VAT violations: Consumers bear the brunt


Saudi Gazette report

— Neighborhood provision stores and groceries have yet to figure out the proper mechanism for charging Value Added Tax (VAT), according to the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI).

Consumers noted a number of violations committed by these shops and grocery stores, many of which did not give VAT receipts or change in coins.

Many companies including some involved in school transportation were charging VAT on old invoices.

Many consumers tried to call the General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GZAT) at 19993 to inform it about VAT violations, but their efforts were in vain as they did not get any response.

Many customers tried to call the Ministry of Commerce and Investment (MCI) to lodge complaints against high prices in barber shops and cafeterias, but they were referred to the municipality which in turn sent them back to the ministry as it is only concerned with licenses and hygiene.

According to GZAT, any commercial establishment which is not registered in the VAT system will be fined SR100,000 in addition to SR50,000 for not keeping registries or ledgers.

Naif Hazzazi, a resident of Jeddah, said neighborhood provision stores were charging VAT without issuing tax receipts or showing their VAT registration number.

Naif Al-Sharif, chairman of the committee on foodstuff at the JCCI, said provision stores and groceries are violating VAT rules. “These shops do not put price tags on their commodities. They do not have computers or billing systems,” he added.

Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid, chairman of the committee on economy and energy of the Shoura Council, asked consumers to lodge complaints about any VAT violations.

But where? Customers did not get any response when they called the GAZT number 19993 assigned for this purpose.