March 2024

  • Hong Kong
    • Inland Revenue Tax Concessions for Intellectual Property Income Bill 2024 gazetted

      The Government published the Inland Revenue (Amendment) (Tax Concessions for Intellectual Property Income) Bill 2024 in the Gazette today (March 28) to implement the "patent box" tax incentive, thereby encouraging enterprises to forge ahead with more research and development (R&D) activities and promote intellectual property (IP) trading, strengthening Hong Kong's competitiveness as a regional IP trading centre.

      A spokesman for the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau said, "The relevant amendments aim to put into effect a major policy measure under the Chief Executive's 2023 Policy Address to promote the development of IP trading, which provides tax concessions for profits sourced in Hong Kong and derived from eligible IP created through R&D activities."

      The 2023 Policy Address has announced that the concessionary tax rate for the "patent box" tax incentive will be set at 5 per cent, which is substantially lower than the prevailing normal profits tax rate in Hong Kong (i.e. 16.5 per cent). This aims to encourage the innovation and technology (I&T) sector to actively engage in more R&D activities and conduct commercialisation transactions making use of patents and other IP protections, and create more IPs with market potential as a catalyst for promoting I&T and IP trading activities.

      In addition, to encourage and promote more filings under the local patent system (in particular the original grant patent (OGP) system) for obtaining legal protection locally, if the relevant eligible IP is a patent filed or granted outside Hong Kong, the Government proposes to additionally require that there must already be an application for or a grant of an OGP or a short-term patent (STP) in Hong Kong for the underlying invention in order to qualify for the "patent box" tax incentive. A post-grant substantive examination request must also be filed for an STP. The relevant requirement will apply to those applications for registration of an eligible IP which are filed after the period of 24 months following the commencement date of the Bill.

      "The increase in IP trading activities will be conducive to creating more business and employment opportunities for relevant professional services such as legal, valuation, management, consultation and agency services, thereby further developing and strengthening the IP ecosystem. All these will help foster Hong Kong's development into an international I&T centre and a regional IP trading centre as set out in the 14th Five-Year Plan," the spokesman added.

      The Bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council for first and second readings on April 10.
    • Hong Kong to introduce bill to amend stamp duty

      The amendments to the current stamp duty bill are expected to abolish the rate of Buyers Stamp Duty (BSD) and Special Stamp Duty (SSD) to boost investment in the city’s property market.

      This proposed amendment will waive of stamp duties payable on the transfer of real estate investment trust units.

      In the previous year, the city’s government had already reduced the resale period in which SSD can be charged from 3 years to 2 years.

      On 28th February 2024, the government has proposed to completely abolish the Buyers Stamp Duty (BSD) and Special Stamp Duty (SSD)

      Transfer of shares under stock borrowing or lending transaction are expected to be exempted from the stamp duty amendment.

  • India
    • India approves lower import duty for certain electric vehicles

      The government has proposed to lower the import duty on selected electric vehicles (EVs) for companies that meet certain requirements as part of a scheme approved to promote India as a manufacturing destination for EVs.

      Salient features of the scheme are as follows:

      • companies must invest at least INR 41.5 billion (approximately USD 500 million) in India;
      • the lower customs duty of 15% (as applicable to completely knocked-down (CKD) units) is applicable to vehicles with a minimum cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value of at least USD 35,000 for 5 years, provided that companies set up manufacturing facilities in India and start commercial production of EVs within 3 years;
      • for domestic value addition (DVA) during manufacturing, the manufacturer must achieve a localization level of 25% by the third year and 50% by the fifth year;
      • if companies invest at least USD 800 million, a maximum of 40,000 EVs, capped at 8,000 per year, may be imported. Any unutilized annual import limits may be carried over; and
      • a company's investment commitment must be backed by a bank guarantee that will be invoked in case of non-compliance with the DVA and minimum investment criteria.

      Further details of the scheme are available in the press release issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on 15 March 2024.

      Source: IBFD Tax Research Platform News

    • India-EFTA Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement

      India-European Free Trade Association signed a Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) on 10th March 2024.

      India has been working on a Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) with EFTA countries comprising Switzerland, Iceland, Norway & Liechtenstein. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Hon’ble Prime Minister has approved the signing of the TEPA with EFTA States. EFTA is an inter-governmental organization set up in 1960 for the promotion of free trade and economic integration for the benefit of its four Member States.

      Speaking on the occasion, Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Food and Consumer Affairs and Textiles said:

      "TEPA is a modern and ambitious Trade Agreement. For the first time, India is signing FTA with four developed nations - an important economic bloc in Europe. For the first time in history of FTAs, binding commitment of $100 bn investment and 1 million direct jobs in the next 15 years has been given. The agreement will give a boost to Make in India and provide opportunities to young & talented workforce. The FTA will provide a window to Indian exporters to access large European and global markets."

      The agreement comprises of 14 chapters with main focus on market access related to goods, rules of origin, trade facilitation, trade remedies, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, investment promotion, market access on services, intellectual property rights, trade and sustainable development and other legal and horizontal provisions.

      EFTA is an important regional group, with several growing opportunities for enhancing international trade in goods and services.EFTA is one important economic block out of the three (other two - EU &UK) in Europe. Among EFTA countries, Switzerland is the largest trading partner of India followed by Norway.

      The highlights of the agreement are:

      • EFTA has committed to promote investments with the aim to increase the stock of foreign direct investments by USD 100 billion in India in the next 15 years, and to facilitate the generation of 1 million direct employment in India, through such investments. The investments do not cover foreign portfolio investment.
      • For the first ever time in the history of FTAs, a legal commitment is being made about promoting target-oriented investment and creation of jobs.
      • EFTA is offering 92.2% of its tariff lines which covers 99.6% of India’s exports. The EFTA’s market access offer covers 100% of non-agri products and tariff concession on Processed Agricultural Products (PAP).
      • India is offering 82.7% of its tariff lines which covers 95.3% of EFTA exports of which more than 80% import is Gold. The effective duty on Gold remains untouched.Sensitivity related to PLI in sectors such as pharma, medical devices & processed food etc. have been taken while extending offers. Sectors such as dairy, soya, coal and sensitive agricultural products are kept in exclusion list.
      • India has offered 105 sub-sectors to the EFTA and secured commitments in 128 sub-sectors from Switzerland, 114 from Norway, 107 from Liechtenstein, and 110 from Iceland.
      • TEPA would stimulate our services exports in sectors of our key strength / interest such as IT services, business services, personal, cultural, sporting and recreational services, other education services, audio-visual services etc.
      • Services offers from EFTA include better access through digital delivery of Services (Mode 1), commercial presence (Mode 3) and improved commitments and certainty for entry and temporary stay of key personnel (Mode 4).
      • TEPA has provisions for Mutual Recognition Agreements in Professional Services like nursing, chartered accountants, architects etc.
      • Commitments related to Intellectual Property Rights in TEPA are at TRIPS level. The IPR chapter with Switzerland, which has high standard for IPR,shows our robust IPR regime.India’s interests in generic medicines and concerns related to evergreening of patents have been fully addressed.
      • India signals its commitment to Sustainable development, inclusive growth, social development and environmental protection
      • Fosters transparency, efficiency, simplification, harmonization and consistency of trade procedures
      • TEPA will empower our exporters access to specialized inputs and create conducive trade and investment environment. This would boost exports of Indian made goods as well as provide opportunities for services sector to access more markets.
      • TEPA provides an opportunity to integrate into EU markets. Over 40% of Switzerland’s global services exports are to the EU. Indian companies can look to Switzerland as a base for extending its market reach to EU.
      • TEPA will give impetus to “Make in India” and Atmanirbhar Bharat by encouraging domestic manufacturing in sectors such as Infrastructure and Connectivity, Manufacturing, Machinery, Pharmaceuticals, Chemicals, Food Processing, Transport and Logistics, Banking and Financial Services and Insurance.
      • TEPA would accelerate creation of large number of direct jobs for India’s young aspirational workforce in next 15 years in India, including better facilities for vocational and technical training. TEPA also facilitates technology collaboration and access to world leading technologies in precision engineering, health sciences, renewable energy, Innovation and R&D.
  • Singapore
    • Bulgaria Ratifies IPA Between European Union and Singapore

      Bulgaria ratified the investment protection agreement (IPA) between the European Union (EU) and Singapore, signed on 19 October 2018, by way of Decree No. 44, as published in Official Gazette No. 17 of 27 February 2024. The agreement was previously approved by the Bulgarian parliament (National Assembly) on 15 February 2024.

    • Upcoming changes to the Employment Pass (EP) in Singapore

      As previously indicated in communications from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), effective September 1st, 2024, EP holders with expiring passes must not only meet the EP qualifying salary requirement but also successfully undergo the COMPASS assessment to renew their passes.

      Additionally, MOM has announced that starting January 1st, 2025, the EP qualifying salary for new applications will be adjusted to a minimum of $5,600, with a higher threshold of at least $6,200 for the financial services sector. This updated EP qualifying salary will also apply to EP renewals expiring from January 1st, 2026.

      Further details about the Eligibility for Employment Pass can be found in our article.

  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
    • Thailand BOI Expands PCB Manufacturing Incentives to Cover the Entire Supply Chain

      The Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) approved on 28 March incentives to attract the organization in the country of large international concerts, sporting events, and festivals that support the Government’s vision to strengthen Thailand status as a tourism hub and allow the country’s tourism and entertainment sectors to fully recover from the drop seen during the Covid 19 crisis.

      The meeting, which was chaired by Mr. Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the BOI, also approved a revision of the types of businesses qualified to receive incentives granted to manufacturers of printed circuit boards (PCB) to cover the entire supply chain.

      The BOI will grant organizers of large international events requiring an investment, or expenses, of not less than 100 million baht (USD2.8 million), an import duty exemption on equipment and will facilitate the temporary entry into the country of required foreign staff. Applicants will need to prove their ownership of the rights to organize the project applied for promotion. This measure does not cover the organization of conferences and trade shows.

      “By unlocking the tax and regulatory issues, the BOI will facilitate the organization of world-class events, as that will significantly reduce the costs, lead time, and obstacles for organizers,” said Mr. Narit Therdsteerasukdi, Secretary General of the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI), after the board meeting. “In doing so, we are playing our part in helping the next stage of development of the tourism sector, which is an important economic driver for Thailand, accounting for around 20% of GDP, and reaffirming the BOI’s mission to consistently emphasize the ease of doing business.”

      Support to the PCB Supply Chain

      In 2023, the BOI approved investment promotion benefits to PCB project by some 40 companies representing a combined investment of USD2.66 billion, or around 96 billion baht. The project applications came from companies based in China, Taiwan and Japan moving their PCB production hub to Thailand, as well as from Thai companies.

      In order to further promote foreign investment in the manufacturing of PCB, and cover the entire supply chain, the BOI approved a modification of the definition of qualified types of business to include manufacturers of parts and providers of related services such as lamination, drilling, plating, routing, and electrical testing, etc.

      The new PCB business definition also covers the producers of PCB parts such as copper clad laminate (CCL), flexible copper clad laminate (FCCL), and PREPREG, as well as the producers of raw materials such as dry film, transfer film, and back up board.

      Source: Thailand Board of Investment

  • United Arab Emirates
    • Federal Tax Authority Publishes Tax Guide on Partnerships

      The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has recently published the tax guide on partnerships (the guide). The guide provides the following:

      • a general understanding of how corporate tax law treats partnerships;
      • information concerning how corporate tax law applies to a partnership and its partners, including special provisions that apply to partnerships and the tax treatment of commonly occurring events; and
      • information with regard to the registration, filing requirements, compliance, and other tax obligations related to partnerships and partners.
      Further information about the UEA Corporate Tax is available here Source: IBFD Tax Research Platform News
    • UAE government launches ‘Work Bundle’ to facilitate work permits, residency procedures in private sector

      The UAE government has launched the “Work Bundle” to facilitate employee residency procedures and work permits in private sector companies. The first phase of the initiative will be implemented in Dubai and will be gradually expanded to include other emirates.

      His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, gracefully announced, “In our ongoing quest for government excellence, we have recently introduced the 'Zero Bureaucracy' initiative, aimed at streamlining procedures and enhancing efficiency within the federal government. In alignment with this vision, today marks the inaugural launch of the 'Work Bundle', a pioneering project designed to expedite, simplify, and streamline the processes related to residency and employment.”

      His Highness further elaborated, “The Work Bundle is set to reclaim 62 million working days previously devoted to the renewal of residencies and employment contracts within government frameworks. This project is expected to curtail 25 million procedures on an annual basis, thereby yielding substantial savings for both the governmental and private sectors. We would like to thank all federal and local entities for their invaluable collaboration in bringing this project to fruition. Our commitment to eradicating bureaucracy remains unwavering, to make people's lives easier and happier.”

      The initiative aligns with the "Zero Bureaucracy" programme aimed to simplify and reduce government procedures and eliminate unnecessary requirements. This enhances levels of efficiency, quality, and flexibility in the UAE, supporting efforts to eliminate bureaucracy.

      A single platform

      The "Work Bundle" serves the business community by simplifying and accelerating the procedures for private sector companies. The project offers a single platform to complete employment services including renewal, cancellation, medical examination, and fingerprinting.

      The initiative is a result of close cooperation between federal and local government entities to enable clients to complete their transactions in the fewest steps possible through digital platforms where the service is available.

      The entities include the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai, and Dubai Health. The project is supported by the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism.

      The project is also supported by Digital Dubai, which provides the digital infrastructure and services to allow seamless data exchange between the relevant entities.

      Digital transformation

      The "Work Bundle" is a key step within the UAE digital transformation efforts in a way that contributes to enhancing the UAE's competitiveness in global indicators related to the ease of establishing and managing businesses for private sector companies.

      The "Work Bundle" also improves the customer experience by providing one platform instead of 5, and reduces procedures from 8 services to a unified single platform, while the required steps were reduced from 15 steps requiring 16 documents to 5 steps and 5 documents only, and reduced the number of visits from 7 visits to only two visits, which in turn reflected on the time taken to complete the transaction, also reduced from 30 working days to 5 working days.

      The project aims to simplify procedures and reduce effort and time, it will cut 25 million procedures annually, 12.5 million annual visits, and 62.5 million working days annually.

      Steps for recruiting a new employee from outside the country include filling out the unified application, and issuing a work permit for the employee, then the employee should continue to complete the residence procedures, which include medical examination and issuance of the Emirates ID card, as mandatory steps that require employee’s presence.

      Renewal service requires the owner of the company to fill out the unified application, then the employee completes the medical examination and is issued an Emirates ID card.


  • United Kingdom
    • Reforms for legal entities in the UK

      Starting from March 2024, significant changes to the legislation on legal entities in the United Kingdom have come into effect under the "Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act" enacted on October 26, 2023.

      These changes have been introduced with the primary aim of enhancing corporate transparency and improving data quality.

      The main provisions of the law include:

      • Registered Office: Companies are required to maintain an "appropriate address" as their registered office, where documents can be validly served, and acknowledgment of receipt can be recorded.
      • Statement of Legal Purpose: Legal entities must confirm that the company's formation occurred for a legitimate purpose, both during the incorporation process and in subsequent annual statements to the UK Chamber of Commerce.
      • Enhancement of Companies House Powers: The Companies House registry office is endowed with greater powers to challenge inaccurate or incomplete information, with the ability to remove them from public records. Additionally, stricter checks on company names will be implemented to avoid confusion or misleading impressions to the public.
      • Sanctions: Penalties are provided for companies that fail to comply with registry requests or do not use an appropriate legal address.

      Regarding "Confirmation Statements":

      • Registered Email Address: Companies are required to provide an official email address to Companies House for official communications, keeping such address confidential.
      • Statement of Legality of Activities: New companies must attest to the legality of their activities, while existing companies must do so in the next confirmation statement.

      These reforms are aimed at promoting transparency and integrity in the context of business in the United Kingdom.

        In case of further questions do not hesitate to contact us at
    • UK minimum wage rates for 2024

      The Government has announced the rates of the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) which will come into force from April 2024. In doing so, it has accepted in full the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission.

      The rates which will apply from 1 April 2024 are as follows:

      NMW Rate Increase in pence Percentage increase
      National Living Wage (21 and over) £   11.44 £     1.02 9.8%
      18-20 Year Old Rate £     8.60 £     1.11 14.8%
      16-17 Year Old Rate £     6.40 £     1.12 21.2%
      Apprentice Rate £     6.40 £     1.12 21.2%
      Accommodation Offset £     9.99 £     0.89 9.8%
    • UK Spring Budget Would Abolish Tax Regime for Non-Domiciled Individuals

      UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, presented his 2024 Spring Budget to the House of Commons on 6 March 2024 announcing a significant change in the taxation regime for non-domiciled individuals.

      The Chancellor proposed that the present regime, whereby the overseas income and gains of non-domiciled individuals are not subject to UK tax for a period if they are not remitted to the United Kingdom, will be abolished. This will be replaced by a simpler system exempting such receipts for a 4-year period after an individual becomes resident in the UK. There will be transitional arrangements for a 2-year period.

    • UK Spring Budget 2024: Tax Reforms and Economic Measures

      The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, delivered his Spring Budget speech to the House of Commons on 6th March 2024, unveiling a series of pivotal measures outlined below.

      Business Taxes

      • The primary rate of Class 1 National Insurance on employees' earnings will be reduced from 10% to 8% from 6 April 2024.
      • The rate of Class 4 National Insurance on the earnings of self-employed individuals and partners will be reduced from 8% to 6% from 6 April 2024.
      • Full expensing – the ability to deduct expenditure in full in the year in which it is incurred – will be extended to leased assets.
      • The income threshold at which a business must register for value added tax (VAT) will increase from GBP 85,000 to GBP 90,000 from 1 April 2024.
      • The furnished holiday letting regime will be abolished with the aim of improving the availability of property for long-term letting.
      • Higher tax reliefs will apply to the cost of producing visual effects in high-end TV and film.
      • Eligible film studios will receive a 40% relief on gross business rates until 2034.
      • A new tax credit will apply to independent British films with a budget of less than GBP 15 million.
      • The audiovisual expenditure credit for film, high-end TV and video games will be increased by 5% and the 80% cap for visual effects costs will be removed.
      • The tax reliefs for theatres, orchestras, museums and galleries will be made permanent at rates of 45% for touring and 40% for non-touring productions.
      • Air passenger duty will be increased on non-economy flights.
      • The energy profits levy will be extended from March 2028 to March 2029 but could be abolished if market prices fall to historic levels sooner than expected.

      Individual Income Tax

      • The 28% higher rate of capital gains tax on real property will be reduced to 24%.
      • The child benefit higher income charge – which currently applies to individuals – will be changed to a system based on household income from April 2026. From 2024, the income threshold will rise from GBP 50,000 to GBP 60,000. From that limit, the benefit will be gradually withdrawn at a rate of 1% for every GBP 200 of income up to an upper limit of GBP 80,000.
      • A new individual savings account (ISA) – the "British ISA" – will allow investors to save up to GBP 5,000 a year into UK equities, with the usual ISA tax exemptions. This will be in addition to the existing GBP 20,000 limit for existing ISAs.

      Other Taxes

      • Fuel duty remains at its present level for another 12 months.
      • Alcohol duties remain frozen until February 2025.
      • Excise duty will be levied on vaping products from October 2026.
      • Tobacco duty will be increased.
      • The multiple dwellings relief for stamp duty land tax will be abolished.

      Budget 2024 documents are available here.

      Source: IBFD tax research platform news

  • United States
    • US, President Biden’s Proposals in Sweeping State of the Union Address

      In his final State of the Union address for his first term as President on 7 March 2024, Joe Biden proposed sweeping tax proposals that he plans to deliver in his final year in Office.

      The President noted several tax-specific proposals that build upon existing tax law, some mentioned below.

      However, it should be noted that these are just policy proposals. The State of the Union is a forum for the President to address the nation to advocate for certain policies that they generally must pursue through legislation because federal tax policy is reserved to the Congress to delegate under Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution. As such, the President cannot take unilateral action on the matter.

      Extending the Premium Tax Credit

      The President advocated for the extension of the expanded version of the premium tax credit, which is set to expire 1 December 2025. The premium tax credit is a refundable tax credit that can be claimed by low to moderate-income families and individuals that purchase insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. The expanded version of the credit currently in effect provides a higher credit and disregards income levels.

      The credit was enacted through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (H.R. 3590), colloquially known as in the US and popular media as "Obamacare".

      The premium tax credit is meant to help US taxpayers offset the cost of purchasing health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, which is maintained by the US government but allows individuals to compare and purchase health insurance provided by private companies. The US healthcare industry is privatized, and individuals generally get health insurance through their employers and not the federal government.

      The premium tax credit is a refundable credit that allows individuals who do not have employer-provided health insurance to purchase it on their own through the Marketplace and then apply the credit to their tax liability.

      Corporate Minimum Tax

      The President proposed an unexpected increase in the corporate minimum tax from 15% to 21%. The President's key piece of legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), H.R. 5376, which was signed into law in 2022, set the corporate minimum tax at 15%.

      The President commented that the current 15% rate is "still less than working people pay in federal taxes" and that the goal of a 21% rate is to ensure "every big corporation finally begins to pay their fair share".

      Billionaire Tax

      The President also seeks to enact a minimum tax for billionaires (i.e. a "billionaire tax") at a rate of 25%. This is a further increase from a previous proposal 20% that the White House published in a 2022 press release.

      While the minimum rate of 25% would be imposed on the income of higher-income earners, the current proposal does not address the problem of billionaires who may not fit into the 25% bracket since their holdings are in unrealized gains. However, the President states that such a minimum tax "would raise USD 500 billion over the next 10 years".

      Source: IBFD Tax Research Platform news

  • Bulgaria
    • Bulgaria Ratifies IPA Between European Union and Singapore

      Bulgaria ratified the investment protection agreement (IPA) between the European Union (EU) and Singapore, signed on 19 October 2018, by way of Decree No. 44, as published in Official Gazette No. 17 of 27 February 2024. The agreement was previously approved by the Bulgarian parliament (National Assembly) on 15 February 2024.

  • China
    • Guangdong Aims to Implement Differentiated Tax Rates and Other Favorable Tax Policies for Long-term Investments from Venture Capital Companies

      Guangdong Provincial People's Government released the Guidelines on Promoting the In-depth Integration of Technology and Finance to Boost the Innovation-driven Development of Technology-based Enterprises, which provide guidelines in 15 aspects.

      The document stresses the need to attract venture capital companies to develop in Guangdong. To this end, it specifies measures including strengthening the publicity and practical guidance of preferential tax policies for venture capital, taking the lead to implement differentiated tax rates and other preferential tax policies to encourage long-term investments from venture capital companies in Guangdong, facilitating cross-border investment and financing in the field of science and technology, and creating a fast lane for the examination and approval of the foreign investments in venture capital companies in Guangdong and high-tech projects that meet the requirements of the national Catalogue of Industries for Encouraged Foreign Investment through qualified foreign limited partners (QFLP).

    • Shanghai Issues Document to Facilitate Exit of Businesses

      The Shanghai Municipal Administration for Market Regulation, the Shanghai Municipal Tax Service, State Taxation Administration and other three authorities in Shanghai recently released the Guidelines on Comprehensively Deepening the Reform to Facilitate Exit of Businesses, which has taken effect and will remain valid until February 17, 2024.

      The document clarifies that a simplified deregistration system would apply to all types of businesses and farmers' professional cooperatives except for listed joint-stock companies. For individual businesses deregistered in a simplified manner, there would be no need to make an announcement on the deregistration, and the registration authorities would push the application to the tax authorities. The document also simplifies the procedures and required materials for the deregistration of bankrupted enterprises, exempting them from submission of tax clearance certificates and making the announcement of the deregistration. The document also stresses the need to implement the reform of electronic deregistration for the whole process, urging to add App services related to digital signatures, delivery and return of business licenses and others, and explore to allow cancellation of business licenses and deregistration of tax affairs simultaneously.

    • SPC and SPP Issue Judicial Interpretation, Specifying for the First Time That “Dual Contracts” Are Means of Tax Evasion

      The Supreme People's Court (SPC), the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP), the Ministry of Public Security, and the State Taxation Administration jointly held on March 18, 2024 a press conference and released the Interpretation of the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate on Several Issues Concerning the Application of Law in Handling Criminal Cases of Endangerment to Tax Collection and Management.

      Consisting of a total of 22 articles, the Interpretation sets forth provisions on the circumstances for the conviction and sentencing of 14 crimes that endanger tax collection and management laid down in the specific provisions of the Criminal Law, specifying the conviction and sentencing criteria for various types of invoice-related crimes such as forging, illegal sale, purchase, and false issuance of invoices, and making appropriate adjustment to the conviction and sentencing criteria for the three crimes stipulated in the original tax-related judicial interpretations. The Interpretation imposes specific regulation on the signing of "dual contracts" as one means of tax evasion, lists eight forms of "false export reporting", and clarifies lenient penalties policies relating to supplementary tax payments and recovery of tax losses. In addition, the Interpretation also specifies that the conviction and sentencing criteria for entities committing crimes that endanger tax collection and management shall be implemented in accordance with the criteria for natural persons who commit such crimes, which improves the administrative-criminal connectivity mechanism against crimes that endanger taxation. Additionally, the Interpretation makes provisions on the determination of joint crimes that endanger taxation.

    • The State Administration of Taxation has issued an important statement on input VAT credit

      In accordance with the Implementation Measures for the Pilot Reform of Business Tax to VAT (2016) and the Notice on VAT Policies such as the Deduction of Input Tax on Leased Fixed Assets, Where a taxpayer purchases fixed assets, intangible assets (excluding other equity intangible assets), immovable property, or leased fixed assets, immovable property, both for the general method of tax calculation, but also for the simple method of tax calculation, VAT exemption items, collective welfare or personal consumption, the input VAT is allowed to be fully deducted from the output VAT.

      The input VAT allowed to be fully deducted by the above policies and regulations refers to the input VAT obtained from the purchase of fixed assets, intangible assets (excluding other equity intangible assets), real estate, leased fixed assets and real estate, excluding the input VAT corresponding to various expenses paid after the purchase or rental of related assets, such as renovation fees, heating fees, property fees, maintenance fees and other expenses.

    • China Issues Document to Further Improve Payment Services

      The Chinese government released on March 7, 2024 the Guidelines of the State Council on Further Improving Payment Services to Make Payment Easier, which highlight six key tasks.

      The tasks include expanding the acceptance rate of bank card payments to meet the demands of the elderly and foreigners who use bank cards in various scenarios, continuously insisting on the usage of cash and improving the environment for the use of cash, further enhancing the convenience of mobile payment services and encouraging banks and payment institutions to work with clearing houses and upgrade their services for the convenience of seniors and overseas visitors, ensuring that consumers have the right to choose their preferred payment method, requiring large business districts, tourist attractions and other key locations to support mobile, bank card and cash payments, streamlining account-opening services, and promoting various payment services.

    • China to Conduct Trade-ins of Vehicles Nationwide and Promote New Industrialization through Equipment Renewal

      The Chinese government published on March 14, 2024 the Action Plan on Promoting Large-scale Equipment Renewal and Trade-in of Consumer Goods, as issued by the State Council, calling for providing more policy support in terms of finance, tax and investment.

      The plan stresses four major tasks, including equipment renewal, trading-in of consumer goods, recycling of used goods, and standard leveling-up, with the relevant work arrangements specified. In terms of policy support, it urges to improve the tax policies to support energy and water conservation, environment protection, safe production of dedicated equipment, as well as digital and intelligent transformation. It also proposes to promote the practice of "reversely issuing invoices" to natural-person sellers of scrapped products by resource recycling firms by applying a simplified VAT levying policy on the firms, improving the supporting measures for the collection of income tax and optimizing tax collection and management standards and methods.

    • China Policy Support Measures to Attract Foreign Investment

      The Chinese government released the Circular of the State Council on Issuing the Action Plan on Solidly Promoting High-level Opening-up and Intensifying Efforts to Introduce and Utilize Foreign Investment, calling for implementing policy support measures to make the nation more attractive to foreign investment.

      Among the initiatives outlined in the plan, there is the possibility for companies established in China, with reinvestments from foreign-invested enterprises, to be exempt from import duties on equipment for their own use if they meet the conditions specified in the Catalogue of Encouraged Industries for Foreign Investment.

      It vows to implement tax relief policies for foreign investors to invest in the Chinese bond market and other financial markets, and expand the Catalogue of Encouraged Industries for Foreign Investment and the list of key foreign-funded projects.

      For the Catalogue of Encouraged Industries for Foreign Investment, the country will increase support for advanced manufacturing, high-tech, energy conservation and environmental protection.

      For the Catalogue of Priority Industries for Foreign Investment in Central and Western China, more support will be provided for basic manufacturing, applicable technologies and other fields.

      The country will also support the inclusion of foreign-funded projects in integrated circuits, biomedicine and high-end equipment to the List of Key Foreign-funded Projects for access to the corresponding support policies.