Ukraine considers new fee for offshore transactions

Ukraine considers new fee for offshore transactions



Operations with offshore jurisdictions will fall under more intense tax pressure. The parliamentary opposition has proposed introduction in 2014 of a 15 percent fee on operations with non-residents who have the status of offshore companies in order to decrease the deficit of the Pension Fund of Ukraine. The list of offshore jurisdictions will be made by the government according to the proposed criteria; however Cyprus will have such a status by law. Experts say that the criteria are so fuzzy that even the United States can be considered an offshore jurisdiction, and the deputies suppose that the problem can be solved by introduction of control over transfer pricing.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Pavel Petrenko (Batkivshchyna) have submitted to the parliament bills N3125-3126 aimed at reduction of the operations for minimization of tax obligations of companies. The deputies suggest that from 2014 a 15 percent fee be imposed on the amounts paid by Ukrainian companies to non-residents registered in offshore jurisdictions. Financial institutions will only be obliged to transfer money in case of simultaneous payment of the fee. Those funds shall be used to finance the Pension Fund and increase pensions. Transactions with Cyprus alone could provide the state budget with 60 billion hryvnias, state the deputies. It is not a new idea. In late 2011 vice prime minister Sergey Tigipko proposed introduction of a 15 percent fee for a period of five years. Back then the estimated amount of additional revenues was 1 billion hryvnias, but the bill was not even considered by the government. Introduction of the fee will make companies refuse to operate with offshore jurisdictions which will deprive the Pension Fund of the promised billions. Nevertheless Pavel Petrenko supposes the oligarchs will not be able to change their business models quickly, and for this reason the budget will get part of the funds.

It is not the only initiative – they also proposed reconsideration of the principle of calculation of the benefit from transactions with offshore companies According to the Tax Code, gross expenditure does not include the costs of purchase from a resident of an offshore territory of advertising, consulting and marketing services. Now accounting, legal, brokerage and auditing services can also be excluded. The amount of a transaction with an offshore company that can be included in the expenses of a Ukrainian company will be reduced from 85% to 50%.

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