Kazakhstan: Amendments To The Kazakhstan Tax Legislation Effective From 1 January 2015

Last Updated: 9 August 2016
Article by Rustam Ospanov and Yelena Tyureikina

In 2014, Kazakhstan Parliament adopted a number of laws introducing amendments to Kazakhstan Code On Taxes and Other Obligatory Payments to the Budget (Tax Code) No. 99-IV of 10 December 2008 (hereinafter referred to as the "Kazakhstan Tax Code") mainly effective from 1 January 2015. Below we focus on the most significant amendments:

  1. The Kazakhstan Tax Code was added with new Article 37-2 setting forth the specifics of tax obligation performance by certain categories of taxpayers which wind up based on the findings of a tax audit performed by auditors rather than a desk audit performed by tax authorities. This procedure can be applied to those winding up resident entities and individual entrepreneurs which concurrently meet the following conditions:

    1. the total annual income, as adjusted by the liquidated entity or individual entrepreneur, for the action limitation period shall be maximum 60,000-fold monthly calculation index as at 1 January of the respective financial year; and
    2. the availability of a tax audit report issued by an audit firm maximum 20 calendar days before filing the articles of termination with tax authorities.
    The appropriate changes in tax audit procedures were enshrined in Kazakhstan Law On Audit Activities No. 304-I of 20 November 1998.
  2. The Kazakhstan Tax Code was also added with Article 43-1 regulating the simplified procedure to wind up individual entrepreneurs without in-house audit applicable to those individual entrepreneurs (either Kazakhstan nationals or repatriated Kazakhs) who, at the date of filing their articles of termination, concurrently meet the following conditions:

    1. such individual entrepreneurs have not been registered with tax authorities as VAT-payers;
    2. such individual entrepreneurs have never engaged in joint enterprises;
    3. such individual entrepreneurs have never been registered as single tax payers maintaining separate records of income and expenses and assets by types of activities not subject to a special tax treatment applicable to peasant and farm households;
    4. such individual entrepreneurs have never engaged in the activities specified in Article 574.1 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code (gambling business, wholesale and/or retail sale of gasoline, alcoholic products, etc.);
    5. such individual entrepreneurs have never been included into a tax audit plan based on risk assessment; and
    6. such individual entrepreneurs do not have any liability with respect to taxes, obligatory contributions to pension funds or professional pension schemes, or social insurance.
  3. New Article 51-3 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code effective from 1 January 2015 allows to change the due dates for payment of VAT and excises on imported goods processed by customs as imported for domestic consumption. Such procedure for changing the due dates for payment of indirect taxes is not applicable to the goods imported from the Customs Union member-states. Changing of the due dates for payment of VAT and excises on imported goods exempts taxpayers from penalties when they successfully perform their tax obligations within the newly determined terms.
  4. Starting from 1 January 2015, tax reporting shall meet the format and logic control requirements with regard to the completeness and accuracy of tax returns set by the tax filing and processing system of tax authorities (the second paragraph of Article 63-1 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code). Subject to Article 584-5(7) of the Kazakhstan Tax Code, any tax returns prepared in violation of the format and logic control requirements shall not be recognized as filed with tax authorities.
  5. The new legislation allows for submission of the tax applications listed by the State Revenue Committee through public service centres (the second paragraph of Article 76-2 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code). In the past, tax applications could be submitted only in person, by registered mail or electronically, allowing for computer processing.
  6. Kazakhstan legislators substantially revised the procedure for taxation of dividends accrued and paid by those legal entities which reduce the corporate income tax (CIT) assessed under Article 139 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code by 100%, in particular, organisations engaged in social activities, autonomous education organisations, organisations engaged in the arrangement of international specialized exhibitions in Kazakhstan, organisations incorporated and operating in special economic zones, organisations involved in priority investment projects and not subject to special tax treatment, etc.

    Hence, starting from 1 January 2015, dividends paid by the aforementioned legal entities (except for the organisations involved in investment projects) in favour of their shareholders/participants and accrued for the period in which they reduced the CIT assessed under Article 139 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code by 100%:

    • shall not be deducted (adjusted) from the total annual income of those shareholders/participants which are legal entities of Kazakhstan (the third paragraph of Article 99-1(1) of the Kazakhstan Tax Code). According to Article 143-1(4) of the Kazakhstan Tax Code, such dividends shall be imposed CIT at the source of payment at the rate of 15%. Further, the shareholders/participants being Kazakhstan legal entities, in their turn, shall deduct the CIT withheld at the source of income in the form of dividends from the amount of CIT payable to the budget under Article 139.2 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code;
    • shall not be deducted from income of those shareholders/participants who are natural persons (Article 156-1(7) of the Kazakhstan Tax Code). According to Articles 160(4), 161 and 172 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code, such dividends shall be imposed individual income tax (IIT) at the source of payment at the rate of 5%;
    • shall not be exempt from tax if paid in favour of those shareholders/participants which are non-resident legal entities without permanent establishments in Kazakhstan (the fifth paragraph of Article 193-5 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code). According to Article 193-1 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code, such dividends shall be imposed CIT at the source of payment, without any deductions, at the rate of 15% (the dividends paid in favour of nonresidents incorporated in tax havens shall be imposed CIT at the rate of 20%); and
    • shall not be exempt from tax if paid in favour of those shareholders/participants which are nonresident individuals (the fifth paragraph of Article 200-1.1(4) of the Kazakhstan Tax Code). According to Article 201 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code, such dividends shall be imposed IIT at the source of payment, without any deductions, at the rate of 15%.
  7. The legislator revised Article 115(2) of the Kazakhstan Tax Code providing that expenses for transactions not specified in the legally effective verdict or ruling that recognizes the given taxpayer as a sham company or expenses for transactions with such taxpayer validated by court through civil proceedings shall not be deemed as non-deductible expenses, meaning that the taxpayer may deduct such expenses.

    Likewise, the taxpayer may take VAT on the aforementioned transactions as an offset in accordance with Article 257.3(1) of the Kazakhstan Tax Code.
  8. For the legal entities which reduce CIT assessed under Article 139 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code by 100% (please see Section 6 above), the new law sets minimum depreciation rates for the fixed assets qualifying for the threshold depreciation rates established by Article 120.2 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code, except for the entities implementing priority investment projects not subject to special tax treatment for which depreciation allowance shall be at least 50% of the threshold depreciation rates established by the Kazakhstan Tax Code.
  9. Article 137 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code regarding loss carryforwards was added with paragraph 10 subject to which losses of the entities engaged in the implementation of priority investment projects may not be carried forward to those tax periods which follow the tax period in which the investment contract terminates.
  10. In the past, the Kazakhstan Tax Code did not provide for carry forward of losses of those legal entities which were reorganized through mergers or acquisitions. Since 1 January 2015, such loss carryforwards are permissible for those legal entities which are reorganized subject to the Kazakhstan Government resolution.
  11. The Kazakhstan Tax Code was added with new Chapter 17-1 intended to regulate the taxation of the entities engaged in the implementation of priority investment projects not subject to special tax treatment, where the entity engaged in the implementation of a priority investment project implies any legal entity which concurrently meets the following conditions:

    1. a new legal entity established under the investment law of the Republic of Kazakhstan which has signed an investment contract for implementation of a priority investment project and provision of tax preferences and which is implementing such priority investment project;
    2. realized activities fully correspond to the list of priority activities determined for implementation of the priority investment project; and
    3. income received/to be received from the implementation of the priority investment project shall be a least 90% of the total annual income of such legal entity.
  12. The list of objects not recognized as individual income was extended by appending the following objects:

    • obligatory contributions to the unified pension saving fund at the rate established by Kazakhstan law (Note: came into force on 1 January 2014); and
    • material gain received from budget resources in compliance with Kazakhstan law, in particular, from the following activities:

      • providing services in the area of early childhood education, technical, vocational, post-secondary, higher and post-graduate education, professional development, retraining and university preparation courses against the state education order in compliance with the Kazakhstan education law;
      • providing guaranteed package of free medical care;
      • providing rehabilitation treatment, health improvement and recreation services in health resort institutions;
      • supplying pharmaceuticals and healthcare products; and
      • paying for goods/works/services received by disabled people from oblast/city of national status/capital city local executive authorities in compliance with the Kazakhstan law on social protection of disabled people (Note: came into force on 1 January 2009).
  13. The list of revenues deductible from the taxable individual income was added the following items:

    • revenues from a private farm holding per person engaged in private farming – for a year within 24-fold minimum wages established by the republican budget law and effective as at 1 January of the respective financial year (Note: came into force on 1 January 2015); and
    • reimbursement of trainees covered by the state education order for their travel expenses in the amounts determined by Kazakhstan law (Note: came into force on 1 January 2009).
    The legislator also revised the list of payments from the budget resources (except for labour compensations) to be deducted from individual income, comprising the following payments:

    • the difference between the actually paid amount of obligatory contributions to the unified pension saving fund/professional pension schemes adjusted for inflation and the amount of savings in the unified pension saving fund as at the date of the acquisition of pension rights under the Kazakhstan pension law;
    • compensation for personal injuries inflicted on public officers, including the officers of specialized government and enforcement agencies, military servants, their family members, dependents, heirs and other persons entitled to such compensation in the amounts determined by Kazakhstan law;
    • rewards to providers of information related to corrupt practices or other persons rendering assistance in preventing and counteracting corruption in the manner prescribed by the Kazakhstan Government;
    • compensation of losses caused by natural calamities or other force majeure events;
    • severance payments at the rates established by Kazakhstan law; and
    • awards to winners and participants of universiades and members of Kazakhstan national teams for high performance in international competitions in the amounts determined by Kazakhstan law.
    The following items were deleted from the list of individual income objects exempt from taxes:

    • revenues from equity interest in a mutual investment fund when such interest is repurchased by the management company of such fund (Note: came into force on 1 January 2015); and
    • obligatory contributions to the unified pension saving fund at the rates established by Kazakhstan law (Note: came into force on 1 January 2014).
  14. On 1 January 2015, revenues of professional mediators were included into the list of individual income objects exempt from taxation at the source of payment.
  15. For assessment of capital gain from the sale of motor vehicles and trailers imported to Kazakhstan by individuals who have owned such vehicles/trailers for less than a year, Article 180-1 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code was added with the provisions regulating the pricing/valuation of such vehicles/trailers.
  16. The legislator specified the following criteria subject to any of which a branch/representative office of non-resident entity shall recognize the sales of works/services as VATable:

    • existence of a contract with the branch/representative office of the non-resident entity;
    • existence of an invoice for works/services issued by the branch/representative office of the non-resident entity;
    • existence of an act on acceptance of provided services signed by the branch/ representative office of the non-resident entity;
    • existence of a contract with the non-resident entity for the performance of works/services by the branch/representative office of such non-resident entity;
    • the act on acceptance of provided services/performed works signed by the non-resident entity specifies that the works were performed or the services were provided by the branch/representative office of such non-resident entity; and
    • the revenues for performed works/provided services are received by the branch/ representative office of the non-resident entity.
  17. Since 1 January 2015, the sales not recognized as VATable also include the following (Article 231.3 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code):

    • subsidy to a procurement organization for the value added tax payable to the budget within the amount of the assessed value added tax;
    • budget funds paid under a special budget programme to a non-profit organisation incorporated in the form of a fund intended exclusively for financing of the operations of a legal entity engaged in the engineering and/or construction of international exhibition facilities in the Republic of Kazakhstan;
    • budget funds received by a legal entity engaged in the engineering and/or construction of international exhibition facilities in the Republic of Kazakhstan from a non-profit organisation incorporated in the form of a fund that has been granted such funds under a special budget programme;
    • the operation by a concessionary of a government-owned concession object charging the fee for access to the concession objects of special social and economic significance determined by the Kazakhstan Government; and
    • the management by a concessionary of a concession object charging the fee for access to the concession objects of special social and economic significance determined by the Kazakhstan Government.
  18. Article 237 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code was added with the provisions setting forth the deadlines for completion of sales turnover in case of the issuance of adjusted and supplementary invoices and in case of the assignment/transfer of assets for temporary possession and use, provided that the respective act for acceptance of services has not been signed before the end of a calendar month while the payment for such month has been made.
  19. The new law provides for a new procedure to determine the VATable sales of international tour operator services (Article 238.12-1 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code).
  20. The new law closed the gap with respect to the non-recognition of works/services provided by a branch/representative office of a non-resident entity as the sales of the Kazakhstan taxpayer purchasing such works/services (Article 241.6(5) of the Kazakhstan Tax Code). These amendments are retrospective from 1 January 2009.
  21. Effective from 1 January 2015, international tour operator services were included into the list of non-VATable sales of goods/works/services sold/performed/provided in the Republic of Kazakhstan (Article 248(25) of the Kazakhstan Tax Code).
  22. Effective from 1 January 2009, the list of non-VATable sales of medical and veterinary goods/works/services was added with sanitary and epidemiological services provided by the public sanitary and epidemiological organisation (Article 254 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code).
  23. The legislator revised the list of pharmaceuticals (including those which are used/applied in veterinary), healthcare products and medical equipment exempt from the import VAT (Article 255 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code).
  24. The amendments to Article 263.7 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code (effective from 1 July 2014) changed the billing period. For example, a paper invoice shall be issued within 7 calendar days (compared to the previous 5 calendar days) and a digital invoice shall be issued within 15 calendar days (compared to the previous 7 calendar days) from the sales date.
  25. The new law sets forth the requirements to the issuance, timing and acknowledgement of receipt of adjusted and supplementary invoices (Articles 263.14-1 through 263.14-3 and Article 265 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code).
  26. Since 1 January 2015 the law does not require the issuance of an invoice if the railway carriage of a passenger is documented electronically (Article 263.15 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code).
  27. The new law determines the procedure for refund of excess VAT on goods/works/services purchased by a taxpayer in connection with the construction of industrial buildings or structures initially commissioned in the Republic of Kazakhstan.
  28. Subject to new paragraph 4 of Article 276-4 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code, temporary import of movable properties and motor vehicles from the Customs Union member-states under hire/lease contracts or in connection with their assignment within one corporation, as well as temporary import of such properties and vehicles which, in the past, were temporarily exported to other member-states of the Customs Union, shall not be recognized as taxable import.
  29. The legislator amended the procedure for adjustment of VAT amounts paid on the import of goods from the Customs Union member-states to the Republic of Kazakhstan (Article 276-23 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code).
  30. The legislator also changed the transaction date for production of gasoline (except for aviation gasoline) and diesel fuel from customer-furnished raw materials which was defined as the date when excisable goods are transferred to the customer (Article 282.3 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code).
  31. The new law provides for rent tax on the export of crude oil, gas condensate and coal and determines the procedure for calculation of the export volume subject to rent tax (Article 301 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code).
  32. The new law also specifies the rent export tax period for transactions in which tax filing dates fall in different tax periods (Article 304 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code).
  33. Since 1 January 2015, professional mediators shall pay social tax.
  34. Monetary rewards to winners of sports competitions, parades and contests were excluded from the income not recognized as social tax object.
  35. For assessment of the tax on cars with engine capacity over 3,000 cc imported to the Republic of Kazakhstan after 31 December 2013, such cars are recognized to be imported on the date of their primary state registration (Article 367.2-2).
  36. Effective from 1 January 2015, the basic land tax rates for agricultural land in steppe, dry steppe, semiarid, desert and piedmont desert zones are several times higher (Articles 378.2 and 378.3 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code).
  37. Local representative bodies are entitled now to increase land tax rates for underutilized agricultural land maximum 10 times (Article 387.1-1 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code).
  38. The new law determines the criteria for special tax treatment of peasant and farm holdings (Article 439.1-1 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code).
  39. Since 1 January 2014, the payers of single tax are exempt from emission charges (Article 442.1.2-1 and Article 493.1-1 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code).
  40. The legislator increased the rates of single tax on plough land and allowed local representative bodies to increase such rates for underutilized plough land maximum 10 times (Article 444.1 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code).
  41. Since 1 January 2015, small- and medium-size businesses are exempt from the state registration and deregistration fees.
  42. Since 1 January 2015, the license fee rates applicable to the production of ethyl alcohol and the production/storage/wholesale of alcoholic products and beer are several times higher (Article 471 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code).
  43. One of the most important amendments is that, since 29 November 2014, petition and cassation appeals and petitions for review of judgments in the exercise of supervisory powers are imposed the state duty in courts (Article 535.1(14) of the Kazakhstan Tax Code). In the past, filing of the aforementioned appeals and petitions was not subject to state duty. The current rate of state duty is 50% of the state duty payable upon filing of a non-property related statement of claim or, when claim relates to property, 50% of the state duty assessed on the basis of a disputed amount.
  44. The list of grounds for refund of state duty was added with amicable settlement (Article 548.1.1-3 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code). This provision also came into effect on 29 November 2014.
  45. The new law requires that foreigners and stateless persons working as chief executive officers of resident entities and non-resident entities operating in Kazakhstan via their branches/representative offices apply to tax authorities at their place of stay/residence for record registration and attach to their application notarized copies of the following documents:

    1. ID of the foreign/stateless applicant; and
    2. certificate of tax registration in the country of nationality/domicile specifying tax registration number (or its equivalent), if any.
  46. One of the reasons for refusal to accept an application for VAT record registration (either mandatory or voluntary) is that the chief executive officer of a resident entity or non-resident entity operating in Kazakhstan via its branch/representative office does not have an identification number (the fifth paragraph of Article 568.2 and Article 569.3(6) of the Kazakhstan Tax Code).

    Besides, for the mandatory VAT record registration the taxpayer shall provide tax authorities with copies of documents certifying the excess of minimum taxable sales of such taxpayer (Article 568.7(2) of the Kazakhstan Tax Code).
  47. The legislator established strict requirements to the issuance of VAT record registration certificates in favour of Kazakhstan resident entities and self-employed individuals falling into the category of small business. According to the amendments introduced in Article 570.1 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code, the VAT record registration certificates issued in favour of the aforementioned persons shall be personally received by the chief executive officers of such resident entities or by such self-employed individuals acknowledging the receipt in the journal of documentation on presentation of their ID's. Accordingly, such VAT record registration certificate may not be delivered even to an authorized representative of such persons. Besides, upon the issuance of a VAT record registration certificate, the chief executive officer of a resident entity or a self-employed individual falling into the category of small business is photographed by the tax authorities.
  48. Since 1 January 2015, lottery arranging and conducting, as well as lottery ticket sales, are not subject to record registration as a taxpayer engaged in certain types of activities.
  49. The failure to pay indirect taxes on imported goods processed by customs as imported for domestic consumption shall constitute authority for tax authorities to apply enforcement measures to the taxpayer through the limitation of property (including the imported goods processed by customs as imported for domestic consumption) disposal (Article 609.1(4) of the Kazakhstan Tax Code).
  50. When a legal entity fails to discharge its tax obligations within 30 business days after the receipt of the respective notice, the new law entitles tax authorities to apply enforcement measures to such guilty taxpayer (or its structural subdivisions) through the suspension of debit transactions in bank and cash accounts and through the limitation of property disposal (Article 609.6-1 of the Kazakhstan Tax Code).
  51. Routine tax audits were replaced with sample audits assigned by tax authorities to certain taxpayers/tax agents based on the results of their financial statements review, information received from competent authorities, or other documents and information related to the taxpayer's/tax agent's activities.

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