Saudi Shoura members discuss remittance tax despite government denial

The finance ministry denied it was planning to tax remittances on Monday



Despite denials from the country’s finance ministry, Saudi Arabia’s consultative Shoura Council is continuing discussions regarding a tax on the remittances of foreign workers.

Saudi Gazette cited Shoura member Dr Muhammed Al Abbas as confirming members were still exploring the merits of a proposal from former member Dr Husam Al-Anqari.

This would see a 6 per cent tax of remittances imposed during an expat worker’s first year in the kingdom, with a gradual decrease to 2 per cent in the fifth year and beyond.

The gradual decrease is intended to encourage foreign workers to spend money in the kingdom and help develop services.

On Monday, the kingdom’s finance ministry issued a statement denying plans to tax remittances and its “commitment to support the free movement of capital”.

Read: Saudi finance ministry denies plans to tax foreign remittances

Al-Abbas said the denial had nothing to do with the Shoura Council and as an independent body it was free to discuss the issue, according to the publication.

A similar statement was issued by the ministry in January 2017 and the Shoura Council subsequently rejected a remittance tax proposal.

Read: Saudi Shoura Council rejects proposal to tax expat remittances

Elsewhere in the Gulf, Kuwait’s parliamentary financial affairs committee approved a draft law to tax foreign remittances earlier this year despite warnings from the central bank.

Read: Kuwait MPs to discuss remittance tax amid central bank warnings