April 2022

  • Bulgaria
    • European Commission Endorses Bulgaria’s Recovery and Resilience Plan

      The European Commission has endorsed Bulgaria's EUR 6.3 billion (in grants) recovery and resilience plan under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The financing would serve as a help for the country's road to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Bulgaria's recovery and resilience plan focuses on embracing the green and digital transitions, and strengthening its economic and social resilience by prioritizing growth potential and job creation.

      The plan devotes 59% of the total allocation to measures that support climate objectives, such as promoting decarbonization of the energy sector, increasing power generation from renewables, building up large electricity storage capacities, cutting greenhouse gas emissions of the power sector, and setting out a framework for coal phase-out. Promotion of sustainable transport, water management and biodiversity conservation are also covered by the plan. Another 26% are devoted to digital transition and investments in digital connectivity and skills, digitalization of public administration, businesses, and the transport and energy sectors.

      In addition, the plan contains anti-corruption measures aimed at ensuring accountability and criminal liability of the General Prosecutor, strengthened anti-corruption institutions and increased transparency and competition in public procurement.

      As a next step, the Council has 4 weeks to adopt the Commission's proposal. Once the proposal is adopted, the Commission will authorize payment disbursements based on the plan's targets achievement.

      The full text of the press release, issued on 7 April 2022, is available here (in English).

      Note: The RRF is the key instrument of the NextGenerationEU, a recovery plan which will provide up to EUR 800 billion to support investments and reforms across the European Union.

  • China
    • China to step up export tax rebates to support foreign trade

      China will further leverage export tax rebates to provide stronger support for foreign trade enterprises, according to a circular jointly released by the State Taxation Administration and other government organs.

      The circular outlines measures to improve export tax rebate policies and streamline procedures for applications.

      Efforts will be made to strengthen the linkage of export credit insurance and export tax rebate policies, and improve rebate policies for processing trade firms, according to the circular.

      The country will step up efforts to enhance data sharing and smooth the connections among customs, tax and other departments to further streamline export tax rebate procedures, it said.

      Efforts will also be made to support cross-border e-commerce firms by encouraging qualified enterprises to actively claim export tax rebates, it said.

      A State Council executive meeting earlier this month decided to increase export tax rebates to promote foreign trade development. Enterprises with better credit records will enjoy greater customs clearance and tax refund facilitation.

        Xinhuanet
    • China Unveils More Preferential Tax Policies for Small-scale VAT Taxpayers

      The Ministry of Finance and the State Taxation Administration released on March 24, 2022 the No.15 Announcement in 2022, clarifying the issues related to exemption of VAT for small-scale VAT taxpayers.

      It is clarified that, starting from April 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022, small-scale VAT taxpayers would be entitled to VAT exemption for the taxable sales income applicable to the tax rate of 3%, and suspension of prepayment of VAT for VAT prepaying items at a rate of 3%. The document also extends the preferential tax policies as stated in Article 1 of the Announcement on Continuing the Implementation of the Partial Tax Policies as a Response against the Covid-19 (Announcement No.7 of the MOF and STA) to March 31, 2022. Specifically, the taxable sales income of small-scale VAT taxpayers earned before March 31, 2022 would be taxed at a reduced rate of 1% instead of 3%, and the prepaying VAT items applicable to a 3% rate would be taxed at a reduced rate of 1%.

       
    • Expanding the Coverage of the Policy for Refund of Value-added Tax Credits

      The announcement is hereby made on policies for the further refund of end-of-period VAT credits, which I offer the full announcement in the attachment for your reference. Since the announcement is complicated, I summarize the key contents for your better understanding:

      Core policy:

      Small and micro enterprises in all industries and large and medium-sized enterprises in 6 industries, such as manufacturing, will be refunded with the existing VAT credits in a one-off manner and the incremental tax credits on a monthly basis.

      Industries such as manufacturing: including "Manufacturing", "Scientific research and technology services", "Electricity, Heat, gas and water production and supply", "software and information technology services", "ecological protection and environmental management" and "Transportation, Storage and postal services"

      The judgment standards applicable herein to small and micro enterprises and manufacturing industries that most of our clients may belong to are listed in the attachment.

      Time schedule:

      Refund of incremental VAT credits:

      All enterprises included in this preferential scheme can start to apply for refund of incremental VAT credits during the April declaration period.

      Refund of existing VAT credits:

      • For small and micro enterprise: Micro enterprises can apply for refund during the April declaration period while small enterprises can apply for refund during the May declaration period; Tax authority will push the realization of refund to micro enterprise before 30th April 2022 and to small enterprises before 30th June 2022.
      • For large and medium-sized enterprises in aforementioned 6 industries: medium-sized enterprises can apply during the May declaration period while large-sized enterprises can apply during the October period. Tax authority will push the realization of refund to medium enterprises before 30th June 2022.

      Calculation of existing VAT credits and incremental VAT credits

      • Existing VAT credit

      The base is the VAT credits at the time when the VAT retention tax rebate policy officially takes effect -- March 31, 2019.

      The calculation formula of the refundable credit is: Existing VAT refunds = retained VAT credits (existing) * proportion of input VAT

      If the taxpayer has not received a VAT credit before, and the ending VAT credit as of current month is not less than the amount as of March 31, 2019, the existing VAT credit is the amount as of March 31, 2019.

      If the ending VAT credit as of current month is less than the end VAT credit as of March 31, 2019, that means that a portion of the base at date of March 31, 2019 has been deducted at a later date. The existing VAT credit is the ending VAT credit as of current month.

      After a taxpayer obtains a lump-sum refund of existing tax credit, its existing tax credit will be zero.

      • Incremental VAT credits

      In essence, it refers to the increase after comparing with the VAT credits as of March 31, 2019.

      The calculation formula of the refundable credit is: Incremental VAT refunds = retained tax credits (increment) * proportion of input VAT

      Before the taxpayer gets the refund of existing VAT credit, the incremental VAT credit = the current VAT credit - the VAT credit at the end of March 2019. A positive value indicates that the incremental VAT credit is refundable; if less than 0, it indicates that there is no incremental VAT credit.

      After a taxpayer obtains a lump sum refund of existing VAT credits, the incremental VAT credit shall be the VAT credit at the end of the current period.

      • Proportion of input VAT

      It shall mean the ratio of VAT amount indicated on special VAT invoices (including fully digitized electronic invoices bearing the wording "Special VAT Invoices" and standard tax control invoices for sale of motor vehicles), plain VAT electronic invoices for highway tolls, special Customs payment notices for import VAT, and tax payment receipts which have been credited from April 2019 to the tax period prior to the application for tax refund, to the total credited input VAT in the same period.

    • Special Additional Deductions for Individual Income Tax Purpose for Care of Infants Under the Age of 3

      On 28th March 2022, the State Council announced the implementation of a new special additional deduction on IIT for caring of infants under 3 years old. The new special additional deduction is applicable from January 1, 2022.

      The standard of the deduction is CNY1000 every month of every infant on taxable salary. Parents can choose to deduct 100% of the deduction for one parent or 50% of the standard deduction for each parent, and the exact method of deduction cannot be changed within a tax year.

    • Production at key Shanghai firms gets back on track

      A number of industries and enterprises playing a key role in the nation's industrial and supply chains have restored their production amid Shanghai's battle with COVID-19, in an effort to ensure the smooth flow of important production materials along the industrial chain, municipal government officials said on Friday.

      Since the start of this week, 70 percent of the city's 666 key enterprises have resumed operations, with their capacity utilization continuing to rise, Zhang Wei, vice-mayor of Shanghai, said during a news conference on Friday.

      Vehicles produced at the SAIC Motor and Tesla plants are constantly rolling off the production lines, manufacturers of related parts and components have also restarted production, and carmakers are working to resume both their production capacity and efficiency, said Zhang, adding that key enterprises in the integrated circuit and chemicals sectors are running at a comparatively high level of capacity utilization.

      Apart from being an important international gateway, Shanghai is also a key point in industrial and supply chains at home and abroad.

      To be more specific, the city is China's key industrial hub for automotive vehicles, parts and components, and 70 percent of the nation's imported raw materials used in the integrated circuit and chemical industries are shipped via Shanghai, said Wu Jincheng, director of the Shanghai Commission of Economy and Informatization.

      "We are providing full support to the production resumption of large-scale industries and enterprises that are vital in the industrial and supply chains of the Yangtze River Delta region as well as China as a whole," said Zhang.

      Wu Gang, vice-general manager of Shanghai Chlor-Alkali Chemical Co Ltd, which is under Shanghai Huayi Group Corp Ltd, said, "We have so far restored 80 percent of our production capacity, up from half when the latest outbreak started in mid-March, so that production at downstream multinational corporations including BASF, Covestro and Huntsman can continue."

      "Thanks to the improvement in logistics, a certain amount of production capacity has resumed. Continuous output is extremely important for chemical production, as disruptions will also increase safety and environmental protection costs," Wu said.

      "We believe more corporations will restart their production as the spread of the contagion is brought under control. And measures adopted by these key enterprises will accumulate experience for all companies during their operation and COVID-19 prevention," said Zhang, vice-mayor of Shanghai.

      Wu from the Shanghai Commission of Economy and Informatization said following the resumption of production of automobiles and related key parts and components, the city will gradually promote other enterprises in key sectors, such as biomedicine, electronics and information, machinery, shipbuilding and marine engineering, advanced materials and consumer products, to restart their operations.

      China Daily

    • PBC and SAFE Roll out 23 Policy Measures to improve Financial Services

      The People's Bank of China ("PBC") and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange ("SAFE") released on April 18, 2022 the Circular on Improving Financial Services to Support Economic and Social Development amid Covid Control, which rolls out 23 policy measures.

      The Circular called for more financial support for sectors, enterprises, and people affected by the epidemic, urging financial institutions to flexibly support trapped people by reasonably postponing their repayment deadlines, extending the terms of loans, and allowing them to defer payment of principals. For the relevant overdue loans, the financial institutions may choose not to record them as overdue for reporting.

      It is clarified that the regulators will conduct the pilot program of issuing quotas for a higher level of RMB settlement facilitation and corporate foreign debt facilitation, allowing for settlement of domestic foreign exchange (FX) loans oriented for trade and export, and the China Foreign Exchange Trade Center will waive micro and small businesses from the fees for transaction of FX derivatives at the inter-bank FX market.

      People's Bank of China

    • CBIRC Further Steps up Financial Support for SMEs

      The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission released on April 8, 2022 the Circular on Further Stepping up Financial Support for Development of Micro and Small Enterprises in 2022.

      According to the Circular, more medium- and long-term credit will be provided to micro and small enterprises in advanced manufacturing and strategic emerging industries, and more effort will be made to meet medium- and long-term capital needs of SMEs in traditional industries for equipment replacement, technological upgrade and green transformation. Banking and insurance institutions will be guided to connect with competent authorities, and to establish and improve information sharing mechanism for SMEs in specialized areas. The institutions shall also improve science-based credit and insurance services, and banks are also encouraged to explore, together with external investment institutions, the "loan + external investment" model to serve science and technology innovation SMEs while keeping risks under control. Insurers shall provide foreign exchange hedging products for SMEs engaging in international trade, and expand the coverage and scale of export credit insurance for micro, small and medium players in this field.

      China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission

  • Focus Africa
  • Hong Kong
    • Hong Kong: Employer’s Return 2022 – deadline’s extension

      Employer’s Returns of Remuneration and Pensions (Form BIR56A) were issued on 1 April 2022. Employers are required to complete and return the form to the Inland Revenue Department within one month together with the Form IR56B for the relevant employees. However, the deadline for filing of Employer's Returns for the year then ended is extended to 1 June 2022. Employers can also file the returns via the Internet through the e-filing service for Employer’s Returns under eTAX.

    • LegCo approves tax concessions of up to of HK$10,000 on Salaries tax

      The Government welcomed the Legislative Council’s passage of the Revenue (Tax Concessions) Bill 2022 today.

      The endorsement will realise the tax concessions proposed in the 2022-23 Budget, which reduces the salaries tax, tax under personal assessment and profits tax for the year of assessment 2021/22 by 100%, subject to a ceiling of $10,000 per case.

      Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury Christopher Hui said: “The tax concessions will benefit about 2.01 million taxpayers of salaries tax and tax under personal assessment, and 151,000 tax-paying businesses, with the total government revenue forgone amounting to about $14.3 billion.”

      The Inland Revenue Department will reflect the tax reductions in the upcoming tax demand notes, the Government added.

      news.gov.hk

  • India
  • Switzerland
  • United Arab Emirates
    • Dubai issues law and establishes new regulator for virtual assets

      Law No. 4 of 2022 Concerning the Regulation of Virtual Assets in the emirate of Dubai aims to create an advanced legal framework to protect investors and design the much-warranted international standards for virtual asset (VA) industry governance to promote responsible business growth, under prudential regulations. The law is applicable throughout the emirate, including special development zones and free zones, but not Dubai International Financial Centre.

      Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA)

      Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) was set up to achieve the goals of the above law. The authority has a legal personality and financial autonomy and is linked to the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA). VARA will be responsible for licensing and regulating the sector across Dubai’s mainland and the free zone territories (excluding DIFC).

      It will provide a full range of services in coordination with Central Bank of the UAE and Securities and Commodities Authority. It is mandated with organising and setting the rules and controls for conducting virtual assets-related activities including management services, clearing and settlement services, in addition to classifying and specifying types of virtual assets.

      VARA’s tasks

      The following are the tasks of VARA:

      • organising issuance and trading of virtual assets and virtual tokens
      • organising and authorising virtual asset service providers
      • ensuring the highest standards of protection for beneficiaries’ personal data
      • organising the operation of virtual assets’ platforms and portfolios
      • monitoring transactions and preventing price manipulation of the virtual assets.

      VARA’s activities

      The following activities are subject to authorisation from VARA:

      • operating and managing virtual assets’ platforms services
      • exchange services between virtual assets and currencies, whether national or foreign
      • exchange services between one or more forms of virtual assets
      • virtual assets’ transfer services
      • virtual assets’ custody and management services
      • services related to the virtual assets’ portfolio
      • services related to the offering and trading of virtual tokens.
      Regulation of Virtual Assets in Dubai  

      Read related news coverage on WAM and the website of Dubai Media Office.

      Useful links:

        Source: UAE government portal
    • UAE Cabinet increases Emiratisation rate to 2% annually

      ABU DHABI, 9th May, 2022 (WAM) -- The UAE Cabinet, chaired by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has adopted resolutions and incentives package to enhance the participation of Emirati talents in the private sector.

      The resolutions come within NAFIS, the federal program that aims to increase the competitiveness of the Emirati workforce and to facilitate the private sector employment of UAE citizens.

      The incentives include reducing the service fees of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation by 80 percent for private sector establishments, which accomplish major achievements in terms of recruitment and training of Emirati citizens.

      The Cabinet approved increasing the Emiratisation rate to 2 percent annually from High-skilled jobs in establishments that employ 50 workers or more. The step aims at creating more than 12,000 job opportunities annually for citizens in all economic sectors.

      Non-compliant companies will have to pay an amount of AED6,000 monthly, starting from January 2023, for every citizen who has not been employed.

      Dr. Abdulrahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, said that the benefits offered by NAFIS support Emirati talents in the private sector.

      Dr. Al Awar added that reducing 80 percent of the service fees of the Ministry for establishments that accomplish substantial achievements in terms of recruitment and training of Emirati citizens will further contribute to achieve NAFIS objectives.

      Al Awar stressed that the new resolutions will increase the participation of Emirati talents in the private sector by creating more than 12 thousand jobs annually, with an annual increase of 10 percent for the 5 coming years.

      Ghannam Al Mazrouei, Secretary-General of the Emirati Talent Competitiveness Council, said that NAFIS ensures the efficiency of the Emiratisation approach, while offering significant incentives to private sector establishments that achieve substantial milestones in terms of recruitment and training of Emirati citizens.

      Al Mazrouei expected that private sector establishments will commit to the new resolutions and will increase Emiratisation by 2 percent for high-skilled jobs until achieving the 10 percent target by the 2026, stressing that private sector establishments will benefit from NAFIS.

      NAFIS offers various benefits including the Emirati Salary Support Scheme where UAE citizens will be offered a one-year salary support of up to Dh8,000 per month during training and a monthly support of up to Dh5,000 will be paid for up to five years for university graduates.

      The program provides UAE citizens specialised in fields such as coders, nurses and accountants with a top-up on their existing salaries.

      The program also offers a subsidised five-year government-paid contribution on the company’s behalf against the cost of pension plans for Emirati staff and full support for the Emirati’s contribution across the first five years of their employment.

      NAFIS also offers Private Sector Child Allowance Scheme. The scheme is monthly grant made to Emirati staff working in the private sector of up to Dh800 per child up to a maximum of Dh3,200 per month.

      Data discussed in the meeting revealed that the total number of new Emiratis who joined the private sector since the launch of NAFIS in September 2021 till March 2022 amounted to 5,558, while the number of companies that hired new employees increased to 1,774.

      The NAFIS data indicate that the number of citizens registered on the platform and eligible to benefit from the NAFIS initiatives reached 25,876, and that the number of job opportunities on the platform reached 2,524, while the number of beneficiaries increased to 4,074 people.

      To fulfill its goals of boosting the competitiveness and efficiency of UAE citizens, NAFIS developed two bundles of initiatives as part of the "Projects of the 50". The first was released in September 2021, followed by the second in March 2022.

      The first bundle included the "Emirati Salary Support Scheme", the "Merit Program", the "Pension Program", the "Child Allowance Scheme", the "Unemployment Benefit", and the "Job Offers Program".

      The second bundle of initiatives was launched in March 2022, which focuses on training programs including the "Talent Program" to develop specialised vocational skills for Emiratis through internationally recognised certifications, and the "National Healthcare Program", which aims to upskill 10,000 UAE nationals in the field of nursing and healthcare via paid scholarships. The 'Apprentice Program,' which provides training and professional development opportunities in the private and semi-government sectors, and the 'Vocational Counseling Program,' which provides UAE nationals with access to career coaching and counseling services were also included in this package of initiatives.

      Source: wam

    • Expo 2020 Dubai catalyses significant economic boost with awards of AED 6.8 billion of contracts to SMEs

      Expo 2020 Dubai awarded AED 6.8 billion of contracts to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), providing a significant contribution to a vital sector of Dubai’s vibrant economy and exceeding a commitment made in 2016 to award at least 20 per cent of all direct and indirect spend to SMEs. The figure represents more than a quarter of all Expo 2020 Dubai contracts in terms of value. Of the 3,245 suppliers awarded Expo 2020 Dubai contracts, 66 per cent (2,150) were SMEs, with 64 per cent (1,390) of these comprising domestic SMEs, reflecting the calibre and diversity of UAE-based enterprises and supporting the UAE’s wider drive towards a thriving private sector and more resilient economy. The majority of the 760 overseas SME suppliers hailed from the United Kingdom (24 per cent), the United States (16 per cent), France (4 per cent), India (4 per cent) and Australia (4 per cent). Overall, suppliers from outside the UAE were sourced from 94 countries, indicative of the World Expo’s global reach and impact. Mukhtar Safi, Chief Financial Officer and Deputy CEO, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Our commitment to SMEs has been embedded into our planning since the very beginning of our World Expo journey, honouring the visionary leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to support and empower SMEs – the lifeblood of economies across the world, including the UAE, where they are an important driver of economic growth and a vital source of job creation. “The integration of SMEs into the delivery of what has been a truly exceptional World Expo will be an important part of Expo’s legacy for the UAE and wider region, stimulating employment, strengthening existing industries, enhancing SME competitiveness and ultimately contributing to sustainable economic growth.” From construction firms to event organisers, retail stores to food and beverage outlets, SMEs played a key role in the success of Expo 2020 Dubai, which awarded AED 1.06 billion to UAE-based SMEs in 2021 alone. Of this, AED 161.7 million (USD 44 million) in contracts were awarded to Dubai SMEs, strengthening Dubai’s Government Procurement Programme, which requires UAE Government entities and establishments where the government holds equity of 25 per cent or more to allocate 10 per cent of their purchasing to Emirati firms that are members of Dubai SME – part of the Department of Economic Development that provides support, information and outreach for the growing SME sector. The Expo 2020 Dubai procurement process itself was based on three principles: Simplicity, Transparency and Inclusivity, allowing business of all sizes to do business with Expo 2020 Dubai as easily and competitively as possible. In 2018, Expo 2020 Dubai became the first World Expo and only the second ever mega-event to secure an Excellence in Procurement Award from the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply. Expo 2020 Dubai defines SMEs as any enterprise that falls within employee headcount and turnover thresholds, depending on the relevant sector, as classified by Dubai SME.

      Source: Media Office

    • Ministry of Finance Launches Federal Corporate Income Tax Public Consultation

      The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has launched a digital public consultation on the federal corporate income tax applicable to financial years beginning on or after 1 June 2023. The objective of the public consultation is to gather feedback from the business community and other interested stakeholders on the design and implementation of the UAE corporate tax regime.

      The MOF's public consultation document covers the following aspects:

      • taxable persons;
      • tax base;
      • calculation of taxable income;
      • transfer pricing;
      • international Tax Developments; and
      • administration.

      Public comments must be submitted online by 19 May 2022, using the public consultation on corporate tax submission link available here. Comments received after this date or not submitted via the prescribed online submission form will not be considered.

      The public consultation on the federal corporate income tax was published on 28 April 2022 on the MoF's official website and is accessible here.

    • Federal Tax Authority Publishes User Guide on Whistleblower Programme for Tax Violations and Tax Evasion

      The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has published the user's guide for the whistleblower programme on tax offences and evasion.

      The programme called Raqeeb aims to raise awareness in the community about compliance with tax legislation. The main features of the Raqeeb initiative are set out below.

      Whistleblowing is a new mechanism that mandates "the FTA to receive and process leads on non-compliance with tax legislation by natural or legal persons, as well as to offer a monetary reward to whistleblowers when certain conditions are met".

      An informant is a natural person who informs the FTA that a natural or legal person:

      • is engaged in illegal tax activities; or
      • has not fulfilled its tax obligations.

      The identity of the informant remains confidential and protected by the FTA and will not be disclosed in the context of legal proceedings against the informant. Nonetheless, it is not permitted or possible to submit anonymous leads to the FCA.

      The programme provides informants with monetary rewards if the following conditions are met:

      • the information provided is credible, accurate and has not been previously obtained by the FTA;
      • the whistleblower form is completed accurately, completely and sufficiently;
      • the FTA has collected tax amounts in excess of AED 50,000; and
      • the reported person has exhausted all forms of objections and appeals.

      The informant is required to provide the information through the FTA's website.

      The FTA published the guide for the use of the whistleblower programme in April 2022 on its official website.

  • United Kingdom
  • United States