Chief Executive Carrie Lam has announced a huge reduction to standard profits tax, halving the amount businesses need to pay on the first HK$2 million from 16.5 percent to 8.25. Profit above HK$2 million will continue to be taxed at the usual rate. The tax break is only designed to benefit small and medium enterprises, and to address concerns that big businesses could take advantage of the reduction, Lam said each group of enterprises would only be able to nominate one firm to enjoy the lower rate. Lam also announced a move to encourage businesses to allocate more money to research and development, with the first HK$2 million they spend on R&D getting a 300 percent tax deduction, with a 200 percent deduction applied to any further spending. The CE said her administration is aiming to double local spending on R&D to 1.5 percent of GDP within her government’s five-year term.
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Switzerland has published a new version of the VAT Law which provides for a number of amendments. The changes are aimed at improving the mechanism for taxing of local companies with the value-added tax and they will come into force on January 1, 2018.
To date, the foreign companies providing services in Switzerland are exempt from the VAT from Swiss turnover if it does not exceed 100,000 Swiss francs, that is equivalent to $ 103,726. In the opinion of the Federal Council, this has caused a decline in the competitiveness of the Swiss firms, especially in the border regions. According to the adopted amendments, on calculating the obligations of the company on VAT, its global turnover will be taken into account. The enterprises with world financial turnover of 100,000 Swiss francs or more will be subject to the VAT from their supply, starting with the first franc of the turnover amount in Switzerland.
The introduction of a new system for mail-order companies has been postponed until January 1, 2019, because the Swiss post offices will need more time to implement the appropriate technical provisions. With the advent of this date, the mail-order companies will be subject to the value added tax if their annual turnover as a part of small batches that are not taxed upon import will be 100,000 Swiss francs or more. These enterprises will be obliged to levy the VAT from their customers that will be exempt from the levied taxes and customs duties on importing.
In accordance with the new law, the scope of application of a reduced VAT rate (2.5%) will be extended to the electronic newspapers, magazines and books. Meanwhile, Switzerland will refuse to raise the VAT rate to the level of 8%, which should have served as a source of funding for the changes in the pension system. Moreover, from 2018, the tax rate will be decreased to 7.7%.
The G20 Countries decided to make it obligatory for legal entities to obtain Legal Entity Identifier codes (LEI-code), a twenty-digit alphanumeric code that is necessary to perform transactions and reporting at financial markets.
It will be required to obtain and use a LEI-code in the EU starting from 01 November 2017. In particular, those legal entities that perform transactions with financial derivatives must have a LEI-code.
From 03 January 2018, LEI-codes will become mandatory for making deals with absolutely all financial instruments and securities. The state of registration of a legal entity will not matter in such case; it is the location (within the EU Member States) of a bank or a broker house serving such legal entity that will matter.