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Guernsey Publishes Revised Guidance on 20% Tax Rate to Large Retail Businesses

Guernsey has published a revised statement of practice C55 - Large retail business, dated 22 April 2020. The statement of practice, first published in September 2016, concerns the extension of the company higher income tax rate (20%) to income from large retail business carried on in Guernsey with effect from 1 January 2016. Large retailers are those whose taxable profits arising or accruing in any year of charge exceed the limit of GBP 500,000. If the GBP 500,000 limit is exceeded in a year of charge, all of the taxable profits will be chargeable at 20% in that year of charge, not just that proportion which exceeds GBP 500,000. If the GBP 500,000 limit is not exceeded in a year of charge, the taxable retail profits will be chargeable at 0% in that year of charge.

The revised statement of practice includes two main additions. The first concerns accounting periods of more than 12 months, including that if a company has an accounting period of more than 12 months (subject to any restrictions on the accounting periods contained in company law) the GBP 500,000 threshold will be increased accordingly. For example, if a company changes its accounting date from 28 February to 30 June, the threshold for the 16-month period will be GBP 666,667.

The second addition concerns the application of section 67 of the Income Tax Law, which contains a general provision against legal avoidance allowing the tax authority to make adjustments to counteract the avoidance, reduction, or deferral of tax liability from a transaction or series of transactions. In this respect it is added that section 67 may be applied where a company seeks to change its accounting date, without valid commercial reasons, where the effect of that change is the advantage of the additional profit threshold available, thus reducing its liability from 20 to 0%.

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