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Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Government considering making healthcare tithe on profits not revenues

EXCLUSIVE- FinMin considers making the 0.25% healthcare tithe on net profit, not revenue: The government is mulling whether to amend the national levy on revenues that companies are required to pay to finance the new national healthcare system to make it 0.25% of companies’ bottom lines, rather than revenues, a government official tells Enterprise. Officials working through a bill that could introduce amendments to the Universal Healthcare Act to implement the change in the taxation formula after a committee mandated with reviewing issues with the tax system concluded that imposing a high levy would be detrimental in the bigger picture. According to our source, the committee is concerned that the high tax rate would eat away at companies’ capital, reducing GDP and ultimately hampering the government’s macro goals. This is all preliminary, though, so don’t go back and re-do your budget just yet.

Background: The state’s EGP 600 bn health insurance plan mandated under the Universal Healthcare Act will be rolled out incrementally throughout Egypt over the course of 11-13 years, but the Finance Ministry is expected to start collecting special taxes (including the 0.25% tithe) designed to fund the scheme during the current fiscal year. As it stands, all companies are to pay the 0.25% flat tax this year except under certain circumstances and in some sectors, a senior government source told Enterprise in January. As it stands, the levy does not count as an expense that would reduce a company’s pre-tax profit. The Finance Ministry will set a tax formula for outliers on a case-by-case basis. Among those eligible for some relief for the tax are companies making losses, joint venture projects, and services or commissions in which both a client and service providers make shared revenues from the same project or activity.

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