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No tax on expat remittances

Being a member of international financial organizations, Kuwait cannot impose tax on expat remittances. Moreover, it has signed deals for establishing organizations that require commitment from all members to abide by the rules including avoiding of restrictions on current payments.

Article 8 of the agreement for establishing International Monetary Fund (IMF) says that no member country is allowed to accept discriminating procedures in terms of currency exchange or participation in activities which result in multiplicity of currency prices.

IMF, in its explanatory memo, said that if the difference between buying price and selling price of currency is greater than two percent, approval of IMF is mandatory. The Parliamentary Committee announced the preparation of proposal to impose four percent tax on the remittance of expats.

However, according to experts, this proposal is in contrast to the aim of turning Kuwait into an international financial hub. It will compel expat workers to leave, particularly with the loss of benefit of working in countries that do not impose such tax, as majority of the workers in GCC belong to low income group.

According to Researcher Mohammad Ramadan, the tax is likely to do more harm than good. Pointing out to the experience of the UAE creating investment opportunities for expats to invest their money, he said such a measure would be more profitable for the State, rather than imposing taxes.

According to Ramadan, imposing such tax will leave expats with no choice but to search for other methods to send their money. He said permitting expats to own real estate in Kuwait is a good way of taking advantage of their money.

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