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Egypt to slap tax on social media stars, high earning YouTubers

  • Sun Online Desk
  • 28th September, 2021 10:12:06 AM
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Egypt to slap tax on social media stars, high earning YouTubers

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# Egypt’s bloggers, vloggers asked to register for income tax

# Tax Authority calls on content creators with EGP 500k yearly income since online debut to register for VAT

# The move created a mixed reaction with one group terming it time-befitting decision and the other criticising it

The Egypt government has moved to tax social media content creators in a revenue raising exercise as more citizens look to online platforms to make a living.

The tax authority said "YouTubers and bloggers" earning over 500,000 pounds ($32,000) annually would be taxed, in a statement issued Saturday, according to a report of France 24.

Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country with over a 100 million people, has reached a 60 percent internet penetration rate, according to official figures.

Social media was awash with comments after the taxation move.

"Poor vegetable sellers are taxed, so we can also tax the rich," an Egyptian wrote on Twitter.

But another said the latest decision would drive content creators out of the country.

"If the government wants to tax YouTubers then it must at least give us better internet and scrap the whole limited gigabytes packages", a user chimed in on Twitter.

Mohamed al-Gayyar, a senior tax authority official, tried to temper reactions on Sunday.

"Anyone who makes a profit in Egypt must be fairly taxed whatever their field of work is," he said on public television.

But that did not stop celebrity television host Amr Adib from questioning the revenue-raising exercise.

"How many bloggers are really out there?" asked the popular singer and actor.

"The finance minister knows full well that there are millions of people who aren't paying their fair share of taxes. They evade them," he said.

Since 2018, authorities have placed social media users with more than 5,000 followers under supervision. They can be prosecuted for posting "fake news".

Earlier, Daily News Egypt reports: The Chairperson of the Egyptian Tax Authority (ETA), Reda Abdel Qader, has announced that all online content creators (bloggers and vloggers) working in the country, are required to register for income tax.

In a statement on Saturday, ETA added that online content creators whose revenues reached EGP 500,000 per year since their online debut are also required to register for the value-added tax (VAT).

Abdel Qader said that ETA allocated hotline 16395 to receive inquiries related to taxation of e-commerce and online content creation activities.

The authority also demanded individuals and companies that use social media networks for e-commerce to register for income tax and VAT – in case their revenues reached EGP 500,000 per year – in accordance with the law.

There are three types of companies that engage in e-commerce activity: First, companies use e-commerce as one of the various means of sale or distribution. Second, companies depend mainly on electronic means in selling and distributing their products and services. Third, companies use digital platforms to promote products of other companies to customers.

Moreover, all companies that engage in commercial or non-commercial (free professions) activities are subject to income tax according to Law 91 of 2005.