting the basis for any positions taken.”
EIBFS regularly hosts a combination of technical, professional and soft-skills training sessions along with industry-specific workshops and conferences.