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Egyptian MPs renew demand that social media platforms be taxed on ad revenues

Ahram Online , Sunday 22 Jul 2018
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Egyptian MPs have renewed demands to impose taxes on foreign social media companies.

Last month, parliament's media, culture and antiquities committee approved a proposal to impose taxes on advertising revenues made by platforms including Facebook and Google in the Egyptian market.

On Sunday, MP Mohamed El-Akkad said that social media platforms make billions of dollars without any return for the Egyptian economy, and demanded an end to what he described as a "farce."

El-Akkad praised an announcement by the finance minister that a study will be conducted to evaluate the issue, adding that legislation will be introduced in October on the matter.

El-Akkad stressed the need to impose taxes on transactions conducted on e-commerce platforms, as well as on advertisements on social media platforms and foreign companies that post ads online for the Egyptian market.

John Talaat, parliament's communications committee vice-chairman, said that the committee is still in the process of considering taxes on ads on Facebook and Twitter, though he stressed that these platforms do not have offices in the country.

"The committee is focused on paid advertising on YouTube, Facebook and Google," Talaat said.

"Parliament is considering imposing taxes on Facebook and Google and we have not entered the implementation stage since a Ministry of Finance committee is studying the mechanism of collecting these proposed taxes," Talaat added.

The MP said that over 10 countries collect taxes from social media platforms, stressing that these taxes, if imposed in Egypt, would be collected directly from social media companies, not consumers.

In 2017, a report by the European Union commission said that it is working on legislative proposals to increase taxes on multinational digital companies that are accused of paying too little in the EU by filing profits in low-tax countries where they have their EU headquarters, such as Ireland and Luxembourg.

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