MP Al Hashem to push for taxes on expat remittances

Kuwait City: Senior Kuwaiti MP Safa Al Hashem has urged the government to approve a draft law to impose taxes on expat remittances.

Al Hashem, who has been appointed head of the National Assembly’s financial and economic affairs committee, said on Wednesday (November 6) lawmakers will push to approve the bill, according to a report by Gulf Business.

The bill, first introduced last year, was rejected by the Kuwaiti government, the Central Bank and the assembly’s legal and legislative committee. They argued that it will adversely impact the economy and create a black market for transferring money.

However, the assembly’s financial and economic affairs committee approved the bill last year and sent it to the assembly for debate.

The bill calls for imposing a progressive percentage of up to five per cent on all remittances by expatriates, on top of normal commissions and charges by banks and exchange houses, based on the amount sent. Expats are not allowed to buy property or launch small businesses in Kuwait, as these activities are restricted to citizens and big foreign investors. This is one of the reasons most expatriates prefer to send their money back home.

Transfers of up to KD99 ($330) would be taxed at one per cent, transfers of KD100-299 ($334-$997) at 2pc and transfers of KD300-499 ($1,001-$1,664) at 3pc. Those of KD500 ($1678) and above would be taxed at 5pc.

Transactions related to investment protection would be exempt.

The bill is one of several targeting the country’s foreign population, which accounts for around 70 per cent of the country’s 4.6 million population.

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