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Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Unified tax platform goes live in January

Some 11k of Egypt’s largest taxpayers will begin filing taxes through the government’s new unified tax platform from 1 January as the Tax Authority begins to overhaul the way it collects and monitors taxes, Mohsen El Gayar, director of taxpayer services at the authority, tells Enterprise. Tax centers that handle procedures for large and medium-sized companies and high-income self-employed taxpayers will begin using the system on a trial basis at the start of the year, integrating some 64 previously-separated tax services into a single “core taxation system,” Tax Authority head Reda Abdel Kader said this week.

What is happening? During the pilot phase, the platform will allow users to file returns and pay taxes, register as taxpayers, enquire about electronic payments, and settle unpaid taxes. The authority will also be able to issue fines for late payment and monitor taxpayer accounts, Abdel Kader said.

If you’re a large taxpayer, you’ll know more soon: The authority is currently working on promoting the system to the 11k companies and individuals and will launch an awareness campaign throughout the second half of December, says El Gayar. This will include guidelines on how to sign up to the platform and how to use and access the system through different devices.

The beta rollout begins in January and will continue over four phases during which smaller companies and freelancers will gradually be onboarded, Abdel Kader said. All phases should be complete within the next two years.

Why is this happening? The authority currently performs key functions via different internal platforms, using separate systems for sales taxes, income tax and e-filing, according to El Gayar. The new platform will unify all three networks and add real estate taxes to the mix. It will eventually integrate e-invoicing — which is currently being trialed by 134 companies.

SMART POLICY- The platform, made possible through the recently-passed Unified Tax Act, is a key part of a government plan to overhaul tax administration, encourage informal businesses to go legit, stimulate investment, and grant the taxman better oversight on commercial transactions and tax accounts. Its trial launch follows the rollout of the first phase of a new e-invoicing system (which will eventually be linked to the core system) and recent amendments which obliged companies to file their taxes electronically as of this year.

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