Tag Archives: Business Base

0% Corporate Tax in the European Union? Yes. in Estonia.

The Baltic nation plan to build itself as an e-nation, effectively allowing anyone to become a digital citizen and living his digital life within its networks.

Tallin

The country aims to have 5,000 e-residents by 2020. Additional lure is the possibility to get 0% corporate income tax in the European Union. Estonia does not have the reputation of a tax haven which gives companies an additional reason to move businesses to Estonia, an added value is the fact that Estonia is not only a EU and Euro zone member, but also one of the Baltic countries. So you have both legal security and political support of Baltic countries.

Estonia will issue identity cards allowing access to its digital services to people residing outside the Baltic nation as it seeks to boost foreign investment. Lawmakers in the capital Tallinn voted unanimously with no abstentions to let foreigners seek e-residence status to be able to set up a company in Estonia or sign legal documents from anywhere in the world, according to a live broadcast. The law goes into effect on Dec. 1.

Estonia emerge as a global digital leader.

Tallin, Estonia old and new. Picture courtesy of Wiki Commons.

 

Corporate Income tax

Estonia applies a unique and favorable approach on taxation of corporate profits. Resident companies and permanent establishments of the foreign entities (including branches) are subject to 21% income tax only in respect of all distributions (both actual and deemed), including:

  • dividends and other profit distributions;
  • fringe benefits;
  • gifts, donations and representation expenses;
  • and expenses and payments not related to business.

Profit retained in the company is taxed at 0%.

As of January 1, 2009 dividends paid to non-residents are no longer subject to withholding tax at the general rate of 21%, irrespective of participation in the share capital of the distributing Estonian company.

Estonia does not impose any estate taxes. Local governments have the authority to impose local taxes, but effectively only few municipalities have introduced these.

 

Tax Treaties

Estonia has effective tax treaties with 51 countries. Under the double tax treaties a significant reduction of withholding taxes on various payments to non-residents is available.

 

Considerations for the investor

  • Main principles of Estonian tax policy: simple tax system, broad tax base and low rates.
  • The aim of the current Estonian tax policy is to shift the tax burden from labour to consumption.
  • Flat income tax rate since 1994 (flat income tax rate at 21% applies to both individuals and companies).
  • Unique corporate tax system since 2000: all undistributed corporate profits are tax-exempt. (0%)
  • Individuals can have investment account to benefit from 0% corporate income tax.
  • Local taxes play an insignificant role in the Estonian tax system.
  • Electronic tax administration is well established. Business taxpayers can file, view and correct their tax returns online using the eTaxBoard (eMaksuamet). They can also use it to view their tax account balances and VAT returns, and submit VAT refund applications.
  • Vast majority (92% – 2010) of yearly personal income tax declarations are submitted electronically.
  • The standard VAT rate is 20% from 1 July 2009 and the reduced rate is 9%.

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Puerto Rico a New Tax Haven

A new law exempt immigrants from capital gains taxes in a bid to attract new wealthy residents. The island nation has join other offshore locations, like UK territories Jersey and the Cayman

Puerto Rico

Islands, in helping wealthy individuals pay less tax. Puerto Rico is a US territory, which means it is technically part of the United States but largely administered by an insular local government. It is a four-hour flight from New York City, offers a nice climate, and doesn’t have another obvious strategy for economic growth. But most important is the law passed a year ago, which exempts new residents from the island’s already small 10% capital gains tax.

Picture of the  in Puerto Rico, Courtesy of Wiki Commons

The local government is luring investment managers, who can often treat their salaries as capital gains, along with other wealthy Americans whose income is largely investment returns, on moving to the island, with the hope that their arrival will coincide with investments in real estate, more service consumption, and perhaps new businesses forming here.

The law does offer a significant financial advantage, but before it was enacted, capital gains were taxed at only 10%—still more than fifteen percentage points lower than the American rate, which could have still attracted wealthy residents. People taking advantage of the law must live on the island for 183 days a year, among other residency requirements, and depending on how strictly they are enforced, Puerto Rico may be more of a retirement destination for the super-wealthy than the kind of place where they operate a business.

The issue, though, are Puerto Rico’s economic woes: 14% unemployment, little in the way natural resources, growing pension obligations, and a robust grey market have the country on the budgetary ropes, with raters looking to downgrade its already junk-level bonds. Those high yields are attracting investors, but they are essentially betting on the expectation that the US won’t let its territory go under. They might not be wrong: The UK, after all, rescued the Caymans when that country foundered financially, but it attached a number of strings, including efforts to limit tax avoidance. While the government guarantees the capital gains tax break through 2035, a country looking to raise revenue will find a way to tap the pockets of its wealthiest residents.

Indeed, tax incentives have proven to be both a boon and a bane to Puerto Rico: The country’s recent economic troubles can be traced in part to the end of costly manufacturing tax breaks the US government gave to companies who made goods on the island. But when those breaks ended, in 2006, many companies kept their facilities on the island while transferring ownership to Cayman Islands subsidiaries, avoiding taxes in both Puerto Rico and the United States.

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Countries with No US Extradition Treaty

The best countries for Snowden, the following countries have extradition treaties but do not always comply with US requests: Bolivia, Ecuador, Iceland, Nicaragua, Switzerland, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.

Afghanistan Ethiopia Nepal
Algeria Gabon Niger
Andorra Guinea North Korea
Angola Guinea-Bissau Oman
Armenia Indonesia Qatar
Bahrain Iran Russia
Bangladesh Kazakhstan Rwanda
Belarus Kosovo Samoa
Bhutan Kuwait São Tomé & Príncipe
Bosnia and Herzegovina Laos Saudi Arabia
Brunei Lebanon Senegal
Burkina Faso Libya Serbia
Burundi Macedonia Somalia
Cambodia Madagascar Sudan
Cameroon the Maldives Syria
Cape Verde Mali Taiwan
the Central African Republic the Marshall Islands Togo
Chad Mauritania Tunisia
China Micronesia Uganda
Comoros Moldova Ukraine
Dem. Republic of the Congo Mongolia United Arab Emirates
Cote d’ Ivoire Montenegro Uzbekistan
Cuba Morocco Vanuatu
Djibouti Mozambique the Vatican
Equatorial Guinea Myanmar Vietnam
Eritrea Namibia Yemen

Snowden could have taken the steps we recommend on our site and publications on the best countries to obtain a second passport, open an offshore account, and more. Internationalizing is a strategy for anyone who does not want to be under the total control of the whims of one particular government – especially one that is desperate and bankrupt.

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Hong Kong Tops World’s Fastest Internet Ranking

A new global report on internet connectivity says that Hong Kong continues to have the fastest average peak internet speed, and that it has the third-highest average connection speed. Cloud service provider Akamai found that Hong Kong has an average peak internet speed of 65.4Mbps, ahead of South Korea, Japan, and Singapore.

Hong Kong star Ella Koon

However, South Korea came first for average connection speed, at 22.1Mbps, while Hong Kong came third, after Japan, at 12.5Mbps. Further, 81 percent of Hong Kong’s connections were above 4Mbps, and 38 percent were above 10Mbps.

The UK was ranked 14th for average connection, at 9.1Mbps; 77 percent of the country’s connections were above 4Mbps, and 27 percent were above 10Mbps. By comparison, Spain’s average connection was 6.9Mbps, with 71 percent above 4Mbps and 14 percent above 10Mbps.

Hong Kong star Ella Koon. Picture courtesy of Wiki Common.

Meanwhile, Australia’s average connection was 5.5Mbps, with 51 percent 4Mbps and 8.1 percent above 10Mbps.

Akamai’s figures refer to the third quarter of 2013. The company explains that it has a globally-distributed Intelligent Platform made up of a distributed network of servers and intelligent software, which delivers over two trillion interactions daily. The Platform allows Akamai to gather large amounts of information on many metrics, including connection speeds and network connectivity/availability issues, and the data is published quarterly in the company’s State of the Internet Report.

The company describes the report as a “key reference for those involved in broadband initiatives around the world, whether at an industry or government level.”

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Isle Of Man First To Sign UK FATCA-Style Agreement

The Isle of Man has become the first British dependent territory to sign an agreement with the United Kingdom extending the automatic disclosure of tax information.

Isle of Man map

The intergovernmental agreement was signed in London on October 10 by Chief Minister Allan Bell and HM Treasury Exchequer Secretary David Gauke.

It is modeled on the requirements of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) introduced by the United States to ensure the tax compliance of its citizens with international interests.

On the current timetable for implementation of the new agreement, the two Governments have agreed to start exchanging additional information from 2016.

Map courtesy of FamilySearch Wiki Commons

The Isle of Man already shares information automatically on personal savings income with the UK and other European Union countries, having been the first non-EU jurisdiction to make a public commitment to this under the EU Savings Directive in June 2009. The Island was also the first to commit, in December last year, to the FATCA-style agreement with the UK extending the scope of automatic disclosure to include, for example, companies and trusts.

The Chief Minister said: “In signing this historic agreement with the United Kingdom we are underlining the message to our neighbors and the wider world that our Island is a responsible center for top quality international business.

“The Isle of Man was the first to strike this agreement with the UK and we are now the first to sign, demonstrating the clear commitment of both countries to the development of a new global standard in automatic exchange.”

Mr Bell added: “Today’s signing is a significant step towards that global standard and further proof that the tax haven moniker in relation to the Isle of Man is well and truly dead, as David Cameron recognized recently in the House of Commons.”

He went on: “The Isle of Man is a forward looking country with a diverse, dynamic economy and a track record of leading the way in the field of international tax co-operation.”

“We have a long-established policy of complying with global standards, and we saw some time ago that enhanced automatic exchange of information on the FATCA model was becoming the new global standard in tax transparency.”

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