Attention, residents of the UAE and other GCC countries. Here is a message from almost everyone else: welcome to our world.

When your value added tax takes effect on January 1, you’ll be dipping one toe into the chilly unpleasant reality of personal taxes. The rest of us are in much deeper already.

As you contemplate your monthly budget, you may seek consolation in the low 5 per cent rate of the new GCC Unified Agreement for Value Added Tax (GCCUA VAT): some European countries charge more than 20 per cent. And you should find solace in knowing that the UAE Government has no plans for personal income taxes.

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* Please be aware that we do not reclaim personal VAT on merchandise purchased abroad.