Tax Professionals' Guide to relocating to Oman
Oman, officially the Sultanate of Oman, is an Arab country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. Holding a strategically important position at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the country shares land borders with the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest, and shares marine borders with Iran and Pakistan. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the southeast and the Gulf of Oman on the northeast.
Oman has a relatively diversified economy, but remains dependent on oil exports. Tourism is the fastest-growing industry in Oman. Other sources of income, agriculture and industry, are small in comparison and account for less than 1% of the country's exports.
Oman's population is over 4 million, 45% of whom are expatriates.
The Big 4 accounting firms all have offices based in Oman and are based in the capital, Muscat. There are very few in-house tax jobs available in Oman so the primary employers of tax professionals are Deloitte, KPMG, EY and PwC.
To view current tax jobs in Oman please follow this link: https://www.etaxjobs.com/browse-jobs/europe-middle-east-and-africa-tax-jobs/oman-tax-jobs/
Working in Oman
In order to work in Oman you will need a residency permit. When applying for residency it is essential that you already have a firm job offer. Your invitation to stay in the country will be sent by your new employer and they will start the immigration process. The spouse of a work visa holder and any children under the age of 21 can apply for a family visa, which will allow them to live in Oman, but not to work.
A traditional working week is between 40-48 hours and runs from Sunday to Thursday, leaving Friday and Saturday as the weekend. This is largely due to Friday being a holy Islamic day when Jumu’ah prayers take place. Oman’s working week is also largely observed by its neighbours, Saudi Arabia and and Qatar.
There is currently no personal income tax (PIT) law enacted in Oman.
A 17.5% social security contribution is applicable to employees who are Omani nationals. The employee pays a contribution of 7% of salary, and the employer pays the balance of 10.5%. However, this does not apply to expatriates.
VAT is currently at 5%.
If you are moving to Muscat with children then the fees for an international school will be the most expensive aspect of your relocation. Teenage children would be charged around £15,000 per year, for example. It is therefore recommended that you negotiate with your employer to include school fees as part of your overall package. It is also advisable to register your child as quickly as possible to guarantee a space in the school of your choice. Some popular international schools include British School Muscat, American British Academy, Al Batinah International School and Muscat International School.
The most popular form of public transport in Oman is travelling by shared taxi. If you were to book a private “engaged” taxi you would be charged considerably more. There are no fixed tariffs based on distance/time for taxis in Oman, instead the price is agreed upon before departure. This can cause problems for new expats and put you at risk of being overcharged. It is recommended that you take advice from locals on what is a fair price. Intercity bus lines are also available to travel between the bigger cities. These are comfortable and have air conditioning. Many tax professionals decide to use their own car for commuting.
75% of residents live in the bigger cities, these being Muscat and Salalah. It is uncommon for expats to buy property in Oman, unless they plan to live in the country long-term. The most popular option is rental, with contracts typically being paid upfront and lasting 3 months or a year. Websites such as Better Homes and Savills will aid your rental property search. A 1 bed apartment close to Muscat would start at OMR 550 per month, which equates roughly £1,000 or $1,500 per month.
This article was written by tax recruitment specialists Kingpin International, who publish a series of lifestyle news on living and working in GCC countries.