The BVI tax information exchange system is largely modelled on international principles developed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and is split into two types of regime. The 'automatic' exchange of information regime requires financial institutions to exchange formulistic data about the accounts of foreign taxpayers, while the 'on request' regime deals with specific and potentially in-depth investigations into the affairs of named taxpayers with offshore or international holdings.
The Federal Court has made a strong statement against an interpretation of the Canada Revenue Agency's (CRA's) powers that would allow almost unlimited invasions of taxpayer privacy. The force with which the court rejected the self-serving interpretation advanced by the CRA should be encouraging for taxpayers. The case serves as an important reminder that the CRA cannot act outside the bounds of law and that it is the courts, and not the CRA, that interpret the law.
In these heady days of cryptocurrency investment, the market can seem like a gold rush – offering promise, but at the expense of predictability. Cryptocurrency taxation is no different. Increasing scrutiny from all types of regulator, including the tax authorities, seems inevitable for the sector. While this may diminish potential profits when compared to the early days of cryptocurrencies, it will likely add structure, transparency and legitimacy in the long term.
The Tax Court of Canada has released a landmark decision on the goods and services tax/harmonised sales tax status of certain commonplace transaction processing services – namely, Visa's payment platform offered to financial institutions. The court held that the supply of services made by Visa to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce fell outside the definition of a 'financial service' under the Excise Tax Act and therefore did not qualify as an exempt supply.
Quebec recently announced that it intends to expand its requirements for non-resident vendors to collect and remit Quebec sales tax on sales to Quebec consumers, effective as early as January 1 2019. It will be interesting to see whether the Quebec government has the authority to impose requirements on non-resident businesses that do not carry on business in the province. Another issue will be whether an assessment for failure to collect the tax can be enforced against a non-Quebec seller.
The 2018 federal budget signifies another chapter in the Department of Finance's saga to overhaul the taxation of private corporations and their shareholders. Budget 2018 sets out two changes to the taxation of private corporations: a reduction of the small business deduction based on the amount of passive investment income earned at a corporate level and a restriction on obtaining refunds of corporate tax on dividends paid from income taxed at the reduced small business rate.
As Cayman Islands entities are not directly subject to the so-called 'automatic exchange of information' agreements, the government has introduced legislation to implement these under the Tax Information Authority Law. Guidance notes have also been issued, providing details of the notification, reporting and ongoing obligations that apply, as well as a useful reminder of the differences between the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and the Common Reporting Standard.
A taxpayer recently requested a ruling from the Tax Department on the treatment of gains from cryptocurrency transactions for income and value added tax purposes, as cryptocurrencies are not specifically regulated in Chile or recognised as legal tender or foreign currency. The department's analysis reflected the broad definition of 'income' in the Income Tax Act and the fact that there is no specific exemption or favourable treatment given to these specific gains.
A business group recently requested an advance ruling from the Internal Revenue Service regarding the merger of a Chilean subsidiary with a company resident in a low-tax jurisdiction. The service stated that pursuant to Article 64 of the Tax Code, it will not exercise its assessment authority where it has been effectively proven that the legal effects of a merger in another country will be carried out in accordance with Chilean legislation and that the operation will be carried out under the terms of tax neutrality.
The Tax Department recently issued Circular 57, which provides a definition of a 'permanent establishment' for domestic law purposes and underlines that such fixed places of business require a tax registration number. Although the circular has been issued with a limited scope, it may have additional benefits, including identifying whether a foreign entity or individual has a permanent establishment operating in Chile.
The Supreme Court recently revoked two appeal court decisions in which the underlying issue was the Tax Department's authority to deny taxpayers the ability to issue invoices in certain circumstances. It is unclear whether the Tax Department will review its criteria in this regard, as court decisions in Chile affect only the parties in the specific case.
A taxpayer resident in Chile with a portfolio investment in the United States recently requested a ruling on whether he was entitled to a refund of certain withholding taxes paid by the portfolio because it included bonds issued in Chile. The taxpayer argued that withholding tax should be refunded to the beneficiary of the interest if the beneficiary is a Chilean resident. However, the Tax Department took a different view.
The Tax Department recently issued Interpretative Circular 25, which clarifies the tax treatment of non-returnable capital contributions by Cyprus taxpayers to companies that are tax resident abroad. The circular confirms that Article 33 of the Income Tax Law will not apply to debit or credit balances generated by non-repayable capital contributions to non-tax resident companies, provided that a number of conditions are satisfied with full documentary evidence.
The Tax Department recently issued a circular clarifying the taxation of insurance agent earnings. A representative of an insurer who is not in an employment relationship with that insurer will be treated as a commercial enterprise whose revenue is derived from fees or commissions for the conclusion of insurance contracts. If their annual revenue exceeds €70,000, the intermediary must maintain accounting records and prepare audited financial statements.
Following the extension of tax relief for the disposal of immovable property for the restructuring non-performing loans introduced by Laws 96(I)/2018, 98(I)/2018, 99(I)/2018 and 100(I)/2018, the Tax Department has announced that its Form 415 (Disposal of Property due to Loan Restructuring) has been revised and that a new Form 415B (Immovable Property Declaration due to Loan Restructuring – Supplementary Certificate) has been published.
Parliament recently passed a package of legislative measures that aims to encourage the resolution of non-performing loans. The measures include an extension of the current tax exemptions on transfers of immovable property from a borrower to a lender in the course of a loan restructuring to borrowers that dispose of the property themselves in the open market in order to restructure debt. Both sets of exemptions will be available until the end of 2019.
Recent developments have underlined the need for businesses to have real substance in order to operate and benefit from tax residence in Cyprus. Lack of proper substance may not only lead to the denial of benefits under double tax agreements or EU directives, but may also mean that the company is unable to operate a bank account in Cyprus.