Worldwide Tax News
All 28 EU Member States Agree to Exchange of Beneficial Ownership Information
On 22 April 2016, the Finance Ministers of the 28 EU Member States agreed to take part in the recently announced initiative by France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom to develop a multilateral system for the automatic exchange of beneficial ownership information (previous coverage). On the basis of the agreement, the EU Commission will work on proposals to streamline and inter-connect company registers in the Member States, with actual exchanges expected to begin in approximately one year.
In addition to the Finance Ministers agreement, a joint statement on the initiative has been issued, which also includes the jurisdictions of Gibraltar, the Isle of Man and Montserrat.
Ecuador to Increase Taxes to Fund Earthquake Reconstruction
Following the recent devastating earthquakes in Ecuador, President Rafael Correa has announced that he will ask National Assembly to approve a number of tax measures to fund reconstruction. The measures include:
- A one-year increase in the value added tax rate from 12% to 14%;
- A one-off surtax of 3% on corporate tax;
- An employee contribution equal to one day's pay per month for each USD 1,000 earned per month, up to five day's pay over five months; and
- A one-off tax of 0.9% on individual with net wealth exceeding USD 1 million.
It is currently unclear how the one-off taxes will be levied, including whether the corporate surtax will be on taxable income or on the statutory tax rate. Details of the taxes application will be published once available.
U.S. Senator to Propose Tax Reform with More Carrots and Fewer Sticks
In a speech given on the Senate floor on 21 April 2016, Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch R-UT spoke on the need for major tax reform. Regarding inversions, Hatch stated that he was working a simple but effective tax reform proposal that "would provide more carrots to keep companies from inverting and fewer sticks to punish companies that try to go in that direction." He also stated that additional details of his proposal would be released in the coming weeks and that "the basic idea behind [his] proposal would be to streamline the taxation of business income and eliminate instances in which profits and earnings are subject to multiple layers of taxation at the company and shareholder levels."
Click the following link for the full text of Senator Hatch's speech. Additional details of his tax reform proposal will be published once available.
Update - Protocol to the Tax Treaty between Finland and Uzbekistan
The protocol to the 1998 income tax treaty between Finland and Uzbekistan was signed on 8 March 2016. The protocol replaces Article 25 (Exchange of information) to bring it in line with the OECD standard for information exchange, and inserts a new article, Article 25A (Assistance in the Collection of Taxes).
The protocol will enter into force 30 days after the ratification instruments are exchanged. Article 25 (Exchange of Information) will apply from the date of its entry into force, while Article 25A (Assistance in the Collection of Taxes) will apply from 1 January of the year following its entry into force.
Tax Treaty between Gambia and Morocco under Negotiation
Officials from Gambia and Morocco met 18 to 22 April 2016 for the first round of negotiation for an income tax treaty. Any resulting treaty will be the first of its kind between the two countries, and must be finalized, signed and ratified before entering into force.
Italy Approves Protocol to Tax Treaty with Switzerland
On 20 April 2016, the Italian Senate approved for ratification the pending protocol to the 1976 income and capital tax treaty with Switzerland. The protocol, signed 23 February 2015, replaces Article 27 (Exchange of Information) to bring it in line with the OECD standard for information exchange. It will enter into force once the ratification instruments are exchanged, and will apply for requests made on or after the date of entry into force.
Liechtenstein Intends to Negotiate Tax Treaty with India
The Liechtenstein government announced on 19 April 2016 that it intends to negotiate an income tax treaty with India. Any resulting agreement would be the first of its kind between the two countries, and must be finalized, signed and ratified before entering into force.
Ukraine Clarifies Beneficial Ownership and Withholding Tax on Royalties under Tax Treaty with Russia
Ukraine's State Fiscal Service (SFS) recently published Guidance Letter № 6047 / 6 / 99-99-19-02-02-15, which clarifies the tax treatment of royalties paid to a non-resident. The guidance specifically addresses royalty payments made from Ukraine to a Russian resident through an agent.
According to the letter, a Ukrainian withholding tax agent may only apply the reduced withholding tax rate (10%) provided for under the 1996 Russia-Ukraine tax treaty if the non-resident recipient of the income is the beneficial owner. For this purpose, a non-resident individual or company is considered a beneficial owner for treaty purposes if it has the right to receive the income, and is allowed to determine the subsequent economic fate of that income. Based on this, a non-resident that is acting as an agent, nominal holder, or intermediary for the income may not be considered the beneficial owner. Therefore, the royalty payments made to the Russian resident through an agent are not eligible for the reduced rate provided for by the tax treaty, but instead subject to the standard 15% withholding tax rate under Ukraine's domestic law.
United Kingdom-Anguilla-Bermuda-B Virgin Isl-Cayman Islands-Gibraltar-Guernsey-Isle Of Man-Jersey-Turks Caics
UK Enters into Agreements for Exchange of Beneficial Ownership Information with Overseas Territories
The United Kingdom has entered into agreements for the exchange of beneficial ownership information with its overseas territories and self-governing dependencies through the exchange of notes and technical protocols. The jurisdictions and dates of signature are as follows:
- Anguilla - 19 April 2016
- Bermuda - 9 April 2016
- British Virgin Islands - 8 April 2016
- Cayman Islands - 8 April 2016
- Gibraltar - 11 April 2016
- Isle of Man - 12 April 2016
- Jersey - 13 April 2016
- Turks and Caicos - 10 April 2016
In addition to the above, the authorities in Guernsey are also planning to put in place an agreement for the exchange of beneficial ownership information after upcoming elections.
The notes and technical protocols each entered into force and are effective from the dates they were signed.
Uruguay Ratifies TIEA with the Netherlands
Uruguay has ratified the pending tax information exchange agreement with the Netherlands through the promulgation of Law 19,375 on 18 March 2016. The agreement, signed 24 October 2012, is the first of its kind between the two countries and is in line with the OECD standard for information exchange. It will enter into force on the first day of the second month following the exchange of the ratification instruments, and will apply for criminal tax matters from the date of its entry into force and for all other matters concerning tax periods beginning on or after that date.