Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Curtis Helps Omani Companies with Foreign Shareholdings Win Landmark Tax Judgment in Oman Supreme Court

Muscat, February 22, 2012 – Lawyers from Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP helped two Oman-based clients of the firm win an important tax judgment handed down this week by Oman’s Supreme Court.

The Court decided in favour of the two Curtis clients, who were represented by James Harbridge and Kamilia Al Busaidy, that Omani companies who have shareholdings in companies outside Oman should not have to pay tax on dividends received between the inclusive period of 2002 through 2004, the years being considered in the matter.

“The issue was hugely important for our clients, one of which is a multi-national oil and gas entity and the other concentrating in the cement business,” said Mr. Harbridge, partner in the Curtis Muscat office. “The result highlights Curtis’ perseverance on our clients’ behalf.”

This decision overturned earlier decisions of the Omani Primary and Appeal Courts in 2010 that these overseas dividends were taxable, pursuant to a 2004 Supreme Court judgment. It is expected that the written Supreme Court judgment will make it clear that the ruling also applies to the tax years immediately prior and after: 2000, 2001 and 2005-2009 inclusive.

The favourable Supreme Court judgments therefore imply that tax payers who have received overseas dividends during the applicable years should not be taxed on this income, if they have already disputed the charges or if their assessments are yet to be completed. They are deemed to have accepted their tax liability if they have already paid tax in these respective years.

Following the judgment, dividends paid in the applicable years to any Omani company on shareholdings in foreign companies will no longer be viewed as taxable income.

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP is a leading international law firm providing a broad range or services to clients around the world. Curtis has 15 offices in the United States, the Middle East, Europe, Central Asia, and Latin America. The firm’s international orientation has been a hallmark of its practice for nearly two centuries. For more information about Curtis, please visit or follow Curtis on Twitter ( and