Worldwide Tax News
Colombia Issues Decree for 2015 Tax Return Deadlines
The Colombia government has recently issued Decree No. 0427 of 2015, which sets out the tax return and payment deadlines for income tax and CREE tax in 2015 for taxpayers not classified as a Major Contributor. The deadlines by taxpayer types are summarized as follows.
The deadline for the income tax return and first payment is between 14 April 2015 and 12 May 2015 and, and the deadline for the second payment is between 10 and 24 June 2015. The exact date depends on the taxpayer's tax identification number (NIT).
The deadline for CREE tax and CREE surcharge return and first payment is between 14 and 27 April 2015, and the deadline for the second payment is between 10 and 24 June 2015. As with income tax, the exact date depends on the taxpayer's tax ID number.
Nonresidents, including branches and permanent establishments, must file the returns and make payment for income tax, CREE tax and CREE surcharge by 23 October 2015.
Ecuador Clarifies Deductibility of Promotion and Advertisement Expenses for Highly Processed Foods
On 5 March 2015, a resolution was published in Ecuador's Official Gazette clarifying the deduction limits for expenses related to the promotion and advertisement of highly processed foods. The limit was included in the Organic Law to Promote Production and to Prevent Tax Fraud published on 29 December 2014, but the law did not include exact details.
According to the recently published resolution, no deduction will be allowed for such promotion and advertisement expenses for taxpayers that serve prepared dishes including highly processed foods. For taxpayers that produce or commercialize such foods but do not serve them, the expenses are limited to 4% of taxable income.
The deduction limits apply from 1 January 2015.
Update - Austrian Tax Reform Plans
The Austrian government has recently announced details of its planned tax reform. Changes to be proposed in draft legislation in the near future include:
- A reduction in the lowest individual income tax rate from 36.5% to 25%, and the introduction of new brackets including an increased rate of 55% on income exceeding EUR 1 million as follows:
- up to EUR 11,000 - 0%
- over EUR 11,000 up to 18,000 - 25%
- over EUR 18,000 up to 31,000 - 35%
- over EUR 31,000 up to 60,000 - 42%
- over EUR 60,000 up to 90,000 - 48%
- over EUR 90,000 up to 1,000,000 - 50%
- over EUR 1,000,000 - 55%
- An increase in the withholding tax rate on capital income from 25% to 27.5%, including on dividends and capital gains from the sale of shares, but not for interest on bank deposits
- An increase in the real estate capital gains tax rate from 25% to 30%
- A change in the real estate transfer tax from a single rate of 3.5% to progressive rates of:
- 0.5% on transactions up to EUR 250,000
- 2% on transactions up to EUR 400,000, and
- 3.5% on transactions exceeding EUR 400,000
- An increased in the R&D cash credit from 10% to 12% for qualifying R&D expenses
The planned changes are subject to change, but it is expected that they will generally apply from 1 January 2016. Additional details will be published once available.
Hong Kong Publishes Bill to Extend Profits Tax Exemption to Offshore Private Equity Funds
Hong Kong published the Inland Revenue (Amendment) Bill 2015 in the Official Gazette on 20 March 2015. If approved, the bill would amend the Inland Revenue Ordinance in order to extend the profits tax exemption for offshore funds to private equity funds as announced by Hong Kong's Financial Secretary John Tsang earlier in the year.
Currently, the offshore fund tax exemption applies only for certain specified transactions including transactions in securities, futures contracts, foreign exchange contracts, etc., but not for shares in private companies. The new legislation will expand the exemption scope to include shares in private companies incorporated outside Hong Kong. It will also relax the requirement that qualifying transactions be arranged through a person with a Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) license, and will provide profits tax exemption for gains from the disposal of a qualifying offshore portfolio companies by special purpose vehicles, including Hong Kong SPVs.
The Bill will be tabled in the Legislative Council on March 25, and will have effect once published in the Official Gazette following approval.
Update - Tax Treaty between Andorra and Spain Signed
On 8 January 2015, officials from Andorra and Spain signed an income tax treaty. The treaty is the first of its kind between the two countries.
The treaty covers Andorran income tax, tax on income from economic activities, tax on income of nonresidents, real estate capital gains tax, and local income taxes. It covers Spanish individual income tax, corporation tax, non-resident income tax, and local taxes on income.
- Dividends - 5% if the beneficial owner is a company directly holding at least 10% of the paying company's capital, otherwise 15%
- Interest - 5%
- Royalties - 5%
The following capital gains derived by a resident of one Contracting State may be taxed by the other State:
- Gains from the alienation immovable property situated in the other State,
- Gains from the alienation of movable property forming part of the business property of a permanent establishment in the other State,
- Gains from the alienation of shares or similar rights in a company directly or indirectly deriving more than 50% of their value from immovable property situated in the other State (exemption for shares listed on a recognized stock exchange in one of the States), and
- Gains from the alienation of shares representing a direct or indirect ownership of 25% or more of the capital of a company resident in the other State
Both countries apply the credit method for the elimination of double taxation.
A protocol to the treaty, signed the same date, includes the provision that the benefits of the treaty will not apply if one of the main purposes of an agreement or transaction giving rise to a benefit is to gain the benefit.
The treaty will enter into force 3 months after the ratification instruments are exchanged, and will generally apply from the date of its entry into force.
Protocol to the Tax Treaty between Belgium and Qatar Signed
On 22 March 2015, officials from Belgium and Qatar signed a protocol to the pending 2007 income tax agreement between the two countries. Additional details will be published once available.