Institute of Law Holds Discussion on Taxation in Palestine

The Institute of Law at Birzeit Univerity – Gaza Office, in partnership with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, held a legal encounter entitled “Income Tax Law: Tax Evasion and Double Taxation,” on November 8. The event, spearheaded by the Professor of Financial and Administrative Law Dr. Hani Ghanem, discussed the effect of the reconciliation between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on taxation laws and regulations.

Dr. Ghanem commenced the encounter by defining tax, and tracing the history of the taxation system in Palestine. He presented the public tax, highlighted its defining characteristics and guidelines, detailed the concept of income tax, and explained how tax is calculated and collected. Dr. Ghanem also discussed how citizens can legally appeal the tax officer’s decisions.

The professor then discussed the Income Tax Law No. 17 of 2004 and the Law by Decree No. (8) of 2011 on Income Tax, detailing its positive outcomes and results. “One of the most important outcomes of the Law by Decree is the reduction of the tax rates for the low-income resident natural person by 3% to its current rate of 5%. Also, the tax is now collected in shekels and not United States dollars.”

Dr. Ghanem defined double taxation as “the process by which the same tax is levied on the same amount of taxable money more than once during a single time period. It is one of the most prominent issues that affected the Gaza Strip during the fragmentation between the West Bank and Gaza.” he added.

He also clarified tax evasion and its effects on the tax apparatus, “Tax evasion, which constitutes non- or under-payment of taxes through loopholes and other illegal methods, is a serious crime punishable by the fullest extent of the law. It prevents the government from fulfilling its obligations to the citizens and the society.”

The discussion ended with a short Q&A session and a summary of the encounter’s recommendations on the best approaches to amend the Palestinian tax code.