Six months have passed, and Lebanon is still reeling from the aftermath of a disastrous port explosion that crushed the economic situation even further.
However, victims of the Beirut blast will now grapple with another unjustified issue, as the Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni announced that the Lebanese government will file a taxable income for the aid given to the victims.
According to MTV, the Minister of Finance in the caretaker government has prepared the budget for the year 2021, in which a decision under the number 47/1 states that all donations to the victims of the explosion are now subject to income tax.
Wazni declared that they will register the aid received by the victims of the deadly explosion as “exceptional revenues.”
The budget adds that: “If an individual is subject to taxation on the basis of the flat rate, the value of the donations received or will receive, will be considered as part of the income generated by the individual’s activity.”
Worth noting that the act of receiving charitable aid by harmed individuals is not a business activity nor a revenue-generating enterprise by the individual. The person is receiving donations because he/she is in no capability to survive his/her predicament.
The decision shows some clemency, though, in regards to the inheritance left by those who died in the explosion: their relatives are exempt from inheritance tax; if there is any asset left behind in the destroyed Beirut.
These charitable donations, to clarify, cannot be considered “income” nor “revenues” since they are humanitarian aid, and mostly in-kind donations.
True to fact, the Lebanese Association for Taxpayers’ Rights protested the 47/1 decision, emphasizing that all humanitarian aid, most of which was given by NGOs, foreign governments, or members of the diaspora, should be exempted from any kind of taxes.
The enormous stockpile of ammonium nitrate fertilizer exploded on the Beirut dockside because of the negligence of the same officials who are now placing the new tax rule on the victims of that very same negligence.
Over 200 people were killed, while thousands of citizens were left injured, over 1,000 physically incapacitated, 300,000 homeless, and a staggering number of homes destroyed.
Now, the government wants to cash on that, making their lives more miserable than it has been these past 6 months since the explosion, instead of assuming its responsibility in assisting them and giving them justice.