Worldwide Tax News
Hong Kong 2015-2016 Budget Delivered
On 25 February 2015, Hong Kong's Financial Secretary John C Tsang delivered the 2015-2016 budget. The proposed tax measures in the budget include:
- A 75% reduction in salaries tax, profits tax and tax under personal assessment with a ceiling of HKD 20,000 per taxpayer for the year of assessment 2014-15 (applies for the final tax of the year only, and not to the provisional tax of the same year)
- The introduction of legislation to allow interest deductions for profits tax for corporate treasury centers and a 50% tax reduction for treasury activities subject to certain conditions
- The introduction of legislation to provide private equity funds the profits tax exemption available to offshore funds
- Expansion of the scope of intellectual property rights eligible for the tax deduction of capital expenditure for such rights
- An increase in basic child allowance and additional child allowance in the year of birth, from HKD 70,000 to HKD 100,000 per child beginning in 2015-16
The Budget does not include any changes to current salaries and profits tax rates. The proposed measures will not apply until enacted by the Legislative Council, and are subject to change.
South African 2015 Budget Delivered
On 25 February 2015, South Africa's Finance Ministry Nhlanhla Nene delivered the 2015 budget. The main proposed tax measures in the budget include:
- Personal income tax brackets, rebates and medical scheme contribution credits will be adjusted upwards for inflation, and the personal income tax rates for taxpayers earning more than ZAR 181,900 will be increased by 1 percentage point as follows:
- up to ZAR 181,900 - 18%
- ZAR 181,901 up to 284,100 - 26%
- ZAR 284,101 up to 393,200 - 31%
- ZAR 393,201 up to 550,100 - 36%
- ZAR 550,101 up to 701,300 - 39%
- ZAR 701,301 and over - 41%
- A more generous turnover-based tax regime will be provided for small businesses with annual turnover below ZAR 1 million, including a reduction in the number brackets and rates from 6/4/2/1/0 to 3/2/1/0 as follows:
- up to ZAR 335,000 - 0%
- ZAR 335,001 up to 500,000 - 1%
- ZAR 500,001 up to 750,000 - 2%
- ZAR 750,001 up to 1,000,000 - 3%
- The rates and brackets for transfer duties on the sale of property will be adjusted, including the elimination of transfer duty on properties below ZAR 750,000 and an increase in the rate on properties above ZAR 2.25 million
- The general fuel levy and excise duties on alcoholic beverages and tobacco products will be increased
Other proposals being developed include measures to promote energy efficiency, and measures to counter base erosion and profit shifting by South African corporations through improved transfer pricing documentation and country-by-country reporting requirements, and changes in the rules regarding CFCs and the digital economy.
SSA between Hungary and Turkey Signed
On 24 February 2015, officials from Hungary and Turkey signed a social security agreement. The agreement is the first of its kind between the two countries, and will enter into force after the ratification instruments are exchanged.
TIEA between Italy and Liechtenstein Signed
According to an announcement by the Government of Liechtenstein, officials from Italy and Liechtenstein signed a tax information exchange agreement (TIEA) on 26 February 2015. The agreement is the first of its kind between the two countries, and is line with the OECD standard for information exchange. It will enter into force the day after the ratification instruments are exchanged, and will apply for tax periods beginning on or after the date it was signed, 26 February 2015.
Also signed the same date is a joint declaration on future cooperation in tax matters, including that after the TIEA enters into force, the two countries will begin negotiations for an income tax treaty.
Uruguay Seeking SSA with South Korea
According to a recent announcement by the Uruguayan government, the country is seeking to begin negotiations for a social security agreement with South Korea. Any resulting agreement with be the first of its kind between the two countries, and must be finalized, signed and ratified before entering into force.
SSA between Romania and Uruguay under Negotiation
According to a recent announcement by the Uruguayan government, the first round of negotiations between officials from Uruguay and Romania for a social security agreement have been held. Any resulting agreement with be the first of its kind between the two countries, and must be finalized, signed and ratified before entering into force.