Corporate Tax updates

Cyprus

Contributed by Elias Neocleous & Co LLC
New Cyprus-Luxembourg double tax agreement enters into force
  • Cyprus
  • June 22 2018

The double tax agreement between Cyprus and Luxembourg recently entered into force. It will apply to income arising from 1 January 2019 with regard to taxes deducted at source and for tax years beginning on or after that date for other taxes. The agreement includes a preamble which makes clear that it is not designed to create opportunities for double non-taxation or reduced taxation through evasion or avoidance and a principal purpose test-based general anti-avoidance rule.

Domestic law aligned with EU directive on mandatory automatic exchange of tax information
  • Cyprus
  • May 11 2018

The recently introduced Law 33(I)/2018 amends the Law regarding Administrative Cooperation in the Field of Taxation 2012 to 2017 in order to align domestic law with EU Directive 2016/881/EU, which amended EU Directive 2011/16/EU on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation. The new law requires ultimate parent entities of multinational enterprises resident in Cyprus for tax purposes to file country-by-country reports within 12 months of the end of each fiscal year.

New Cyprus-UK double tax agreement
  • Cyprus
  • April 06 2018

Cyprus and the United Kingdom recently signed a new double tax agreement. Once it has been ratified by both parties, it will replace the current agreement, which dates back to 1974 and is one of the oldest tax agreements still in force in Cyprus. The changes introduced will have little direct effect on the tax liability of most taxpayers, but the modernisation of the agreement will provide clarity.

Tax Department circular clarifies VAT treatment of dividends
  • Cyprus
  • March 30 2018

Cyprus holding companies are widely used in the context of international business structuring to optimise the channelling of inbound and outbound investments with countries that have signed a double tax treaty with Cyprus. The Tax Department recently issued a circular on the value added tax treatment of holding companies, which aims to provide clarity regarding the circumstances in which Cyprus holding companies can be deemed to be earning income that may constitute taxable income.

Final date for submission of corporate tax returns for 2016
  • Cyprus
  • March 23 2018

​The Tax Department recently announced that companies and self-employed individuals that are required to submit annual accounts will be given an additional three months to file their tax returns for the year ended December 31 2016. The department has also issued a circular clarifying the requirement to produce audited financial statements to support tax returns.


Italy

Contributed by Studio Legale Tributario Biscozzi Nobili
Budget Law 2018 – new regime applicable to tax on blacklisted source dividends
  • Italy
  • May 04 2018

The Budget Law 2018 introduced, among other things, amendments to the tax regime concerning dividends from non-resident companies located in low-tax jurisdictions (ie, blacklisted companies). 'Blacklisted companies' are entities resident or located in jurisdictions other than EU or European Economic Area member states, whose ordinary or special tax regime grants a nominal tax rate that is 50% lower than the Italian one.

New tax rules for dividends and capital gains realised by non-business individuals
  • Italy
  • February 23 2018

The recently approved Budget Law has harmonised the taxation of dividends and capital gains earned by non-business individuals on substantial and non-substantial participation held in Italian and foreign companies, among other things. Companies and partnerships will be unaffected by these changes, as the distinction between substantial and non-substantial participation is irrelevant.

Notional interest deduction – an overview
  • Italy
  • November 24 2017

The notional interest deduction (NID) regime has been in effect since the 2011 fiscal year. Under this regime, Italian resident companies and permanent establishments of non-resident companies may deduct notional interest from their corporate income taxable base. The NID is calculated according to the equity increase (ie, new equity rate) from the end of the 2010 fiscal year, multiplied by a rate determined annually.

Country-by-country reporting – obligations of Italian subsidiaries of multinational groups
  • Italy
  • May 19 2017

Articles 1(145) and (146) of Law 208/2015 provide that the parent company of a multinational group resident in Italy must file a country-by-country report with the tax authorities within the specified time limit. The secondary legislation enacted by the Ministry of Finance's February 2017 decree-law provides further details on country-by-country reporting requirements and application rules, considering Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development recommendations and EU Directive 2016/881/EU.

New tax regime for new residents
  • Italy
  • March 31 2017

The Budget Law 2017 has introduced an innovative tax regime based on a substitute flat tax reserved for new eligible individuals who transfer their tax residency to Italy. The new tax regime is based on the non-domiciled resident approach already adopted in the United Kingdom and other EU countries and aims to attract high-net-worth individuals and their relatives to Italy and increase foreign investment.


Malaysia

Contributed by Shearn Delamore & Co
Legal professional privilege and director general of inland revenue's powers
  • Malaysia
  • May 11 2018

Members of the Malaysian Bar recently complained that Inland Revenue Board officers had carried out raids on them in order to audit their clients' accounts and gain access to those records. The Malaysian Bar then wrote to the director general of inland revenue (DGIR), stating that such audits breached the principle of solicitor-client privilege. However, the DGIR held that the Income Tax Act overrode the provisions of the Evidence Act that conferred solicitor-client privilege.


Russia

Contributed by Gorodissky & Partners
Taxing transfers of trademark rights as contributions to charter capital
  • Russia
  • June 01 2018

The Ministry of Finance recently issued an important clarification regarding the taxation of a foreign parent company's property rights to a trademark as a contribution to the charter capital of its Russian subsidiary. Previously, there had been ambiguity surrounding this issue due to the competing provisions of the Tax Code with regard to the procedure for imposing value added tax on contributions to a company's charter capital and transactions involving property rights to trademarks.

Changes in taxation of foreign companies that provide electronic services
  • Russia
  • April 06 2018

A new law, which will enter into force in 2019, will introduce significant changes to the special procedure for imposing value added tax (VAT) on services provided in electronic form by foreign companies that have no branch or representative office in Russia. Foreign organisations that provide services in electronic form to Russian buyers are advised to register for tax accounting in Russia as VAT payers, as Russian counterparties will likely refuse to purchase electronic services from parties that fail to do so.

Additional tax reports required from Russian divisions of international companies
  • Russia
  • February 02 2018

At the end of 2017, a number of amendments to the Tax Code came into force which significantly increased the scope of information and documents that Russian divisions of some international companies must submit to the tax authorities. Russian companies and foreign companies subject to taxation in Russia must now provide a notice of participation in an international group of companies and so-called 'country information'.

New tax benefits for innovative companies and marquee investors
  • Russia
  • December 01 2017

The legislature is in the process of adopting a number of tax benefits intended to stimulate the development of innovative companies and marquee investments in Russia. A new law has expanded the list of expenses that can be excluded from taxable profits. Further, recently passed draft bills have introduced a new investment tax deduction and determined the terms for enforcing the concessionary income tax rates available to investors implementing large investment projects in certain areas.

New rules for determining legality of tax optimisation
  • Russia
  • October 06 2017

Article 54.1 of the Tax Code recently came into force. It introduces new rules and definitions regarding legitimate tax optimisation and aims to clarify what is considered legitimate optimisation and what is considered tax evasion. Further, the new rules require the tax authorities to use a less formal approach when assessing the reasonableness of a tax benefit and strive to understand the economic intent of the relevant taxpayer's operations.


South Africa

Contributed by Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr
Procedure is everything: win for taxpayers and importance of right to just administrative action
  • South Africa
  • June 22 2018

In recent years, taxpayers have frequently been unsuccessful in their disputes with the South African Revenue Service, especially where the dispute has involved the interpretation or application of the substantive provisions of tax legislation. However, where disputes have involved compliance with the procedural requirements of tax legislation, taxpayers have generally had greater success.

Davis Tax Committee releases final reports
  • South Africa
  • June 15 2018

The Davis Tax Committee (DTC) recently issued a media statement announcing the publication of four additional final reports and the conclusion of its work based on its terms of reference. The closing report on the work done by the DTC states that the 12 sub-committees consulted widely and that a number of themes emerged from the consultations with various stakeholders. The closing report also mentions some of the challenges faced by the DTC.

Raising jurisdictional issues
  • South Africa
  • June 08 2018

The focus of a recent Supreme Court of Appeal case was not the merits of the dispute between the parties, but rather the correctness of the procedure that the taxpayer had followed in its appeal to the Tax Court. The Supreme Court of Appeal held that determining whether the Tax Court's decision was appealable was contingent on whether the decision was one contemplated in the Tax Administration Act.

Status of SARS interpretation notes
  • South Africa
  • June 01 2018

A recent Supreme Court of Appeal judgment referred with approval to certain sections of a South African Revenue Service (SARS) interpretation note. The taxpayer appealed to the Constitutional Court, which held that the courts should not have regard to SARS interpretation notes when interpreting legislation, but may do so where SARS's practice is evidenced by an interpretation note which has been recognised by SARS and the taxpayer.

SARS speaks up: clarity provided on taxation of cryptocurrencies
  • South Africa
  • May 25 2018

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) recently announced that it will continue to apply normal income tax rules to cryptocurrencies and expects affected taxpayers to declare cryptocurrency gains or losses as part of their taxable income. Due to the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies in South Africa and the absence of legislation concerning their taxation and regulation, SARS's decision to address this issue was widely anticipated.