Industry - Exhibitions and Conferences

Here you would know the basics and essentials on the workings of VAT in Bahrain. This is a must read and educative knowledgebase for those new to applying VAT within an Organization.
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Industry - Exhibitions and Conferences

Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:10 pm

What constitutes a conference or an exhibition under the BAHRAIN VAT law?
A conference is defined as a formal meeting which is held for no longer than 7 days and is attended by people with a shared interest.

An exhibition is defined as any event held for no longer than 7 days to present or display goods or services.

Both conferences and exhibitions need to have a relevant permit issued by a government entity.

What is the VAT rate on exhibition and conference services?
The supplier of exhibition or conference services required to charge 5% VAT.

Who is eligible to apply for a licence to rent out space for an event in the BAHRAIN?
If you own a hotel or company in the BAHRAIN, and are looking to apply for a licence to rent your space for an event, then you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be registered for VAT.
  • Your place of residence must be in the BAHRAIN.
  • Your main business must be renting out space for exhibitions or conferences.
  • You must hold a valid trade licence issued by a government entity and your commercial activity section must be in line with renting space for exhibitions or conferences.
  • You must own the space that you wish to rent out, or have the right to rent it out.
  • Your venue must be registered with the government to ensure that you meet the minimum requirements to host an exhibition or conference.

Who is eligible to apply for a licence to provide access, and allow people to attend or participate in an exhibition or conference?
If you want to apply for a licence to provide access, and allow people to attend or participate in an exhibition or conference, you would need to meet the following criteria:

  • You must obtain a permit for the event from the concerned government authority.
  • The duration of the event must be seven days or less.

If you are a local resident and organiser, then you must also:

  • Be registered with the NTA.
  • Have a valid trade licence, for which your commercial activity section falls under the event management and organisation industry/sector/business.
  • Be registered as an organiser with the concerned government entity.
If you are a non-BAHRAIN resident organiser, then you must provide proof of establishment


What documents do I need to submit to the NTA in order to obtain a licence for renting out space?

You must fill out the Supplier’s Licence Request Form to Grant the Right to Occupy Space, which can be found on the NTA website, and send it to NTA along with the documents mentioned below:

Trade licence
  • The document must be issued by the Department of Economic Development.
  • The supplier’s name be the trade name.
  • The trade licence be valid for at least one month from the date of applying to the NTA . If the trade licence is valid for less than a month, then re-application documents must be submitted along with the existing trade licence.
  • The section on commercial activity must be relevant to the business type and must adhere to the eligibility criteria.

Proof of registration for the venue
  • This must be issued by the concerned government entity. This proof can be in the form of a certificate, or an email confirmation of the registration that contains the registration ID. If both of these are not available, then the following documents must be submitted:
    Permit of the area/venue.
  • Layout drawing or plot plan that includes the location, dimensions and total area of the rooms or space that will be rented out.
  • Business profile document that has been signed by the authorized signatory. The description of the business profile must be similar to the commercial activities section and the type of business must match the relevant eligibility criteria.
  • Provide details about the event such as the purpose, dates, and number of attendees. This information can be included in the business profile document or licence form.
A copy of the authorised signatory’s passport or CPR.

How do I apply to get a licence for granting access to events?
You must fill out the Licence Request for Event Organiser to Grant Access to Events, which is available on the NTA website or e-Service portal. Attach the supporting documents mentioned below and send it to NTA :

  • Copy of the event permit issued by the concerned government authority.
  • A sample copy of the ticket which includes the ticket price and the name of the event.
  • Copy of the authorised signatory’s passport or CPR.
Apart from the documents mentioned above, if you are a supplier who is a BAHRAIN resident, then you also need to send the following documents:

  • Copy of your valid trade licence.
  • Copy of your valid organiser registration certificate provided by the concerned government authority.
If you are a supplier who is a non-BAHRAIN resident, then you need to provide proof of establishment of your business, such as a certificate of incorporation.

How long will it take for the supplier’s application to be processed by the NTA?
It will take 20 business days for the NTA to review your application. You will be notified of the results when the review is completed.

If your application is accepted, the NTA will issue the licence within 5 business days. The licence will be in the form of a letter, stamped by the NTA, scanned and sent via email.

What is the validity of the licence for granting access to events?
This licence is valid only for the duration of the specific exhibition/conference and cannot be used for other events.

What is the validity of the licence for renting out space?
This licence is valid for a year and is subject to renewal.

Are there fees for obtaining event-related licences?
No, the NTA does not charge any fee for providing this licence

When should I apply for a renewal of my license to host or provide event access?
You should apply for renewal a month before your current licence expires.

How do I apply for licence renewal?
The procedure of renewing your licence for granting access to events and licence for renting out space is the same as the original licence application process.

If your trade licence has expired, then you must notify the NTA and provide an updated trade licence once you receive it.

Is there a penalty for offering exhibition and conference related services with an expired licence?
Yes. If you fail to notify the NTA about your expired licence and do not apply for renewal, and you continue providing services without collecting and accounting for VAT, then you will be liable to pay the VAT amount due and will be subject to normal applicable penalties.

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