Worldwide: Global Expansion Updates September 2017

Last Updated: 20 October 2017
Article by SKP  

Africa

The Democratic Republic of Congo

Obligation to switch to biometric work Cards

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) authorities have made a mandatory obligation for non-resident employees to switch to biometric cards instead of the earlier work cards.

Non-resident employees have to appear before the office of the Ministry of Labour and get their fingerprints and facial image for official records. In addition to that, a fee of USD 20 is payable to authorities.

Ghana

Increase in minimum wage announced

In July 2017, the government announced an increase in the daily minimum wage for workers by 10%. Accordingly, the minimum wage of GHS 8.80 will rise to GHS 9.68 per hour.

Effective date: 1 January 2018

Mauritius

Introduction of tax incentives to develop business centre

Recently, the Government of Mauritius has announced tax incentives to develop a business centre. Following are the significant tax incentives announced by the Finance Minister in the Budget:

  • From the next financial year, a concessionary tax rate of 3% is to be applied on the profits derived by export-oriented firms or companies.
  • Companies engaged in manufacturing medical devices, pharmaceutical products and high-tech products, which were incorporated after 8 June 2017, are eligible for a tax holiday of eight years.
  • Negative income tax has been introduced for low paid workers whose earnings are less than MUR 9,900 (i.e. USD 216) per month.

South Africa

Draft Bill to eliminate foreign employment income exemption for residents

Currently, when a South African resident renders services outside the Republic on behalf of their employer, he may qualify for an exemption under Section 10(1) (o) (ii) of the Act. Tax residents working abroad benefit from the exemption when the foreign host country does not impose a tax on employment income, or alternatively it does so at a very low rate. South African residents who qualify under Section 10(1) (o) (ii) would pay meagre or no tax in the foreign country. Furthermore, the foreign income would be exempt from tax in South Africa.

In July, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has published the draft Laws Amendment Bill. The draft amendments include a proposal to eliminate foreign employment income exemption applicable to South African tax residents who render services outside South Africa (stated above).

If the exemption is repealed, the SARS could impose a tax on residents who previously qualified for the exemption on their foreign employment income. However, it is subject to the provisions of the tax treaty. It is proposed that the amendment will come into effect on 1 March 2019.

Tanzania

Highlights of Finance Act, 2017

The key relevant amendments in the Finance Act, 2017 that became effective as on 1 July 2017, including but not limited to, are:

Value Added Tax Act (VAT), 2014

  • Zero rating on the supply of ancillary transport services for goods in transit through mainland Tanzania, where the service is an integral part of the international transport service;
  • VAT returns must be filed on the first working day following the 20th day, if the return date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday;
  • A decreasing adjustment shall be allowed to a supplier where all or part of the consideration payable on a taxable supply has been overdue for more than 18 months, and the supplier has written off the unpaid amount as a bad debt.

The Tax Administration Act, 2015

  • An application for the refund of overpaid tax shall be made within three years from the date of payment of the overpaid tax amount. Previously, there was no time limit to apply for the refund of excess tax paid, except for VAT, which is six months.
  • Interest imposed for late payment of tax shall not be affected or waived if there is a delay due to court proceedings or any other dispute resolution process.
  • Imposition of a 5% Withholding Tax (WHT) on payments relating to specified minerals supplied by a resident person.
  • Alternative minimum tax at the rate of 0.3% is to be imposed on the turnover of the third year of an entity with tax losses or utilising carried forward losses for three consecutive years.

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