Saudi Arabia flag Saudi Arabia: Business Environment

Tax rates in Saudi Arabia

Tax Rates

Consumption Taxes

Nature of the Tax
A Value Added Tax (VAT) was introduced on 1st January 2018. For more info consult the website of the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority.
Tax Rate
15% (effective 1 July 2020).
Reduced Tax Rate
Certain goods and services are zero-rated, including exports of goods and services outside the GCC, the supply of qualifying medicines, medical goods, investment metals (gold, silver and platinum of 99% purity or higher, on a producer or refiner’s original sale of investment metal and any further sale of gold, silver and platinum where the purity level remains), international transport services, and vehicles and equipment to be used for international transportation.
Other Consumption Taxes
Other consumption taxes are levied at the national level and the local level (e.g. gasoline tax, aviation fuel tax, liquefied petroleum gas tax, petroleum tax, motor vehicle tax, etc.). Excise taxes were introduced in 2017. The rates are50% on soft drinks and 100% on energy drinks, tobacco products, and electronic devices used for smoking or vaping, as well as liquids consumed in such devices. In order to comply with the Saudi Arabian Excise Tax Law, manufacturers and importers of such goods are required to register with the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority.

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Corporate Taxes

Company Tax
20% + 2.5% Zakat
Tax Rate For Foreign Companies
A resident company is taxed on income sourced in Saudi Arabia. Only non-Saudi investors are liable for income tax in Saudi Arabia, and GCC nationals are considered Saudi citizens for tax purposes. If a company has both Saudi and foreign shareholders, the corporate income tax is calculated on the portion of taxable income attributable to the non-Saudi, while the Saudi part contributes to the tax base of Zakat.

A non-resident company carrying out business activities in Saudi Arabia through a permanent establishment is taxed on income arising from or related to the permanent establishment.

No foreign tax relief is provided for foreign entities in Saudi Arabia.

Capital Gains Taxation
The disposal of shares in a resident company by a non-resident shareholder is subject to a capital gains tax of 20%. Capital gains are subject to the normal income tax or Zakat rate, as appropriate. However, capital gains deriving from the disposal of securities traded on foreign stock markets are tax-exempt if they are also traded on the Saudi stock market.

Capital gains and losses on depreciable assets are not taken into consideration in determining the tax base. No gain or loss arises on the transfer of assets between companies belonging to the same group provided that the companies are wholly owned directly or indirectly within the group and the assets are not disposed of outside the group for two years from the date of transfer.

Main Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
All costs and expenses paid or incurred during the tax year to earn taxable income such as salaries and wages, travel expenses which are connected with the business or enterprise, and rent on properties used in the business, are deductible from the tax base, provided that they respect certain conditions: the expenses are supported by a verifiable document or other qualifying evidence; they are related to the generation of taxable income and to the subject tax year; they are of a non-capital nature.

Other expenses which may be deducted from the tax base include employers’ contributions paid for the employees to retirement funds; research and development expenses incurred to generate an income that is subject to taxation; school fees paid for the employees’ children (provided that such benefit is stated in the employment contract and that fees are paid to a local licensed school). Start-up expenses can generally be fully expensed in the first financial year or can be capitalised and amortised. Bad debts are also deductible (conditions apply), the same as for donations to certain approved charitable organizations. Operational losses can be carried forward (the maximum yearly profit percentage that could be used to offset cumulative losses should not exceed 25% of the year’s taxable profit). Carryback of losses is not permitted.

Non-deductible expenses include taxes, entertainment expenses incurred for certain events, expenses of an individual for personal consumption, insurance commission in excess of 3% of total premiums collected in Saudi Arabia through an agent or other, payments made to headquarter offices located abroad by wholly-owned local subsidiaries or branches.

The Saudi government grants a 10-year tax incentive on investments in the following six underdeveloped provinces: Hail, Jizan, Abha, Northern Border, Najran and Al-jouf. Machinery and raw materials that are required for approved projects are exempted from customs duties (when they are not available in the local market).

Other Corporate Taxes
There is no capital duty, stamp duty or payroll tax in Saudi Arabia. While there is no real estate tax, Zakat (religious tax) may be payable on real estate if held for speculation.
A Real Estate Transaction Tax ("RETT") applies to the disposal of real estate, at a rate of 5%.
A 2.5% white land tax applies on all undeveloped land within urban boundaries.

Zakat also applies to companies that are resident in Saudi Arabia and other GCC nations. It is levied at a flat rate of 2.5% and is chargeable on the total of the taxpayer's capital resources held for more than 12 months and income not invested in fixed assets. These include the company’s capital, net profits, retained earnings and reserves not created for specific liabilities.

Saudi employees are responsible for the monthly payment of the social insurance tax, which is levied at 2% for non-Saudi employees and 12% for Saudi employees (9% social insurance + 2% occupational hazard + 1% unemployment insurance), calculated on the basic wage, housing allowance and commissions (capped at SAR 45,000).

Other Domestic Resources
Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  Saudi Arabia Middle East & North Africa United States Germany
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 4.0 20.8 10.6 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 104.0 204.0 175.0 218.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 15.7 32.1 36.6 48.8

Source: Doing Business, Latest available data.

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Individual Taxes

Tax Rate

There is no individual income tax scheme in Saudi Arabia. Income tax is not imposed on an individual's earnings if they are derived only from employment in Saudi Arabia. N.A.
Non-employment income is taxed as an entity or permanent establishment (PE). Refer to corporate tax rates. 0%
Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
There is no individual income tax scheme in Saudi Arabia, and as such no deductions are needed.
Special Expatriate Tax Regime
Resident Saudis and non-residents who conduct business through a permanent establishment and/or with income sourced from Saudi Arabia are subject to tax. However, they are not taxed on personal or employment income but only on business income earned. Individuals not conducting business or professional activity are not taxed on interest or dividend income.
An annual dependent levy of SAR 4,800 applies per expat dependent residing in Saudi Arabia.

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Double Taxation Treaties

Countries With Whom a Double Taxation Treaty Have Been Signed
See the international tax treaties on the website of the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority
Withholding Taxes
When paid to a non-resident, withholding tax rates are 5% for dividends, 5% for interest and 15% for royalties, unless otherwise provided in a tax treaty. No withholding taxes are levied on residents.
Bilateral Agreement
The United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia are bound by a double taxation treaty.

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Latest Update: April 2024

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