TAX TAX NEWSLETTER. July General Information on the Tax Implications of Carrying On Business in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) Issues Discussed

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1 TAX NEWSLETTER July 2012 Issues Discussed Tax implications of carrying on business in Trinidad and Tobago Corporation tax Business levy Green Fund Levy Withholding tax PAYE National Insurance Value Added Tax Customs Duty General Information on the Tax Implications of Carrying On Business in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) Corporation Tax 25% A locally incorporated company or a branch of a non-resident company, carrying on business in T&T other than petroleum operations is assessable to corporation tax on all profits accruing in or derived from T&T. The subsidiary or branch is allowed to deduct all expenses, wholly and exclusively incurred in the production of income in the computation of taxable profits. As regards a branch, Head Office allocations deductible must be reasonable and it has been the practice of the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) to request detailed explanation or the basis for the allocation. In our experience, the Head Office allocation can be based on the ratio of the branch revenue to total revenue of the group or in other cases it may be based on total expenses of the branch to the total expenses of the group. We should caution that whatever method is used, it should be consistently applied year after year.

2 As regards a subsidiary, management charges to the parent company is usually subject to withholding tax and the amount deductible is restricted to 2 % of all outgoings and expenses or the management charges whichever is the lesser. The subsidiary or branch is also allowed to deduct an allowance on capital expenditure at specified rates, which can range from 10% in the case of office furniture to 33.3% in the case of computers. The current rate of corporation tax is 25%. It is payable in the current year in four quarterly installments on March 31, June 30, September 30 and December 31. Any outstanding taxes for the year of income must be paid no later than April 30 in the year following the end of the year of income. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in the imposition of interest at the rate of twenty percent (20%) on outstanding amounts. Such interest is not deductible in determining taxable profits. A corporation tax return must be filed on an annual basis on or before April 30 in the year following the end of the year of income. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in a penalty of TT$1,000 arising every six (6) months or part thereof until the return is filed. Business Levy Rate 0.2% The business levy is payable at the rate of 0.2% on the gross sales or receipts of the subsidiary or branch. It is calculated quarterly on the actual sales of each quarter and any adjustment is taken up in the succeeding quarter. It must be remitted to the BIR on or before March 31, June 30, September 30 or December 31 but it is accounted for in the corporation tax return which is due to be filed on April 30 of the following year of income. Unpaid installments and or late payments are subject to interest at the rate of 20% per annum and such interest is not deductible in determining taxable profits. Note the business levy is only applicable after a three (3) year period of exemption from the commencement of business and where it exceeds the corporation tax liability. The subsidiary or branch is entitled to a tax credit against its business levy liability for a year of income of any payment made in respect of corporation tax liability for that year of income up to a maximum of the business levy liability.

3 Green Fund Levy Rate 0.1% The subsidiary or branch is also liable to green fund levy at the rate of 0.1% of the actual gross sales or receipts generated for the calendar year. The levy must be remitted to the BIR on or before March 31, June 30, September 30 and December 31 but it is also accounted for in the corporation tax return which is due to be filed on April 30 of the following year of income. The green fund levy applies to all companies doing business in T&T. The legislation currently does not provide a definition in respect of actual gross sales or receipts. It is our opinion, however, that it includes all receipts of an income nature as distinct from capital receipts The Act also states that since the green fund levy is a tax, the amount paid would not be a deduction or allowance in computing the taxable profits of the company. Therefore, it should be considered as a separate tax and has to be remitted in addition to the higher of corporation tax or business levy to the BIR. Withholding Tax Withholding tax is payable on dividends remitted by the subsidiary to the Parent Company or on branch profits remitted to the Head Office and a branch of a non-resident company is deemed to repatriate all of its after-tax profits on an annual basis and the liability to withholding tax crystallizes on April 30 of the following year when the corporation tax return is due to be filed. A deduction is however allowed in computing such liability for any sums reinvested in additional fixed assets during the year in question. Withholding tax also applies to payments as defined made to a person not resident in T&T. For this purpose payments include interest, royalties and management charges or charges for the provision of personal services and technical and managerial services. The standard rates of withholding tax are: - 5% on dividends to the Parent Company and deemed remittances to Head Office ; 15% on other payments. This rate may be reduced however if there is a tax treaty in effect between T&T and the receiving country. As regards payments to non-resident persons, it has been our experience that the BIR usually requires a written contract to properly support /understand the nature of payments made by a local subsidiary or branch to a non- resident company. It is, therefore, advisable that if the local

4 subsidiary or branch intends to make these types of payments to non- residents to have one in place for the BIR s examination in the event of a routine audit. You may also wish for us to review any such contract to ensure the correct rate of withholding tax, if any, is applied. Withholding tax on payments must be accounted for and paid over to the BIR on the prescribed form within thirty (30) days of the remittance to the non-resident. Failure to do so will result in a penalty of 25% of the outstanding tax and interest at the rate of 20% per annum on the combined tax and penalty and may cause the BIR to disallow the deduction by the local subsidiary or branch of the expense in respect of which the withholding tax ought to have been paid. Such interest and penalty are not deductible in determining taxable profits. Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) The subsidiary or branch as an employer is liable to account for Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) on emoluments paid to employees (resident and non-resident). The current rate of tax on emoluments is 25%. Emoluments include salary, wages, bonuses, overtime, directors fees, perquisite (cash and non cash), pensions and other such amounts. The value of the benefit-in-kind upon which tax is due is generally the cost to the employer of providing the benefit to the employee. Note however, with respect to the rental of motor vehicle, the value that is subject to tax is 50% of the rental of the car. Where living accommodation is provided to an employee this benefit is also subject to PAYE. The value of the benefit is the monthly rental paid where the accommodation is rented. However, living accommodation provided to an employee is not taxable if it is in any part of the company s business premises provided to enable the employee to properly perform his duties; the accommodation is required by the terms of his employment and is either: a common practice in the trade for employees of that class; or it is a necessity for this type of employee to reside on the business premises. It has been the practice of the BIR to not subject medical expenses paid by the employer on behalf of the employee to PAYE.

5 Pension contribution made by an employer on behalf of an employee to an approved pension plan is also not subject to PAYE. In respect of an approved plan also the employer is entitled to deduct the contribution as an expense in the computation of its chargeable profits. The employer is required to withhold tax under the PAYE system and pay over the amount withheld to the BIR on a monthly basis by the 15th of the following month. Failure to do so will result in a penalty of 25% of the tax plus interest at the rate of 20% on the combined tax and penalty. Such penalty and interest are not deductible in determining taxable profits. PAYE deducted shall be deemed to have been paid and the employee shall cease to be liable for the amount of the tax deducted. The subsidiary or branch would also be required to issue a certificate called a TD4 to the employees by February 28 (or 29) of the following year or when the employment ceases showing the amount of emolument paid and the PAYE deducted. Where the tax is borne by the employer the net income paid to the employee must be grossed up to arrive at the effective gross income on which tax is payable. National Insurance The subsidiary or branch is also required to register with the National Insurance Board (NIB) as an employer and to register all resident and non-resident employees between the ages of 16 and 55. It will be required to withhold from the salaries of its employees that portion of the contribution that is payable by the employee and remit this along with the employer s contribution to the NIB by the 15 th of the following month. The highest rates of weekly contributions are TT$72.77 and TT$ comprising the employee s and the employer s contributions, respectively, on a weekly income of TT$1,915. A penalty of 25 % and interest of 15% are imposed on outstanding amounts. Such penalty and interest are not deductible in determining taxable profits.

6 Health Surcharge The subsidiary or branch as an employer is also required to withhold from the salaries of its employees health surcharge at the prescribed rate and remit same to the BIR by the 15th days of the end of the month in which the salary from which the surcharge is deducted is paid. The rates are TT$8.25 per week for persons earning more than TT$ per week and TT$4.80 per week for all other employees. A penalty of 25 % and interest of 20% are imposed on outstanding amounts. Such penalty and interest are not deductible in determining taxable profits. Value Added Tax There is in effect in T&T a system of Value Added Tax (VAT) under which VAT at the standard rate of 15% or 0% is chargeable on the importation of a wide range of goods and on the supply within T&T of most goods and services by a VAT registered supplier. VAT is, however, not a cost to a registered business since all VAT paid is recoverable under the present system. A subsidiary or branch making commercial supplies in excess of TT$360,000 over a twelve month period or less is required to register for VAT. Failure to register for VAT exposes the company not only to interest and penalties, but also to the loss of the input tax, since it will be unable to recover input tax paid. Early registration of the subsidiary or branch is therefore of critical importance. VAT returns must be filed on a bi-monthly (two month) basis and the net VAT (output less input tax) accounted for to the VAT Administration. Where the VAT paid exceeds the liability due the excess is refunded by the VAT Administration. Where there is an amount payable it must be paid by the 25 th of the following month (the due date). If not paid by the due date the amount outstanding bears a penalty of 8% and interest at the rate of 2% per month or part thereof. Such penalty and interest are not deductible in determining taxable profits. It should be noted also that unless otherwise notified, a person whether or not he continues to be registered, is required to keep books of accounts and records for a period of not less than 6 years after the end of the last tax period to which they relate. The tax authority has power to audit the books and records during this period and to raise additional assessments if it discovers there has been an under assessment and reporting by the VAT registered person. The VAT Regulations require each registered person to keep, at his principal place of business in T&T or such other place as may be approved such books and records that would enable the

7 BIR to ascertain the liability of that person to tax. The records must be in English language, in the currency of T&T, complete and up to date. Documented hereunder is a listing of some of the documents which must be kept:- General Ledger, General Journal and Directors Minute Book; Cash Receipt and Cash Payment Book; Purchase, Sales and Wages Books; Stock Sheets; Fixed assets register; Copies of Financial Statements-Balance Sheet and Trading and Profit and Loss Statement; VAT Summary; Bank statements, Deposit Slips and returned cheques; Import and Export documentation; Copies of Tax Invoices; Copies of Debit/Credit notes received or given; Records of daily takings; All business correspondence; Purchase invoices including bills and receipts to support expenditure made; Records of supplies taken for personal use or given free of charge. The VAT Act also provides that a tax invoice shall include the following:- The words tax invoice shown conspicuously thereon;

8 An identifying serial number and the date on which the tax invoice was given; The name and address and registration number of the supplier; The name and address of the recipient; A description of the goods or services supplied, including the quantity of goods or number of services supplied; The consideration for the supply, not including tax; The value of the supply; The rate of tax applicable to the supply and the amount claimed from the recipient in respect of tax; The law also provides that to not issue a proper invoice is an offence and the person is liable on summary conviction to a fine of TT$6,000. It should also be noted that as regards invoices that the branch or company may receive from suppliers it is also imperative that they contain the above information for it to get credit for the tax thereon. If the invoices so received do not contain the information they will be challenged by the BIR and the input tax will be disallowed. A registered person must therefore request at all times from a supplier at the time when the supply takes place a detailed tax invoice as mentioned above. Customs Duty In addition to VAT, imports into T&T attract customs duty at varying rates depending on the classification of the goods in question. A licence may be obtained from the Minister of Trade for the importation of equipment and materials on a duty free basis. Where equipment is being Imported on a temporary basis it may be entered as a temporary import such that the importer is required to pay 10% of the prescribed duty rate for each quarter that the equipment remains in T&T. No VAT is paid on such temporary imports.

9 Conclusion In conclusion a summary of the tax implications of a subsidiary or branch carrying on business in T&T is as follows- The higher of corporation tax at the rate of 25% or business levy after 3 years of registration at the rate of 0.2%; Green Fund Levy- 0.1%; VAT- 15% or 0%; Customs duty on the importation of goods (various rates); Withholding tax of 5% on dividends or branch profits deemed remitted; Withholding tax on interest payments, royalties, management charges, etc. The standard rate is 15%; The subsidiary or branch will be required to file a corporation tax return making a declaration of its profit or loss for each financial year; As an employer, the subsidiary or branch is liable for PAYE, health surcharge and national insurance.

10 Contact Information For further information, please contact: Robert Alleyne Partner, Tax Phone: ext or/ Gillian Wolffe-O Neil Director, Tax Phone: ext Address: KPMG Edward Street Port of Spain Trinidad and Tobago, WI Phone: (868) Fax: (868) or/ Nicole Joseph Senior Manager, Tax Phone: ext Caveat The information contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation KPMG, a Trinidad and Tobago partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ( KPMG International ), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved. Printed in Trinidad and Tobago. KPMG and the KPMG logo are registered trademarks of KPMG International Cooperative ( KPMG International ), a Swiss entity.

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