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New tax law aims to combat tax evasion, enhance collection — Hassan

Minister says gov’t ‘open’ to dialogue with all segments of society over new law

By JT - May 15,2018 - Last updated at May 15,2018

AMMAN — The new amendments to Income Tax Law aim at serving taxpayers and “effectively” combating tax evasion, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Economic Affairs Jafar Hassan said on Tuesday.

During a discussion at the Jordan Strategy Forum, Hassan added that the new draft law amending the Income Tax Law was meant to enhance tax collections which “other previous laws have failed to address”, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

Last week, the Cabinet approved the validating reasons for a draft law amending the Income Tax Law for 2018 and referred it to the Legislation and Opinion Bureau.

The government stressed that the draft law aims to realise “social justice and equality” and impose deterrent penalties on perpetrators of tax evasion.

Hassan also stressed the “government’s openness to dialogue with all segments of the society on the new law”, adding that meetings almost on daily basis are held with experts on the new law, including accountants, lawyers, senators, MPs and representatives of production,  industry and trade sectors, Petra said. 

The minister also said that the government seeks to expand the taxpayer base to include 10 per cent instead of 5 per cent of citizens and, “in doing so, all economic and social factors are taken into consideration”.

Hassan added that the comprehensive tax burden in Jordan is “less than in other member states of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and regional countries”, according to Petra.

With public debt amounting to 95 per cent of GDP, the minister explained that it is at this stage difficult to enhance economic growth through exemptions and tax incentive, “especially at the time when 95 per cent of Jordanians are exempted from income tax”.

Acknowledging that tax policies are among the tools to achieve growth, Hassan said that there are other ways to encourage investments and increase exports, including laws, business environment and public-private partnerships, Petra said.

Asked whether the new tax law would affect investments in the country, Hassan said that foreign investors take into their account other factors in addition to taxes, such as business environment, laws, administrative procedures, energy costs, labour market, Petra said.  

He also said there are strategies to reconsider energy cost on production sectors and a that a decision in this regard has been already made.

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