October 2020

  • Bulgaria
    • Bulgaria Proposes Extension of Deadline for Publication of Annual Financial Reports

      On 27 October 2020, as part of the 2021 draft bill, Bulgaria officially proposed an extension of the deadline for the publication of annual financial reports by enterprises to 30 September (currently, 30 June) of the year following the year which the financial reports refer to. Such extension had been introduced as a temporary COVID-19 measure in 2020 with respect to annual financial reports for the tax year 2019; it is now proposed that the extended deadline be implemented on a permanent basis.

  • China
    • China’s tax, fee cuts top 1.8 trillion yuan

      China's top tax authority said the country's tax and fee cuts totaled 1.88 trillion yuan (about 276.06 billion U.S. dollars) in the first eight months of the year.

      Of the total, the preferential tax and fee measures unveiled in 2020 to support economic development and COVID-19 containment saved 1.17 trillion yuan, according to the State Taxation Administration.

      The remaining 706.2 billion yuan of taxes and fees were reduced as a result of the implementation of large-scale tax and fee cuts rolled out last year.

      These policies have boosted market vitality and achieved notable results, said Cai Zili, an official with the administration.

      In the period, around 92 percent of over 50 million small taxpayers in the country were exempted from value-added tax, while for the remaining 8 percent, the value-added tax rate was lowered from 3 percent to 1 percent, Cai said, adding that the tax was exempted in Hubei, a province that was hard hit by COVID-19.

      In July and August, the number of new market entities handling tax-related business increased by 15.9 percent and 21.2 percent year on year, respectively, surging from the 7.1-percent growth in the second quarter, said Cai.

      Meanwhile, the measures reduced the labor costs of enterprises and ensured the stability of employment, he said.

      Besides, the purchase of high-tech equipment and services by 330,000 enterprises that enjoy preferential tax policies on research and development rose 24 percent in the first eight months.

      Since the outbreak of the epidemic, China has unveiled a slew of new tax and fee relief measures to alleviate the burdens on market entities.

      Taxation services are also improving, as corporate taxpayers can currently handle more than 90 percent of tax-related business online, according to the administration.

      Source: http://www.chinatax.gov.cn/eng/c101269/c5157194/content.html 

    • China’s live-streaming e-commerce sector to top 1 trillion yuan in 2020

      The penetration rate of live-streaming sessions in the e-commerce market just hit 4.1 percent last year, according to the report jointly issued by international accounting company KPMG and Alibaba’s research arm Ali-Research, indicating rapid growth in the live-streaming e-commerce sector.

      Data from China’s Ministry of Commerce shows that there were over 10 million e-commerce related live-streaming sessions in China, attracting more than 50 billion views and helping sell 20 million products in the first half of the year. That equates to an average of more than 50,000 such sessions and over 260 million views per day.

      Merchants are the leading players in e-commerce live-streaming activities, said the report. According to statistics from Alibaba’s live-streaming unit Taobao Live, 90 percent of live-streaming sessions and 70 percent of its transaction volume came from merchants’ live-streaming activities on the platform. During this year’s mid-year online shopping spree, nine of the top 15 live-streaming sessions, with a transaction volume of more than 100 million yuan, were owned by brands and merchants.

      On the first day of the shopping spree, the transaction volume of more than 37,000 Chinese brands soared by at least 100 percent year on year, said the report.

      For brands and merchants, live-streaming marketing is not only a matter of expediency, as it softens the blow brought by COVID-19, but is also a regular operation strategy.

      Over 70 percent of surveyed brands said they boosted sales of products through live-streaming campaigns, while more than 60 percent held that the good reputation enjoyed by their products and services attracted consumers to their live-streaming sessions.

      The increasing number of brands looking for live-streaming campaigns have given rise to agencies known as multi-channel networks (MCNs). Taobao’s data reveals that there are 200 MCNs on the platform, compared with none in June 2019.

      The live-streaming e-commerce sector has also created jobs in China. According to a study from Renmin University of China, Taobao Live has created more than 1.73 million job opportunities related to live-streaming operations.

      Live-streaming marketing will become a new basic requirement for the e-commerce sector, and new infrastructure, including 5G, will make live-streaming application scenarios more diversified, Kang noted, expecting accelerated training of live-streaming talents as well as more professional live-streaming e-commerce.

      Source: http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/1022/c90000-9772128.html

    • China to build Shenzhen into global innovation-oriented city

      China will turn the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in southern Guangdong Province into a global innovation-oriented city, a Chinese official said Sunday.

      China intends to shape Shenzhen into a modern, global innovation-oriented city and an influential hub of innovation, startups and creativity, Xu Nanping, Vice Minister of Science and Technology, told a press conference.

      It is a new target ahead of Shenzhen, which has been a Chinese pioneer in innovation and is listed among the country's first batch of innovation-oriented cities.

      "Taking innovation as the primary driving force is part of the valuable experience of Shenzhen. Over the past four decades, scientific and technological innovation is a key factor marking Shenzhen's evolution into an international metropolis," said Xu.

      This year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the SEZ. Over the past four decades, Shenzhen has developed as a trailblazer from a small town into a hub of innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity with international recognition.

      In 2019, its GDP reached nearly 2.7 trillion yuan (about 400 billion U.S. dollars), growing at an annual average of 20.7 percent.

      Out of this, the added value from innovation and high technology industry amounted to 920 billion yuan, representing more than 34 percent of the city's GDP and highlighting its role as Shenzhen's first pillar industry and key growth sphere.

      That very year, Shenzhen injected up to 132.8 billion yuan into research and development, representing 4.9 percent of the GDP, pushing the city to the forefront, nationally and globally.

      In 2019, the city saw 17,500 international patent applications via the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), amounting to about one third of the country's total.

      China recently announced a plan to implement pilot reforms in Shenzhen to develop the city as a showcase of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the next five years.

      According to a long-term plan released last year, by the mid-21st century, Shenzhen will become one of the top cosmopolitan cities in the world and a global pacesetter with outstanding competitiveness, innovation potential and influence.

      The Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) will turn the goal of "making Shenzhen a global innovation-oriented city" into its main task. It will also make the city play a leading role in China's high-tech advancement, sustainable development and independent innovation, Xu said.

      "Eyeing new targets, the MOST will support Shenzhen in building a batch of innovation platforms, which underscores a favorable environment, top resources and high-end talents," Xu said.

      Source: http://english.mofcom.gov.cn/article/policyrelease/questions/202009/20200903002580.shtml 

    • NPC Standing Committee Adopts Amendment to Patent Law

      A revision to the Patent Law was adopted on October 17, 2020 at the 22nd session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress. The amendment has introduced a punitive compensation system. In cases of deliberate patent infringement and under serious circumstances, the court can award a compensation of one to five times of the patent holder's losses, economic benefits to the infringing party, or patent licensing fee. The upper limit of statutory compensation has been raised to five million yuan, and the lower limit is increased to thirty thousand yuan.
    • NPC Standing Committee Adopts Law on Export Control

      The Law on Export Control for the People's Republic of China was adopted on October 17, 2020 at the 22nd session of the Standing Committee of the 13th  National People's Congress, and will come into effect from December 1, 2020. China may take countermeasures against any country or region that abuses export-control measures and poses a threat to China's national security and interests, according to the law. The law has also made detailed provisions about export control list, temporary control and full control, export qualifications and export licensing mechanism, as well as end users and end use management.
    • Shanghai Launches Free Trade Accounts and Supports Development of Offshore Trade Business

      The People's Bank of China's Shanghai Head Office and Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce issued on October 19, 2020 the Circular about Launching Free Trade Accounts and Supporting Shanghai to Develop Offshore Trade Business.

      The PBOC's Shanghai Head Office will instruct commercial banks in the city to provide international trade settlement, trade financing and other cross-border financial services. If companies are on a list of eligible offshore trade business operators, the upstream and downstream business activities under the same contract should be settled under the same free trade account, and must not be handled between a free trade account and a non-free trade account.

  • Focus Africa
    • ATAF Proposes a Digital Services Tax Rate Between 1% and 3% for Member Countries

      On 30 September 2020, the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) released its Suggested Approach to Drafting Digital Services Tax Legislation (suggested DST Legislation) that proposes a rate between 1% and 3% on gross annual digital services revenue earned by a company or multinational enterprise (MNE) in a country.

      The suggested DST Legislation proposes standard text that can be adopted by ATAF member countries in their domestic laws in order to tax highly digitalized businesses operating in those countries.

      The activities within the scope of DST are digital services derived, directly or indirectly, by a company or an MNE group in a given country. These include, among other services:

      • online advertising services;
      • data services;
      • online marketplace or intermediation platform services;
      • facilitation of rental or use of real property located in a country;
      • vehicle hire services;
      • digital content services, online gaming services and cloud computing; and
      • any other digital services.

      The suggested DST Legislation proposes formulas for allocating income from the services above to a particular country. Broadly, DST will be levied on the portion of revenue that relates to the participation of users in a given country, and it will apply to the gross revenues.

      The suggested DST Legislation also details how countries can determine the users of the services above since the number of users is the basis upon which a company or MNE's global revenues arising from digital services will be apportioned to a given country.

      Countries have an option to make provisions regarding the offset of the DST for corporation tax purposes in the case of a permanent establishment if certain conditions are met.

      Being careful not to affect growth of online businesses in Africa, the suggested DST Legislation proposes that countries set a "de minimis" or safe harbour rule that will remove smaller companies from the ambit of DST. This is mainly because DST is charged on gross annual revenues which, if not addressed, may have adverse effects on businesses with very low profit margins, or on loss-making businesses.

      The DST returns will be filed annually by a responsible member or an appointed local representative of the company or MNE. A responsible member may be a member of the MNE group that is tax resident or operates in a country through a permanent establishment; or a member of the MNE group that is registered for VAT in the country. The suggested DST Legislation also suggests other ways of determining a responsible member should no member of the MNE meet the conditions above.

      In a statement by the ATAF, it was highlighted that no consensus has been reached globally by the OECD Inclusive Framework on how to deal with the tax challenges arising from the digitalization of the economy. In the interim, African countries need a solution so that revenue is not lost especially during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic where businesses have opted to transact more through online platforms.

      To date, a few African countries have enacted laws aimed at taxing the digital economy. Kenya, through its Finance Act 2020, implemented a DST at a rate of 1.5% and is expected to take effect on 1 January 2021. Nigeria will also tax non-resident companies that have significant economic presence (this is created mainly through digital transactions) in Nigeria and earn revenue above NGN 25 million in aggregate in a given year of income.

      In conclusion, African countries really need to look into taxing income arising from digital services in order to curb revenue that is being lost annually due to the traditional taxing rules that are based on physical presence of non-residents in a given jurisdiction in order to be liable to tax.

    • Commencement of Trade Through AfCFTA Scheduled for 1 January 2021

      The Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has announced that trade through the AfCFTA will commence on 1 January 2021. It was initially scheduled to commence on 1 July 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic with the main focus of the secretariat of the AfCFTA being the fight against the pandemic. The key focus of the AfCFTA, in the meantime, continues to be the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The Secretary General stated that a short-term tool has been devised by the Heads of States to launch trade corridors to enable easy access and transit of essential goods or germ-killing products, such as soaps and disinfectants, that will help combat the pandemic. The African Ministers of Trade are exploring the possibility of reducing customs duties in order to make these essential goods more available and affordable. The announcement was made at the official handing over and commissioning of the AfCFTA secretariat building in Ghana on 17 August 2020. An official statement was released by the Directorate of Information and Communication of the African Union on 9 September 2020.
    • Uganda Revenue Authority Restricts Warehousing of Imported Sugar and Rice

      The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has restricted the warehousing of imported rice and sugar, other than sugar for industrial use, with effect from 1 October 2020. Customs clearance of these items will be permitted upon payment of taxes at the first port of entry under the Single Customs Territory (SCT) arrangement.

      This is a move to ensure that Ugandans are protected from the consumption of expired sugar and to protect local sugar manufacturers from unfair competition arising from dumping, diversion of sugar in transit and tax evasion.

      This is in line with the Tax Appeals Tribunal's (TAT) decision in the case of R1 Distributors Limited and 11 other companies against the URA. The TAT ruled that the URA's public notice of 17 October 2019 listing products which should not be eligible for customs warehousing was lawful.

      In the same light, the tribunal also ordered that items such as wines and spirits (except in duty free shops), building materials, motorcycle tyres and tubes, garments of all kind, footwear of all kinds, dentifrices, used motor vehicles of 14 years old from the date of manufacture which were not part of the dispute but were in the notice should not to be warehoused.

      The communication was made through public notice published on 1 October 2020 on the URA's website.

    • COVID-19 Pandemic: South Africa Reduces the 183-Day Rule on the Foreign Remuneration Exemption

      The 183-day threshold requirement for the foreign tax remuneration exemption has been reduced to 117 days. In terms of the current provisions of section 10(1)(o)(ii) of the Income Tax Act (ITA), individuals who spent more than 183 days working outside South Africa would have qualified for exemption in respect of their remuneration earned while working outside South Africa. However, due to travel bans during the COVID-19 pandemic, these individuals could not travel in order to work outside South Africa, and therefore could not qualify for the above exemption.

      The National Treasury indicated in its response document to Parliament that it had introduced changes to section 10(1)(o)(ii) of the ITA in order to take into account the lockdown period during the COVID-19 pandemic. In terms of the proposed changes that have been made in the 2020 draft Taxation Laws Amendment Bill, 66 days that commenced on 27 March 2020 and ended on 31 May 2020, when South Africa operated under COVID-19 alert level 5 and 4 restrictions, should be subtracted from the 183-day threshold rule used to determine the eligibility for exemption of foreign remuneration.

      In order to qualify for this exemption, the number of days that a person spent working outside South Africa will be reduced to more than 117 days (i.e. from more than 183 days) in any 12-month period, for years of assessment ending from 29 February 2020 to 28 February 2021.

  • Hong Kong
    • Hong Kong Starts-Up: Agricultural Transformation Via Industrial Premises Repurposing

      While Hong Kong continues to undergo economic transformation and urbanisation, local agricultural activities have been on the decline. According to government estimates, agricultural land currently covers about 66 sq km, around 6% of Hong Kong’s total land area. In light of Hong Kong’s acute land shortage, one idea that has become popular in recent years is that of reforming traditional agriculture by revitalising industrial buildings to accommodate indoor urban farming. Farm66 Investment Ltd became the first indoor aquaponics farm in Hong Kong, devoting great efforts to researching new technologies for the development of urban farming. Its technologies and concepts have now attracted a number of overseas companies interested in co-operation. Gordon Tam, the founder of Farm66, talked to HKTDC Research about the difficulties encountered during the start-up process. He believes that, in order to boost the local scientific research ecosystem, Hong Kong should be updating its laws to keep pace with the development of innovation and technology.

      To continue reading, please click here

    • Cross-Border E-Commerce Retail Imports Play Increasingly Bigger Role in China’s Supply Chains

      As Covid-19 continues to rampage around the world unchecked and the global economy goes into recession, the Chinese central government has put forward the “dual circulation” strategy to boost the country’s development. China will take the domestic market as the mainstay while letting internal and external markets boost each other. Against this backdrop, it is expected that expansion and upgrading of the mainland consumer market will be a major force driving the “dual circulation” model, with cross-border e-commerce (CBEC) retail imports serving as an important link connecting the domestic consumer market with the international supply chain. In early 2020 when the coronavirus swept through China, CBEC imports, providing mainland consumers with a fast, convenient and safe source of quality products from all over the world, were extremely popular. According to customs figures, from January to May 2020, the value of CBEC retail imports grew by 23% year on year.

      In order to learn about post-pandemic opportunities in mainland CBEC retail imports, HKTDC Research talked recently with the Tmall Global TeamTmall Global is a leading CBEC platform in China, featuring over 25,000 brands from 92 countries and regions. All these run B2C online stores on the platform selling goods to Chinese consumers. The company also runs a direct import supermarket called Tmall Global TDI Store. This store purchases imported goods directly from suppliers and sells them to mainland consumers in the form of B2B2C. The Tmall Global Team analysed the latest developments of China’s CBEC retail imports supply chain, explained how important it is for businesses to adapt to digitalised supply chains in the new retail era, and pointed out how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can act as first movers in grasping opportunities in the mainland CBEC retail imports market.

      Please, continue to read the article here

  • India
    • Digital India, a programme to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy

      The world’s fastest growing industry, Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) continues to transform lives, businesses, and economies across the globe. The global electronics market is estimated to be over $2 tn. India’s share in global electronics manufacturing has grown from 1.3% in 2012 to 3% in 2018.

      Technology transitions such as the rollout of 5G networks and IoT are driving the accelerated adoption of electronics products. Initiatives such as ‘Digital India’ and ‘Smart City’ projects have raised the demand for IoT in the market and will undoubtedly usher in a new era for electronic products.

      • India is expected to have a digital economy of $1 tn by 2025
      • One of the largest electronics markets in the world anticipated reaching $400 bn by 2025
      • India’s ESDM sector is expected to generate $100 - 130 bn in economic value by 2025

      100% FDI is allowed under the automatic route.

      In case of electronics items for defence, FDI up to 49% is allowed under automatic route and beyond 49% through the government approval. For further details, please refer FDI Policy

      To know more about the Electronic Systems Sector in India: https://www.investindia.gov.in/sector/electronic-systems

    • COVID-19 Pandemic: India Further Extends Various Filing and Payment Deadlines

      The Indian government, through the Central Board of Direct Taxes and Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, has further extended the filing and payment deadlines for income tax and goods and services tax (GST) returns and reports or statements in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Income tax returns (ITRs) and audit reports

      • The ITR filing deadline for the financial year (FY) 2019-20 (assessment year [AY] 2020-21) has been further extended from 30 November 2020 to 31 January 2021 for:
        • taxpayers that are required to have their accounts audited by 31 October 2020; and
        • taxpayers that are required to furnish a report in respect of international or specified domestic transactions by 30 November 2020.
      • The payment deadline for self-assessment tax for the aforementioned taxpayers whose self-assessment tax liabilities do not exceed INR 100,000 has also been extended to 31 January 2021.
      • The ITR filing deadline for the FY 2019-20 (AY 2020-21) for other taxpayers (for whom the original deadline under the ITA was 31 July 2020) has been further extended from 30 November 2020 to 31 December 2020. The payment deadline for self-assessment tax for other taxpayers whose self-assessment tax liabilities do not exceed INR 100,000 has also been extended to 31 December 2020.
      • The deadline for furnishing audit reports has been extended from 31 October 2020 to 31 December 2020.

      Annual GST returns and reconciliation statements

      The filing deadline for annual GST returns (GSTR-9/GSTR-9A) and reconciliation statements (GSTR-9C) for FY 2018-19 has been further extended from 31 October 2020 to 31 December 2020.

      Note: The filing of the FY 2018-19 GSTR-9/GSTR-9A is optional for taxpayers with aggregate turnover of less than INR 20 million, while the filing of the FY 2018-19 GSTR-9C is optional for taxpayers with aggregate turnover of up to INR 50 million.

  • Switzerland
    • Tax Administration Announces Interest Rate for Tax Arrears and Tax Refunds, and Maximum Deduction for Supplementary Pension Contributions for 2021

      The Swiss tax administration published the interest rate for tax arrears and tax refunds, and the maximum deduction fur supplementary pension contributions for 2021.

      Interest rate on arrears and refunds

      The 2021 interest rate for tax arrears and refunds will be 3%. The interest compensation rate for advance payments will be 0%.

      Deduction for supplementary pension contributions

      The maximum deductions for supplementary pension contributions relating to old age, surviving spouse and disability for 2021 will amount to:
      • CHF 6,883 for employees; and
      • CHF 34,416 for self-employed people.
      On 22 October 2020, the Swiss tax administration published the above figures in press release No. 2-185-D-2020-d.
  • United Arab Emirates
    • UAE: Cabinet Decision No. (58) of 2020 Regulating Beneficial Owner Procedures

      UAE has published and implemented Cabinet Resolution No. 58 of 2020 on the Regulation of Procedures Related to Real Beneficiaries. The Resolution introduces new requirements for entities to disclose its beneficial owners. The main purpose is to enhance transparency of entities registered in the UAE, as well as  to develop effective and sustainable executive and regulatory mechanisms and procedures in respect of beneficial owner data.

      The cabinet resolution requires all companies licensed or registered in the UAE (except those in DIFC, ADGM or companies wholly owned by UAE government) to hold and maintain a Register of Beneficial Owners and a Register of Shareholders (or Partners) in their registered office premises.

      Furthermore, companies are being required to submit the said Register of Beneficial Owner and Register of Shareholders (or Partners) to their respective licensing authority (the respective Free Zone or the Ministry of Economy), which are free do adopt their own filing terms, such as format and process, and deadlines from 27th of October 2020.

      Read the resolution here: UAE Cabinet Resolution No. 58 of 2020

    • VAT registration of ‘Sole Establishments’

      On the 14th of October, the UAE Federal Tax Authority (FTA) clarified that a natural person owning a number of sole establishments needs to obtain only one VAT registration for all its sole establishments and does not require separate VAT registrations for such establishments.

      The VAT registration should be obtained ideally in the name of the natural person that owns the sole establishments. However, if a natural person, owning multiple sole establishments, wishes to obtain the VAT registration in the name of one of its sole establishments, the person may apply to the FTA accordingly.

      The value of supplies made by the natural person and all its sole establishments must be aggregated to assess whether the VAT registration threshold has been exceeded.

      The FTA further details that it will review such VAT registrations in certain cases and inform the relevant taxable persons of the corrective steps they should take, if any.

      A sole establishment (also referred to as sole proprietorship) is a legal form of business which is 100% owned by a natural person. A sole establishment does not have a legal personality that is independent of its owner and is accordingly considered to be the same person as its owner.

      VAT registration of Sole Establishments

    • The Federal Tax Authority introduces new version of the eDirham across its official channels to pay due taxes

      The UAE Federal Tax Authority (FTA) confirms the approval of a new generation of eDirham as a payment channel for paying due taxes. The new eDirhams generation will replace the old version, which will be suspended and will not be available to use for FTA transactions as from the beginning of November 2020. The new generation of eDirham includes 3 cards with different benefits:
      • The 'Hala Card' is a card suitable for new customers who want to make one-time payments. No registration or documents are required, and the card can be topped-up with a balance of up to AED 3,500;
      • The 'Gold Card' is a prepaid card with multiple recharge options, suitable for regular payments and multiple transactions. This card requires registration to provide an additional level of security; and
      • The 'Premium Card' is a customisable prepaid card that requires registration. It is suitable for individual and corporate customers with high balances without a maximum recharge limit.
      The FTA press release was published on 12 October 2020 and is available on the FTA's official website.
    • Dubai has launched a unique new programme that enables overseas remote working professionals to live in Dubai while continuing to serve their employers in their home country

      Dubai launches unique virtual working programme for overseas professionals

      • Programme offers remote workers and their families the opportunity to re-locate to the emirate
      • Remote workers can take advantage of emirate’s strong digital infrastructure, robust connectivity, safe and high-quality lifestyle, global networking opportunities and zero income tax for individuals

      Dubai has launched a unique new programme that enables overseas remote working professionals to live in Dubai while continuing to serve their employers in their home country.

      The move provides remote workers – and their families - the opportunity to re-locate, on an annual basis, to one of the world’s leading tourism and business destinations and enjoy a safe and high-quality lifestyle underpinned by a strong digital infrastructure that provides seamless connectivity.

      Dubai, and the UAE, have been recognised for setting a global model for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The emirate, which opened itself to international tourists on 7 July, has implemented robust safety and hygiene protocols that enabled the reopening of most sectors and destination offerings across the city, including hotels, restaurants, attractions, water and theme parks, beaches, shopping malls and schools and universities.

      The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) awarded Dubai the Safe Travels Stamp in acknowledgement of its efforts to ensure the highest standards of hygiene and COVID-19 precautionary measures. The emirate also introduced the ‘Dubai Assured’ stamp to certify that establishments have implemented all public health protocols for the prevention and management of COVID-19.

      “The global pandemic has changed how we live and work. As multinationals and leading start-ups across the world accelerate their rates of digital adoption, the need to be physically present to fulfil professional responsibilities has been redefined,” said His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. “People continue to prioritise their health, wellbeing and ability to ensure a positive work-life balance. Dubai is uniquely positioned to offer a safe, dynamic lifestyle opportunity to these digitally savvy workers and their families while they continue to work remotely, whether it is for a couple of months or an entire year.”

      Dubai’s No. 1 global ranking in e-infrastructure in the latest Digital Quality of Life (DQL) survey validates the emirate’s exceptional digital infrastructure. The new programme also boosts the emirate’s value proposition for start-ups, entrepreneurs and SMEs.

      His Excellency Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of Dubai Economy, said: “The virtual working programme further strengthens Dubai’s status as a global business hub and demonstrates its progressive thinking and sustained competitiveness in today’s rapidly changing global landscape. Dubai was recently listed as the second best among 60 global cities for remote working jobs by the CEOWORLD magazine. With its advanced infrastructure, global connectivity and pro-business ecosystem, the virtual working programme gives Dubai a significant opportunity to enhance business practices and maximise growth.”

      His Excellency Hamad Buamim, President & CEO of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the launch of the virtual working programme strengthens Dubai's position as a world-class business hub that attracts top talent, companies and investors from around the world. “The new initiative is a testament to the emirate’s ability to quickly adapt to changing market conditions and introduce new measures that improve ease of doing business and enhance its economic competitiveness. The move also reflects Dubai’s ability to create new opportunities for entrepreneurs and professionals to benefit from the city’s advanced digital infrastructure and realise their ambitions in a vibrant innovation-driven business environment.”

      To apply for the annual programme, https://www.visitdubai.com/en/sc7/travel-planning/travel-tools/work-remotely-in-dubai.  The programme costs US$287 plus medical insurance with valid UAE coverage and processing fee per person.

      Criteria for eligibility under the new programme include:

      • Passport with minimum 6 months validity • Health insurance with UAE coverage validity • Proof of Employment from current employer with a one-year contract validity, a minimum of US$5,000 per month salary, last month’s payslip and 3 preceding months’ bank statements • If the applicant is a company owner: proof of ownership of company for one year or more, with an average monthly income of US$5,000 per month, and 3 preceding months’ bank statements

      Through the programme, applicants can obtain all services in Dubai, including telecoms, utilities, and schooling, enabling them to experience the distinctive lifestyle enjoyed by people of over 200 nationalities. Applicants will also benefit from Dubai’s zero income tax for individuals.

      As one of the world’s top property destinations, Dubai has a vast portfolio of housing options to choose from, including beachfront and city villas and apartments, fully serviced hotel offerings managed by globally-recognised operators, and a diverse selection of short and longer-term holiday home rentals. Widely regarded as a leading entrepreneurial hub, the city also provides exceptional co-working spaces, with flexible packages ranging from hourly rates for meeting rooms to weekly, monthly or quarterly bookings.

      For those looking to broaden their contacts, Dubai is the first major global destination to fully open up its MICE sector internationally, providing opportunities for networking events and face to face engagement, which are vital factors in accelerating the revival of key sectors. The full reopening of the sector is testament to the city’s successful handling of the pandemic, and the safety and hygiene protocols in place which prioritise the wellbeing of citizens, residents and visitors.

      Promotional video: https://youtu.be/_htPhT4gbzQ

      Source: https://mediaoffice.ae/en/news/2020/October/14-10/Dubai-launches-unique-virtual-working-programme-for-overseas-professionals

  • United Kingdom
    • Brexit: the European Union and the United Kingdom agree on the First Joint Report on the Implementation of Residence Rights

      The EU-UK Joint Committee has agreed on the first joint implementation report on residence rights. The report, published on 23 October 2020, provides a first overview of national implementation measures with regard to residence in the European Union and the United Kingdom, in line with article 18(1) of the Withdrawal Agreement. The report would be updated at least every 3 months until the end of 2021.

      The report was agreed in the context of the fourth regular meeting of the EU-UK Joint Committee on the implementation and application of the Withdrawal Agreement which was held on 19 October 2020. In this context, the EU side strongly reiterated the need for the United Kingdom to substantially accelerate work on all necessary measures to ensure the implementation of the withdrawal agreement, in particular with regard to border control posts, value added tax and the registration of Northern Irish traders for VAT purposes.

      To check our publication in italian (Immigrazione e Diritto di Vivere e Lavorare nel Regno Unito), please click here.

  • United States
    • US Treasury Reissues Boycott Countries List

      The US Treasury Department (Treasury) has reissued its list of the countries that require cooperation with, or participation in, an international boycott as a condition for doing business. The list was published in the Federal Register on 13 October 2020.

      The countries listed are Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Yemen. The new list is unchanged from the list that was published in the Federal Register on 20 July 2020.

      The Treasury is monitoring the situation of the United Arab Emirates which issued a decree repealing its boycott law.

      The listed countries are identified pursuant to section 999 of the US Internal Revenue Code (IRC), which requires US taxpayers to file reports with the Treasury Department concerning operations in the boycotting countries. Such taxpayers incur adverse consequences under the IRC, including denial of US foreign tax credits (FTCs) for taxes paid to those countries and income inclusion under subpart F of the IRC in the case of US shareholders of controlled foreign corporations (CFCs) that conduct operations in those countries.

    • New York’s “Pink Tax” Ban Goes into Effect

      New York's gender-based pricing discrimination ban went into effect on 30 September 2020. This "pink tax" ban was enacted as part of the New York's Fiscal Year 2021 budget (FY 2021 budget), and was a key component of the Governor's 2020 Women's Agenda. This measure requires certain service providers to provide price lists for standard services upon request and notifies them that gender-based price discrimination is prohibited under State law. Businesses that violate the law will be subject to civil penalties.

    • US to Impose Billions in Anti-Dumping Duties on Aluminium Imports

      The United States Department of Commerce (Commerce) seeks to impose aluminium import tariffs worth billions of dollars on 18 countries in the broadest US trade enforcement inaction in two decades.

      The announcement was made in a Press Release dated 9 October 2020 and instructs US Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from common alloy aluminium importers.

      The goal of this mandate is to prevent foreign companies that undercut the US market by charging lower-than-cost-of-production prices, or that charge prices that are lower in the United States than those charged in the importer's home markets for the same goods.