Uber undertakes to pay VAT in Egypt
Ride-hailing company agrees to pay tax, which could resolve a dispute with traditional taxi drivers
Cairo — Uber has agreed to pay value-added tax (VAT) on its services in Egypt, Egyptian officials said on Monday, a move that may help resolve a long-simmering feud with traditional taxi drivers.
The agreement would also apply to other ride-hailing companies, the head of the Egyptian Tax Authority, Abdel Azeem Hussein, said. Egypt’s VAT rate is 14%.
“Reaching an agreement and determining the tax treatment that will be applied to the company Uber and other companies operating in the same area will enhance confidence and co-operation between the authority and the tax community,” state news agency MENA quoted Hussein as saying.
Uber Egypt was not immediately available for comment.
Egypt introduced a law in May 2018 regulating ride-hailing apps Uber and Careem, after Egyptian taxi drivers filed a lawsuit arguing that the two companies were illegally using private cars as taxis and were registered as a call centre and an internet company, respectively.
An Egyptian court suspended Uber and Careem's services in March 2018 after the taxi drivers’ suit but another court stayed the suspension ruling in April, allowing the companies to operate while the case was appealed to a higher court. A verdict is expected on Saturday.
Careem could not immediately be reached for comment on whether it will pay the VAT.
Uber riders and drivers in Egypt have said they faced various technical difficulties with the Uber app in recent weeks, which two security sources said was linked to data-sharing disputes with Egyptian authorities.
Uber has faced regulatory and legal setbacks around the world amid opposition from traditional taxi services. It has been forced to quit several countries, including Denmark and Hungary.
Uber has said that Egypt is its largest market in the Middle East, with 157,000 drivers in 2017 and 4-million users since its launch there in 2014.