Oman Adopts the GCC Trademark Law

Oman Adopts the GCC Trademark Law

 

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Trademark Law was issued in Oman on July 25th, 2017 with immediate effect after publication. However, Oman has not published the Implementing Regulations, and official fees are anticipated to increase once the regulations are issued.

The GCC Trademark Law has been fully adopted by Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia since the Implementing Regulations have been issued. The United Arab Emirates and Qatar are the two GCC countries that are yet to implement the GCC Trademark law.

The GCC Trademark Law is expected to eventually complement stipulations throughout all the GCC countries concerning enforcement and prosecution of trademark rights. The law does not offer a unitary trademark system of registration. Hence the GCC countries will require individual trademark registrations.

 

Features of the GCC Trademark Law in Oman:

  • Trademark registrations have a validity of 10 years from the date of filing. They are also renewable for similar periods, with a grace period of six months for late renewals.
  • Penalties for trademark violation have increased. Fines can range from OMR 100 (USD 260) to as high as OMR 100,000 (USD 260,000), including imprisonment from one month up to three years.
  • Trademark applications acknowledged by the Registrar will be published for opposition purposes. The GCC Trademark Law grants a period of 60 days from the date of publication. The current opposition period in Oman is 90 days.
  • The timeline for examining trademark applications is 90 days from the filing date according to Article (6) of the GCC Trademarks Law’s Implementing Regulations. The extended period is for candidates to prepare the requested documents or apply any conditions required by the Trademarks Office.
  • If the trademark is not used for five successive years after registration, the trademark is susceptible to cancellation by any interested party.
  • The Trademark Law acknowledges well-known trademarks in the GCC countries and will ensure its protection even if the marks are not registered.

 

The GCC Trademarks Law provides a unified trademarks law that allows appropriate holders to benefit from the same level of protection across the GCC countries. It will set out a single set of provisions concerning the enforcement and registration of trademarks rights in all GCC countries. This will aid them to manage their portfolios in the region.

 

Tax Regime Changes in Oman

Tax Regime Changes in Oman

tax regime

The corporate tax system in Oman has implemented substantial changes during early 2017. The changes are expected to affect small and medium enterprises, foreign businesses without a local establishment and Oman taxpayers.

There are several changes to the tax regime in Oman:

  • Corporate income tax is increased to 15% from 12%.
  • An introduction of a lower 3% tax rate for certain small businesses (only applicable for GCC countries).
  • The initial OMR 30,000 (USD 78,000) of taxable profits has been eliminated.
  • Withholding tax has been extended to include interest, dividends and payments for services for those without a permanent establishment in Oman.
  • Most tax exemptions are eliminated.
  • A new tax card system has been introduced by which tax cards will be issued to all taxpayers, and new taxpayers are required to apply for a tax card during commercial registration.
  • To form a permanent organisation in the case of a building site, an assembly project or place of construction, a minimum activity period of 90 days is required.
  • Tax exemptions will only be available for manufacturing activities. Tax exemptions will no longer be available for mining, export of goods manufactured in the region; operation of tourist villages and hotels, education, fishing or agriculture. New industrial exemptions will be limited to the initial five year period, with no renewal.
  • The old assessment system will be switched to a self-assessment based system, and electronic filing of tax returns has been introduced under conditions and rules outlined by the Ministry of Finance.
  • Stricter penalizations have been added to enforce acquiescence in cases of particular violations of the tax law.
  • Islamic financial transactions will be taxed in the same manner as their conventional equivalent.

Establishments will need to immediately consider the business impact of the tax rate changes and extension of suppressing taxes on their operations in Oman. Double taxation treaties may help amend the effect of withholding tax changes. In spite of the tax law alterations, Oman remains a jurisdiction without any personal income tax legislation.