MALTA TRADING COMPANIES IN MALTA

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1 MALTA TRADING COMPANIES IN MALTA

2 Trading companies in Malta 1. An effective jurisdiction for international trading operations MALTA GMT +1 Located in the heart of the Mediterranean, Malta has always played a leading role in international trade. The country s strategic location and its natural ports have made Malta a real hub of international trade and transport of goods. Boasting a rich and varied history, Malta has evolved into a reliable and reputable international business centre. Offering competitive operating costs, easily accessible to the European and North African markets and boasting highly qualified staff, Malta is currently one of the top jurisdictions for creating and managing your international business. 1/9

3 ADVANTAGES Highly developed and dynamic financial centre Extremely attractive tax system, approved by the EU Successful and solid economy, with public debt, public sector deficit and unemployment levels below EU average Low operational costs Highly specialised and efficient professional services providers Strong, but flexible and business friendly Administration and regulators 8 th World MALTA ship register English 2 nd Europe Official Language Maltese High level of education University with students of 80 nationalities Thanks to its history as a former British colony, Malta is a Commonwealth Member State. Malta requested European Union membership in 1990 and became an EU Member State in May 2004; it is currently part of the Eurozone and the Schengen Area. LEGAL FRAMEWORK Because it is an EU member state, all European regulations, directives and principles of freedom of establishment and supply of services apply to Malta. Among these we highlight the Parent Subsidiary Directive and the Interest and Royalties Directive, fully applicable to companies in Malta. Malta s diverse legal framework offers various types of entities suited to operating in conjunction with civil law and common law jurisdictions. By far, the entity most commonly used is the Limited Liability Company. These types of companies can be private (Limited) or public (PLC) and as a rule must consist of two shareholders and must have a minimum share capital of 2/9

4 1, and 46,587.47, respectively. Share capital can be expressed in any convertible currency; this choice shall determine the currency in which taxes shall be calculated, paid and reimbursed. Increasingly, creation of substance in the jurisdiction chosen to establish a trading company plays a fundamental role in tax planning and as such NEWCO offers all the services necessary to effectively and quickly implement any structure in Malta. 2. Tax Regime - Trading With a broad concept of Trading, any activity that constitutes the company s business is considered the company s trading activity. That is to say, it is not exclusive to sales of products or provision of services because it includes financing, leasing, management of own securities portfolios, including shares, licensing of intellectual property, etc. Malta therefore has an extremely competitive tax regime based on a single full imputation system created to avoid double taxation of a company s income, with shareholders receiving a full credit for the company s corresponding tax and therefore offering very efficient tax planning opportunities. Shareholder Tax credit The recipient of dividends can ask for the refund, in whole or in part, of the tax paid by the company. MALTA CO Corporate income tax rate is 35% The amount of the refund depends on the nature of the distributed profits and if these have benefited, or not, from any double tax relief. Subject to certain conditions 3/9

5 The system involves various tax accounts, which regulate the distribution of shareholders dividends, and this is a very important aspect of the Maltese tax regime, since it allows for a tax refund upon distribution of dividends. The regular corporate income tax rate is 35% and when shareholders receive dividends resulting from the company s trading activity, they can, if they fulfil certain requirements, request the return of 6/7 of the tax paid by the company. Dividends need not be effectively paid i.e. profits can be capitalized or simply credited to the shareholder. Refunds are guaranteed by Law and are paid without delay by the Tax Authority within 14 days as of the date on which the refund is requested. The refund is made in the same currency in which the tax has been paid. The single, full imputation system, together with the tax refund system, makes Malta one of the best jurisdictions for international trading operations. EXAMPLE COMPANY Profit before tax Maltese taxation (35%) 100,000 35,000 SHAREHOLDER Dividends received 65,000 Refund of tax paid in Malta 6/7 Refund to shareholder 30,000 4/9

6 THE DOUBLE STRUCTURE When a company in Malta makes use of one of the tax refund possibilities seeing as this system implies that a distribution of dividends is always carried out to trigger the refund of the tax, in order to defer taxation in the country of the shareholder and avoid any discussion on the nature of the tax refund it is usual to use a holding company in Malta to receive the dividends and the tax refunds, thereby having the flexibility to reinvest profits in the trading company or to accumulate profits for future distribution. The holding company is neutral in terms of taxation. The dividends paid by the company in Malta, be it the trading company or the intermediary holding company, to its shareholders are not subject to withholding tax, wherever the shareholders reside. Shareholder Holding CO receives dividends and 6/7 tax refund of taxes paid by trading CO receives dividends without withholding taxes MALTA HOLDING CO 35% CIT MALTA TRADING CO Corporate income tax. TRADING ACTIVITIES HIGHLIGHTS 1. operational company within the European Union protected by the Community principles and by a wide network of double taxation treaties 2. there are no regulations regarding transfer pricing 3. with a broad concept of Trading, any activity that constitutes the company s business is considered the company s trading activity. 5/9

7 DOUBLE TAXATION TREATIES Malta has a wide network of double taxation treaties offering competitive conditions. The treaties follow, in general, the model of the OECD convention, although a few the longest-standing ones diverge to some extent from the model. NETWORK OF TREATIES Albania Australia Austria Bahrain Barbados Belgium Bulgaria Canada China Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Egypt Estonia Finland France Georgia Germany Greece Guernsey Hong Kong Hungary Iceland India Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jersey Jordan Korea Kuwait Latvia Lebanon Libya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Malaysia Mexico Moldova Montenegro Morocco Netherlands Norway Pakistan Poland Portugal Qatar Romania Russia San Marino Saudi Arabia Serbia Singapore Slovakia Slovenia South Africa Spain Sweden Switzerland Syria Tunisia Turkey Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States of America Uruguay As such, a trading company from Malta is protected by this European legal framework and by the wide network of double taxation treaties, leading to an absence of discrimination with respect to trade relations maintained with all these States and creating an environment that is conducive to stable commercial relations. 6/9

8 OTHER IMPORTANT CHARACTERISTICS Withholding Tax In general, the payment of royalties, interest, dividends or proceeds of liquidation to non residents in Malta is not subject to withholding tax. Capital Gains Capital gains obtained by non residents in Malta on the sale of a shareholding in a company in Malta is not taxed in Malta, provided that the company has not, as its main assets, immovable property in Malta. Double tax relief mechanisms Malta foresees three mechanisms to eliminate double taxation applicable to income that has been taxed at source abroad: Application of the double taxation treaties (over 60 treaties foreseeing, with very few exceptions, the elimination of double taxation by way of the tax credit method) Unilateral tax relief foreseen in the domestic law, which may also apply to the tax paid over underlying profits of the subsidiary Flat rate foreign tax credit (FRFTC) of 25% applicable to certain types of income. This relief, together with the refund of 2/3 of tax paid, offers some very efficient tax structures Anti-avoidance rules Malta has a general anti-avoidance rule to avoid artificial or fictitious schemes, the sole or main purpose of which is to avoid taxes, but does not have thin-capitalisation rules or CFC (Controlled Foreign Companies) legislation. Transfer pricing Malta does not have specific or formal rules or regulations regarding transfer pricing and as such it is not necessary to prepare specific documentation for the purpose. There are, however, general anti-avoidance rules that can be applied by the taxation authorities. Advance Rulings Security and certainty are essential aspects when structuring international investments. In order to meet the needs of investors, it is possible to request the Maltese tax authorities to issue an advance tax ruling which is valid for a 5 years period, being renewable for an extra 5 years period. 7/9

9 If legislation should change during application of an advance tax ruling, said ruling shall remain valid for two years as of the legislative amendment. The taxation authorities are also available to issue informal tax opinions. Redomiciliation of companies Malta legislation provides for redomiciliation of companies from and to Malta, it being possible to move the registered office of foreign companies to Malta and vice-versa, even from and to tax havens with no tax charges on entry or exit. A company that moves its registered office to Malta can opt to revalue its assets located outside Malta to market value, reducing eventual capital gains at the time of the sale of these same assets. Foreign companies with effective management in Malta A company incorporated in Malta is considered a Malta resident and domiciled company, being subject to taxation in accordance with its global income. A company not incorporated in Malta, but with effective management in Malta, is considered a Malta resident but not domiciled company, being taxed in Malta only in what regards income obtained or remitted to Malta. This provision offers an excellent opportunity for international tax planning because income obtained and maintained outside Malta is not subject to taxation in Malta. Capital gains earned outside Malta are not subject to taxation even if they are sent to Malta. Other characteristics. Flexibility in the choice of the tax year. Malta accounting standards based on IFRS. Exemption of stamp duty when selling shares of companies whose main assets or businesses are located outside of Malta. Special tax regime for companies groups. Malta has no capital tax or wealth tax 8/9

10 3. NEWCO NEWCO is a corporate services provider, which under its previous brand New Madeira, and for more than two decades, has supported the incorporation and management of companies in competitive jurisdictions. With wide experience and know-how, which allowed it to successfully support major multinational companies as well as smaller companies and start-ups, NEWCO is present in Madeira and Malta, where it helps its clients benefit from a wide range of opportunities in these extremely attractive jurisdictions. While clients focus on their business, NEWCO, together with its clients specialists, offers effective solutions which may increase net profits by up to 35%. As a corporate services provider, NEWCO ensures that its clients receive all the necessary support to efficiently set up their companies in Madeira and Malta. The strategic values driving NEWCO s business activities are know-how, customer satisfaction, integrity, service excellence and innovation; and our clients acknowledge these in the services we provide. To better understand how we can help your company take advantage of the opportunities offered by Malta and Madeira, visit us at, or just follow us online through our blog, LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook accounts. The findings of a survey carried out to assess our clients satisfaction speak for themselves: Would be very likely to recommend NEWCO 93% 87% The company sets an excellent standard in its sector 9/9

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