Iran Moves to Tax its Way Out of Crisis

Tax reforms have been underway for an extended period. Under a project that started back in the 1990s, a major study into some of the best-practiced tax systems was initiated. The studying phase dragged on for more than a decade, but it finally entered the practical phase in 2005 with the cooperation of Deloitte Canada as the project’s main consultant.

Later, a French information system company, Bull, was awarded the contract to develop the country’s Integrated Tax System (ITS). The implementation of the ITS, which has since turned into one of the main information technology projects in the country, began in 2010. The system will establish a database of Iranian taxpayers, which would also serve as the foundation of further comprehensive tax reform.

“We’ve used the latest technologies for the ITS project, and it has been implemented in accordance with international standards, with the cooperation of major Western companies,” Aghaee told Al-Monitor. He added that the system, which has been implemented in several provinces including Tehran, is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

Other than the ITS, President Hassan Rouhani’s administration has taken the major step of amending the country’s tax law so that — among others — conglomerates controlled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and religious foundations, such as the Astan Quds Razavi foundation, will start paying taxes from the next Iranian year. There are other important elements to the tax form, too. “Under the new tax law, income tax rates would also be lowered to 15% to 25%, down from the previous 15% to 35%,” Aghaee told Al-Monitor.

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