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French Version


Finance Ministry publishes new tax guide (Daily Star)

Liberal professionals henceforth have a thorough guide on how to pay their income taxes with the publication of the Finance Ministry’s booklet: Income Tax Declaration for Liberal Professionals.

“Our aim is to enable concerned liberal professionals to process their income tax forms without any third-party assistance, should they wish to do so,” said Finance Minister Fouad Siniora at the Finance Institute Wednesday. “Respect for the law will be reinforced once citizens clearly understand their rights and responsibilities.”

The publication comes amid the ongoing debate concerning liberal professionals’ tax settlements issue, even though the concept of ‘tax settlement’ is in total contradiction with the principle of ‘just taxation’ that everyone is demanding. “The tax settlement law was enacted following an agreement between the Finance Ministry and the representatives of chambers of trade and liberal professionals’ unions,” said Siniora. “The law was postponed three times … in an effort by the ministry to reassure its just application.”

According to the minister, the major concern remains the full participation of the involved parties in accordance with the government’s efforts to make a sustainable reduction to the budget deficit and stabilize the financial sector. “Transparency and accountability in the public sector ensure that citizens have easy access to accurate and reliable information on the many governmental procedures that affect their daily lives,” said Raouf Youssef, Mission Director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

USAID began the Transparency and Accountability Grants program in 2001, in a move to support local institutions promoting transparency, accountability and good governance. To date, 55 grants have been given over the past two years to support projects.

According to Youssef, the positive feedback following the publication of a previous booklet, Inheritance and Land Registry Procedures, demonstrated the need for user-friendly information guides.

A third booklet, Built Property Taxes, is in the works. “The information provided through the series of booklets will facilitate better service for the citizens and better communication between the Finance Ministry and the public at large,” said Youssef. “Our ultimate goal is the establishment of a true democracy and an efficient administration through the promotion of transparency and good governance practices,” said Siniora.


Beirut 07-07-2003
Ara Alain Arzoumanian
The Daily Star



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