Roundtable Discussions

Towards Mobilizing Additional Fiscal Revenues: Progressive or Flat Taxes?

Date : 3/21/2012

Speakers : Hazem Hassan, Magda Kandil, Omneia Helmy, Ramadan Siddique and Mohamed El Bahi

The roundtable discussion attempted to explore options to mobilize additional revenues to improve the state of public finances and reduce the fiscal deficit. The debate has focused recently on the scope to institute progressive taxes. Advocates cite the low income tax rate in Egypt compared to other countries, and the need to introduce higher progressive taxes to achieve social justice and make more resources available for the much-needed social and developmental spending by the government. Opponents are concerned that progressive taxes could hinder the prospect of recovery in a fragile economy, reduce investment, and result in less revenue for the government. The roundtable weighed the merits of both arguments, drawing on Egypt’s taxation track record and international experiences in this respect.