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Mandatory e-payment option to fight tax evasion, hidden trade

31 Jul 2021

The decision to implement an electronic payment option in shops and for commercial activities starting from January 1, 2022, is aimed at fighting hidden trade and tax evasion, according to Mubarak Mohammed al Dohani, director general of Commerce in the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion (MoCIIP).

Dohani confirmed that with e-payment as an optional service, customers will have the choice to use cash for smaller transactions. 

“Unfortunately, some shops are run by expatriate workers. They are not the shop owners. The decision will help concerned authorities know who is the real owner, which will reduce hidden trade. The decision also aims to tackle tax evasion, bankruptcy and reduce counterfeit currency, in addition to providing more payment options to consumers.”

Dohani added that in the first stage, the decision will be implemented for the most popular commercial activities in the sultanate, most of which do not offer an option to pay electronically. “So it is an exercise to reduce hidden trade and the exit of funds from the sultanate without the national economy benefiting from it. For example, trade in gold and silver is one of the high-risk activities. The decision will help reduce money laundering in this activity.”

Dohani confirmed that the Central Bank of Oman (CBO), in coordination with banks and service providers, has provided point-of-sale devices to merchants without installation fees or monthly or annual fees to private sector institutions. Only the fees for transactions specified by CBO will be applicable.

“The fees must not exceed 1.5 per cent of the transaction amount or a maximum of RO10 for payment via debit cards or exceed 0.75 per cent for mobile payments via QR code. The Consumer Protection Authority, in coordination with banks, will receive complaints related to electronic payments through the authority’s communication channels,” said Dohani.

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