World Economy

Iraq Seeks Investment Despite Tax Issues

Iraq Seeks Investment Despite Tax IssuesIraq Seeks Investment Despite Tax Issues

While Iraq continues to be a complex jurisdiction in which to operate from a tax perspective, the country still offers numerous investment opportunities, particularly in the energy and security sectors, a report said.

Iraq’s legislative framework and approach of the tax authority continue to evolve, noted the report entitled “Doing business guide–understanding Iraq’s tax position” from Deloitte, a leading provider of audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services, TradeArabia reported.

Iraq’s 2015 budget law introduced a number of provisions aimed at broadening the tax revenue base through introduction of new sales taxes, applicable to consumer products such as tobacco and internet services, amongst others, in addition to the implementation of the long-awaited customs duty law.

Personal income taxes for employees working in Iraq were also targeted, with a reduction in the legal allowances and tax bands applicable to both Iraqi nationals and expatriates alike. All of this results in a scope of taxation that is much broader than many neighboring countries in the Middle East.

“Tax has historically been regarded as being relatively low down the agenda for countries in the Middle East, but the landscape is changing,” said Alex Law, International Tax and M&A Tax Leader at Deloitte Middle East.

“Tax authorities across the region increasingly view tax as a critical source of sustainable revenues in light of falling oil prices, and Iraq is no exception. We are witnessing a growing awareness of the importance of broadening tax revenues, while the tax authority in Iraq has looked to its peers in the region, and has proactively sought technical training, including from authorities in neighboring jurisdictions,” he added.

The effects of failure to comply can be far reaching. “One of the most salient challenges for multinationals in the region is in relation to the repatriation of profits out of Iraq–in the form of paying suppliers from Iraq to non-Iraq territories or even paying dividends” said Law.