Parliament Approves Series of Tax Hikes

  • Economics
Parliament Approves Series of Tax Hikes

The Parliament approved on Monday a series of taxes as part of an amended law that was set out by the government to replace a previous version that was annulled by the Constitutional Council.

As the taxes law was put to the roll-call vote, 71 lawmakers voted for the bill while five voted against it and nine abstained from voting.

The Value Added Tax (VAT) was increased by one percent, thus raising it to 11%.

Lawmakers affiliated to the Kataeb party and Hezbollah as well as MPs Dory Chammoun, Fouad Al-Saad, Salim Karam, Khaled Daher and Boutros Harb voted against the VAT hike.

On the other hand, lawmakers affiliated to the Free Patriotic Movement, Future Movement and the Lebanese Forces and the other parliamentary blocs endorsed said item.

The Parliament also approved a price hike on financial stamps and notary fees, as well as a three-fold price increase on imported alchoholic beverages. A LBP 250 hike was approved on cigarette packs, a 10% price increase on cigar and a LBP 2,500 hike on a kilogram of hookah tobacco.

Moreover, a LBP 2,500 and a LBP 250 hikes were endorsed on landline phone bills and mobile phone recharge cards, respectively.

A LBP 6,000 increase has also been imposed on cement production as well as a LBP 5,000 fee hike on inbound land travellers.

The Parliament also approved a 20% tax on lottery prizes (Yanasib) exceeding LBP 10,000, a fee hike on the companies' income tax as well as a 15% fee on the income tax of individuals, and a 2% tax on real estate transactions.

Lawmakers also ratified a 15% fee hike on companies providing financial services as well as a tax ranging between 5% and 7% on bank interests and profits.

An item was added to the ratified law, allowing the government to temporarily collect taxes given the absence of a state budget.