No new taxes will be imposed on consumer goods purchased online or via traditional means of sale, Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait said on Wednesday.
He said that VAT issued in the fiscal year (FY) 2016/17 applies to all goods and services sold inside the country.
The minister explained that the goods sold through online platforms based in Egypt, such as souq.com or Jumia, are currently subject to Egypt’s VAT directly collected by the Egyptian Tax Authority. Those companies not located in Egypt, such as eBay and Amazon, also pay VAT but to the Egyptian Customs Authority.
Maait said that a proposed amendment to the VAT Law only covers changes to tax collection methods from non-resident companies to be carried directly by the Egyptian Tax Authority. This particular amendment has been put in place to ensure the effectiveness and speed of collection.
Other proposed amendments to the VAT Law include reforms to the collection and supply of taxes due on non-resident companies conducting business inside Egypt.
This would take place through a simplified registration and collection system in place of the current system based on the appointment of a legal representative. The previous system has, over the years, proven ineffective.
Maait noted that the new simplified registration system was drafted in line with global standards and the requirements of foreign companies, and is consistent with e-commerce applications.
The minister added that Egypt will not impose a tax on Internet or social media users. He explained that online browsing or creating accounts on various sites, including social media, does not fall within the scope of taxation.
Meanwhile, Maait issued a further decision to establish a new unit in the Office of the Egyptian Tax Authority’s President. The unit will be responsible for following up on the collection and supply of tax on the returns of treasury bills (T-Bills) and bonds.
The unit will also be responsible for examining and reviewing these returns in coordination with Misr for Central Clearing, Depository, and Registry (MCDR), the banking sector, and other concerned authorities.
The unit will follow-up on the collection and supply of taxes on capital gains for securities “not listed on the stock exchange”. This is in addition to examining and reviewing these returns and profits, and will take place in coordination with MCDR.
According to a Ministry of Finance press statement, this decision comes as part of efforts to enhance governance and raise the efficiency of tax collection. This, in turn, will preserve the right of the state and contribute to tax justice