EghtesadOnline: In an amendment to the next budget bill, the Majlis obliged the government on Saturday to levy tax on the earnings of Astan Qods Razavi, Executive Headquarters of the Imam's Directive - shortly known as Setad - and companies affiliated to the armed forces.
According to the Majlis news agency ICANA, the law doesn’t affect bodies exempted via a decree issued by the Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
AQR is an influential autonomous foundation based in Mashhad, headed by Ebrahim Raisi. It manages the shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH), the eighth imam of Shia Muslims and the holiest site in Iran. AQR is said to be the richest non-government conglomerate in Iran everything from cattle farms to major trading companies.
Setad is body founded by the late Imam Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Revolution, to support development in the underprivileged areas, according to Financial Tribune.
Tax exemptions granted to the so-called revolutionary organizations has long caused controversy among the general public, lawmakers and politicians. Those in charge of these bodies say the exemptions are made based on a decree from Imam Khomeini.
In the past Raisi had rejected claims that AQR does not pay any tax, saying that it paid value added tax and 'withholding taxes' since his appointment as head of AQR.
This is while projected tax revenues in the original budget bill for companies and institutions affiliated to AQR was a symbolic one million rials ($8) and the tax receipt for other revolutionary institutions is predicted at 166.6 billion rials ($272,000).
MPs decided that the money paid by real and legal entities for building, equipping, maintenance, and renovating historical and cultural monuments, mosques and theological schools, known locally as Hawza Ilmiyah, be considered as part of their tax payment. The payments should be confirmed by the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of Iran and the Awqaf Organization – a state organization in charge of religious endowments.
Lawmakers voted on another amendment to the bill which exempts banks, insurance companies, the Security and Exchange Organization, non-government public institutions, funds, and bodies that are exempted by the Leader’s permission, from reimbursing the interest of their (bank) deposits to the treasury.
They also ratified part of the bill that says 800 billion rials ($6.5 million) in student loans repayment should be deposited with the treasury. The earnings are to be used to help boost the Students Welfare Fund.
In addition, lawmakers allowed universities and science and technology parks to borrow up to a ceiling of their earnings in the current fiscal (ends on March 20) from banks to complete their development projects.
Third Party Insurance
Insurance companies are required to pay 3 trillion rials ($24 million) from their third-party vehicle insurance policy earnings to the government treasury. As per the budget bill, the payment should be made on a weekly basis and the deposited sums will go to the Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization, the Law Enforcement Forces (known by its Persian acronym NAJA), and the Emergency Medical Services organization to be used for curbing road accidents. The Central Insurance of Iran is tasked with overseeing the enforcement of this law.
Lawmakers also allowed government bodies to sell their surplus non-movable property and deposit the earning with the treasury. The budget bill stipulates that the earnings should be used for severance pay for laid off employees and the unused leave of government employees.
Majlis voted on a proposal by an MP to extend the maturity of loans to engineering and technical companies that provide services to foreign countries. Hossein Amiri, who tabled the amendment said it takes time for companies who provided services and implemented projects overseas to repatriate their capital.
“For example, it may take several years for Iranian companies to build a power plant in another country. They would obviously need 3-4 years to repatriate their earnings and Central Bank of Iran should consider” these issues.
The MPs agreed to raise custom charges and trading tariffs on imported cosmetics. They also obliged the Ministry of Culture to deposit 10% of its earnings from tickets sold for musical concerts in Tehran and other big cities to the treasury.