Egypt’s Tax Authority (TA) hopes to increase tax revenues to EGP 230 billion, according to newly appointed chairman Mamdouh Omar.
The TA plans to promote new leadership to ensure justice within the body, Omar told a meeting with heads of regional bureaus and managers of different departments on Monday.
According to commentators, taxation in Egypt has been reflective of the weakness of the state’s apparatus. Rabab el-Mahdy, political science professor at the American University in Cairo, said in her column in al-Shorouk daily newspaper the state’s inability to collect taxes owed to it is reflective of a failed state.
The TA collects tax from only 20 percent of those liable, which results in the loss of tens of billions of pounds in revenue, according to official figures. Official statistics also show that the government lost up to EGP four billion in tax revenue as a result of cigarette smuggling in 2010, according to state-run Akhbal al-Youm newspaper.
The Egyptian market is in a state of disarray, some experts say. Many goods and services are sold without issuing an invoice or even having a price tag. Absence of government surveillance and the lack of robust market regulatory framework, according to experts’ opinion, produce market disarray and uncontrollable pricing.
Burdened with a vicious budget deficit, the government is scrambling to close the gap. One measure the government immediately pursued once President Mohamed Morsy took office was reviving negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a proposed $4.8 billion loan. Members of the business community say the government should revisit the taxation system to guarantee fiscal discipline, an important step to qualify for the IMF loan.