Dr. Mazen Baleelah
THE Shoura Council had on several occasions discussed the issue of levying income tax on foreigners against the huge amounts of money remitted every year abroad, which is equivalent to a third of the general budget. Every time the issue was brought up, it soon died because of the fear that the foreigners might opt to leave our country, leaving us without manpower.
During the recent amnesty granted to foreigners to correct their work and residence status, we have discovered that the problem is bigger than what we thought and that much of the money transfers were made by unregistered workers who have been sending out billions of riyals every year.
Britain has benefited from the debate on the issue at the Shoura Council. It started imposing income tax on foreigners. When we talk about income tax in the US and Europe we will be talking about terrifying figures which made the French people, even the most famous of them, migrate to the outside world. Britain collects about 40 percent of its GDP from income tax. The individual there pays annual income tax starting from 20 percent of his income going up to more than 50 percent depending on how much he earns.
The Saudi Council of Chambers together with the Saudi-British Council of Businessmen in collaboration with Ernst & Young is set to organize a workshop to enlighten Saudi businessmen and investors about the new system of income tax in Britain on non-resident foreigners. The workshop is aimed at informing Saudi investors about their rights and duties under the new income tax system. It will also inform them about how to communicate with the concerned authorities in Britain so as to avoid breaking the laws and rules. Under the new law, all the real estate units and investments owned by foreigners will be taxed.
British Secretary of State for Trade and Investments Lord Green has welcomed the UN report on international investments which said Britain was the best haven for foreign investments in Europe. According to the report Britain occupies the place as the best country for foreign investments in 2011 and is in second place this year.
The proposed income tax will ensure the return of our migrating capitals. We should levy income tax on foreigners in our country because they do this to us in their countries.