D-Day is around the corner for hotels in the Middle East with regards to the introduction of VAT, said tax director, indirect tax for Deloitte Middle East.
Bruce Hamilton made his remarks during his expert session at Hotel News Middle East’s GM Leaders Conference on Wednesday 3 May at W Dubai Al Habtoor City.
“All I’m saying to you at this moment in time is that if you haven’t started the process yet, now is the time to do so,” he said.
“Anybody thinking of trying to lobby for change at this point – forget it – you are wasting your time. Clarification? Yes you can ask for it. Lobbying for change to the process? We don’t have time to introduce the processes that would lead to changes before 2018. It’s just not going to happen.”
What hotels need to show, he said, is that their reputation is unimpeachable.
“It needs to be assured that you are seen to be doing the right thing and putting in the effort,” he said.
“You can’t allow it to impact on how you are doing business currently. If you have other projects they may need to take a back seat, they may need to be deferred but VAT cannot be deferred.”
There needs to be a strategy to deal with VAT, he warned, before adding that “panic is not a solution”.