Worldwide Tax News
Czech Parliament Approves Changes in Real Estate Transfer Tax
On 14 July 2016, the Czech Senate (upper house of parliament) approved changes in the country's real estate transfer tax, which include requiring the buyer of immovable property to pay the tax due. The legislation has already been approved by the Chamber of Deputies (lower house) (previous coverage), and must now be signed into law by the president and published in the Official Gazette before entering into force.
EU Anti Tax Avoidance Directive Published in Official Journal
On 19 July 2016, Council Directive (EU) 2016/1164 was published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The Directive includes anti-avoidance rules in five areas, including interest limitation rules, exit taxation rules, a general anti-abuse rule (GAAR), controlled foreign company (CFC) rules, and hybrid mismatch rules.
Click the following link for previous coverage of the rules.
Belarus Considering VAT on Foreign E-Service Supplies
The Belarus Ministry of Taxes and Duties has announced that it is planning to introduce measures to levy value added tax (VAT) on foreign supplies of certain e-services. If approved, VAT at the standard 20% will apply for e-service supplies provided by non-resident suppliers to Belarusian residents, including supplies of digital applications, games, video content, etc. The Ministry is currently finalizing the scope of supplies that will be subject to VAT and the method of VAT payment, which will either involve the taxpayer acting as a tax agent or requiring non-resident suppliers to register for VAT and make payments directly.
Update - Liechtenstein's Proposed CbC Reporting Requirements
The Liechtenstein government is currently in the process of consulting on the introduction of Country-by-Country (CbC) reporting requirements. The main aspects of the requirements, which are largely in line with BEPS Action 13 guidance, include:
- Liechtenstein MNE Groups meeting a CHF 900 million consolidated revenue threshold in the previous year will be required to submit a CbC report;
- Subject to certain conditions, Secondary filing is provided for where a local constituent entity may be required to file a CbC report if the group's ultimate parent is resident in jurisdiction without CbC requirements or does not exchange the report with Liechtenstein, or a surrogate parent entity may be designated to file the report on behalf of the group;
- The CbC report may be submitted in the English or German language;
- The currency used in the CbC report may be Swiss francs or the functional currency of the group; and
- Failing to comply with CbC reporting obligations may result in penalties of up to CHF 250,000.
In addition to CbC reporting requirements, Liechtenstein is also planning to introduce Master and Local file requirements in line with Action 13.
Subject to approval, the new requirements are to apply from 1 January 2017.
Luxembourg Government Adopts Tax Reform Plans for 2017
The Luxembourg government has reportedly adopted its final tax reform plans for 2017. The main measures include:
- Reducing the standard corporate tax rate from 21% to 19% in 2017 and to 18% in 2018;
- Reducing the reduced corporate tax rate for small businesses from 20% to 15%, and raising the threshold for the reduced rate from EUR 15,000 to EUR 25,000 in taxable income;
- Increasing the fixed minimum net wealth tax from EUR 3,210 to EUR 4,815 that applies for specific resident investment vehicles if financial assets exceed 90% of the total balance sheet in a given year and such assets exceed EUR 350,000;
- Restricting the carry-forward of losses from 2017 to 17 years, with a utilization limit of 75% of taxable income per year (currently losses may be carried forward indefinitely);
- Increasing the tax credit for increased investments in tangible depreciable assets from 12% to 13%, and increasing the tax credit for the first EUR 150,000 of qualifying new investments from 7% to 8%;
- Introducing two new top individual income tax brackets and rates: EUR 150,000 - 41%, and EUR 200,000 - 42% (current top bracket EUR 100,000 - 40%); and
- Making aggravated tax fraud a criminal offense, while simple tax fraud will only be subject to administrative fines.
Subject to parliament approval, the reform measures are to enter into force 1 January 2017.
U.S. Congressman Issues Alternate Tax Reform Plan
Following the release of the House Republicans' tax reform plan in June (previous coverage), U.S. Congressman Jim Renacci R-OH issued an alternate and more ambitious plan on 14 July 2016 - the Simplifying America’s Tax System (SATS). The main aspects of the SATS tax reform plan include:
- Eliminating the corporate tax;
- Introducing a 7% business activity tax (credit-invoice method value added tax);
- Introducing a deemed repatriation of deferred foreign profits at a tax rate of 8.75% for cash and cash-equivalent profits and rate of 3.5% on other profits; and
- Reducing the number of individual income tax brackets from seven to three, with rates of 10% on income up to USD 50,000 for single filers, 25% up to USD 750,000 and a top rate of 35% (capital gains and dividends would be treated as ordinary income.
Tax Treaty between Malta and Vietnam Signed
On 15 July 2016, officials from Malta and Vietnam signed an income tax treaty. The treaty is the first of its kind between the two countries, and will enter into force after the ratification instruments are exchanged.
Additional details will be published once available.
Panama to Sign Mutual Assistance Convention
On 18 July 2016, the OECD announced that Panama has decided to sign the OECD-Council of Europe Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters as amended by the 2010 protocol. After the Convention is signed, Panama must complete the ratification procedures and deposit the ratification instrument before the Convention will enter into force in the country.
Russian Government Approves Ratification of Tax Treaty with Belgium
On 14 July 2016, the Russian government approved and submitted to parliament the law for the ratification of the pending income and capital tax treaty with Belgium. The treaty, signed 19 May 2015, will replace the 1995 tax treaty between the two countries, which is currently in force. The new treaty will enter into force once the ratification instruments are exchanged, and will apply from 1 January of the year following its entry into force.
Click the following link for previous coverage of the treaty.