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What does the Tunisian social security scheme cover?

Tunisian social protection covers employees against all risks including unemployment.

The social security system in Tunisia is applicable to virtually all employees and differs according to the professional category :

  • for non-agricultural sectors, there is a general plan, a supplementary pension plan, and a self-employment plan;

  • for the agricultural sector, separate plans cover workers and managers.

Employers who employ staff are required to join the National Social Security Fund (CNSS) and report the names of the staff they employ within one month of the date of their hiring. If the employer fails to do so, the employee has the right to register himself/herself.

Are there any exemptions from social security contributions in Tunisia?

Although social security contributions are mandatory, in certain cases, exemptions are granted :

  • export-only companies are exempt from FOPROLOS contribution and TFP,

  • investments in industrial and service sectors made in regional development areas are exempt from social security contributions,

  • companies operating in high added value sectors which hire Tunisian employees having at least a national university degree are totally exempt from social security contributions for 7 years (based on a sliding scale),

  • new promoters are exempt from 50% of payroll taxes for five years;

  • companies operating in the sectors covered by the Investment Incentives Code creating new work crews

  • companies engaged in the sectors covered by the Investment Incentives Code that recruit Tunisian employees with at least four years of higher education.

Who has to pay the income tax ?

Subject to international conventions and special agreements, income tax is payable by any natural person who is :

  • a resident in Tunisia with regard to all income earned in the previous year,

  • a non-resident in respect of the income earned in Tunisia.

The income tax is payable on 1st January each year.

The following are considered resident individuals :

  • persons who have their habitual residence in Tunisia,

  • persons who live in a continuous or discontinuous fashion in Tunisia for at least 183 days per calendar year if it is not their primary residence.

What income is taxable in Tunisia ?

The following income sources are considered taxable income :

  • property income,

  • income from capital and movable property,

  • industrial and commercial profits,

  • profit from non-commercial professions,

  • profits of farms and fisheries,

  • salaries and annuities

  • other income including income from foreign sources not taxed in the source country.

To whom does VAT apply in Tunisia ?

In Tunisia, a value added tax (VAT) applies to all industrial production activities, crafts, and services; however, operations concerning certain products and services are exempt from VAT including areas of agribusiness, international air and sea transportation, etc.

The following, among others, are necessarily subject to VAT :

  • Imports,

  • industrial production, including crafts, but excluding agricultural and fishery products;

  • Services,

  • wholesale, excluding food products,

  • retailers whose annual turnover is at least 100,000 TND (currently food, drugs, pharmaceuticals, and products subject to administrative approval of prices are exempt from VAT)

  • professional activities.

VAT paid on purchases is deducted from the VAT collected on sales.

Is environment protected in Tunisia ?

In Tunisia, both domestic and foreign manufacturers , SMEs and large enterprises are required to comply with the environmental standards.

In this context, there are several tools to prevent pollution and degradation of the environment to spare developers additional costs and conflicts generally encountered upon completion of a project. We mention, among others :

  • The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

  • The Hazard Analysis (HA)

  • The Energy Audit (EA)

Are there any incentives for the employment of Tunisians ?

To encourage employment, the Tunisian authorities provide additional compensation for the benefit of employees and make subsidies available to employers.

In this regard, we can name for instance the SIVP (Professional Life Initiation Internship), the "Integration Contract for Graduates of Higher Education", the "Professional Adaptation and Integration Contract» ...

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