Majority MDP MPs divided over dividend taxes, 26 amendments proposed

Dhaandhoo MP Yaugoob Abdulla. (File photos/People's Majlis)

MPs of the majority party MDP have expressed mixed opinions over the proposed dividend taxes in the Income-tax bill in today’s parliamentary session.

The tax on dividends was one of the major amendments to the original bill that was decided by the Committee of the Whole House Sub Committee after discussions. The amendments proposed imposing dividend taxes on companies earning more than MVR 1 million.

The amendments were opposed by some MDP MPs during the Committee phase as well and were passed with the support of 24 MPs while 7 opposed the move.

It was Dhaandhoo MP Yaugoob Abdulla who initiated the discussion on dividend taxes in today’s session. MP Yaugoob who is from MDP stated that dividend taxes would discourage foreign investors interested in the Maldives. He also expressed concern over the proposed resident dividend taxes.

“The proposed resident dividend taxes would mean that double taxes are imposed. I do not support the imposition of all types of taxes since we are just beginning to impose income taxes,” said Yaugoob who pointed out that the figure included in the budget as revenue from income tax was not a conclusive figure.

“For this reason, I think we should halt the taxes on dividends. We can always bring the change if wished so. Since the Maldives is very much dependent on foreign investors, I do not believe in doing anything that might discourage these investors, even if it is through the tax system.” said Yaugoob, who called for the amendment to be withdrawn.

MP Yaugoob’s assertion was supported by Thulusdhoo MP Ibrahim Naseem and Hulhudhoo MP Ilyas Labeeb. They noted that dividend taxes were not important when the work to perfect the tax system was underway.

The bill saw six amendments proposed during the Committee stage and the Speaker announced today that 26 further amendments were proposed for the bill other than these. A vote on the bill is scheduled for today.