Economic sources in Syria estimate the value of tax evasion activities in the country at 29 billion Syrian pounds ($630 million) reported the Al-Bayan newspaper. Such tax evasion activities are particularly common in the private sector, according to the 1999 UN human resources report. Taxes paid by the public sector constitute the country’s major tax revenue source, particularly those originating from the oil sector, which provides 50 percent of Syria’s total tax revenues.
In 1997, the private sector paid some SP 13 billion in taxes, whereas the public sector paid SP 46 billion worth of taxes. Although the private sector contributes 50 percent of Syria’s GDP, it provides only 22 percent of the total tax revenues.
The Syrian Treasury Ministry related this high tax evasion volume to wide scale tax exemptions awarded to the private sector. These tax exemptions are equivalent to 50-60 percent of the country’s GDP.
The ministry also reported that the country’s revenues from income and salary taxes had expanded to SP 5.063 billion in 1997, up from SP 1.919 billion in 1991. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
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