The Arab world generated revenues worth around $810 billion through different taxes from 2011 to 2015, according to Arab Monetary Fund (AMF).
According to the AMF, tax revenues decreased by 4.9% in 2015 compared with 2014 due to a fall in revenues from income and profit taxes—from $64.1 billion to $58.2 billion—that was the result of low economic activity in many Arab countries.
Profit and income taxes represented the largest chunk of the $810 billion revenues — 35.2% or $266.6 billion. Production and consumption taxes constituted 34.9% or $285.6 billion.
Revenues from customs fee on foreign trade represented 15.1% or about $122.2 billion.In 2015, tax revenues constituted 6.7% of the total gross domestic product (GDP) of Arab countries.
In 2015, tax revenues constituted 6.7% of the total gross domestic product (GDP) of Arab countries. In the same year, production and consumption tax revenues rose 8.4% to $62.8 billion due to strong consumer spending.
These are pre-VAT numbers, though.
This month, the UAE government’s Federal National Council (FNC) has approved a draft law that requires business owners and landlords to pay a 5% value-added tax (VAT) starting January 2018.
Specific to businesses under the new law is a requirement for private businesses making Dhs370,000 and more a year to pay a 5% VAT.
Last year, the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman, signed an agreement to implement a 5 % VAT, despite administrative and technical challenges.
However, economists and officials have previously opined that simultaneous introduction in all countries may not be feasible as creating the administrative infrastructure to collect the tax remains a challenge.
The UAE government expects around Dhs12 billion ($3.3 billion) of revenues from the tax in its first year. That would be about 0.9% of the UAE’s gross domestic product of $371 billion in 2015.