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Banking, Money & Taxes in IranIranian banks' logosIranian banks' logos

The banking infrastructure in Iran is still developing. The number of private banks in the country is increasing, which provides customers with a greater number of choices. ATMs are widely available in the cities but more limited in rural locations.


Banking, especially in relation to using foreign bank accounts, has been made more difficult for expats as a result of international sanctions against Iran.



The currency in Iran is the Iranian Rial (IRR). It is divided into the following denominations:

  • Coins: 50 IRR, 100 IRR,250 IRR, 500 IRR, 1000 IRR
  • Notes: 1000 IRR, 2000 IRR, 5000 IRR, 10000 IRR, 20000 IRR, 5000 IRR, 100000 IRRIranian coinsIranian coins

Expats will find that locals often refer to Tomans when talking about currency. A Toman is the equivalent of 10 Rials. Despite this usage, prices are usually always written in Rials. For example, the sign next to an item in a shop would state the price in Rials (eg 100,000 IRR) but if one was to speak to a shop assistant they would say the item cost 10,000 Tomans. This may be confusing at first, but expats will soon get used to the terminology.


Iranian notesIranian notes



The Iranian banking system consists of a central bank, the Bank Markazi, which issues currency and oversees all the other state and private banks. Several commercial banks have branches located throughout Iran.


Opening a bank account isn’t easy, so if possible expats should try to operate through their bank at home or an offshore account. However, due to the current difficulties that exist when it comes to using international banking services – opening a local account may be the only option for those planning on staying in Iran for anything more than a few months.


Interest rates at banks in Iran as well as services offered vary greatly, so it’s best to compare institutions when choosing where to bank. Factors to consider include; fees, the availability of online banking and the number of branches available in the country.


Credit cards and ATMs

As a result of economic sanctions that exist in Iran, it is very difficult to use foreign credit and debit cards in Iran. Those simply visiting Iran for a short business trip should bring enough cash and exchange this for local currency at the bureau de change outlets which can be found at most banks and hotels.


For those with a local bank account, ATMs are generally quite easy to find but can be limited outside the main urban centers.



The tax system in Iran is complex and continually being updated and changed. For this reason, most foreigners working in Iran hire a tax expert to ensure they pay their taxes correctly. An expat’s employer may also be able to help them establish their tax liabilities.


Expats are usually only considered a taxpayer if they have been resident in Iran for 183 days or more within a tax year and derive income from sources in Iran. Furthermore, visas and work permits for Iran are only issued subject to presentation of tax registration with the relevant authorities.


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