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Sunday, 26 August 2018

FinMin seeks access to companies’ bank data under proposed amendments to the Income Tax Act

EXCLUSIVE- FinMin seeks access to corporate bank data under proposed amendments to the Income Tax Act: Forthcoming amendments to the Income Tax Act would allow the Finance Ministry to check up on company accounts to make sure they’re paying their income taxes, Tax Authority boss Emad Samy told Enterprise. The amendment will require discussion with the central bank to ensure the language conforms to the Central Bank Act, Samy noted, explaining that under the proposed measure — which is a part of the authority’s drive to clamp down on tax evasion — the ministry would have to make a formal request to the CBE to be allowed to view bank data or investigate suspicious activity.

Background: We had reported in July that the Finance Ministry was drafting a new Income Tax Act that’s more in-keeping with the times and that would cover everything from income tax rates to exemptions and tax breaks, in addition to factoring in e-commerce. Finance Minister Mohamed Maait had previously told us that amendments coming to the act would streamline tax procedures and cut red tape.

The news comes as the Finance Ministry announced that it’s ready to begin receiving tax returns electronically, according to Al Masry Al Youm. The House of Representatives had signed off on amendments to the Accounting Act, which make it mandatory for all government transactions — including collecting taxes and disbursing civil servants’ wages — to be electronic, banning the use of paper cheques. Under the same cashless / paperless economy bid, the ministry launched a digital platform earlier this month that allows all state ministers and governors to keep track of their respective budgets and expenditures.

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