When asked recently on the issue of fiscal control, the Tunisian Minister of Finance Mohamed Rachid Kechiche said it is always guided by the desire to ensure the necessary resources to the state budget “and that” all sectors must participate in this effort without exclusion, in accordance with the laws in force, and each company, according to its results, will have to pay tax so as the state finds means to intervene and participate in the solidarity development approach carried out in Tunisia “.
Even taken out of context, this question asked by the journalist and the response it prompted, underscores a problem that still exists in Tunisia: it is the non-obvious willingness of the Tunisian to manage and to do everything to avoid paying tax, at least to make the most in order to pay the least. And then the question arises about the degree of fulfilment of the fiscal duty and the extent of tax evasion.
Do companies pay tax?
87 executives having business relationships with SMEs, especially in industry- related services, alongside with 183 officials within Utica support structures (members of federations and senior managers, design offices and SMEs managers, particularly those related to industry), have recently responded to questions as part of survey conducted by Tema Consulting.
The first question is quite significant. “Do you think that the Tunisian companies are citizen companies “(payment of taxes, social security, etc..) The answers were, of course, different depending on whether the interviewees are businessmen or government officials.
Among businessmen, the majority of respondents believe that companies are citizens ones. Only one of six believe that they are not so. Over 58% believe that the Tunisian company is a citizen company. As far as Civil service is concerned, more than 1 / 3 believe that companies are not citizen companies.
Do Tunisians defraud the Inland Revenue?
Pollsters then asked the untoward question where the scope of fraud seems to be ignored, even by the Ministry in charge of the matter. The question is “how do you assess the extent of tax evasion?
Responses were rather commensurate with the taboo that the issue raises among everybody and with the clear desire to avoid addressing it or at least not speaking a lot about
At least two observations emerge. First, the Inland Revenue is taboo and those who pay as well as those who defraud avoid talking about. Then, the administration that oversees the tax mechanism avoids talking about it and prefers to manage the issue in silence. However, given the fact that the budget ensures revenues and resources needed for Tunisia economic development, the government is requested to change its position and even launch a multimedia smart communication campaign designed by a sound communications consulting firm, aiming at developing the awareness of tax duty, and persuading the tax-payer that he cannot seek job, or ask for teaching and training for his children, without paying his taxes and that the Administration is a mere tax collector.