Worldwide Tax News
Cameroon Publishes Amendments to Investment Incentive Law
Cameroon has published Law No. 2017/015 of 12 July 2017, which amends and supplements certain provisions of the Investment Incentives Law (Law No. 2013/004). The changes are primarily meant to clarify, simplify, and expedite the investment incentives process, and include:
- New definitions of key terms for the purpose of the Law and the related regulations;
- Revised qualifying conditions for the investor tax credit (to be clarified in new regulation), one of which must be met for the benefit to apply:
- Employ at least five young higher education graduates each year;
- Combat pollution;
- Develop sporting, cultural or social activities;
- Develop public interest activities in rural areas;
- A change in how investment projects will be assessed with respect to the extension of tax and customs benefits to shareholders, promoters, and the investor's local co-contractors (to be clarified in new regulation);
- Changes in the application approval process, including:
- The one-stop-shop has five days to review and forward applications to Minister of Finance (previously two days);
- The authority for granting approval for applications is changed from the Minister in charge of private investment, with the assent of the Minister of Finance, to the body in charge of promoting investment or the body in charge of promoting small and medium-sized enterprises, as the case may be;
- Instead of providing assent for approval, the Minister of Finance is now required to provide an opinion, which must be provided within 15 days - if not provided within 15 days, the opinion is deemed favorable;
- Where a favorable opinion is provided (or is deemed favorable), approval of the application is to be granted within three days;
- A new provision to require that decisions of the approving body must be provided within 15 days in response to an investor's request to extend the time limit to meet the eligibility requirements (maximum extension remains up to two years); and
- The requirement that a "visa" from the approving body must be obtained for all import and local purchase requests is extended to include the establishment phase, in addition to the operation phase.
India Provides Brief Extension for Initial GST Return
On 19 August 2017, India's Central Board of Excise and Customs issued a press release announcing a brief deadline extension for the initial GST payment and return in respect of July 2017. The first deadline has been extended from 20 August to 25 August for taxpayers that are not claiming the transitional credit for qualifying income credits under the prior regime(s). For those taxpayers that are claiming the transitional credit (Form GST Tran-1), the first deadline is 28 August. For the first two returns due in August and September, a simplified return (Form GSTR-3B) is allowed as part of the transition to the new GST regime. (previous coverage).
Nigeria Launches Tax Regularization Scheme Website
The Nigerian Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has launched a dedicated website for the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS). The scheme runs from 1 July 2017 to 31 March 2018 and provides relief from penalties and interest on outstanding tax liabilities on previously undeclared income and assets for the 2011 to 2016 years of assessment, as well as immunity from prosecution. The Scheme covers all federal and state taxes, including companies income tax, personal income tax, petroleum profits tax, capital gains tax, stamp duties, and tertiary education tax.
Click the following link for the VAIDS website for more information, including the required forms, guidance notes, and FAQs.
Russia Clarifies VAT Treatment and Deductibility for Digital Advertising Services Supplied by a Foreign Entity
The Russian Ministry of Finance recently published Letter No. 03-07-08/45864, which clarifies the value added tax (VAT) treatment of digital advertising services supplied by a foreign legal entity to a Russian legal entity, as well as the deductibility of the service fees. With regard to the VAT treatment, the letter notes that digital services are deemed to be supplied in Russia, and subject to VAT, if the buyer is resident in Russia. In this case, the buyer of the service is to act as the tax agent and withhold and remit the VAT due on the supply at the time the payment to the foreign supplier is made (reverse charge). With regard to the deductibility of fees paid for digital advertising services, the letter notes that such expenses are generally deductible as business expenses, provided that expenses are reasonable and economically justified, are properly documented, and are incurred for the performance of activities aimed at generating income.
Saudi Arabia Begins Pre-Registration for VAT
The Saudi General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GAZT) has posted a notice on its new VAT website announcing that it has begun pre-registration for VAT. According to the registration information on the site, certain large companies, particularly those already registered for other forms of tax in Saudi Arabia, will be auto-registered for VAT by the GAZT and a notification will be sent to the company. For companies and businesses not auto-registered, registration will be open starting 28 August 2017. In order to register, taxpayers will need to log in via the GAZT's main website.
UK Updates Guidance on Budget Representations for the Autumn Budget 2017
On 21 August 2017, the UK HM Treasury published updated guidance on budget representations in preparation for the Autumn Budget 2017. Budget representations are written representation from an interest group, individual, or representative body to HM Treasury for the purpose of commenting on government policy and/or suggesting new policy for inclusion in the upcoming Budget. The update notes that beginning with the Autumn Budget 2017, there will only be a single major fiscal event each year, with the usual Spring Budget replaced with a Spring Statement responding to the forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility. As a result, the Budget representations portal has been opened earlier than usual for representations to be submitted and to allow more time for HM Treasury to note and consider the submissions. The deadline for submission is 22 September 2017.
TIEA between Belgium and Jersey has Entered into Force
The tax information exchange agreement between Belgium and Jersey reportedly entered into force on 26 July 2017. The agreement, signed 13 March 2014, is the first of its kind between the two jurisdictions and applies on the date of its entry into force for criminal tax matters, and for other matters for taxable periods beginning on or after that date or, where there is no taxable period, all charges to tax arising on or after that date.
Tax Treaty between Ghana and Malta to be Negotiated
According to recent reports, officials from Ghana and Malta met 25 to 27 July 2017 to discuss bilateral relations, including the negotiation of an income tax treaty. Any resulting treaty would be the first of its kind between the two countries, and must be finalized, signed, and ratified before entering into force.
Ukraine Approves Pending Tax Treaty with Malaysia
On 18 August 2017, the Ukraine Government approved the ratification of the pending income tax treaty with Malaysia. The treaty, signed 4 August 2016, will enter into force after the ratification instruments are exchanged, and once in force and effective, will replace the 1987 tax treaty between Malaysia and the former Soviet Union, which Ukraine generally continues to apply.
U.S. Signs CbC Exchange Arrangement with the United Kingdom
According to an update to the IRS Country-by-Country Reporting Jurisdiction Status Table, the U.S. signed a competent authority arrangement on the exchange of Country-by-Country (CbC) Reports with the United Kingdom on 16 August 2017. The arrangement was not yet published at the time of writing, but will likely be published in the near future and is expected to apply for fiscal years beginning on or after 1 January 2016.
Uruguay Approves Pending Tax Treaty with Chile and Pending TIEAs with Guernsey and South Africa
On 15 August 2017, Uruguay's Chamber of Representatives reportedly approved the laws for the ratification of the pending income and capital tax treaty with Chile and the pending tax information exchange agreements with Guernsey and South Africa. The treaty with Chile, signed 1 April 2016, is the first of its kind between the two countries and will enter into force 15 days after the ratification instruments are exchanged and will generally apply from 1 January of the year following its entry into force (previous coverage). The exchange agreements with Guernsey and South Africa were signed 2 July 2014 and 7 August 2015, respectively, and will enter into force and generally apply 30 days after the ratification instruments are exchanged.