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New initiative to encourage online tax payments

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350 post offices set to join in ‘Participate’, the country’s new electronic tax payment system

Leading the way among traditional banks offering Sharia-compliant services is Banque Misr, with a total of EGP 22bn in Sharia-compliant transactions. (Photo:DNE)

Agreements had been reached with the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) and Banque Misr to keep their branches open late past their regular business hours in order to provide taxpayers with more time to take advantage of the new electronic payment system.
(Photo DNE)

Finance Minister Al-Morsi Hegazy recently discussed the release of a new electronic tax payment initiative entitled ‘Participate’, aimed at decreasing the amount of traffic and backlog found in traditional tax payment methods. The initiative would encourage companies to pay their taxes electronically in order to better guarantee the collection of taxes.

The initiative, launched by the Ministry of Finance’s Electronic Payment and Collections Unit, would seek to increase collections by encouraging companies and individuals to pay their taxes throughout the year as opposed to only during returns season. This would apply to income, sales, and stamp taxes.

Hegazy said the new system would increase the amount of cash available for Egypt’s various governing institutions and ministries, making those monies available quicker and allowing such ministries to more efficiently make decisions regarding spending on social services, essential goods and subsidies. This, he added, might lessen the need for Egypt’s government to release treasury bonds and bills to fund government spending, which would help reduce the burden of public debt.

Agreements had been reached with the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) and Banque Misr to keep their branches open late past their regular business hours in order to provide taxpayers with more time to take advantage of the new electronic payment system. This will take place during the last week of April, ending on 30 April when returns are received.

Mohamed Fouad, head of the Electronic Payment and Collections Unit at the Ministry of Finance, said that NBE agreed to keep 93 of its branches, particularly those located near tax payment offices, open until 5 pm. Four of its branches located in Cairo and Alexandria would also be kept open on Friday and Saturday, he said. Branches located in the former with extra opening hours include those in Raba’a Al-Adawia, Al-Sayeda Zeinab and Agha Khan. During this period these branches will only accept deposits for tax payments.

Banque Misr, he added, also agreed to keep 100 of its branches located near tax payment offices open until 8 pm until 30 April. Banque Misr’s City Stars and Ahly Club branches, located in Nasr City and the Al-Gezira neighbourhood, would allow users to pay their taxes electronically during this period, with the Ahly Club branch open only until 5 pm.

Taxpayers who would like to know where electronic payments can be made can find the names of branches on the Egyptian Tax Authority’s (ETA) website.

Ashraf Gamal Al-Din, president of Egypt’s Postal Authority, stated that over 350 post offices would also be participating in the new electronic payments system, abiding by the Authority’s cooperation protocol previously signed with the online financial company, e-finance. He said the Authority hopes to increase this number to 1,200 post offices by the end of the year.

He added that the ETA is also hoping to also make electronic payment services available for pensions and customs duties.

 


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