VAT in Lebanon a Sticky Situation

Implementing the VAT (value-added tax) in many countries across the world is a no-brainer in most arenas. However, in Lebanon, where the VAT begins in about eight months, the government may not be ready to face the VAT's reality in actually collecting the tax.

Why? Reports state that the government in Lebanon has had a hard time implementing income and property taxes. The infrastructure and those handling the tax-related issues for the VAT--such as accountants--do not have enough time or training to fully comprehend what they must do as business professionals to even explain how to handle the VAT.

The VAT is scheduled to begin Jan. 1, 2001, and the government decided to begin it to reform public finances.

Revenues from the VAT are designed to replace any revenues from Customs duties. The country was forced to reduce these duties because of its agreement with the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, the Arab free-trade area and the World Trade Organization.

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