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Unanswered questions

Sep 16,2018 - Last updated at Sep 16,2018

The scenario prescribed by the government for the consideration and eventual adoption of the draft legislation on income tax includes a 10-day review and comment by the public.

The draft law is made public on a government website so that the maximum number of citizens may get acquainted with it and then exercise judgement on its merits or demerits. This process for public comment is thus noninstitutionalised for all intents and purposes, neither for official purposes nor for a coherent and systematic observation by citizens.

While the public may know who is going to collect their comments, there is no detailed information on how these collected comments will be processed and assessed in due course. What is the value or impact of public reaction to any proposed law or policy if there is no clear mechanism for processing these opinions and factoring them in for reaching a final judgement on the income taxation law. How will the government, or Parliament for that matter, scrutinise the public feedback and on what criteria?

These and other questions remain unanswered to the satisfaction of tax payers. There is no sense in inviting public comment on any law or policy if there is no coherent way on how the outcomes of the process are going to be taken into consideration at the end of the day.

The government, therefore, must hasten to be more transparent on these pending issues so that this whole exercise about adopting a new taxation law on the basis of public knowledge and endorsement becomes more legitimate. Otherwise, the people would remain in the dark and not a real party to the process of adopting a new taxation law that is fair and balanced.

If these questions have no replies, it would be better to just let Parliament study the new law and adopt it as it sees fit.

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Comments

'These and other questions remain unanswered to the satisfaction of tax payers. There is no sense in inviting public comment on any law or policy if there is no coherent way on how the outcomes of the process are going to be taken into consideration at the end of the day (see above)'

Wise words, how many times have we seen this happen before in Jordan? Soon - very soon - there will be an intervention to 'save' the people, and the government will be forced back to square one with egg on its face, as it has been forced to do many times before?!

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