With a tax pressure of 25.4% (official figure from the Finance Act 2022), it is not strange to see the Tunisian state revenues increase by 18.9% at the end of May 2022, compared to the first 5 months of the previous year. These revenues have exceeded the TND 15.343.
“The tax to GDP ratio in Tunisia went up 7.1 percentage points from 27.2% to 34.3%, between 2010 and 2019. The highest tax-to-GDP ratio in Tunisia was 34.3% in 2019, and the lowest ratio was 24.1% in 2004,” according to an OECD Benchmark.
In a note by ITCEQ, conducted by Belhassen Jebali in 2019, it is indicated that Tunisia has “an average tax wedge (indicator measuring the tax pressure on salaried labor) of 32.7% in 2017, while it was at 30.2% in 2006 and reached 34.9% in 2016.
In fact, an employee who costs the company 100 dinars receives as net disposable income only 67.300 dinars. However, this indicator could reach 34.54% in 2019 taking into account the salary increases planned for the years 2018 and 2019. Thus, over the period 2006-2017, Tunisia, on average, taxed less salary income than the average of OECD countries. This is no longer the case. The State needs more and more money, and it does not spare anyone, except for some corporations!
Indeed, the volume of revenue of the Tunisian state, in tens of billions of TND, is in 2022 in direct relation to the strong tax pressure that people, individuals and companies undergo. Hence, of the TND 15.3 billion collected, more than 14.160 came from tax revenues. Indirect tax revenues have brought only TND 890.4 at the end of May 2021, down from TND 925 million in the same period last year. This is what emerged from the results of the execution of the budget of 2022. That figure (TND 890.4 million) is incomprehensible, since, further in the same document of the Ministry of Finance, we will learn that indirect taxes (DD, VAT and TC) have brought more than TND 8.5 billion at the end of May 2022, including a little less than half in VAT, which is, after all, normal given the pace of consumption in Tunisia, a country to a very large extent importer of its consumer goods!
In terms of budgetary expenses, budgetary expenditures stood at TND 15,460 million, mostly (57%) for civil servants’ salaries, and 21.4% for so-called intervention expenditures, including mainly subsidy and social spending. The calculator therefore shows that 78.5% of the budget went to social expenditure. The budget balance (TND -408.9 million according to the Ministry of Finance document) should be TND 116.3 million. As neophytes of finance, but for all that journalists, we do not understand this difference in the budget balance of the first 5 months of the execution of the budget 2022!
Back to taxes, it is probing to note that of the 5.597 billion recovered by the state in direct taxes, a little over TND 3 billion DT came from the tax on wages, a revenue in taxes on wages up 10.5%, and only TND 1.260 billion in corporate tax. Inevitably therefore, individuals pay more to the state than legal entities, and employees are thus more racketted than companies, although until the end of May the total of the corporate tax recovered has increased by 45.1%. Decidedly, the Tunisian budget has its reasons that beat the head.