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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

House votes on income tax amendments, hardship raises, and pension increases

Parliament approves income tax cuts: Manufacturers and others with lower cost labor can take heart, though: Interest rates may speak against CAPEX right now, but the cost of running their businesses just got a bit lighter with income tax cuts passed by the House of Representatives yesterday. MPs voted on Monday to increase the minimum income tax threshold to an annual EGP 7,200 from EGP 6,500 previously, Reuters reports. That means self-employed people or those working in trade or industry making EGP 7,200 a year or less (that’s below the minimum wage, for those of you keeping track at home) would not pay income tax, according to Youm7. Public and private sector employees making up to EGP 14,200 would be exempt (up from EGP 13,500). Other features of the law includes:

  • Salary amounts between EGP 7,200 and EGP 30,000 per year, currently taxed at 10%, will receive an 80% break, bringing the effective tax rate on that bracket to 2%;
  • Amounts between EGP 30,001-45,000 a year, currently taxed at 15%, get a 40% break, making the new rate for the bracket 9%;
  • Sums in the EGP 45,001-200k bracket, currently taxed at 20%, will get a 5% break, for a new effective tax rate of 19%;
  • Amounts above EGP 200k will still be taxed at the full 22.5% rate.

The tax cuts will not come into effect until they are signed-off by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and published in the Official Gazette.

The House also passed a proposal to increase the minimum threshold for annual raises under the Civil Service Act by at least EGP 65 a month and at most EGP 130 a month, according to AMAY. The proposal also includes a 7% hardship raise for state bureaucrats covered by the act. For those not covered by the Civil Service Act, MPs approved a 10% hardship raise that will be paid retroactive to 1 July 2016,Al Shorouk says.

Pensions will also be rising by an annual 15% starting 1 July 2017,rising by a minimum of EGP 150 and a maximum of EGP 551, after representatives approved a government proposal yesterday, AMAY reports. This increase, which is primarily geared towards low-income pensioners, will cost the state around EGP 21.3 bn and benefit around 9.4 mn families, according to Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Wali. Finance Minister Amr El Garhy had okayed an increase in the minimum rate for pensions to EGP 150 from EGP 130 during discussion earlier in the day.

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