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Thursday, 11 April 2019

Finance Ministry issues regulations of healthcare tithe for current tax season

EXCLUSIVE- It’s official: You’re going to be paying the healthcare tithe on your top line this year — and it won’t be tax deductible: The 0.25% levy businesses will have to pay to finance the universal healthcare system will be charged on revenues and will not be tax deductible this year, according to a copy of a Tax Authority’s regulatory booklet seen by Enterprise. The tithe being collected this year will apply to revenues earned between 12 July and 31 December 2018.

The tax will not be charged on individual company subsidiaries or those with a special legal system. Temporary insurance and down payments will also not be considered as part of revenues unless the payment ends up in a company’s top line.

How will outliers be taxed? Insurers, hotels and commission-based businesses asked for the ministry to grant them special status and relax their obligations under the act. These requests by and large appear not have been met. Insurance companies will be taxed like all other businesses, despite their best lobbying efforts to receive partial exemptions. Hoteliers, too, will see the tithe applied to their total Commission-based businesses, though, will be taxed only on their income from commissions rather than on their total turnover — a measure that frankly makes sense.

Background: The state’s EGP 600 bn health insurance plan will be rolled out incrementally over the course of 11-13 years, but the ministry is expected to start collecting taxes (including the 0.25% tithe) to fund the scheme this fiscal year. Tax Authority head Abdel Azim Hussein told us earlier this week that the Finance Ministry was working on an amendment to the Universal Healthcare Act to be introduced in the future. He declined to say whether the ministry will take businesses’ views into account and collect the levy from net profits.

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