Hariri speaks at Parliament in Beirut, July 19, 2017. (The Daily Star/Lebanese Parliament, HO)
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Parliament approved a series of tax hikes to finance the new salary scale for public sector workers Wednesday in a heated legislative session that was adjourned before the agenda was completed.These included an 11 percent value added tax, raised from the current 10 percent, and a 1.5 percent fee to be added to every appraised square meter of property.MPs also increased taxes on corporate profits from 15 to 17 percent, in addition to a 7 percent tax increase on deposit interest for both depositors and banks. The new law, with its 20 articles, will also usher in an increase on postage stamps, paperwork and document fees.Illegally built properties are now to be fined as per the new law's Article 13 . The new law now imposes a fee of LL5,000 ($3.32), stipulated in Article 10 .However, the original article imposed the fee on all travelers leaving Lebanon by land, which some lawmakers opposed. MPs endorsed all 38 articles of the bill, including salary adjustments and social benefits for civil servants, reforms and an 85 percent hike in pensions for retired employees, raising the cost of the bill, which is now estimated at LL1.2 trillion annually.
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