Latest updates

Davis Tax Committee releases final reports
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr
  • 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.

IRS implementation of tax reform continues to move forward
McDermott Will & Emery
  • USA
  • June 15 2018

The latest announcement by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) focuses on the $10,000 cap on the amount of state and local taxes that can be deducted for federal income tax purposes. In a press release and release of guidance in the form of Notice 2018-54, the IRS announced that proposed regulations will be issued to help taxpayers understand the relationship between federal charitable contribution deductions in exchange for a tax credit against state and local taxes owed.

Raising jurisdictional issues
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr
  • 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.

IRS announces HSA contribution limit increase for 2018
McDermott Will & Emery
  • USA
  • June 01 2018

The Internal Revenue Service has increased the 2018 maximum deductible health savings account (HSA) contribution for taxpayers with family coverage under a high deductible health plan to $6,900. Employers that previously lowered their plan's contribution limit for HSAs to $6,850 should consider how to address the increased limit and whether any changes or employee communications are necessary.

Status of SARS interpretation notes
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr
  • 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.

Taxing transfers of trademark rights as contributions to charter capital
Gorodissky & Partners
  • 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.

Quebec goes it alone with sales tax proposal
Thorsteinssons LLP
  • Canada
  • May 25 2018

Quebec recently announced that it intends to expand its requirements for non-resident vendors to collect and remit Quebec sales tax on sales to Quebec consumers, effective as early as January 1 2019. It will be interesting to see whether the Quebec government has the authority to impose requirements on non-resident businesses that do not carry on business in the province. Another issue will be whether an assessment for failure to collect the tax can be enforced against a non-Quebec seller.

SARS speaks up: clarity provided on taxation of cryptocurrencies
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr
  • 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.

Waiver leads to double tax liability on patent royalties
McDermott Will & Emery
  • USA
  • May 25 2018

Declining to address whether certain technology licensing royalties should be subject to taxation as income or capital gains, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit found that a patentee-taxpayer had waived his claim on appeal and affirmed the Tax Court's decision that the royalties should be treated as income. The Third Circuit acknowledged that a patentable invention may be subject to capital gains treatment even without a patent or patent application.

Switzerland and Brazil sign double taxation agreement
Walder Wyss
  • Switzerland
  • May 18 2018

Switzerland and Brazil recently signed a double taxation agreement, which is a major achievement for both countries and has been a long-standing demand of the private sector. The new agreement will significantly increase Switzerland's attractiveness for Latin American investments and provide investors with legal certainty in tax matters.

Timely opinion regarding state taxation of Subpart F income and dividends from foreign affiliates
McDermott Will & Emery
  • USA
  • May 18 2018

The New Mexico Administrative Hearings Office recently issued an opinion that addressed the following questions: under what circumstances can a state constitutionally impose tax on a domestic company's income from foreign subsidiaries, including Subpart F income; and when is factor representation required? Since many state income taxes are based on federal taxable income, inclusion of these new categories of income at the federal level could potentially result in their inclusion at the state level.

Tax treatment of doubtful debts to be clarified through statutory amendments
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr
  • South Africa
  • May 18 2018

In line with the removal of the remnants of the administrative assessment system in 2015, the South African Revenue Services commissioner's discretion in respect of the doubtful debt allowance was to be deleted from the Income Tax Act. The intention behind this deletion was that, in future, the allowance would be claimed according to certain criteria set out in a public notice. However, according to the recent budget, it is now proposed that the criteria for determining the allowance be included in the act.

Legal professional privilege and director general of inland revenue's powers
Shearn Delamore & Co
  • 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.

Tax rate adjustments
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr
  • South Africa
  • May 11 2018

​Although an increase of 1% in the value added tax rate was announced in the budget in February 2018, no adjustments have been made to the top four income tax brackets. Rather, below-inflation adjustments to the bottom three income tax brackets were announced. It was also announced that the primary, secondary and tertiary rebates will be partially adjusted to account for inflation.

Oregon bars use of three-factor apportionment formula
McDermott Will & Emery
  • USA
  • May 11 2018

The Oregon Supreme Court has rejected a business taxpayer's constitutional challenges to a 1993 Oregon statute that eliminated the right to utilise a three-factor apportionment formula in calculating Oregon income tax. The Oregon Supreme Court joined courts in Texas, Minnesota, California and Michigan in rejecting taxpayer arguments that states which have enacted Article IV of the Multi-state Tax Compact have entered into a binding contractual obligation which may not be overridden.

Domestic law aligned with EU directive on mandatory automatic exchange of tax information
Elias Neocleous & Co LLC
  • 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.

VAT increase: what rate should be charged?
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr
  • South Africa
  • May 04 2018

The minister of finance recently announced that the standard rate of value added tax (VAT) will increase from the current rate of 14% to 15% from April 2018. Unfortunately, the date of introduction of the new rate leaves vendors little time to amend their systems and implement procedures to ensure that VAT is correctly accounted for from that date. There is also uncertainty as to when supplies still qualify for VAT at 14% and when VAT should be levied at 15%.

Budget Law 2018 – new regime applicable to tax on blacklisted source dividends
Studio Legale Tributario Biscozzi Nobili
  • 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.

National taxpayer advocate reminds Congress of IRS deficiencies
McDermott Will & Emery
  • USA
  • April 27 2018

Taxpayer Advocate Nina E Olson recently testified before a congressional oversight committee regarding ongoing challenges to the administration of an efficient and effective tax system. Her testimony echoes many tax professionals' concerns that the tax system is not being implemented in the most effective and efficient manner. With the advent of tax reform and the government's struggle to implement its sweeping changes, it is hoped that many of these issues will be addressed.

SARS issues new Guide to Understatement Penalties – a move towards greater certainty?
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr
  • South Africa
  • April 27 2018

One of the key changes to the tax administration regime following the Tax Administration Act's promulgation in 2012 was the conversion from the so-called 'additional tax' regime to the understatement penalty regime. While this shift towards greater certainty has been welcomed, a key challenge remains as the new regime's criteria are open to differing interpretations. In this regard, the South African Revenue Service recently published its Guide to Understatement Penalties.

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