Archive for Asia

Hong Kong And The United States Sign FATCA Agreement

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On November 13, 2014, Hong Kong and the United States signed an inter-governmental agreement (IGA), which will require financial institutions in Hong Kong to comply with the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

FATCA provides the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with the tools it needs (not a scalpel but a chainsaw) to obtain information on financial accounts held at foreign financial institutions (FFIs) by US persons. An FFI’s failure to disclose information on their US clients hits it where it hurts the most: in their wallets. Very simply, it results in the withholding of 30 percent tax on payments of US-sourced income.

Model IGAs are creatures of the US Treasury and have been developed to overcome a Read more

Tax Court – Taxpayer Was Not A Chinese Resident Pursuant to the US/China Tax Treaty

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The Tax Court has ruled that a Chinese citizen who had lived in the U.S. and filed a 2005 U.S. return as a resident alien, then filed an amended 2005 return, then, in 2009, received a 2005 refund and interest on that refund, was neither a Chinese resident nor a nonresident alien in 2009 and therefore was subject to tax on the interest income at regular U.S. graduated rates.

Article 10.1 of the tax treaty between the U.S. and China (the treaty) provides that interest arising in a Contracting State (in this case, the U.S.) and paid to a resident of the other Contracting State (China) may be taxed in the other Contracting State (China). Article 10.2 provides that the interest may also be taxed in the Contracting State (U.S.) according to its laws—but if the recipient is the beneficial owner of the interest, the tax may not exceed Read more

How To Succeed In Cross-Border Merger And Acquisition Deals In China

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Foreign direct investments have been increasing for the past few decades.

According to Baker & McKenzie for multinational companies venturing into China through Mergers and Acquisitions there are eight essentials that these companies need to be aware of in order to succeed.  They are as follows:

1. Knowing your China counter-party
2. Conducting deep due diligence
3. Structuring the deal
4. Navigating government approvals
5. Satisfying valuation requirements Read more

G20 Presidency Potentially Used To Reduce Bank Secrecy And Share Tax Information

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Algirdas Semeta, EU’s Commissioner for Tax wants Australian PM to use G20 Presidency to lean on Asia-Pacific financial centres to reduce bank secrecy & share tax information.

In an exclusive in today’s Australian Financial Review, journalist Geoff Winestock reports that Commissioner Semeta (who is currently in Australia) wants Prime Minister Abbott to convince Singapore, HK, Taiwan & Macau to reduce their bank secrecy provisions and to share tax information with other authorities. Commissioner Semeta is due to meet today with Australia’s Treasurer Joe Hockey and the two are likely to discuss protection of the tax base against multinationals that shift profits to offshore financial centres.

Commissioner Semeta said “Australia could find a way to get all these countries on board”. Read more

FATCA: Updates for Hong Kong, Philippines, New Zealand and Singapore.

TaxConnections Offshore BusinessHONG KONG

In August 19, 2013, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) released a circular directing financial institutions to ensure compliance by establishing the necessary processes and controls, if applicable. HKMA also suggested that the Hong Kong Association of Banks and the DTC Association offer appropriate assistance to facilitate the development of good practices for compliance with FATCA and other overseas tax regimes. There is no explicit mention of a potential IGA with the U.S. (Source: HKMA)


Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), in a memorandum, reminds financial institutions – including commercial and investment banks – to evaluate if they are Foreign Financial Institutions (FFIs) subject to FATCA, to study the potential effects of FATCA on their businesses, and determine the steps to take to avoid the unfavorable consequences of non-compliance. And if they are subject to FATCA compliance, the institution must put in place a policy to comply. The BSP message states that any FATCA-related questions or concerns of banks should be provided to the Association of Bank Compliance Officers, Inc. (ABCOMP) which serves as the central repository of FATCA-related inquiries and collate such queries for a more systematic submission to the U.S. Government. There is no explicit mention of a potential IGA with the U.S. (Source: BSP)


In a media release last May 14th, Singapore has indicated its intent to enter into an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the U.S., a move which will help financial institutions operating in the city-state comply with the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). (Source: IRAS) Read more

VAT Exemption Coming To Companies In China

TaxConnections Blogger Yvette Kwong posts about Value Added Taxes In ChinaThe pilot VAT program put in place in January 1, 2012 was expanded nationally on August 1, 2013. The long-awaited administrative measure on VAT exemption for cross border services would now allow companies in China to follow the prescribed procedures to obtain VAT exemption on previously non-zero-rated service revenue from cross-border international transportation and “modern services” within the scope of the pilot VAT program.

Services that may benefit from this new administrative measure include R&D and design services provided to foreign service recipients.

Certain services such as consultancy services in respect of immovable properties or goods located in China are fully subject to VAT even if provided to foreign service recipients.

Services such as exhibition and advertising services are VAT exempt only if performed overseas and regardless of whether the service recipient is Chinese or foreign.

International transportation services are either zero-rated or VAT exempt depending on whether the service provided is a general VAT taxpayer with relevant licenses or a small-scale VAT taxpayer.

Zero rating means that service provider in China does not have to charge output VAT on cross-border services and also can apply for a refund of its related input VAT. Read more

Much Anticipated “Free-Trade Zone” – China Officially Opened In Shanghai on September 29, 2013

TaxConnections Member and Blogger Yvette Kwong posts about China Free Trade ZoneAs part of China’s strategy and long-term goal to further open up China to the world economy and international trade, China has set up a “Free Trade Pilot Area” or FTPA in Shanghai.

The intent is to observe and learn from Shanghai’s experience for nationwide application later on in China.

According to Deloitte the focus will be on policy reforms rather than preferential treatment. This should result in trade, investment and financial liberalization.

Details of the rules are expected to be announced shortly with full implementation of those rules to be accomplished by the end of 2013.

Business Sectors Likely to Benefit from the FTPA

The FTPA will give wholly foreign-owned banks the opportunity to set up shop in China for the first time.

Two foreign banks (Citigroup and Development Bank of Singapore) and eight Chinese banks have received approval to open branches in the zone.

According to the Wall Street Journal banks in the zone are expected to have more freedom to set interest rates and Read more

Emerging Transfer Pricing Issues For China and S.E. Asia

TaxConnections Tax Blog - China and Southeast Asia Transfer Pricing IssuesLocation Specific Advantages (LSAs)

Tax authorities in emerging markets such as China and South East Asia are paying more attention to LSAs.

LSAs generally refer to location savings on the supply side  and market premiums on the demand side.

Location Savings

In the context of transfer pricing (TP), ‘‘location savings’’ generally refer to (net) cost savings realized by an MNE (multinational enterprise) as a result of relocating  some of its operations from a ‘‘high cost’’ to a ‘‘low cost’’ location.

Market Premiums

On the other hand, market premiums refer to location specific ability to sell products at a higher price.

In a United Nations Transfer Pricing (“TP”) Manual released in 2012  China’s State Administration of Taxation (“SAT”) indicated that China would promote the LSA concept in future practice.

Current  challenges include how to identify, quantify and allocate LSAs. Read more

China Relaxes Procedures To Send Cash Out Of Country

iStock_000015914943XSmallAccording to a recent Deloitte webcast China is simplifying its procedures for outbound payments.

Bulletin [2013] No. 40 and Huifu [2013] No. 30 removes the requirements of tax clearance certificates for outbound payments.

Also, SAFE is allowing cross-border cash pooling for pilot multinational companies and state-owned enterprises. This allows for cross-border intercompany borrowing, lending and netting or cash pooling (within limits). Tax considerations include deductibility of intercompany interest expense, withholding tax on interest payments, and transfer pricing issues concerning intercompany charges.

Further, excess cash from the China operations of an MNC could be used to finance overseas cash needs of sister companies via equity or debt. Read more

Responsible Officers: Removal of Penalty of Perjury Declaration

TaxConnections Blog Post Removal of Penalty of Perjury Declaration regarding FATCAIt had been expected that a Responsible Officer (RO) would be required to certify, under penalty of perjury, as to compliance with FATCA. The original post describing the possible consequences to a Responsible Officer making a false certification under FATCA can be found here.

Recently, the Internal Revenue Service opened the FATCA registration system and published additional guidance. There is not a full length “FFI Agreement” as the IRS had previously stated would be published in a Revenue Procedure before the opening of the registration site; instead, the Agreement is more of a broad and open-ended certification by the RO that the FFI will comply with FATCA. This is similar to that provided in a recent draft of Form 8957. The specific certification is as follows:

Financial Institution – Agreement

I, Joe Smith, as RO for the Financial Institution, certify that, to the best of my knowledge, the information submitted above is accurate and complete and agree that the Financial Institution (including its branches, if any) will comply with FATCA obligations in accordance with the terms and conditions reflected in regulations, intergovernmental agreements, and other administrative guidance to the extent applicable to the Financial Institution based on its status in each jurisdiction in which it operates. Read more

Responsible Officers Certifications Under FATCA

TaxConnections Blogger Jim Calvin Posts about FATCAWhat could be the consequences to a Responsible Officer making a false certification under FATCA?

It is expected that participating FFIs will be required to identify a Responsible Officer who will be required to certify, under penalty of perjury, as to compliance with FATCA (Chapter 4 of the Internal Revenue Code). The proposed regulations describe several certifications by Responsible Officers and by others. Implementation will likely require that subordinate certifications and documentation from other persons will be required to support the certification made by the Responsible Officer.

The Internal Revenue Service may criminally prosecute a false document case under more than one statute. Only one of those possibilities is discussed below – that is, section 7206 of the Internal Revenue Code – because it is the one most likely to be invoked, and, in fact, it is the most frequently charged criminal tax violation. It applies where a “return, statement or other document…contains or is verified by a written declaration that it is made under penalties of perjury.” In addition, civil sanction may, and almost always does, follow a criminal investigation.

Sometimes referred to as the false-statement, tax perjury or fraud statute, section 7206 aptly illustrates the serious consequences of a false certification. Consider those consequences: Any person who willfully makes Read more