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Consequences of zakat nonpayment

March 6, 2010

Time for a refresher on zakat basics.

What is the consequence for a Muslim who does not pay the zakat?  His wealth will be made like a venomous snake.  “The snake will encircle his neck and bite his cheeks and say ‘I am your wealth, I am your treasure’” (Sahih Bukhari, 2.24.486).

"I am the wealth you failed to pay zakat on--hiss!"

Well, at least Saudi Arabia isn’t throwing people into the snake pit.  This article from the Saudi Gazette on Feb. 7, which addresses corporate zakat, offers fines and tougher audits.

JEDDAH – The government intends to crack down on those companies not paying Zakat (tax), according to Ibrahim Al-Muflih, Director General of the Zakat and Revenues Department.

He said that there are new draft regulations for collecting Zakat now being studied at the Experts Commission and related authorities.

Al-Muflih said the draft regulations have increased the fines for evasion to 25 percent of the amount owed. He said there is the possibility of collecting the amounts in installments for those facing financial difficulties.

Al-Muflih said the Zakat revenues over the past year were not affected by the global financial crisis. On the contrary, it increased by six percent compared to the previous year, jumping from SR6.2 billion to SR6.6 billion. He said the amounts were deposited daily into the account of the Deputy Ministry for Social Security in the Ministry of Social Affairs, for disbursement to beneficiaries. He said the Zakat revenues cover 60 percent of social insurance expenditures.

To limit non-payment of the required amounts and to check on the budgets of companies, Al-Muflih stressed that control and auditing in this respect has been upgraded to four levels. This will start with auditing at the branches, then auditing at the headquarters of the Zakat and Income Department, followed by the Financial Revenues Auditing Administration at the Ministry of Finance and finally the General Auditing Board (GAB).

Al-Muflih denied accusations that the department’s staff had tampered with figures in this regard.

My only additional comment is that 25 percent seems a little steep if it is an immediate penalty.  (The IRS charges a maximum 25 percent penalty, but you have to work your way up to that in smaller percentage increments over time depending on whether you failed to file, are simply paid late, or actually evaded taxes.  Also, we can vote out the politicians who set our tax rates, but Muslims living under the Saudi monarchy cannot.)

One comment

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