BEIRUT: Lebanon's Parliament introduced Wednesday a new batch of taxes that are expected to hit low and middle-income families hard, a day after ratifying a wage hike for public servants and teachers.
The new taxes include a 2 percent tax on real estate sales contracts, raising the corporate tax on profits from 15 to 17 percent, increasing the flat fee on imported containers through Beirut port, imposing fines on illegal beach properties and raising the tax interest income from 7 percent among others tariff hikes on various legal paperwork.
The new tariffs, in addition to a batch of taxes that were discussed and adopted by Parliament in March but were yet to be officially ratified into law, will become effective once the law is published in the official gazette.
The taxes adopted in March include raising the value-added tax from 10 percent to 11 percent, increasing taxes on imported spirits, wines and beer in addition to introducing an additional LL250 on the prices of cigarette and tobacco packs and a L.L. 6,000 tax on the production of each ton of cement.
Kataeb MP Samy Gemayel reprimanded the parliament’s approval of new taxes, saying such taxes were seconded for the sake of financing the upcoming parliamentary elections rather than the announced public wage hike.
In a press conference held after the legislative session, Gemayel predicted an imminent spike in living costs for all segments of Lebanese society.
"Unfortunately, our studies confirm that commodity prices will climb an extra 5 to 10 percent due to the approved taxes today," he announced.
Gemayel promised to challenge Parliament's new legislations, affirming that he would not remain passive in the face of the taxes hike.
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