Expats in Kuwait to pay tax on international transfers

Published:  3 May at 6 PM
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A recent announcement by the Kuwaiti government suggests that expats may be forced to pay tax on their international money transfers.

Kuwaiti MP Faisal Mohamed al-Kandari has suggested that a tax be imposed on expatriate money transfers. The emirate is home to around three million expat workers, with a total of KD 19 billion having been sent out of the country over the past five years.According to al-Kandari, the amount transferred is the equivalent of the country’s 2015 national budget, and imposing a tax on the transfers would be a way of generating new governmental revenue.

He adds that the revenue would be used to provide better services for citizens and expats alike, and estimates its total at around KD 20 million per annum. The proposed law states a tax percentage of 2 per cent for transfers of less than KD100, 4 per cent for transfers between KD100 and KD 499 and 5 per cent for transfers of above KD499.

The new tax would be collected via Ministry of Finance stamps provided to banks and accredited currency exchange businesses. Fines and imprisonment would apply to those transferring money illegally.

On a brighter note, Kuwait officials have devised a plan to make travel between GCC member states easier. A smart card-style is to be issued to citizens and expatriates which allows free movement within the specified states. The project will be presented and discussed at the next GCC Interior Ministers’ meeting and should be in place by the end of the year.

Interior Ministry Assistant Undersecretary Sheikh Mazen al-Jarrah stressed the importance of member state cooperation for safety and security across the region. Globalisation, he said, has made old immigration procedures and requirements unsuitable for the new global village, and should be reconsidered to allow freedom of movement within the group of countries.
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