Morocco plans to increase budgets for health, education and social safety nets next year, but expects the deficit to shrink due to higher taxes by 2023

Marruecos recurre a los impuestos para contener el déficit

AFP/FADEL SENNA - Aziz Akhannouch, Prime Minister of Morocco

Over the next four years, taxes on companies with annual profits of more than Dh100 million are planned to be raised in Morocco's state budgets. As part of the tax reforms launched ahead of the 2023 budget, the Finance Minister announced that banks and insurance companies will have to pay a 40% tax on their profits until 2026.

First of all, we need to know that the Moroccan tax system comprises three types of taxes: levies, taxes and special contributions. In Morocco, there are two levels of taxation, state and local. The central administration manages the issuance and collection of local taxes, the revenue from which is passed on to the municipalities. In 2007, the General Tax Code was approved, which includes regulations on corporate income tax (IS), personal income tax (IRPF), value added tax (TVA) and registration and stamp duties. Each year the Finance Act (equivalent to the State Budget Act) amends this Code by introducing new tax provisions.

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The Finance Minister, who presented the budget figures to Parliament last week, said that taxes on sugar products would also be increased. Morocco subsidises sugar, as well as cooking gas and flour. But this year it offered subsidies to specialised airlines to keep prices stable and subsidies to farmers and tourism businesses to help them recover from the impact of the pandemic, worth $23.5 million. Overall, spending on subsidies is expected to soar to around $4 billion, including $3.2 billion for the subsidy fund (cooking gas, flour and sugar).

Although traditionally in Morocco, as in many emerging countries, indirect tax revenues have traditionally been higher than direct taxes, since 2004 the volume of indirect taxes has slightly exceeded direct taxes.

The Financial City of Casablanca will also have to prepare for higher taxes along with free economic zones as Morocco pushes to align with tax transparency criteria to avoid grey lists. Meanwhile, the Finance Minister said that income tax will be reduced for the middle class and pensioners. These measures will help reduce the fiscal deficit from 5.3% in 2022 to 4.5% next year. The government has also earmarked 300 billion dirhams for public investment. The Moroccan king has urged the government to attract 550 billion dirhams in investments to create 500,000 jobs by 2026.

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The agricultural sector is exempt from all direct and indirect taxes, a measure that stems from the negative effects of droughts earlier this decade. Thus, exemption from agricultural corporation tax and general income tax was approved for all types of cultivation and the marketing of livestock on agricultural farms until 31 December 2013.

One of the objectives of the Moroccan Treasury is to stop citizens from avoiding taxation of certain categories of income (mainly dividends) under tax treaties, the manoeuvre consisting of an investor coming under the umbrella of the 'most fiscally advantageous' treaty linking Morocco to a third country.

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