(Few people know that an Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade terrorist earns $50,000 a year in salary in the PA. That's an enormous salary in a country where $800 in a month is considered a good income. The ISM cries about how poor the Palestinian Arabs are, and urges funding Hamas. It's time to understand the ISM is supported as part of the PLO ripoff network).
The Funding for Peace Coalition just posted a summary of the Palestinian Authority accounts
<http://eufunding.org/accountability/PublishedAccounts.html> for the three calendar years 2003 - 2005. Except for the most, well, accounting types among us, that sounds pretty boring. In fact, the introductory notes make some interesting reading. And then it degenerates pretty quickly into eye-glazing tables of numbers.
But, being a boring CPA by trade, I forced myself into a litte look.
And being a masochist, whether its accounts or a pay slip, the first thing I look at is income taxes. So how do the few officially employed Palestinians fare? It seems that the tax regime is relatively favourable, although income taxes cut in at the first shekel. The minimum personal tax rate in the PA is 5%. The corporate tax rate is the same as the highest personal tax rate - 20%. For salary earners, tax is deducted at source. Total reported income tax collections for the full three years was a mere $165 million. This means that (at a 5% - 20% marginal rate) total taxable income
for three years for the whole PA was between $825 million and $3,300 million.
Don't fall asleep quite yet - lets see how that adds up first! Let's
assume that the PA knows how to deduct taxes from its own employees, and that UNWRA, being a law abiding organisation, deducts taxes too. PA salaries were reported at $2,552 million for the three years and UNWRA salaries in the West bank and Gaza run at about $600 million for three years - that means that every one of these employees is at the minimum tax rate AND not a single other person or company in the whole Palestinian Authority earned a single shekel of taxable income. Not bad considering some of the
fancy houses, cell phones, shopping malls and other attractions one sees in photos of downtown Ramallah and Gaza.
So when Bassam al-Shaqaa, a former mayor of Nablus collected donations for Hamas from his local population and said
These donations are our way of telling the world that we can live
without them, and our children are paying what the Europeans should be paying, guess he was right. Europeans know that they should pay their taxes and pass them on the Palestinians.
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