Jordan MPs approve income tax bill amended after unrest

Jordanian lawmakers on Sunday (November 18th) approved an International Monetary Fund (IMF) backed income tax bill after amendments to a controversial draft of the proposed law, AFP reported.

Thousands of Jordanians hit the streets in June to rally against austerity, rising prices and corruption, forcing the prime minister's resignation and the withdrawal of the bill.

The proposed law on income tax was the latest in a series of policies adopted to cut national debt after Amman secured a $723-million loan from the IMF in 2016.

Austerity measures tied to the loan have seen the cost of basic necessities rise across the kingdom.

The original bill, which the government approved in June, raised taxes on employees by at least 5%, and on companies by between 20 and 40%. These measures were left unchanged in the amended version approved Sunday.

But the revised bill raises the threshold for households to pay income tax to 20,000 Jordanian dinars ($28,000) from a previous ceiling of 18,000 dinars ($25,390) for 2019.

The amended legislation also introduced exemptions of up to 2,000 dinars ($2,820) per family for expenses such as education and health, and 1,000 dinars ($1,410) per person "applicable upon the delivery of receipts and invoices", the Jordanian news agency, Petra, reported.

The bill was approved by the lower house of parliament and must be also approved by the Senate before being ratified by the king in order to become law.

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