Finance Ministry: tax changes in January 2013

Finance Minister Momtaz al-Saeed said changes to taxation, including the increased taxes on some goods, will be applied in January, following the end of a period of community dialogue.

Saeed told Al-Masry Al-Youm that these changes will not harm the poor and those of middle-income. He said that these changes will held plug Egypt’s funding gap worth US$ 14.5 billion because they will lead to reduced tax evasion, simplified procedures, improved business and investment climate.

Within the tax and accounting community, uncertainty remained after these tax changes had been announced and put on hold on the same evening earlier this month.

The amendments include income, sales, duty and real estate tax. The Income Tax Department said that it remained concerned that the recent decisions were neither being applied or clearly cancelled.

A senior official at the department said that tax increases apply to only 30 commodities, including steel and cement, and stressed that these decisions are sensitive and should have been applied immediately following their announcement and publishing in the Official Gazette.

The official, who requested anonymity, added that traders have made a profit and called for firm and clear decisions regarding taxes. He said that the fact that the decision to postpone the application of these taxes was made verbally by the president further contributed to misunderstanding between the tax department and the market.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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