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Thursday, 29 September 2016

Government to complete studies on capital gains tax in 1Q2017

THE FUTURE OF CAPITAL GAINS TAX on stock-market gains: The government is set to complete studies on the capital gains tax in 1Q2017, Deputy Finance Minister Amr El Monayer told Reuters. El Monayer says the main point behind the evaluation is to look at whether the tax was suspended for two years on merit or just due to market factors at the time. The ministry is currently reviewing the reasons that led to its suspension in 2015 following backlash from investors, with El Monayer claiming problems could have stemmed from the principle of the tax, the legislation, the method of its implementation or just weak marketing in general. The 10% tax on gains made on the EGX was announced in 2014, and subsequently suspended in 2015 for two years after complaints from retail investors, but the suspension is set to expire on 16 May 2017. The IMF had criticized Egypt’s decision to delay collection of the tax, but El Monayer denied that an IMF delegation demanded its return during their visit a couple of months ago.

We were never backers of the CGT on stock-market profits. And El Monayer — a competent professional on a competent team at Finance, led by a competent minister — wasn’t in office when the whole imbroglio when down. But we were even less happy with the message sent by the measure having been “stayed” for two years. Setting it aside while leaving in place a levy on dividends rewards the speculation of day-trading retail investors whose contribution to the real economy is zero, while limiting upside for entrepreneurs and business owners who create jobs and meaningful growth. El Monayer and his colleagues deserve credit for having the political foresight to tackle the issue openly and in public.

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