Iran Moves to Tax its Way Out of Crisis

He added that Iran has sought to expand its tax base under its comprehensive tax plan to boost justice and transparency, and also equal opportunity to compete. Another notable amendment in the new tax law addresses tax evasion and any form of assistance to others to evade taxes, recognizing the latter as a crime for the first time. In this vein, the amendment obliges the judiciary to form special courts for crimes related to tax evasion. Indeed, the Ministry of Intelligence announced on Jan. 9 that it has busted a major ring that offered clients advice on how to evade taxes.

Yet despite all these measures, some believe that the low cultural acceptance of the concept of taxes, and a considerable lack of economic knowledge among the public, will continue to prove to be major challenges. Aghaee told Al-Monitor that to lower the risk of a possible backlash against the new tax reforms, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance, along with the economic commissions of both the administration and parliament, has been in close consultation with the private sector and all related nongovernmental organizations during the process of the drafting of the new tax laws.

Although the government has not yet met the deadline to submit the next Iranian year’s budget bill (March 20, 2016-March 20, 2017), there are reports that its tax revenues will reach 860 trillion rial (over $23 billion) in 1395 (2016). Whether this materializes may be less important than the broader efforts to shed dependency on oil in favor of tax reform.

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