Worldwide: Global Expansion Updates August 2018

Last Updated: 5 September 2018
Article by SKP  

AFRICA

Nigeria

Transfer Pricing Update

Given below are the summary points on the transfer pricing changes in Nigeria:

  • Revision of the transfer pricing regulations - The new regulations will contain additional provisions for intra-group services, intangibles, allocation of risks, administrative penalties, and documentation requirements.
  • Implementation of Country-by-Country Reporting (CbCR) Rules – The government has recently released the CbCR Regulations, 2018 and Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) with accounting year from or after 1 January 2018 will be required to comply with CbCR.
  • Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) - Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is under process to draft AEOI rules to be put in place to align to Action 13 of the BEPS.

South Africa

South Africa to Encourage e-Filing

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) is now encouraging taxpayers to file tax returns electronically. It has removed certain paper forms from its branches in an attempt to strengthen the e-Filing system. According to SARS, transactions - together with filing of income tax returns, payments and the uploading of supporting documents - can be done electronically via the e-Filing system.

SARS's branch offices will no longer provide paper forms used to register as a taxpayer (including companies and trusts), as a VAT vendor, or as an employer. Also, SARS has increased the file size limit for files submitted electronically from two megabytes to five megabytes.

Tanzania

The Finance Act, 2018

The Finance Bill, 2018/2019 was approved on 28 June 2018. The Finance Act, 2018 (the Act) became operative with immediate effect from 1 July 2018.

The Act introduces amendments to existing provisions in the different tax laws. Following are the key tax changes:

Income Tax Act, 2004

  • Total income of a non-resident individual will be taxable at the rate of 30%. Earlier, it was taxable at the rate of 20%.
  • The corporate income tax rate for new investors in the pharmaceutical and leather industries has been reduced from 30% to 20% for five consecutive years since production commenced.
  • Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) has been increased from 0.3% to 0.5%.
  • Exemption from Withholding Tax (WHT) for payments on rent and dividends arising from investment in the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) and Special Economic Zone (SEZ) has been withdrawn for the initial period of 10 years of business.
  • There will be no withholding of tax on interest paid by the government to a non-resident bank or financial institution on loans raised for purposes of financing government projects.
  • Section 10A is repealed removing the restriction on the Minister of Finance from granting exemptions or remission on income or payments derived from government projects financed by a no concessional loan.

Tax Administrative Act, 2015

  • In case of failure of an entity to pay taxes, current and former managers responsible at the time of occurrence of default are now jointly and severally liable with the entity for the tax liability.
  • Under the Tax Amnesty Scheme, the Commissioner General may waive off the whole or part of the interest or penalty imposed under any tax law.

Value Added Tax Act, 2014

  • Refund of input tax credit incurred on the acquisition or importation of taxable goods and services will no longer be available to not-for-profit organizations.

For more information, click here.

AMERICAS

Canada

Changes in GST/HST rules for Carbon Emission Allowances

In June, the Department of Finance released draft technical changes to the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) rules for sales of carbon emission allowances, such as those traded in cap-and-trade systems. When the GST/HST is payable on such a sale, the purchaser of carbon emission allowances is responsible for self-assessing the tax amount. This replaces the previous requirement whereby the seller of the allowance collected the tax from the purchaser and remitted it to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This brings the Canadian rules in line with how these allowances are treated internationally.

Effective Date: 27 June 2018

For more information, click here.

United States

New 21% Excise Tax on covered Employees

Recently, additional excise tax has been imposed on tax-exempt organizations in the United States. As per the latest US Internal Revenue Code, 21% excise tax on remuneration was paid in excess of USD 1 million to "covered employees." Covered employees include five highest paid employees in any taxable year beginning after 31 December 2016. Any employee considered as "covered employee" in a taxable year after 2016, can be considered as covered employee for all future taxable years.

Withdrawal of Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits

Recently, a publication of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act repealed the deduction of Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits (QTFB). QTFB are no longer deductible for employers when provided under a Salary Reduction Arrangement (SRA), where the employee has the choice between the actual receipt of compensation and the QTFB benefits.

Earlier, employers were able to deduct expenses related to QTFBs such as qualified parking, transit passes, transportation in commuter highway vehicles, or qualified bicycle commuting reimbursements.

ASIA-PACIFIC

Australia

Summary of Change in Numbers in 2018-19

Following is the summary of changes in the threshold for the financial year 2018-19 effective from 1 July 2018:

Single Touch Payroll for Employees

Following benefits for employees shall be available, if the employer reports to the Australia Taxation Office (ATO) through the Single Touch Payroll (STP):

  • The employee can see year-to-date tax and super information on the myGov portal. Every time the employer pays the employee, the year-to-date tax and super information will be updated on the portal. The payment summary information at the end of year will also be available online (the employer will no more be obligated to provide an end-of-year payment summary).
  • The registered tax agent of the employee will also be able to access their STP information if the employer reports through STP. Employee's income statement will be available for the agent to prepare the tax return.

For more information, click here.

Single Touch Payroll Exemptions

There are certain exemptions for employers under STP system. This includes exemptions for;

  • Reporting through STP for a particular financial year, or reporting certain payments –Employers receiving an exemption for current financial year should start STP reporting in the following year, or apply for another exemption. Otherwise, the employer must continue to comply with the existing Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) withholding obligations including:

    • Reporting and paying the PAYG withholding liability;
    • Giving payment summaries to the employees; And
    • Giving an annual payment summary report to ATO.
  • Reporting certain employees through STP – An exemption from reporting payments to foreign employees is available if all the specified conditions apply in case of foreign employee.

For more information, click here.

Single Touch Payroll Deferrals

There is an option available to employers, software providers, tax professionals and payroll service providers to apply for a deferral if they are not ready to start STP reporting from 1 July 2018.

Employers can apply for a deferral using the online form. Note: Tax and BAS agents should use this form when lodging a deferral request for a each employer client who is not ready to start STP reporting from 1 July.

Deferrals will be considered if employers:

  • Are unable to get ready by software provider's deferred start date
  • Are transitioning to a new STP-enabled solution
  • Are using a customized payroll solution and need time to configure and test the updated product
  • Have complex payroll arrangements and need additional time to transition to STP
  • Have entered administration or liquidation
  • Have been impacted by a natural disaster
  • Are affected by other circumstances which are out of their control.

For more information, click here.

New Rate for Cents per Kilometre Method

A new rate of 68 cents per kilometre has been determined to compute work-related car expenses under Cents Per Kilometre method for the income year commencing from 1 July 2018.

To work out how much can be claimed, multiply the total business kilometres (maximum 5,000) travelled by 68 cents.

For 2015 to 2018, the rate of 66 cents per kilometre still applicable. The new rate is applicable to subsequent income years until such time as the Commissioner determines that it should be varied.

For more information, click here.

Hong Kong

New Transfer Pricing Legislation and BEPS Law Passed

Recently, the Transfer Pricing Legislation in the form of Inland Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2017 has passed. Most of the provisions of the Bill will have retrospective effect from year of assessment 2018-19. The major amendments to be noted are as follows:

  • Domestic transactions have been kept out of the scope of the transfer pricing regime, subject to fulfilment of certain conditions to demonstrate that no overall tax advantage has resulted.
  • The documentation thresholds have been simplified to ease the burden of proving the compliance with the arm's length principle on smaller businesses.

For more information, click here.

Changes to Salaries Tax Relief by New Transfer Pricing Legislation

In July 2018, a new transfer pricing regime has been introduced and it includes an amendment to the existing double taxation relief mechanism for Hong Kong Salaries Tax.

An amendment was made to the exemption, under the Inland Revenue Ordinance, from salaries tax income for services rendered in another territory, which is also subject to tax in that territory. After the amendment, if double taxation arises in territory with which Hong Kong has a Comprehensive Double Taxation Agreement (CDTA), the taxpayer can claim tax relief under the treaty.

There are also few 'enhancements' to the current tax credit system:

  • Period extended for claiming tax credit relief from two to six years
  • Taxpayers to minimize their foreign tax liability by making full use of all other available relief under any tax treaty and local legislation in the foreign territory before resorting to tax credit relief
  • Taxpayers to notify the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) of amendments to their foreign tax payments.

Rules on BEPS Minimum Standards Implementation and Codifying the Transfer Pricing Principles

Recently, the Inland Revenue (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018 was gazetted. The Amendment Ordinance primarily outfits the minimum standards of the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) package and organizes the transfer pricing principles into the Inland Revenue Ordinance.

Under the Amendment Ordinance, the ultimate parent entity of a Multinational Enterprise (MNE) group being a resident in Hong Kong, is required to file Country-by- Country Reporting (CbCR) to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), if the annual consolidated group revenue is HKD 6.8 billion or more. The taxpayers should prepare master files and local files as part of the transfer pricing documentation, subject to certain exemptions.

Malaysia

Sales and Service Tax - Proposed Framework Released

In July 2018, a copy of the framework for the reintroduction of the Sales and Service Tax (SST) was made available on the Royal Malaysian Customs Department's (RMCD's) GST Portal. It includes frequently asked questions on SST, information on goods proposed to be exempted from sales tax and proposed implementation models for SST.

The proposed sales tax rate would be 5% and 10%, or a specific rate in some cases. Goods would be taxable unless specifically listed as exempted from sales tax. The proposed rate of service tax is 6%.

For more information, click here.

New Zealand

New Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Law

A new tax law, Taxation (Neutralising Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) Bill was enacted and received the royal assent on 28 June 2018. The Bill aims to introduce measures for countering the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) strategies observed in New Zealand. These changes will apply from income years beginning on or after 1 July 2018.

The measures proposed in this Bill would prevent multinationals from using:

  • Artificially high interest rates on loans from related parties to shift profits out of New Zealand
  • Artificial arrangements to avoid having a taxable presence (a permanent establishment) in New Zealand
  • Related party transactions (transfer pricing payments) to shift profits into their offshore group members
  • Hybrid and branch mismatches that exploit differences between countries' tax rules to achieve an advantageous tax position.

For more information, click here.

Thailand

Extension of Reduced VAT Rate of 7%

Recently, the Thai government announced that the VAT rate will continue to remain at a reduced rate of 7% for another year.

Earlier, the VAT rate was set to increase to 10% from 1 October 2018, but will continue to stay at 7% for another year.

Revised Regulations on Foreign Workers

The Thai government has introduced a new decree on 'Managing the Work of Aliens B.E. 2561.' This new law replaces and combines the 'Working of Foreigner Act B.E. 2551 (2008)' and the 'Royal Decree on Recruitment of Foreigners B.E. 2559 (2016).'

This new Law manages the employment of foreign workers in Thailand and controlling foreigners working in Thailand illegally. Key points in the new law are:

  • New definition of "work" which reads as "...exerting one's physical energy or employing one's knowledge to carry out a profession or perform work, whether or not for wages or other benefits" (emphasis added).
  • New penalties for breach of foreigner regulations:

    • Working without a work permit - Imprisonment up to five years or a fine of THB 5,000 to THB 50,000, or both
    • Failure to notify/apply for an urgent work permit - A maximum fine of THB 50,000
    • Failure to present work permit during working hours - A maximum fine of THB 5,000.
  • New penalties for breach of employer regulations:

    • Employing foreigners without a work permit and employing foreigners in prohibited occupations - A fine of THB 10,000 to THB 100,000 per person
    • Failure to notify or cancel work permit upon the commencement or termination of employment - A fine up to THB 20,000
    • Illegally retaining the work permit or passport of a foreigner - Imprisonment up to six months or a fine of THB 10,000 to THB 100,000, or both.

EUROPE

Belgium

Single Work and Residence Permit

Recently, the Belgian authorities are planning to introduce a single work and residence permit under EU directive 2011/98/EU. This means that all EU member states will have a single application procedure to allow non-EU nationals to live and work in the EU.

Single residence and work permit will now simplify the process for applicants who wish to obtain a dual work and residence permit. Employees with a short-term employment (up to 90 days) will continue to use the 'dual' system of applying for separate work and residence permits. Also, such non-EU nationals with existing work permits need not apply under the new system until expiry of current permit. Effective Date: 1 October 2018

France

New Requirements for preparation of Master and Local Files

In June 2018, new content requirements pertaining to preparation and documentation of the Master and Local files had been published in the Official Gazette, which was brought in line with the OECD guidance with effect from 1 January 2018. This applies to multinational companies whose turnover or gross assets as per the balance sheet is more than or equal to EUR 400 million, and the holding or subsidiary companies of such company who have more than 50% of its stock. The documentation must be presented in electronic format upon request.

For more information, click here.

Withholding Tax on Remuneration Delayed by One Year

In July 2018, Minister of Action and Public Accounts announced a simplification of the implementation of the withholding tax for employers and their employees. It has also shifted the implementation of withholding tax to 2020. No amount of withholding tax will be made in 2019 on remuneration paid to employees by private individual employers.

Germany

Germany and France propose Common Corporate Tax in EU

Recently, France and Germany have come together to propose a common corporate tax base known as the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB). CCCTB is a single set of rules to calculate companies' taxable profits in the EU. Companies can file one tax return for all of their EU activities, and offset losses in one Member State against profits in another.

Below are the recommendations made by both the countries:

  • CCTB is compulsory for all companies' subject to corporate tax
  • Harmonized corporate tax base with no feature tax Incentives
  • Discussion for cross-border relief provisions will take place at a larger scale
  • CCCTB states that national group taxation systems will continue until the CCCTB is implemented
  • Transitional period is of least four years after the CCCTB comes to force
  • Special purpose levies (example - bank levies) are not deductible under the CCCTB.

Proposed VAT Changes in Annual Tax Legislation

Recently, the German Ministry of Finance (BMF) proposed a few VAT changes which would be effective 1 January 2019. The changes are as follows:

  • The deadline for filing annual VAT returns is extended by two months. Earlier, the due date was 31 may which is now extended to 31 July
  • German tax authorities have confirmed that partnerships can form part of a VAT group if they meet certain conditions
  • From January 2018, the VAT exemption is expanded for special investment funds
  • Extension of zero-rating for maritime transportation and aviation
  • VAT rules implemented for accounting the VAT liability of operators of electronic marketplaces Effective Date: 1 January 2019

Ireland

Payment and Receipt of Interest without Deduction of Income Tax

Recently, Tax and Duty Manual of Payment and receipt of interest without deduction of Income Tax has been updated to:

  • Provide clarification on where:
    • Withholding tax is deducted erroneously from an interest payment
    • A full or partial refund of the withholding tax deducted may be due under a Double Taxation Agreement
  • Then a claim for any refund of the withholding tax deducted should be made on a Form IC6.

    • Include a clarification, previously given in e- Brief 43 of 2012, regarding the application of Section 246(3)(h)(I) to interest payments made to territories providing for a remittance basis of taxation.

For more information, click here.

Income Tax Payable under Section 239 TCA 1997 and Preliminary Tax for Small Companies

Tax and Duty Manual [PDF] Part 41-00-02B has been amended solely to update the statutory references to the self-assessment rules in Part 41A (Section 959AM) Taxes Consolidation Act 1997. There is no policy or procedural change.

For more information, click here.

Italy

Resident Businesses to Report on VAT SdI Portal

The Italian tax office has confirmed that Italian residents are required to submit real time e-Invoices i.e. domestic B2B sales invoices to the Sistema di Interscambio (SdI) portal. However, non-resident Italian registered businesses will continue to file the Spesometro filing. To provide some buffer period for taxpayers no fine has been imposed on delayed filing.

VAT split payments rule withdrawn

Recently, Italy's Minister for Economic Development has abolished anti-VAT fraud split payments rule for professional service transactions to government. Split payments are still obligatory in Italy for B2G transactions only.

Netherlands

Rise in Reduced VAT Rate

It has been announced that there will be change in reduced VAT rate from 6% to 9%. Effective from: 1 January 2019

Average Hourly Wage for 2018

The amounts for lower and upper limit of the average hourly wage in the Government Gazette for 2018 has been published.

Following are the amounts:

Norway

Late Payment Interest Rate announced for July to December 2018

Recently, the Norwegian Ministry of Finance has announced that the late payment interest rate of 8.5%.

Effective Date: From 1 July 2018 to 31 December 2018

New Requirements for Applying Reduced Withholding Tax Rates

In Norway, withholding tax of 25% will apply to all nonresident shareholders unless they apply for a reduced or zero tax-withholding certificate.

From January 2018, Norwegian tax authority has introduced documentation requirements to claim the reduced or zero withholding tax.

Earlier, the non-resident shareholder received dividends at a reduced or even nil withholding tax if the company paying the dividends was aware of the nonresident shareholder's tax status and identity.

However, the rules have now become strict and all the non-resident shareholders are required to document their identity and tax status by filing an application to the Central Office for Foreign Tax Affairs to obtain permission to use a reduced withholding tax rate.

The United Kingdom

Changes in Payment of Employees' Remuneration

From 1 January 2019, remuneration will be paid by the employers into the bank accounts informed employees, unless an employee gives a written request to receive remuneration in person.

Effective Date : 1 January 2019

The UK to Adopt New EU VAT Rules for Vouchers

Recently, the UK government has issued draft legislation to align it with the new EU value added tax rules on vouchers.

As per the EU Vouchers Directive (Directive 2016/1065), all the EU member states are required to incorporate these provisions from January 1, 2019 to harmonize rules on the treatment of vouchers issued from that date.

On adoption of EU VAT rules on vouchers, these vouchers can be used either in the UK or more widely in the EU and prevent either non-taxation or double taxation of the goods or services relating to the vouchers.

Effective Date: 1 January 2019

Update on SAYE

In 2017 Autumn Statement, the UK government announced an extension to the Save-As-You-Earn (SAYE) savings holiday for those on maternity and parental leave from 6 to 12 months. The introduction of the change has been slightly delayed. However, the increased flexibility is to be extended to all participants (rather than just those on maternity and parental leave).

All employees with a savings contract in place on 1 September 2018 can delay the payment of monthly contributions on a maximum of 12 occasions over the life span of the savings contract.

If the employee has already delayed the payment of contributions on six occasions, they can only delay payments on six occasions. They cannot delay on 12 further occasions. From 1 September 2018, the maximum number of months an employee can delay payments over the lifespan of their SAYE contract is 12 months in total.

For more information, click here.

VAT Changes for Mail Order Supplies

Recently, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) announced in Revenue and Customs Brief (5) 2018 issue that, 'VAT on mail order supplies and the VAT rate applicable to the delivery charges for these supplies have changed.'

The point of taxation for supplies of goods with the subsequent right to return them is at the point of delivery. Whereas, in the case of supplies of goods supplied on approval, the point of taxation is postponed to the time that the goods are adopted. Earlier, many businesses were incorrectly treating their supplies of goods as on approval and were accounting VAT on those supplies on the date of delivery instead of adoption.

VAT liability of the delivery charge is different for supplies of delivered goods and for goods supplied on approval. In case of supply of delivered goods, the delivery service is ancillary to the main supply and hence the VAT liability for the delivery is the same as that for the goods being supplied. Delivery service, in case of 'on approval' goods is not dependent on the supply of goods and should be treated as a separate supply taxable at the standard rate.

Effective Date: 18 June 2018

For more information, click here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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