Saudi Arabia imposes new 5% tax on property deals, exempts from 15% VAT

The country is facing a deep recession, with the economy shrinking by 7 per cent in the second quarter and unemployment hitting a record high of 15.4 per cent. The government had in July tripled VAT to 15 per cent to boost non-oil revenues, but the move set off limited domestic demand.

Saudi Arabia will exempt real estate transactions from a 15% value-added tax (VAT) and instead impose a new 5% tax on property deals, said a royal order issued by King Salman on Friday.

Saudi Arabia’s finance minister said on Twitter that the order, which was carried on state media, aimed to help spur economic growth and provide support for Saudi citizens.

The country is facing a recession, with the economy shrinking by 7% in the second quarter and unemployment hitting a record high of 15.4%. The government had in July tripled VAT to 15% to boost non-oil revenues, but the move set off limited domestic demand.