Kazakhstan pushes tax amnesty for SMEs

By bne IntelliNews June 26, 2014

Naubet Bisenov in Astana -

 

Kazakhstan has initiated a tax amnesty in a bid to free businesses from outstanding penalty fees and fines totaling over $1bn.

Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov has proposed the amnesty as part of a package of measures to ease conditions for entrepreneurs. The measures include writing off fines and penalties, and access to loans.

Speaking at the first congress of The National Chamber of Entrepreneurs (NCE), Massimov said that the government planned to announce a tax amnesty to absolve entrepreneurs from fines and penalties, accrued in 2012 and remaining unpaid, to the tune of KZT195bn ($1.1bn). "This amnesty will enable entrepreneurs to channel this money to develop and expand business," Massimov claimed.

The NCE unsurprisingly welcomed the plan. Chairman Ablay Myrzakhmetov said the amnesty will solve problems related to the closure of non-functioning businesses. "A huge number of enterprises cannot close down for years ... because of fines and penalties. Tax inspections go on for [a] long [time] and the tax amnesty will make it possible to solve this problem quickly," told journalists, according to Trend.

Out of 1.4m enterprises registered in Kazakhstan only 800,000 are functional, he declared. The chamber says it aims to increase the contribution of small and medium-sized businesses to GDP to 40% by 2030.

Earlier this month, the government adopted a massive package of incentives to attract investment to the non-extractive sectors, including tax breaks, investment subsidies, visa free travel for foreign investors and free import of labour. Investors who invest at least $20m will be exempt from corporate and land tax for 10 years and from property tax for eight years. The government will also compensate 30% of their costs after the commissioning of an industrial facility, and it promises that tax, migration and environmental protection legislation will remain intact for them for 10 years.

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