A new law is issued in Egypt authorizing the Cabinet of Ministers to take a number of financial relief measures to mitigate the implications of COVID-19 on the most affected business sectors. The law is issued under No. 24/2020 (hereinafter the “Law”).
Retroactive Application of the Law
The Law comes into force retroactively as from 31 March 2020.
Grace Period for Payment of Due Taxes
The Law authorizes the Cabinet of Ministers upon the request of the Minister of Finance to take the following measures in respect of entities that have been most adversely affected by COVID-19 (as will be determined by the Cabinet of Ministers):
- Grant three months grace period for filing tax returns (renewable one time for the same period).
- Grant three months grace period for the payment of due taxes (renewable one time for the same period). No delay fee of additional tax will apply during this grace period.
These measures shall apply in respect of the following taxes:
- Income and corporate taxes.
- Value added taxes (VAT).
- Real estate taxes.
Grace Period and instalment for Payment of Social Insurance Contributions
The Law authorizes the Cabinet of Ministers upon the request of the Minister of Social Insurance to take the following measures:
- Grant three months grace period for payment of social insurance contributions for a period of three months (renewable one time for the same period). No delay fee will apply during this period.
- Allow for the settlement of the due social insurance contributions in monthly instalments over a three months period (renewable one time for the same period).
Preconditions to Benefit from the new Measures
In order for an entity to benefit from the above relief measures, the entity must keep its employees and not to adopt any layoff or redundancy nor to reduce the basic salaries.
An entity that has already adopted redundancy or layoff measures can benefit from the new financial measures if it restored the laid off employees and their basic salaries.
Business Sectors to benefit from the Law
The Law provides that the Cabinet of Ministers will determine the business sectors that are most affected by COVID-19 and that will benefit from the financial measure in the Law.
In anticipation of the law, the Tax Authority issued last April an internal circulation with the sectors to benefit from the financial relief measures:
- Aviation/air transportation sector.
- Tourism sector.
- Hotel sector.
- Journalism and media sector.
- Communications and IT sector (except those companies licensed to provide land lines and cell phones services).
- Manufacturing sector (except food, drugs and detergents sectors).
- Sports sector activities.
- Cars distribution and transportations activities.
- Construction sector.
This list however is not final and is not officially issued, a decision from the Cabinet of Ministers is still needed to confirm.