segunda-feira, junho 30, 2008

VAT: the Commission asks Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Austria for information concerning the application of exemptions

The European Commission has decided to send requests for information in the form of letters of formal notice to several Member States about their legislation regarding the application of certain exemptions under the VAT Directive. The Member States involved are asked to reply within two months to the letters of formal notice, which are the first step of the infringement procedure laid down in Article 226 of the EC Treaty.
Under the VAT Directive (Article 132), certain activities which are in the public interest are VAT exempt. That provision does not, however, provide exemption from VAT for every activity performed in the public interest, but only for those which are listed and described in great detail in it.
In its settled case-law, the Court of Justice has underlined that all exemptions have to be interpreted restrictively, since they are exceptions to the general rule which requires that VAT be levied on any economic activity. Furthermore, exemptions applied by one Member State with no basis in the VAT Directive could lead to distortions of competition and would make it impossible to ensure that Member States contribute on an equal basis to the Community's own resources.
Denmark exempts all supplies carried out by charitable or otherwise non-profit-making associations and the like in connection with their running business. The Commission considers that such a generalized exemption goes beyond what is allowed under Article 132 of the VAT Directive, which contains a detailed restrictive description of the exempt activities and in some cases also conditions the exemption to the status of the person who is to carry them out.
Denmark also applies a general exemption for goods supplied by second-hand shops, if the surplus is used entirely for charitable purposes or otherwise for purposes of public interest, provided that the shop only sells second-hand goods which it has received free of consideration and that the shop only employs voluntary unpaid staff. None of the exemptions in Article 132 cover such supplies.
The Commission considers that Austria should broaden the scope of its VAT exemption rules so as to encompass certain supplies by certain non-profit organisations to their members as well as the above-mentioned supplies in connection with certain fund-raising events.
Moreover, an exemption under the VAT Directive for supplies of services by independent groups of persons has generally not been implemented, but only with regard to certain professional activities. Furthermore, the Austrian implementation of the exemption under the VAT Directive for supplies of certain services closely linked to sport or physical education by non-profit-making organisations to persons taking part in sport or physical education is too wide, since it is valid without restrictions for all transactions by associations of public interest whose aim is to exercise or to promote sports.
Finally, the VAT Directive contains an exemption for supplies of certain cultural services, and the supply of goods closely linked thereto. However, Austria appears to exempt all the running business of theatres, museums, zoos, natural preserves and botanical gardens, which goes beyond what is allowed under the VAT Directive.
Sweden and Finland
Under the VAT Directive, any economic activity carried out by a VAT taxable person must be subject to VAT, except where an exemption is explicitly allowed. However, under Swedish VAT law, the definition of "economic activity" does not refer to the criteria under the VAT Directive, but is directly linked to the definition and criteria of economic activity under national income tax law. These criteria are irrelevant and potentially misleading from the point of view of VAT. The Commission considers this to be an infringement of the VAT Directive.
More specifically, as a consequence of the divergence in the definition of economic activity, there is discrimination between non-profit making organisations. The Commission however underlines that the activities carried out by non-profit making associations and religious congregations would in most cases be exempt under Article 132 of the VAT Directive. Shouldn't this be the case, Sweden could also opt to implement a special scheme for small enterprises, which is allowed under the VAT Directive. Entities under this scheme would not be obliged to apply VAT on their supplies of goods or services.
A similar situation arises in Finland, where, under the national Income Tax Act, only those entities of public interest that are liable for income tax for commercial activities are considered taxable persons for VAT purposes. Other entities of public interest are excluded from VAT. Moreover, several of the exemptions listed in Article 132.1 of the VAT Directive have not been implemented into Finnish legislation.
The Commission's reference numbers are 2007/2311 and 2008/2002 (Sweden), 2007/2312 (Denmark), 2007/2371 (Finland) and 2007/2453 (Austria).

EBF - alteração e republicação do Estatuto dos Benefícios Fiscais

Foi publicado no Diário da República nº 122, Série I de 26-06-2008 o Decreto-Lei nº 108/2008, que no uso da autorização legislativa concedida pelo artigo 91º da Lei n.º 67-A/2007, de 31 de Dezembro, altera e republica o Estatuto dos Benefícios Fiscais, aprovado pelo Decreto-Lei n.º 215/89, de 1 de Julho.

IVA - Alteração da Taxa Normal

Oficio Circulado Nº 30 104 de 27 de Junho de 2008

domingo, junho 29, 2008

Revista de Finanças Públicas e Direito Fiscal - nº 2

Revista de Finanças Públicas e Direito Fiscal
Ano I - Número 2 - Verão Vários
Editora: Almedina
Ano: 2008

Pedro Soares Martinez - A essência do fenómeno financeiro
Gary Clyde Hufbauer/Jisun Kim - International tax competition: tree big issues
António Martins - Uma nota sobre o conceito de fonte produtora constante do artigo 23.° do CIRC: sua relação com partes de capital e prestações acessórias
Carlos Loureiro/António Beja Neves - Breve comentário ao recente regime de combate ao planeamento fiscal abusivo
Cláudia Dias Soares - A articulação de instrumentos fiscais com o Sistema Europeu de Comércio de Licenças de Emissão
António Beja Neves/Afonso Arnaldo - O sector imobiliário e o IVA -perspectivas de uma relação conturbada
Alexandra Martins - Grupos de IVA
Manuel Teixeira Fernandes - A reforma da tributação do automóvel
Rita Calçada Pires - Notas de reflexão: acordos para evitar e para eliminar a dupla tributação no direito internacional fiscal do século XXI
Rita de La Feria - Evolução do conceito de abuso do direito no âmbito do direito fiscal comunitário

Romania to cut taxation of outbound dividends to 10% from Jan 2009

EU newcomer Romania will cut its dividend tax rate for non-resident companies to 10% from next year to make it equal to the tax levied on resident companies as required by EU regulations, the government said.
Domestic dividends on holdings of up to 15% of the shares are subject to a final withholding tax of 10%. However, on similar outbound dividends, Romania, which joined the EU in January 2007, levies a withholding tax of 16%.
The government on Tuesday decided to correct the country's fiscal code by lowering the dividend tax paid by for non-resident corporate investors to 10% as of January 2009, the cabinet said in a statement issued later the same day.
Last month, the European Commission sent letters of formal notice, the first step of an infringement procedure, to Bulgaria and Romania regarding the taxation rules for corporate dividends.
The letter of formal notice to Romania concerned the taxation of dividends which are paid to companies resident elsewhere in the EU or in the European Economic Area (EEA)/the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries.

Commission requests Portugal to end discriminatory taxation of non-resident taxpayers

The European Commission has formally requested Portugal to change its tax provisions according to which non-resident taxpayers have to appoint a fiscal representative if they obtain taxable income in Portugal. The Commission considers the provision incompatible with the free movement of persons and the free movement of capital as guaranteed by Articles 18 and 56 of the EC Treaty and Articles 36 and 40 of the EEA Agreement.
The request takes the form of a reasoned opinion (second step of the infringement procedure provided for in Article 226 of the EC Treaty). If there is no satisfactory reaction to the reasoned opinion within two months, the Commission may decide to refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.
Under Portuguese Law, non-resident taxpayers who obtain taxable income in Portugal have to appoint a fiscal representative in order to represent them before the Portuguese tax authorities and to guarantee the fulfilment of their fiscal duties. The Commission understands that the aim of this requirement is to guarantee payment of taxes and prevent tax evasion. These are recognised requirements of public interest. However, the Commission is of the opinion that a general obligation imposed on non-residents to appoint a fiscal representative goes beyond what is necessary to ensure these objectives and thus impedes the free movement of persons and the free movement of capital as laid down in Articles 18 and 56 of the EC Treaty and in the EEA-Agreement.
The Commission's opinion is based on the EC Treaty as interpreted by the Court of Justice of the European Communities in its judgment of 7 September 2006 in case C-470/04, N,.
The Commission's case reference number is 2006/5036.

terça-feira, junho 24, 2008

Portaria n.º 497/2008, D.R. n.º 120, Série I de 2008-06-24

Portaria n.º 497/2008, D.R. n.º 120, Série I de 2008-06-24
Ministério das Finanças e da Administração Pública

Regulamenta as condições delimitadoras do conceito de amostras e de ofertas de pequeno valor e define os procedimentos e obrigações contabilísticas a cumprir pelos sujeitos passivos do imposto, para efeitos de aplicação do disposto no n.º 7 do artigo 3.º do Código do Imposto sobre o Valor Acrescentado.

Belgium - Implementation of the Tax Merger Directive is in sight

Belgium is about to implement the Tax Merger Directive. As a result, Belgian parent companies will be able to absorb their EU-subsidiaries on a tax neutral basis, and EU-parent companies will be able to absorb their Belgian subsidiaries.

The scope of this law is not limited to just cross-border transactions. Belgium has also (rightly) opted to treat national mergers in the same manner as cross-border transactions, so as to improve the tax regime for national mergers. Currently, a merger between a Belgian parent company and a Belgian subsidiary may not happen in a fully tax neutral manner (eg if the absorbed subsidiary has "exempt reserves", these often get taxed; the cancellation of the shares at the level of the absorbing parent company gives rise to a participation exemption of only 95 per cent). Under the new regulations, which will apply in most cases to operations as from 1 January 2007, the taxation of these "exempt reserves" can be avoided and the participation exemption can be increased to 100 per cent.

Therefore, parent-subsidiary mergers implemented as of 2007 will be able to benefit from the more advantageous regime introduced by the new regulation.

The tax neutrality regime currently only applies if the operation corresponds to "legitimate financial or economic needs", a condition which the tax authorities have interpreted strictly. Currently, not only may the operation not be tax driven, but the non-tax reasons must be "legitimate" (and eg may not infringe creditor rights). These non-tax reasons must apply at the level of the company claiming the tax neutrality regime (and therefore not only at the level of the absorbed company or at the level of the absorbing company).

This anti-abuse provision has now been modified, with retroactive effect, to conform with the Tax Merger Directive. From now on, the operation may not have as its principal objective or as one of its principal objectives tax evasion or tax avoidance. If the operation is not done for "valid commercial reasons", there is a rebuttable presumption that the operation has as its principal objective or as one of its principal objective tax evasion or tax avoidance.

In our view, the new regulation will require a change in the existing practice of the tax authorities. Under the new regulation, we believe that the tax neutrality will need to be accepted each time the main goal of an operation is not of a tax nature, regardless of the nature of these non-tax reasons.

This new regulation does not mean that the so-called "post-acquisition merger" can happen in a tax neutral manner. The Ruling Commission has very recently, after consideration, decided to maintain its previous position, according to which a takeover of a Belgian company by a leveraged holding company cannot happen in a tax neutral manner. Such a merger reduces the corporate tax liability as the interest expenses incurred by the holding company are set-off against the operational profits of the absorbed g company. The new formulation of the anti-abuse provision will probably not influence the Ruling Commission's point of view.

Likewise, the transfer of the professional losses regime has been reconsidered (including the "recapture" regime relating to losses deducted in Belgium and in other jurisdiction).

Also, an express tax regulation is being introduced to deal with the tax consequences of a transfer of a registered office to Belgium, not only for transfers of a seat of an SE (governed by the Tax Merger Directive), but also for the transfer of the seat of any foreign company. If the company is established in a tax haven outside of the EU, there will be a disadvantageous tax regime.

Undertakers who wish to transfer shares to a holding company, or who have done so in the past, will be relieved that the earlier propositions (that the contribution of shares would not give rise to "paid-up capital", so that subsequent capital reductions would be taxable) were abandoned. However, the tax authorities have taken the opportunity to overturn the case law of the Supreme Court. Under this case law, the taxation as "miscellaneous income" of capital gains on shares which did not fall within the normal management of assets was limited to the "abnormal" part of the capital gain. Capital gains on shares which do not fall within the normal management of assets are now expressly considered taxable, but a rollover (deferred taxation) is available in case of an "exchange of shares".(...)

Na Corda Bamba

"Os analistas internacionais são unânimes em considerar que estamos a passar por um Terceiro Choque Petrolífero. O clima económico degrada-se de dia para dia, conforme os indicadores assim o vão revelando. A indignação dos sectores económicos que vão desde os transportes, às indústrias e mais recentemente ao sector pesqueiro estão já a conduzir à paralisação dos mesmos.

Contudo, os lucros das três principais gasolineiras continuam a atingir níveis astronómicos, ao contrário da receita fiscal (com especial incidência do IVA) que tem decrescido significativamente após a diminuição da procura de combustíveis.

No entanto, o estado de Portugal é muito mais grave do que os políticos em geral deixam transparecer. Por exemplo, no combate ao ‘deficit’.

Há sinais de que o crescimento da receita fiscal em termos gerais começa a desacelerar ou mesmo a diminuir, comprovando mais uma vez a validade da teoria económica da Curva de Laffer. Esta curva explica que num determinado país, num determinado momento, há uma capacidade ou disponibilidade máxima de impostos que os contribuintes conseguem/aceitam pagar, voluntária ou mesmo coercivamente. Se tivermos em atenção alguns dos últimos acontecimentos no nosso país podemos concluir que o estado de alerta há muito passou a linha vermelha. É que o recente anúncio de reduzir o IVA em 1%, além de desequilibrar as já frágeis contas públicas, pode ter um efeito nulo no poder de compra das pessoas, desvirtuando por completo a boa intenção da iniciativa. É preciso mais coragem para enfrentar os feudos instalados. Um ténue sinal disso tem sido o rumor que paira sobre a Comissão dos Estudos Fiscais, a qual se encontra sob a tutela da Secretaria de Estado dos Assuntos Fiscais. A mesma encontra-se neste momento a estudar a hipótese de introdução da figura dos fundos fiduciários (mais conhecidos por ‘trusts’), o que já levantou o coro de protestos habituais, esgrimindo os tradicionais argumentos de que tais figuras desvirtuam o propósito quixotiano do Governo na luta contra a fraude e evasão fiscais.

Por outro lado, no nosso país, a profunda e verdadeira reforma da Administração Pública tarda em tornar-se uma realidade, não passando de projectos de intenções. Note-se que em cerca de duas décadas o peso do Estado na economia cresceu de 30% para quase 50% do PIB.

É pois preciso reestruturar profundamente todos os sectores da vida económica e social portuguesa, nomeadamente e em especial o sector público. O actual Governo tem demonstrado coragem para efectuar algumas reformas estruturais, nomeadamente na luta contra a burocracia. Todavia, a arma central para o combate à estagnação económica tem necessariamente de passar por uma efectiva e equilibrada redução da despesa pública.

A situação é tão complicada que apesar do elevadíssimo endividamento das famílias, o Governo não toma medidas para travar esse endividamento para evitar o decréscimo das receitas fiscais (os impostos como o IVA, produtos petrolíferos, automóveis etc. representam o grosso da receita fiscal em Portugal). Contudo, com um nível de endividamento das famílias a 130% e a crescer 10% ao ano, o consumo começará inevitavelmente a decrescer a breve prazo (sem contar com o novo ciclo de aumento de juros na União Europeia, que por si aumenta o endividamento sem qualquer acto de consumo).

A proposta apresentada pelo presidente francês Sarkozy de congelar o preço dos combustíveis, mesmo que não encontre eco na Europa, consiste no primeiro sinal de alerta de que a crise que se avizinha é mundial e atingirá tudo e todos. Para combater esta cruzada que se aproxima, ou pelo menos tentar minorar os seus efeitos, é preciso imaginação e espírito empreendedor. O nosso país pode aproveitar para criar instrumentos fiscais que verdadeiramente atraiam investidores e fortunas estrangeiras.

O estudo da viabilidade de implementação dos ‘trusts’ é um primeiro passo, se for efectivamente concretizado. Estamos na corda bamba, resta apenas saber para que lado vamos pender."(...)

Artigo publicado no DE de hoje pelo Colega Tiago Caiado Guerreiro

segunda-feira, junho 23, 2008

Oposição à Execução - Despacho de Reversão

I - É a oposição à execução fiscal e não o processo de impugnação judicial ou a reclamação prevista no artº 276º do CPPT o meio processual adequado para o revertido impugnar contenciosamente o despacho que ordena a reversão, com fundamento no não exercício da gerência de facto ou de direito da sociedade originária devedora e na inexistência de culpa na insuficiência do património, fundamento este que se enquadra na al. a) do nº 1 do artº 204º do CPPT.
II - Tendo o contribuinte utilizado o processo de impugnação, só é possível a convolação se a petição inicial tiver sido apresentada no prazo da oposição.

Globalisation demands reform of UK corporation tax

Corporation tax should be reformed or replaced by a higher VAT rate (offset by lower National Insurance contributions) to reduce disincentives to invest in the UK, according to two studies commissioned by the Mirrlees Review of the British tax system, which is being chaired by Nobel prize-winner Professor Sir James Mirrlees for the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
The studies both argue that globalisation and the growth of the financial sector require a new approach to the taxation of profits in a small open economy. Unlike most EU governments, the UK currently taxes dividends received by UK-resident firms from their foreign subsidiaries as well as profits earned in this country. This creates a disincentive to locate headquarters in the UK.(...)

Reembolso IVA - Alteração ao Despacho Normativo n.º 53/2005

A aplicação da regra de inversão do sujeito passivo a certos sectores de actividade, ainda que justificada numa maior eficácia no combate à fraude e evasão fiscais, não deve, todavia, criar constrangimentos financeiros desnecessários, pelo que, por uma questão de equidade, os sujeitos passivos cujas operações estejam em mais de 75 % abrangidas pela regra de inversão devem beneficiar de um prazo de reembolso de 30 dias, à semelhança do que já sucede com sujeitos passivos de outros sectores de actividade cujas operações sejam maioritariamente isentas ou não sujeitas com direito a dedução.

Assim, nos termos do n.º 9 do artigo 22.º do Código do Imposto sobre o Valor Acrescentado, aprovado pelo Decreto-Lei n.º 394-B/84, de 26 de Dezembro, determina-se o seguinte:

1 - É alterado o n.º 5 do Despacho Normativo n.º 53/2005, de 15 de Dezembro, que passa a ter a seguinte redacção:
«5 - O IVA cujo reembolso, de valor superior a (euro) 10 000, for solicitado por sujeitos passivos que efectuem operações isentas ou não sujeitas que conferem o direito a dedução, ou relativamente às quais a obrigação de liquidação do imposto seja da responsabilidade do adquirente e que representem, pelo menos, 75 % do valor total das transmissões de bens e prestações de serviços do respectivo período, e que não seja o primeiro reembolso, será restituído no prazo de 30 dias a contar da data da recepção do respectivo pedido.»

domingo, junho 22, 2008

State aid: Commission requests information about preferential tax regimes for retail distribution and banking cooperatives in Italy

The European Commission has asked Italy under EC Treaty state aid rules for information regarding preferential tax regimes for cooperatives operating in the retail, distribution and banking sectors in Italy. The Commission started reviewing the measures after receiving several complaints. The current investigation is designed to ensure that the measures are in line with the state aid rules in the future, as it appears that the measures existed before the EC Treaty entered into force and could therefore qualify as existing aid. In its analysis, the Commission is carefully balancing the equity and efficiency objectives pursued by the cooperative model against any possible distortions of competition that might derive from such measures. The Commission finds at this preliminary stage that the tax measures may not constitute state aid under some conditions and that if they do, that they are mostly compatible. For the measures concerning large cooperatives that might not be in line with EU state aid rules, Italy has the opportunity to comment on the Commission's analysis before any conclusions are reached. The initiation of the review process does not prejudge its outcome.(...)


From the constitutional law standpoint, tax sovereignty does not imply unlimited tax power. Despite the leeway left to State authorities in the design of tax policies, Constitutions fix the framework within the limits of which tax power can be exercised.
These constitutional constraints cannot be ignored in the case of tax treaty-making power.

sábado, junho 21, 2008

Conferência Internacional - Portugal/UE e os EUA

Conferência Internacional

Portugal /União Europeia e os EUA – Novas Perspectivas Económicas num Contexto de Globalização
23 a 27 de Junho
Auditório da Faculdade de Direito de Lisboa


Código de IVA - Dec. n.º 102/2008, de 20/06

No uso da autorização legislativa concedida pelo artigo 91.º da Lei n.º 67-A/2007, de 31 de Dezembro, altera e republica o Código do Imposto sobre o Valor Acrescentado, aprovado pelo Decreto-Lei n.º 394-B/84, de 26 de Dezembro, e o Regime do IVA nas Transacções Intracomunitárias, aprovado pelo Decreto-Lei n.º 290/92, de 28 de Dezembro.
O Código do IVA tem sido, por diversas vezes, objecto de alterações substanciais ao longo dos mais de 20 anos da sua vigência, consubstanciadas em mais de 60 leis e decretos-leis.
Este acervo legislativo teve as mais variadas proveniências, o que originou, desde logo, que a redacção dos preceitos fosse perdendo identidade, fruto das evoluções linguísticas.
Acresce que ao longo dos tempos se foram introduzindo alterações a nível orgânico, quer da estrutura do governo quer da própria administração tributária, bem como novas práticas e procedimentos administrativos, nem sempre devidamente reflectidos no corpo da lei.
Embora em menor escala, também o regime do IVA nas transacções comunitárias tem sofrido ajustamentos, o que requer igual atenção no que concerne à revisão e adaptação dos respectivos preceitos.(...)

The Belgian Notional Interest Deduction

The notional interest deduction entitles Belgian companies and establishments to annually calculate a fictitious interest expense on their aggregate equity amount, thus reducing their taxable basis. Combined with the abolishment of the 0.5% capital tax, this tax feature will not only encourage Belgian taxpayers to strengthen their working capital, it will also reinforce the attractiveness of Belgium as a location for treasury and finance centres, capital-intensive companies (such as the Belgian Coordination Centres, whose specific tax regime will shortly expire) and headquarters. (...)

terça-feira, junho 17, 2008

Controlled Foreign Companies and Foreign Profits

Controlled Foreign Companies and Foreign Profits

‘‘There are two sorts of wealth-getting, as I have said. . .. The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of the modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.’’

Canada: Two changes to the treatment of foreign exchange gains and losses

Recent additions to the Canadian Income Tax Act require, with retroactive effect, that Canadian tax results be determined using Canadian currency. Recent case law had called this proposition into question. The changes also require the conversion of any amount expressed in foreign currency that is relevant in computing Canadian tax results into domestic currency using the relevant rate of exchange quoted by the Bank of Canada at noon on the day on which the amount first arose, or such other rate of exchange as is acceptable to the minister of national revenue. The provision is retroactive and, absent ministerial discretion, rigid in the required method of conversion.
On March 7 2008, the minister of finance also announced proposed amendments to the Income Tax Act that would extend the treatment of accrued capital gains and losses on assets of a corporation upon an acquisition of control to accrued capital gains and losses on foreign currency debt obligations due to foreign currency fluctuations. As proposed, the new rules will apply only to debt and not to other liabilities such as swaps or other derivatives.
It appears that the proposed amendments will result in:
the required realisation of any inherent foreign exchange losses on debt on an acquisition of control, the ability to elect to realise accrued foreign exchange gains on debt on an acquisition of control, and the ability to utilise such losses to step up the basis of capital property and shelter realised foreign exchange gains on debt.
As proposed, the new rules apply to acquisitions of control after March 7 2008 subject to limited grandfathering rules and corporations can elect to have the proposed rules apply to acquisitions of control after 2005.

Conferência - APF - Caso Hollmann

A Conferência mensal das 5ªs feiras analisa um caso controverso do vasto mundo da fiscalidade. Convidámos para apresentar este tema o Senhor Dr. Manuel Anselmo Torres, Advogado, Sócio Fundador da Galhardo Vilão Torres, Sociedade de Advogados.


DATA: 26 de Junho de 2008
HORA: 18 Horas
LOCAL: Salão Nobre da Associação Comercial de Lisboa – Rua das Portas de Santo Antão, nº 89

quinta-feira, junho 12, 2008

Tax Avoidance Schemes Regulations 2008

May 2008 - This document summarises the responses received by the Government to its November 2007 consultation document 'The Tax Avoidance Disclosure Regime: Improving the Scheme Reference Number System.

Our Public Notices are also available in large print, Braille or audio cassette, please contact our National Advice Service for further details.

Summer Course - Principles of International and Comparative Taxation

Summer Course - Principles of International and Comparative Taxation

The basic concepts and principles of international tax law from a truly international perspective. The IBFD Summer Course examines the main issues of international tax law. Topics covered are Tax Treaties, Permanent Establishments, European VAT, EC Tax Law, Transfer Pricing and Business Structures and Planning.

18 - 29 August 2008 Introductory

Location: Amsterdam Further information
Level: Introductory
Course Brochure: download the course brochure

Promoting Genuine Fiscal Competition should be EU aim

Corporate tax is back on the European agenda. France intends to use its presidency of the European Union later this year to pursue plans for a single, voluntary, corporation tax base for multinational companies.
The purpose of the common consolidated corporate tax base is that a company operating in several countries could choose to agree on one taxable profit total for the whole group. Tax revenues would then be charged and distributed among the countries where it operated, on the basis of a formula that took into account where the economic activity occurred and the domestic tax rate in each country.
This approach has some merits. A multinational which opted into the scheme would reduce its compliance burden, since it would be following just one set of tax rules. The regime would also allow losses in one part of a group to be offset against gains elsewhere.
More importantly, it could encourage genuine tax competition. If a company relocates its operations to a lower-tax economy, the government which has provided that environment should benefit. This is a different matter from allowing countries to divert tax revenues from profits generated in other countries. By declaring the profits of groups as a whole, the common tax base would prevent companies declaring their profits in low-tax jurisdictions even if they were earned elsewhere.
There are two main problems with the proposals. First, a voluntary scheme is not a very effective weapon to deal with the practice of exporting profits to low-tax jurisdictions. Yet compulsion would prevent countries from being able to compete as they should on the size and shape of the tax base.
Second, reaching agreement on a tax code and the basis of splitting revenues between countries would be very difficult and time-consuming, since the interests of EU countries differ so widely. Efforts to achieve accord might well be at the expense of more realistic fiscal improvements.
The goal for European fiscal policymakers should be a regime that enhances genuine competition among economies. It should allow countries to use tax as a basis for promoting themselves as places to do business. It should also aim to deter distortion of that competition by making it harder for multinational companies to seek their own advantage by breaking the link between where their activities generate profit and where those profits are taxed. Any moves France can make in that direction during its presidency will be welcome.

The Financial Times Limited

segunda-feira, junho 09, 2008

Public comments on draft contents of the 2008 Update to the Model Tax Convention

Public comments on draft contents of the 2008 Update to the Model Tax Convention
On 21 April 2008, the OECD Committee on Fiscal Affairs published the draft contents of the 2008 Update to the Model Tax Convention. The OECD has now published the comments received on that draft.

Ética, Imposto e Crime - Germano Marques da Silva

Lembro as recomendações do saudoso Professor António Sousa Franco, então Ministro das Finanças, aquando da elaboração do projecto do Regime Geral das Infracções Tributárias e face ao desenhar de um conflito de competências entre a Administração fiscal e o Ministério Público: não é necessário e é perigosa a atribuição de competências excepcionais à administração tributária, porque nem os meios do processo comum são insuficientes para um combate eficaz, nem a natureza e gravidade das infracções justifica a subversão do sistema de investigação criminal; os meios de excepção embotam a inteligência dos agentes. Sábias palavras que me não canso de repetir.
Em memória do Professor António Luciano de Sousa Franco, a Faculdade de Direito da Universidade Católica acaba de aprovar a criação de uma disciplina curricular (Direito Penal Tributário) em ordem ao desenvolvimento da investigação nesta área, concretizando um antigo projecto daquele que foi seu Director e um dos seus mais distintos professores.(...)

Advocate General considers Hungarian company law restricting the transfer of operational headquarter to another Member State incompatible with EC law

Advocate General considers Hungarian company law restricting the transfer of operational headquarter to another Member State incompatible with EC law (Cartesio)
On 22 May 2008, Advocate General Maduro gave his Opinion in the Cartesio case (C-201/06). The Advocate General concluded that Hungarian company law violated the freedom of establishment guaranteed under Article 43 EC as it completely precluded the transfer of the operational headquarter of a Hungarian company to another Member States, without any grounds of justification.
Cartesio is a limited partnership constituted in accordance with Hungarian law and registered in Hungary. In November 2005, Cartesio asked the commercial court to record in the commercial register the transfer of its operational headquarters from Hungary to Italy, but wished to remain subject to Hungarian company law. The commercial court refused to conform to this request on the basis that such transfer was not allowed under Hungarian law. It stated that, in order to change its operational headquarters, Cartesio would first have to be dissolved in Hungary and then reconstituted under Italian law. Cartesio lodged appeal against the decision of the commercial court before the Court of Appeal of Szeged, which in turn, asked the ECJ whether the Hungarian legislation at issue was compatible with the freedom of establishment, in addition to several questions concerning Article 234 EC.(...)

domingo, junho 08, 2008

How to Cut your Tax Bill

There are many ways in which you as an individual could trim your tax bill.
Usually, the steps you need to take are straightforward merely involve claiming what you are entitled to.

Income Tax
Everyone is entitled to a personal allowance - the amount you can earn before tax is due - from the day they are born. In the 2007/2008 tax year, this stands at £5,225.
Many people who have a partner, are married, or have children generally fail to optimise their use of personal allowances or lower tax rates.
If you have a partner or are married, it makes sense from a tax point of view to ensure that the individual who pays tax at the lower rate (22%), or does not work at all, holds the savings in their name.(...)

sábado, junho 07, 2008

Norway: Statements from the Norwegian tax authorities regarding foreign investments funds

In March 2008, the Norwegian directorate of taxes issued three interpretative statements regarding the applicability of the Norwegian tax exemption method (TEM) on foreign investments funds. According to the Norwegian directorate of taxes, Danish, Irish and German investment funds are not covered by the TEM due to the funds not being liable to general corporate income tax in their respective countries of residence. Norwegian investment funds are specifically covered by the TEM. Foreign investment funds will in principle be covered by the TEM provided they are comparable to Norwegian entities qualifying for the TEM.(...)

Germany:Preliminary Draft of Tax Reform Plans for 2009 Published

Germany’s draft Annual Tax Act 2009 includes a number of proposals that will affect German inbound investments. The draft Annual Tax Act 2009 has not yet been formally endorsed by the government, although this is expected shortly. Once formally endorsed, the proposed law will have to be approved by the Upper and the Lower House and ultimately signed by the president. Potentially affected taxpayers should closely monitor the legislative developments to determine whether any action will be required. If enacted, most of the changes would become effective as from FY 2009.(...)

Lei n.º 25/2008, D.R. n.º 108, Série I de 2008-06-05

Assembleia da RepúblicaEstabelece medidas de natureza preventiva e repressiva de combate ao branqueamento de vantagens de proveniência ilícita e ao financiamento do terrorismo, transpondo para a ordem jurídica interna as Directivas n.os 2005/60/CE, do Parlamento Europeu e do Conselho, de 26 de Outubro, e 2006/70/CE, da Comissão, de 1 de Agosto, relativas à prevenção da utilização do sistema financeiro e das actividades e profissões especialmente designadas para efeitos de branqueamento de capitais e de financiamento do terrorismo, procede à segunda alteração à Lei n.º 52/2003, de 22 de Agosto, e revoga a Lei n.º 11/2004, de 27 de Março .

quarta-feira, junho 04, 2008

Guia Fiscal 2008 - KPMG

2008 Portuguese Tax Guide

KPMG's Tax Guide was developed by KPMG in Potugal and provides an overview of the major Portuguese taxes in force for the 2008 tax year.

2008 budget law includes measures affecting payments to nonresident entities

The final version of the Portuguese Budget Law for 2008, published in the Official Gazette on 31 December 2007, includes changes that will affect payments to nonresident entities. The changes, which are generally welcome, include a relaxation of the rules to benefit from the EC Parent-Subsidiary Directive and measures that reduce the compliance burdens on nonresidents deriving Portuguese-source income. The Budget Law measures are effective as from 1 January 2008.

Dividends Paid to EU Companies

In response to the European Commission’s challenge to Portugal’s domestic rules, the 2008 Budget Law changes the tax regime applicable to dividends paid by a Portuguese resident company to a shareholder resident in another EU Member State.
The adopted measure aims to grant the same tax treatment to dividends paid by Portuguese subsidiaries to their Portuguese and EU parent companies. Thus, dividends paid to qualifying companies resident in an EU Member State are now exempt if:
The EU parent company holds at least 10% of the share capital (previously 15%) of the Portuguese subsidiary or the acquisition value of the shareholding is at least Euro 20 million; and the shareholding has been held for an uninterrupted period of one year (previously two years).
The new regime also covers profits distributed to a permanent establishment of an EU parent company situated in another EU Member State.
In light of the amendment, EU companies that meet the above criteria and that have been subject to withholding tax on dividend income arising from their Portuguese affiliates should consider the possibility of requesting a refund of the Portuguese tax unduly borne under the previous dividend taxation regime.

Income from Swap Transactions

Income arising from currency swaps, interest rate swaps and currency forwards will now be, for all purposes, treated as interest. This amendment may change the taxation of such income when obtained by entities resident in tax treaty partner countries.
Depending on the definition of interest in a tax treaty, in many instances, such income will be treated as interest subject to a withholding tax rather than being exempt under the business profits or other income articles of a treaty. Nonresident financial institutions deriving income from swap transactions or currency forwards in Portugal should examine their position as to whether the changes result in an additional withholding tax burden.

Proof of Eligibility for Relief under Treaties and EU Directives

The deadline for presenting proof that the requirements for application of tax treaty benefits or the EC Interest and Royalties Directive have been satisfied has been extended until the time withholding tax must be remitted to the state, i.e. the 20th of the month following the month in which the withholding is due. Previously, such proof had to be available before the tax liability arose. Proof that the EC Parent-Subsidiary Directive applies must be provided before the dividends are made available to the beneficiary.
The Portuguese taxpayer liable to withhold tax will be relieved of the joint obligation to pay tax if the proof to benefit from an exemption or a reduction of tax is presented after the above deadlines, via an official form duly certified by the tax authorities of the beneficiary’s country of residence. The Portuguese withholding agent, however, still will be subject to an administrative penalty. The 2008 Budget Law provides for a penalty ranging from Euro 250 to Euro 2,500 for failure to withhold tax if the formal requirements to benefit from an exemption or a reduction of withholding tax are satisfied but the proof of eligibility is not made available by the prescribed deadlines.
The final version of the 2008 Budget Law contains a significant modification not included in the draft budget. Proof of fiscal residence may be presented in situations before the law’s 1 January 2008 effective date even if the tax has been withheld unless the tax was paid and such payment is not subject to objection or appeal to administrative bodies or courts.
The 2008 Budget Law also confirms that, if the beneficiary of income is a central bank or government agency domiciled in a country that has signed a tax treaty with Portugal, the periodic resubmission of the forms necessary to apply the treaty no longer is mandatory. However, a central bank or an agency still must inform the Portuguese entity paying the income of any changes with respect to its compliance with conditions for the application of the exemption or reduction of tax under the treaty.
Finally, the number of Portuguese official forms to be certified by the nonresident’s tax authorities has been reduced from 12 (separate forms for various types of income) to four.
DELOITTE - Carlos Loureiro e Susana Barahona Ferreira

Contribuintes ganham poderes contra o Fisco

O Governo está a alterar os códigos tributários. Vai ser possível suspender decisões do fisco com providências cautelares.Paula Cravina de SousaOs contribuintes vão poder instaurar providências cautelares para suspender algumas operações do Fisco que considerem irregulares. Por exemplo, se o contribuinte receber uma notificação para pagar um determinado imposto e não concordar com o montante indicado, poderá instaurar uma providência cautelar para suspender o pagamento desse imposto, embora tenha de prestar uma garantia e levar o caso a tribunal.Esta é uma das alterações que o Governo está a discutir na Lei Geral Tributária e no Código do Processo e Procedimento Tributário e que vem reforçar as garantias dos contribuintes. O objectivo desta reformulação é simplificar as leis em vigor, harmonizando a parte de processo tributário com a de contencioso administrativo. A proposta de lei do Governo de Sócrates está em fase de discussão pública.(...)

terça-feira, junho 03, 2008

Luxembourg - Capital Duty on its way out!

In his traditional annual speech at Parliament, the Prime Minister, Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker, announced recently various tax measures aimed at maintaining and improving the tax attractiveness of Luxembourg.

The tax measures for companies include:

• The abolition of the 0,5% capital duty as from 2009

This is probably the most expected tax measure. It follows the reduction of the capital duty from 1% to 0,5% in 2008. The complete abolition of the capital duty in Luxembourg had been announced by the Government at the time of the reduction to 0,5% but had become uncertain following Council Directive 2008/7/EC of February 12 2008 as the Directive does no longer oblige EU Member States to abolish capital duty within a certain timeframe.

Decrease in corporate tax rates

A decrease of the global income taxation of companies (Corporate Income Tax and Municipal Business Tax) from 29,63% to 25,5%. This will however occur in 2 steps and will probably, where appropriate and possible, says Juncker, be accompanied by some measures that will aim at enlarging the taxable basis of companies.

Regarding the taxation of individuals, the main measures are as follows:

Tax brackets adapted to inflation

It is the intention to further adapt the tax brackets to inflation. The tax brackets will be increased by 6%, which implies a reduction of the overall tax burden.

Limits of deduction will be increased

Several tax deductions will be increased, including tax deductions for insurance costs

New tax bonus for wage earners

The tax deduction available to wage earners of 600 Euro (compensatory abatement for wage earners) will be replaced by a 300 Euro tax bonus. This is a special benefit to those paying no or little income tax and therefore could not in the past benefit from tax reductions.

Belgium: Belgian participation exemption incompatible with parent subsidiary directive

On May 8 2008 Advocate General (AG) Sharpston issued her opinion in the Cobelfret case. This is one of the three pending cases regarding the compatibility of the Belgian participation exemption regime with the EU parent subsidiary directive (90/435/CEE). The present case only concerns dividends received from subsidiaries established in other EU member states, while the other cases also concern dividends received from Belgian subsidiaries and non-EU subsidiaries and the question whether the Belgian regime is compliant with respectively the directive and the free movement of capital.
According to Belgian legislation, dividends received in a given year which qualify for participation exemption are first included in the company's taxable basis of that year. In a subsequent step, 95 % of their amount is deductible. This means that no deduction is made when this company has no or insufficient taxable profits in that year, because it has suffered losses in this or in previous years. Such (forwarded) losses are offset against the dividends. The dividends are therefore de facto taxed.
In the present case, the ECJ will have to examine whether this regime is compatible with article 4, par. 1 of the parent subsidiary directive. According to that provision, the residence state of a dividend-receiving parent company or permanent establishment shall either refrain from taxing the dividends or subject them to taxation while providing a credit for the foreign underlying corporate income tax.
The AG considers that the Belgian regime is not compliant with the directive as none of the methods provided by article 4, par. 1 have been correctly implemented. On the one hand, the Belgian regime does not entail a systematic exemption. Dividends are only exempt if other taxable profits are available. The exemption is therefore subject to a condition which is not provided by the directive. On the other hand, the Belgian regime is not an imputation regime either. The Belgian government's argument that the regime would at least lead to the same result as an imputation regime is not convincing to the AG.
The AG also considers as not relevant the other arguments submitted by the Belgian government, based on the fact that dividends from Belgian and from EU sources are treated in the same way, and on the fact that the OECD model treaty does not include precise rules on how to exercise the exemption method.
Furthermore, according to the AG, in case the ECJ considers the Belgian regime incompatible with the directive, the ruling should not be subject to a temporal limitation as requested by the Belgian government.(...)

Tax Newsletter - Vieira de Almeida

Foi publicada a recente newsletter do departamento fiscal da Vieira de Almeida, com destaque para a análise de algumas situações de aplicação no tempo da descida da taxa de IVA para 20%, agendada para o dia 1 de Julho do corrente ano.(...)

domingo, junho 01, 2008

Despacho 14592/2008 de 27 de Maio - Série II – nº 101

Considerando que o Decreto-Lei n.º 29/2008, de 25 de Fevereiro, que estabelece deveres de comunicação, informação e esclarecimento à administração tributária para prevenir e combater o planeamento fiscal abusivo, procede à introdução no sistema tributário nacional de um regime particularmente inovador, sem antecedentes na legislação fiscal portuguesa;