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Tax and Legal Services | Financial Services

Dedicated Tax and Legal Financial Services professionals, serving the Middle East Financial Services sector.

The Financial Services sector in the Middle East is undergoing a period of significant change, where we are seeing increasing regulation and significant market consolidation. Challenges lie ahead, but the industry is positioned well to respond, backed by strong foundations and deep pools of expertise.

Businesses continue to enter new markets and evolve in dynamic economic environments. Complying with legal and tax regulation poses a challenge, which needs to be dealt with with timeliness and accuracy.

We are committed to shaping the future of Financial Services in the Middle East, supporting organizations to meet their tax and legal obligations, re-evaluate their strategies in light of COVID-19 and execute their vision. 

Our teams advise on a wide range of matters, including but not limited to tax and legal compliance, digitisation of the economy and tax, global digital tax initiatives (including the “BEPS” process), international tax and M&A matters, indirect taxation (VAT), tax function design, customer tax reporting (FATCA/CRS/DAC6) and digital technologies and solutions for businesses across banking, wealth and asset management, financial intermediaries, payment providers and insurance.

Why PwC

We have a team of dedicated

We have a team of dedicated tax and legal professionals in the Financial Services sector, based in the Middle East, that are best positioned to advise on key issues facing your business, such as the impact of risk and regulation, tax and legal implications for digital service offerings, innovations in mobile and digital technologies, the disruptive impact of FinTech and the changing face of the customer.

We have proven credentials

We have proven credentials with a wide range of financial institutions across the Middle East and we are a team equipped with extensive global, regional and relevant financial sector experience.

Our highly experienced team

Our highly experienced team has strong digital capabilities, focusing on the areas that bring the most value to your business, including data and analytics and technology transformation.

We focus on the following key areas:

Banking & Capital Markets

Our Tax and Legal Banking and Capital Markets practice provides advice on retail banking, risk and regulation, FinTech, consumer credit, private, corporate and trade, wholesale and institutional banking and more.

How we can help

Regulatory reform, tax and legal considerations, risk management considerations, disruptive technologies, the low interest rate environment and enhanced information reporting requirements are all challenges to growth faced by the banking and capital markets sector. 

Sophisticated strategies and solutions are  required for organizations to gain a competitive edge. We assist many of today's largest banks and securities firms with their most challenging issues in every segment of the financial industry including:

  • Consumer and retail banking
  • Commercial banking
  • Wholesale banking
  • Mortgage banking
  • Securitisation 
  • Capital markets 
  • Insurance 
  • Investment management 
  • Broker/dealers 
  • Real estate

Wealth & Asset Management

Our Tax and Legal Wealth and Asset Management practice provides advice on asset and wealth management matters, family offices, fund setups, international expansion and more.

How we can help

Regulatory reform, tax and legal considerations, risk management considerations and lower barriers to entry in this industry are all challenges to growth in the wealth and asset management industry. 

Sophisticated strategies and solutions will be required for asset and wealth managers to gain a competitive edge. We assist many of today's largest asset and wealth managers in the region with their most challenging issues.


Our Tax and Legal Insurance practice provides advice on life insurance matters, reinsurance and general insurance matters.

How we can help

Changes in market segments, disruptive technologies, enhanced regulation and lower barriers to entry in this industry are all challenges to growth in the insurance industry. 

Sophisticated strategies and solutions will be required for insurers to gain a competitive edge. We assist many of today's largest life and non-life insurers in the region with their most challenging issues in every segment of the financial industry.

Customer Information Reporting - Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and Common Reporting Standard (CRS)

Financial Institutions must be compliant with the FATCA and CRS regimes.

Under FATCA, all US specified person account holders must be identified and reported to the IRS. 

CRS involves multilateral exchange of information on a global level meaning identification of tax residency of account holders and annual reporting.

Systems, processes and procedures must be implemented to comply with FATCA/CRS requirements.

Compliance demonstrates strong governance to tax and regulatory authorities and supports businesses to avoid global/local penalties and reputation loss.

Tax and regulatory authorities across the region have begun to implement and conduct audits and inspections for Financial Institutions to ensure compliance with FATCA and CRS - therefore Financial Institutions should act now to be ready. 

How we can help:

  • Pre-audit assessment  of the existing level of compliance to identify areas of non compliance ahead of formal audit processes.
  • Automate processes relate to FATCA/CRS compliance.

DAC6 / EU Mandatory Disclosure Regime (EU MDR)

The EU Mandatory Disclosure Regime (DAC6) applies to cross-border arrangements, either involving more than one Member State or (more relevantly) concerning a Member State and a third country.  E.g. organizations in the Middle East are affected as third countries, particularly where they have an EU nexus (branch, subsidiary or taxable presence). 

Businesses operating in the Middle East are therefore not protected from reporting under DAC6 and a thorough assessment should be done to identify whether DAC6 reporting could arise. 

DAC6 went live on 1 July 2020 and therefore Middle East businesses should assess their impact under DAC6 and prepare to report, to avoid fines, penalties and sanctions defined under domestic laws of the EU. 

How we can help:

  • Impact assessment of operating lines and business activities to identify DAC6 obligations, including reporting requirements.
  • Work plan for customer communication.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

VAT is an indirect tax applied upon the consumption of most goods and services. VAT is levied by VAT registered businesses which make supplies of goods and services in the due course of furtherance of their business. VAT will also apply on the importation of goods. 

VAT is levied at each stage in the supply chain and is collected by businesses on behalf of the Government. VAT is ultimately incurred and paid by the end consumer. 

How we can help:

  • Tax and legal advisory.
  • Strategy, supply chain and deals.
  • Finance and tax function consulting.
  • Technology and systems technology.
  • Project and change management.
  • Training.
  • Tax compliance and ongoing assurance.

Read more on our VAT practice here:

Economic Substance Regulations (ESR)

The UAE & Bahrain have introduced Economic Substance Regulations (“the Regulations”).  

In the UAE, the Regulations became effective as of 1 January 2019. There are potentially two broad filing requirements under the Regulations: (i) Notification form and (ii) Annual substance return. Under the ESR, all filing requirements fall under the remit of the relevant Regulatory Authority, and as such it is the Regulatory Authorities that set the requirements, deadlines and format for notification filing as they believe is appropriate and which may vary. 

How we can help:

  • Assessment on whether you fall within the rules.
  • Assessment on whether you can satisfy the Economic Substance test.
  • Notification filing assistance.

Read more on the updating filing requirements here:

Transfer Pricing

Transfer pricing describes all aspects of inter-company pricing arrangements between members of a multinational group, including transfers of tangible goods, services, intellectual property, loans and other financial transactions.

Globalisation has led to cross border intra-group dealings becoming the norm. Financial institutions must comply with the regulatory environment in jurisdictions where they operate, which is time consuming and can be complicated. Tax authorities frequently exchange information, increasing scrutiny on cross border intra-group dealings and associated business structures, especially where taxable benefits may arise.

How we can help:

  • Support transfer pricing policies by preparing Masterfiles, Local Files and Country by Country Reporting templates, in accordance with regulatory requirements.
  • Develop tax efficient and globally defensible transfer pricing models, in line with commercial business activities and international transfer pricing practices.
  • Advise multinational groups on business restructuring and value chain transformation.
  • Assist businesses with the practical implementation of transfer pricing models and provide Tax Authority dispute resolution services.

Read more on our transfer pricing practice here:

Contact us

Peter Maybrey

Financial Services Tax, PwC Middle East

Tel: +971 050 758 4326

Bilal Abba

Director, Middle East FATCA/CRS Leader, PwC Middle East

Tel: +971 (0)54 793 4271

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