MALTA TRADING COMPANIES

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1 MALTA TRADING COMPANIES

2 Malta Trading Companies Maltese Registered Companies and Trading Operations in Malta Malta, an EU Member State since May 2004, has developed into a leading and reputable financial centre and offers an attractive and competitive environment for international business and investment. Its culture, multilingual population, geographical position, qualified professionals, opportunities for efficient tax planning, relatively low costs for management and administration, and its state of the art telecommunications, gives the added advantage over other jurisdictions. Taxation of Companies Companies registered in Malta are in principle subject to tax at the standard rate of 35% on income chargeable to tax. However, Malta operates a full imputation system of taxation. In the event of a dividend distribution, the tax paid by a company on its profits out of which a dividend has been distributed, is credited in full to the shareholder in order to avoid the economic double taxation of profits. Refunds of the applicable tax credit are available to shareholders in respect of profit distributions by Maltese companies out of all sources of income (with the exception of profits derived from immovable property situated in Malta) and provided that tax compliance requirements have been fully adhered to. As Malta operates a full imputation system of taxation, the dividend and refund received by the shareholder would not be subject to any further tax in Malta. Tax Accounting The allocation of a Maltese company s distributable profits between the five accounts being the Final Tax Account, the Immovable Property Account, the Foreign Income Account, the Maltese Taxed Account and the Untaxed Account is an important aspect of the Maltese tax system as this determines the possibility of tax refunds upon a distribution of profits. Payments and Refunds of Tax A company is assessed and must pay tax due in the currency in which its share capital is denominated. Refunds of tax are made in the same currency as the tax payment, thereby eliminating foreign currency exchange exposure. Shareholders making a refund application are required to be registered with the Inland Revenue and refund applications must be made within 4 years from the date on which the shareholder becomes entitled to the refund. The tax authorities are bound to issue refunds of tax within 14 days from the tax payment date, provided that all compliance requirements have been adhered to. Advance Revenue Rulings The International Tax Unit within the Inland Revenue Department is responsible for providing advance revenue rulings. Revenue Rulings give the comfort of legal certainty to international investors. A Revenue Ruling may be requested to confirm the tax treatment of income received by companies based in Malta. Revenue Rulings may be obtained for a period of 5 years and are renewable every five years thereafter. The Revenue Rulings survive a change in legislation giving a grace period of 2 years from the date of entry into force of any such new law. Other important considerations: No withholding taxes on dividend, interest or royalty payments to non-residents No thin capitalisation rules

3 Malta has no specific transfer pricing regulations No stamp duties on disposals/ acquisitions of securities in companies owned by non-residents Under re-domiciliation provisions it is possible to migrate companies into and out of Malta No exchange control regulations and business may be conducted freely in any currency Malta s financial services legislation and tax laws are compliant with EU Directives Malta has strong and effective Anti-Money Laundering Laws and Regulations Malta is tax efficient but not a tax haven Tax Treaties In order to encourage the growth of international trade, including that of financial services, double taxation treaties have been concluded by Malta with important trading partners as well as with emerging countries. This network of tax treaties is constantly being expanded. The treaties are generally based on the OECD model tax convention. Table 1.1 illustrates the treaty and nontreaty withholding tax rates when dividends, interest and royalties are paid from treaty countries to Maltese residents. Dividend, Interest and Royalty payments from Malta Unlike many other countries, Malta does not levy withholding tax on dividend, interest and royalty payments or similar payments by a Maltese company. In addition, in many tax treaties Malta has negotiated low withholding tax rates with third countries, adding to the attractiveness of the Malta tax treaties. National legislation to eliminate double taxation Unilateral Relief The Maltese tax system governing double taxation relief includes treaty relief and also unilateral relief. Malta allows relief from double taxation on a unilateral basis where overseas tax is suffered on income received from a country with which Malta does not have a double taxation treaty. C O N S U L C O I N T E R N A T I O N A L

4 TABLE 1.1 Country Dividends Interest Royalties Major Minor Percentage for shareholding shareholding major shareholding Albania Australia N/A Austria N/A 5 10 Bahrain 0 0 N/A 0 0 Barbados Belgium N/A Bulgaria 0 0 N/A 0 10 Canada N/A China /10 Croatia 5 5 N/A 0 0 Cyprus N/A Czech Republic 5 5 N/A 0 5 Denmark Egypt N/A Estonia Finland France Georgia 0 0 N/A 0 0 Germany Greece Hungary Hong Kong 0 0 N/A 0 3 Iceland India Ireland Isle of Man 0 0 N/A 0 0 Israel Italy N/A Jersey 0 0 N/A 0 0 Jordan N/A Korea(R.O.K) Kuwait Latvia Lebanon 5 5 N/A 0 5 Libya Lithuania Luxembourg Malaysia 0 0 N/A Montenegro /10 Morocco Netherlands Norway N/A Pakistan N/A Poland Portugal Qatar 0 0 N/A 0 5 Romania 5 5 N/A 5 5 Russia San Marino Saudi Arabia 5 5 N/A 0 5/7 Serbia /10 Singapore 0 0 N/A 7/10 10 Slovakia 5 5 N/A 0 5 Slovenia South Africa 5 5 N/A Spain Sweden Switzerland /10 0 Syria 0 0 N/A Tunisia N/A Turkey United Arab Emirates 0 0 N/A 0 0 UK 0 0 N/A Uruguay /10 USA /15 10

5 The overseas tax suffered may be allowed as a credit against the tax chargeable in Malta on the gross amount, limited to the total tax liability in Malta on the particular income. When claiming unilateral relief, the recipient of the income must prove the following to the satisfaction of the Commissioner of Inland Revenue: a) That the income arose from overseas; b) That the income suffered overseas tax; and c) The amount of that tax. Financing, Licensing and Similar Activities International groups often find it useful to have financial flows of individual group companies managed by a central treasury unit. Withholding taxes on interest and royalty payments to a Maltese company are often reduced in terms of Malta s double tax treaties the end of the sentience. As mentioned, Malta does not itself levy withholding taxes on interest and royalty payments, making Malta an ideal location for group financing and licensing activities. No foreign Tax Foreign tax Foreign tax 15% EUR EUR EUR Interest/ Royalty Income 10,000 10,000 10,000 Foreign tax - (500) (1,500) Net income received in Malta 10,000 9,500 8,500 Chargeable income 10,000 10,000 10,000 35% 3,500 3,500 3,500 Credit for foreign tax paid (-) (500) (1,500) Malta tax payable 3,500 3,000 2,000 Refund (3,000) (3,000) (2,000) Net tax cost Net tax cost expressed as a percentage 5% 0% 0% At the same time, interest on group financing activities and royalty income is taxed at the standard rate of 35% less any available credits for foreign tax. Upon a dividend distribution by the Maltese company, the shareholders may generally apply for a refund of 6/7ths of the tax levied on those profits out of which the dividends have been distributed. The provision of banking services, deriving rent and premiums from assets held abroad, leasing and managing overseas assets. Trade, Marketing, Distribution and Service Activities Malta has some considerable advantages as a location from which to establish a trading base. Companies that do not opt to use Malta as a regional base for trading and distribution may use a Maltese company to conduct the following activities: Ecommerce activities for retail or wholesale distribution of material or nonmaterial goods

6 Licensed online gaming activities Licensed investment services Central management or consultancy services Perform reinvoicing Yacht management services Active IP management Property Management Aircraft Leasing A Maltese company s income arising from trading activities is included as part of the company s income for the year and charged to tax at the rate of 35%. Upon a distribution of a dividend, the shareholders may generally apply for a refund of 6/7ths of the tax levied on those profits out of which the dividends have been distributed. The following example illustrates the mechanics of the full imputation system and tax refunds: Profits derived by a Maltese company may be distributed as a dividend to a Maltese corporate shareholder, which corporate shareholder would not be subject to any further tax on the refund or dividend received. No foreign Tax suffered EUR Profits before tax 10,000 Chargeable income 10,000 35% 3,500 Credit for foreign tax paid (-) Malta tax payable 3,500 Refund to the shareholder on a dividend distribution (3,000) Net tax cost 500 Net tax cost expressed as a percentage 5% A FBRH CONSULTANTS LTD - SIMON PITSILLIDES Consulco International Limited 2012 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of Consulco International Limited. The information provided in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or investment advice and no responsibility is accepted for any loss occasioned directly or indirectly as a result of persons acting, or refraining from acting, wholly or partially in reliance upon it. Nicosia London Athens Bucharest Moscow Dubai St. Petersburg Sofia Gzira Warsaw Cyprus Head office: Consulco, 73 Metochiou Street, 2407 Engomi, Cyprus Tel: , Fax: , Malta office 189 The Strand, Apartment 1 Gzira, GZR 03, T: , F: ,

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