Hong Kong's Financial Secretary John Tsang has announced that the country will introduce a bill to extend the profits tax exemption for offshore funds to private equity funds. The offshore fund tax exemption currently applies only for certain specified transactions including transactions in securities, futures contracts, foreign exchange contracts, etc., but not for shares in private companies. In addition, the transactions must be carried out or arranged by a specified person licensed by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong, a license which most Hong Kong based private equity advisors are not required to have.
The legislation will expand the exemption scope to include shares in private companies incorporated outside Hong Kong. It is also expected that the legislation will waive the SFC license requirement, and will also provide exemption for the profits of certain special purpose vehicles registered in or out of Hong Kong that are owned by a qualifying offshore private equity fund.
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