Taxation and the role it can play in countering the impact of the economic crisis on businesses, SMEs Tunisia was the main theme of the debate that brought together Saturday in Tunis, a group of young entrepreneurs with Moncef Bouden , State Secretary to the Minister of Finances in charge of taxation. Having proposed “tax: a shock of the crisis,” as a topic of the event, the young entrepreneurs came up with a number of requests and recommendations.
Many new ideas have emerged, to which Moncef Bouden promised to respond the best he could. Tax evasion, easing the tax burden as well as opportunities to reduce the impact of taxation on cash were among the topics on the agenda. Other issues were subsequently raised such as the process of creation of enterprises and related exemptions, payment terms and the need to train judges in matters relating to taxation, to better regulate the relationship between taxpayer and the tax authorities.
Reducing the cost of taxation and promoting local products
For the organizers of the meeting, taxation may help Tunisian companies and SMEs get out of the crisis , namely through reducing the impact of taxation on cash, reducing the tax burden and encouraging consumption of Tunisian products. As a prelude to the debate, Ghazi Hantous, a certified public accountant, explained that the reduction of the taxation impact on cash should go through the abolition of tax withholding for companies and micro-enterprises and payment of the VAT at the level of collection, especially for SMEs. According to him, reducing the impact of taxation on cash should include rescheduling the debt to lower interest rates (during the crisis), and reducing reimbursement procedures and deadlines.
As for reducing the cost of taxation, it can be done, notes Ghazi Hantous by bringing to four the number of tax returns and by extending the use of the Internet as a working tool for micro-enterprises. The tax relief includes also facilitating the closing down of micro-enterprises in bankruptcy. Better control the effects of the crisis can be done by encouraging the consumption of domestic products.
Does taxation make problem in Tunisia?
Secretary of State in charge of taxation. Moncef Bouden said that “ economy generates tax”, wondering whether there is really a problem of taxation in Tunisia? “. For the secretary of state, the tax environment in Tunisia is not bad, since it meets the international standards. Taxation in Tunisia is based on three main axes, a 30% income tax rate, a 30% mark-up and 18% VAT, in addition to the absence of customs duties. What the State deducts from GDP represents 20.5% of its budget, but in reality it amounts only to18.3%, which means, says Secretary of State, that the average of the tax burden in Tunisia does not exceed 18%, which is very reasonable, since there is not a real basic tax problem ” The State may take measures under exceptional circumstances and situations, which means that the crisis will affect, primarily, government expenditure, since this is the price to pay, “said Bouden adding that” we can not afford to reduce taxation and face difficulties on the way back to normal once the crisis has passed, because there are other areas that have not been affected, including those working in the domestic market “.
The door is not completely closed, the Secretary of State said when speaking about measures. which are preventive and curative as outlined by the government’ plan devised to deal with the crisis. The preventive measures include mainly the business transfer, similar to the creation of enterprise, in terms of tax exemptions, while the curative measures include the tourism sector. Mr. Bouden said that 60% to 70% of the state budget comes from tax and fiscal resources that are provided by employees and taxes levied on large companies, SMEs are mostly subject to two package tax schemes set by the state and enjoy many exemptions.
Young business managers stressed the obligation for all actors to pay their taxes. They also endeavoured to draw attention over issues that may hamper their activities and the work of those responsible for fiscal matters. They discussed the issue of response time and insisted on the compliance with judicial decisions. A majority of young entrepreneurs raised the problems faced by companies and recommended limiting payment periods to 60 days, including those concerning the companies that supply volume retailing outlets. Young entrepreneurs have stressed the need to spread the tax culture in the business community.