New Egypt tax law: cuts for poor, business hikes

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CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's president has signed a new tax law that cuts the amount paid by poorer Egyptians while increasing taxes on small and medium-sized businesses.

The interim parliament approved the law last week. President Mohammed Morsi signed it Tuesday, his office said.

The measure is among many economic reforms the government is trying to impose to control its burgeoning budget deficit. Egypt is negotiating a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, which is pushing for economic revisions.

The government is desperately trying to raise revenues after foreign currency reserves tumbled to around $14.4 billion last month, a third of the level before Egypt's 2011 uprising.

Economist Ahmed el-Sayyed el-Naggar says the law raises taxes by 5 percent on small businesses but leaves unchanged the rates the country's wealthiest pay.

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