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Worldwide Tax News

Approved Changes (8)

Albania

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Albania Tax Changes for 2021

Albania has introduced several tax changes for 2021, including changes to support smaller businesses. Changes include:

  • The general definition of taxable persons for profit tax purposes is amended to include any legal entity or partnership realizing annual income above ALL 8 million (reference to VAT registration removed);
  • Small businesses with annual turnover of up to 8 ALL million are subject to simplified tax on small businesses, with the rate set at 0% instead of 0% for turnover up to ALL 5 million and 5% for turnover of ALL 5 to 8 million;
  • The profit tax rates are amended as follows, with the removal of the 5% rate:
    • 0% for taxpayers with annual income of up to ALL 14 million
    • 15% for taxpayers with annual income over ALL 14 million
  • A new VAT registration threshold is introduced, with registration required if annual taxable turnover exceeds ALL 10 million and voluntary registration allowed if turnover exceeds ALL 5 million;
  • VAT return periods are harmonized, including that all VAT registered taxpayers are required to follow a monthly period, with VAT purchase/sales books due by the 10th of the following month and VAT returns due by the 14th of the following month; and
  • The national minimum wage is increased from ALL 26,000 to ALL 30,000, which is used as the minimum basis for social and health insurance contributions.

The changes apply from 1 January 2021.

01-19-2021

Bahamas

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The Bahamas Extends Tax Breaks for the Islands of Grand Bahama and the Abacos

On 12 January 2021, the Government of the Bahamas announced an extension of tax breaks for the Islands of Grand Bahama and the Abacos.

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Cabinet approves further extension on SERZ tax breaks for Grand Bahama and the Abacos

Construction services added to exempted list while deadline for vehicle imports extended for 30 days

The Ministry of Finance is pleased to announce the expansion of tax relief measures under the Special Economic Recovery Zone (SERZ) Extension Order for the islands of Grand Bahama and the Abacos.

Earlier today, Cabinet approved the Disaster Reconstruction Authority (Special Economic Recovery Zone) (Relief) (Amendment) Order, 2021, which includes construction services in the list of tax exempted activities until June 30, 2021.

"Construction activities remain a critical item for the recovery process. The SERZ Extension Order approved in December provided tax relief on the local sale and importation of construction supplies. The latest amendment order allows for the zero-rating of construction services, which will render these activities VAT Free within the Zone until June 30, 2021," said Senator Kwasi Thompson, Minister of State for Finance.

There is a provision that specifically requires these services to be invoiced before June 30 and paid in full by September 31, 2021.

The latest amendment also extends the time allowance for the import of VAT free vehicles. Replacement vehicles must be purchased and shipped prior to January 31, 2021, representing a one-month extension, an arrive in The Bahamas by April 30, 2021.

"The Government is listening and responding to the needs of the people. The road to recovery is not an easy one for residents in the islands devastated by Hurricane Dorian, and we are doing everything we can to provide support where we can," said Minister Thompson.

01-19-2021

Cyprus

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Cyprus Issues Reminder that Reduced VAT Rate for Accommodation, Restaurants, and Passenger Transport Reverted to 9%

The Cyprus Tax Department has issued a notice to remind taxpayer that the 5% reduced VAT rate for the following only applies for the period 1 July 2020 to 10 January 2021:

  • Accommodation in hotels and other tourist accommodation;
  • Restaurant and catering services; and
  • Passenger transportation, including by taxis and tourist and intercity buses.

From 11 January 2021, the applicable VAT rate is reverted to the 9% reduced VAT rate as before 1 July 2020.

01-19-2021

Italy

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Italy Publishes Provisions for Implementation of Digital Services Tax Including One-Month Extension of Initial Payment and Return Deadlines

The Italian Revenue Agency published Provision no. 13185/2021 of 15 January 2021], which provides for the implementation the procedures for the collection of the 3% digital services tax (DST). Italy's DST entered into force on 1 January 2020, with taxable persons required to pay the DST by 16 February in respect of the preceding calendar year and submit the DST declaration (return) by 31 March. However, the first payment and return deadlines for DST in respect of 2020 have been extended to 16 March 2021 and 30 April 2021, respectively, as per Decree-Law No. 3 of 15 January 2021.

The DST applies to both resident and non-resident companies meeting the following conditions at the company or group level:

  • Total revenue of at least EUR 750 million; and
  • Total revenue from digital services supplied in Italy of at least EUR 5.5 million.

Digital services within the scope of DST include:

  • The delivery of advertising on a digital interface targeted to users of the same interface;
  • The provision of a multilateral digital interface that allows users to interact in order to facilitate the direct supply of goods or services; and
  • The transmission of user data generated from using a digital interface.

Further to these primary rules, Provision no. 13185/2021 provides the related definitions, additional details on the scope and exclusions, the tax base and tax determination, the payment of tax, etc.

This includes that taxable persons, including non-residents, are generally required to pay the DST and submit returns directly. However, if a taxable person is established in a non-cooperative jurisdiction and does not have a permanent establishment in Italy, a tax representative must be appointed in Italy to fulfill the DST obligations. For this purpose, a non-cooperative jurisdiction is a jurisdiction outside the EU/EEA with which Italy has not concluded an agreement for administrative cooperation and mutual assistance. It is also provided that, for groups, one group company may be appointed to handle all DST obligations, and where a resident company is part of an MNE group, it will be held jointly liable for the payment of DST with the non-resident companies of the group.

01-19-2021

Jersey

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Jersey Issues Reminder on Extended 2019 Tax Return Deadline

The Jersey government has issued a notice to remind taxpayers that the extended deadline for filing 2019 tax returns is 31 January 2021.

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Company tax return deadline

14 January 2021

Companies are being reminded that they have until 31 January 2021 to file their 2019 tax returns.

Revenue Jersey extended the deadline at the end of 2020 due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but companies must meet the new deadline to avoid a late filing penalty.

For companies and other entities that file a corporate tax return, online filing for 2020 goes live on Monday 1 February.

Companies that filed a return in 2019 will see that some details declared in section one of their 2019 tax returns have been included in the 2020 form. These details can be amended if needed. Further guidance can be found here.

Companies filing their tax returns for the first time will need to register for online filing. Guidance on how to register can be found here.

Comptroller of Revenue, Richard Summersgill said: "We recognise the disruption caused by COVID-19 and the restrictions imposed on Islanders, however the date for companies to complete their 2019 tax return is fast approaching. If they haven't done so already, I urge them to file their return before the extended deadline to avoid a late filing penalty."

01-19-2021

Spain

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Spain Defers Initial Due Dates for Financial Transactions and Digital Services Tax

The Spanish Tax Agency has issued a release announcing a deferral of the initial deadlines for the new Financial Transactions Tax (FTT) and Digital Services Tax (DST), which both entered into force on 16 January 2020. The deferrals are reportedly being provided to give companies more time to adapt and implement required changes to comply with the newly created taxes.

With respect to the FTT, the settlement period is monthly, and the standard filing period is from the 10th to the 20th of the following month. For the months of January and February 2021, it is provided that the initial self-assessment return and payment corresponding to these months will be due by the deadline for the month of March 2021 (from 10 to 20 April 2021). Therefore, the first self-assessments of the tax will not be submitted until 10 April 2021.

With respect to the DST, the settlement period is quarterly, and the standard filing period is the month following the settlement period. For the first quarter of 2021, it is provided that the initial self-assessment return and payment corresponding to this quarter will be due by the deadline for the second quarter of 2021 (from 1 to 31 July 2021). Therefore, the first self-assessments of the tax will not be submitted until 1 July 2021.

01-19-2021

United States

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U.S. IRS and Treasury Issue Final Regulations on Guidance on Passive Foreign Investment Companies

The U.S. IRS and Treasury have issued the final regulations (TD 9936) on Guidance on Passive Foreign Investment Companies. The regulations were published in the Federal Register on 15 January 2021 and are generally effective on 14 January 2021.  

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SUMMARY:

This document contains final regulations regarding the determination of whether a foreign corporation is treated as a passive foreign investment company ("PFIC") for purposes of the Internal Revenue Code ("Code"), and the application and scope of certain rules that determine whether a United States person that indirectly holds stock in a PFIC is treated as a shareholder of the PFIC. The regulations affect United States persons with direct or indirect ownership interests in certain foreign corporations.

DATES:

Effective date: These regulations are effective on January 14, 2021.

01-19-2021

United States-Austria-Spain-United Kingdom

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U.S. Trade Representative Finds Austrian, Spanish, and UK DSTs to be Discriminatory

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has announced the release of its findings in Section 301 investigations of Digital Service Taxes (DSTs) adopted by Austria, Spain, and the UK.

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USTR Releases Findings and Updates in DST Investigations

Washington, DC – The U.S. Trade Representative has issued findings in Section 301 investigations of Digital Service Taxes (DSTs) adopted by Austria, Spain, and the United Kingdom, concluding that each of the DSTs discriminates against U.S. companies, is inconsistent with prevailing principles of international taxation, and burden or restricts U.S. commerce.

The findings on each of the DSTs are supported by comprehensive reports, which will be published today on USTR’s website.

"The taxation of companies that engage in international trade in goods and services is an important issue," stated U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer.  "The best outcome would be for countries to come together to find a solution."

USTR is not taking any specific actions in connection with the findings at this time but will continue to evaluate all available options.

The Section 301 investigations of the DSTs adopted by Austria, Spain, and the United Kingdom were initiated in June 2020, along with investigations of DSTs adopted or under consideration by seven other jurisdictions.  On January 6, 2021, USTR announced findings in the investigations of DSTs adopted by India, Italy, and Turkey.

DSTs are under consideration or development in the four remaining jurisdictions – Brazil, the Czech Republic, the European Union, and Indonesia – but are not currently in effect.  USTR is releasing a status update for these jurisdictions.

The reports, Federal Register notices summarizing the determinations, and the status update are available at the following links: Austria DST report; Austria DST notice; Spain DST report; Spain DST notice; United Kingdom DST report; United Kingdom DST notice; DST Investigations Status Update.

01-19-2021
Proposed Changes (4)

European Union

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Council of the European Union Publishes Consolidated Compromise Proposal on Public CbC Reporting

The Council of the European Union has published a consolidated compromise proposal on the introduction of public Country-by-Country (CbC) reporting, which has been debated for several years and is again being pushed by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council. The consolidated compromise proposal has been provided, for ease of reference, in preparation for a working party meeting scheduled on 22 January 2021.

The main changes included in the consolidated compromise proposal concern the purpose of public CbC reports. This includes additional language concerning the enhancement of public scrutiny of MNEs as follows:

"Providing for such scrutiny is also necessary to promote a better informed public debate regarding in particular the level of tax compliance of certain multinational undertakings active in the Union and the impact of this on the real economy. The setting of common rules on corporate income tax transparency will also serve the general economic interest by providing for equivalent safeguards throughout the Union for the protection of investors, creditors and other third parties generally, and thus contributing to regaining the trust of citizens of the Union in the fairness of the national tax systems."

Another important change is the removal of the following:

"At the same time it is stressed that, as concluded by the G20 and the OECD, country-by-country reports will be helpful for high-level transfer pricing risk assessment purposes only. The information in the Country-by-Country Report on its own does not constitute conclusive evidence that transfer prices are or are not appropriate and that information should not be used as a substitute for a detailed transfer pricing analysis of individual transactions and prices based on a full functional analysis and comparability analysis."

01-19-2021

European Union

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European Commission Launches Public Consultation on Digital Levy

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the initiative for the introduction of a digital levy (tax) in the EU to address the issue of fair taxation of the digital economy. The consultation includes an initial feedback period of 14 January to 11 February 2021 on the initiative roadmap and a separate feedback period of 18 January to 12 April 2021 for the main public consultation.

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About this consultation

Feedback period - 18 January 2021 - 12 April 2021 (midnight Brussels time)

Topic - Taxation

Target audience

This public consultation is targeting all stakeholders, namely national and sub-national administrations in the EU and in the rest of the world, businesses, trade associations, non-governmental organisations, citizens, workers associations and trade unions, consultancies, think tanks, research and academic institutions. It is especially addressed at stakeholders operating in the digital economy.

Why we are consulting

Technological advancements and digitalisation are profoundly changing the way we work, do business, how people travel, communicate and relate. These changes give rise to innovation, growth, and new business models, but also important challenges. The COVID crisis has been a catalyst and accelerator of change, hastening the transition towards a more digital world and triggering important changes in behaviour that could have lasting effects. Technological advancements and digitalisation are profoundly changing the way we work, do business, how people travel, communicate and relate.

Against this backdrop, the EU needs a modern, stable regulatory and tax framework to appropriately address the developments and challenges of the digital economy. In its conclusions of 21 July 2020 the European Council tasked the Commission with putting forward proposals for additional own resources. The digital levy is one of them. The new initiative will help address the issue of fair taxation related to the digitalisation of the economy and, at the same time, is intended to not interfere with the ongoing work at the G20 and OECD level on a reform of the international corporate tax framework. The Commission is particularly interested in gathering views on the main problems related to taxing the digital economy, for Member States and business. It also asks for feedback on possible solutions to these problems. This public consultation will feed into the work underway on the digital levy proposal for mid-2021.

01-19-2021

Hungary

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Hungary Planning to Introduce New Tax Exemption for Individuals Under 25

The Hungarian government is reportedly planning for the introduction of a new general income tax exemption on employment income of individuals under the age of 25, up to a basis cap equal to the average national salary. Subject to approval, the planned exemption is to apply from 1 January 2022.

01-19-2021

Nigeria

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Nigerian Parliament Considering Draft Petroleum Industry Bill

According to recent reports, the Nigerian parliament is considering the draft Petroleum Industry Bill 2020 (PIB), which provides for the introduction of a new framework for the oil and gas industry. Among other things, the bill contains new measures on taxation, including the repeal of the current Petroleum Profit Tax Act and the introduction of a new Hydrocarbon Tax.

The Hydrocarbon Tax would apply to companies engaged in upstream petroleum operations onshore, in shallow water, and deep offshore. It would apply to crude oil, condensates, and natural gas liquids produced from associated gas, but will not apply to:

  • Associated and non-associated natural gas; and
  • Condensates and natural gas liquids produced from non-associated gas in fields or gas processing plants, subject to certain conditions.

The hydrocarbon tax would be charged and assessed separately on the profits from each and every petroleum mining lease and payable during each accounting period at the following rates on the chargeable profit for the period:

  • 42.5% of the profit from crude oil for onshore areas for petroleum mining leases before the commencement of the PIB;
  • 37.5% of the profit from crude oil for shallow water areas for petroleum mining leases before the commencement of the PIB;
  • 5.0% of the profit from crude oil from deep offshore areas for petroleum mining leases before the commencement of the PIB;
  • 22.5% of the profit from crude oil for onshore areas for new licenses and leases granted after the commencement of the PIB Act and for marginal fields in onshore areas;
  • 20.0% of the profit from crude oil for shallow water areas for new licenses and leases granted after the commencement of the PIB and for marginal fields in shallow water areas; and
  • 10.0% of the profit from crude oil for deep offshore areas for new licenses and leases granted after the commencement of the PIB.

The draft PIB further provides that any petroleum operations will also be subject to company income tax (30%). In levying income tax on petroleum operations, the applicable tax must be determined separately for upstream, midstream, and downstream petroleum operations, and the hydrocarbon tax will not be deductible. Further to requiring separate taxation of different streams (upstream, midstream, and downstream), the draft bill also requires that separate companies be registered for each stream as companies would no longer be allowed to engage in multiple streams.

Lastly, the draft PIB provides that all production of petroleum, including production tests, will be subject to royalties on a non-discriminatory basis with respect to all licensees and lessees. Royalties based on production will be calculated on a field basis applied at the following rates on the chargeable volume of the crude oil and condensates produced from the field area in the relevant month:

  • Onshore areas - 18%
  • Shallow water (up to 200m water depth) 16%
  • Deep offshore (greater than 200m water depth) 10%
  • Frontier basins 7.5%

A lower rate of 7.5% is provided for deep offshore fields with production not exceeding 15,000 barrels per day. In addition, for onshore and shallow water fields with production not exceeding 10,000 barrels per day, a 5.0% rate is provided on the first 5,000 barrels per day and a 7.5% rate is provided on the next 5,000 barrels per day. In addition to production-based rates, price-based rates of 0% to 10% are also provided depending on the price per barrel of crude oil and condensates.

Royalties based on production for natural gas and natural gas liquids shall be applied at general rates of 7.5% for onshore areas and 5% in other areas.

01-19-2021
Treaty Changes (4)

Bulgaria-Netherlands

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Bulgaria National Assembly Approves New Tax Treaty with the Netherlands

On 14 January 2021, Bulgaria's National Assembly approved the law for the ratification of the new income tax treaty with the Netherlands. The treaty, signed 14 September 2020, will enter into force on the last day of the month following the month in which the ratification instruments are exchanged and will apply from 1 January of the year following its entry into force. Once the new treaty is in force and effective, the 1990 tax treaty between the two countries will cease to have effect.

01-19-2021

Estonia-OECD

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Estonia Deposits Ratification Instrument for BEPS MLI

According to an update from the OECD, Estonia deposited on 15 January 2021 its ratification instrument for the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (MLI). Based on the date of deposit, the MLI will enter into force for Estonia on 1 May 2021, although its entry into force for Estonia's covered agreements (tax treaties) will depend on the ratification of the MLI by the counterparty to a particular covered agreement.

The MLI will generally enter into force for a particular covered agreement on the first day of the month following a three-month period after both parties to the covered agreement have deposited their ratification instruments. For the MLI to become effective, Estonia has made the reservation that it must first deposit a notification that it has completed its internal procedures for the entry into effect of the MLI for a particular covered agreement. As such, the provisions of the MLI will generally apply for a covered agreement:

  • in respect of withholding taxes, from the first day of the next calendar year that begins on or after 30 days after the date of deposit of the notification by Estonia (or by the respective counterparty if the same reservation is taken); and
  • in respect of other taxes, from the taxable period beginning on or after the expiration of a six-month period from 30 days after the date of deposit of the notification by Estonia (or by the respective counterparty if the same reservation is taken).

Solely for purposes of Estonia's own application of the MLI for other taxes, Estonia has opted for the MLI to apply from 1 January of the calendar year beginning on or after the expiration of the 6-month period.

Click the following link for Estonia's definitive list of reservations and notifications made upon deposit of the ratification instrument.

01-19-2021

Ghana-Norway

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Update - Tax Treaty between Ghana and Norway

The income tax treaty between Ghana and Norway was signed on 20 November 2020. The treaty is the first of its kind between the two countries.

Taxes Covered

The treaty covers Ghana income tax and covers the following Norwegian taxes:

  • National tax on income;
  • County municipal tax on income;
  • Municipal tax on income;
  • National tax relating to income from the exploration for and the exploitation of submarine petroleum resources; and
  • National tax on remuneration to non-resident artistes.

Residence

If a person other than an individual is considered resident in both Contracting States, the competent authorities will determine the company's residence for the purpose of the treaty through mutual agreement based on its place of effective management, place of incorporation, and any other relevant factors. If no agreement is reached, the person will not be entitled to any relief or exemption from tax provided by the treaty unless agreed upon by the competent authorities.

Service PE

The treaty includes the provision that a permanent establishment will be deemed constituted when an enterprise furnishes services in a Contracting State through employees or other engaged personnel for the same or a connected project for a period or periods aggregating more than 183 days within any 12-month period.

Withholding Tax Rates

  • Dividends - 7% if the beneficial owner is a company that has directly held at least 10% of the paying company's capital throughout a 365-day period that includes the day of the payment of the dividend; otherwise, 15%
  • Interest - 7%
  • Royalties - 10%
  • Fees for technical services (managerial, technical or consultancy) - 12%

Capital Gains

The following capital gains derived by a resident of one Contracting State may be taxed by the other State:

  • Gains from the alienation of immovable property situated in the other State; and
  • Gains from the alienation of movable property forming part of the business property of a permanent establishment in the other State.

Gains from the alienation of other property by a resident of a Contracting State may only be taxed by that State.

Offshore Activities

Article 22 (Offshore Activities) provides that a permanent establishment will be deemed constituted where an enterprise carries on offshore activities in connection with the exploration or exploitation of the seabed or subsoil or their natural resources situated in a Contracting State, if such activities continue for a period or periods aggregating more than 30 days within any 12-month period. Substantially similar activities carried on by an associated enterprise in a Contracting State are considered in determining if the 30-day threshold is exceeded.

Article 22 also provides that gains derived by a resident of a Contracting State may be taxed by the other State if derived from the alienation of exploration or exploitation rights, or the alienation of shares deriving their value or the greater part of their value directly or indirectly from such rights.

Double Taxation Relief

Both countries apply the credit method for the elimination of double taxation. Ghana will also provide a credit for the tax paid on profits out of which dividends are paid if the company receiving the dividends holds at least 10% of the paying company's capital.

Entry into Force and Effect

The treaty will enter into force once the ratification instruments are exchanged and will apply from 1 January of the year following its entry into force.

01-19-2021

Slovenia-Kazakhstan-Portugal-Qatar

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Slovenia Publishes Synthesized Texts of Tax Treaties with Kazakhstan, Portugal, and Qatar as Impacted by the BEPS MLI

Slovenia's Ministry of Finance has published the synthesized texts of the 2016 tax treaty with Kazakhstan, the 2003 tax treaty with Portugal, and the 2010 tax treaty with Qatar as impacted by the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (MLI). The synthesized texts were prepared on the basis of the reservations and notifications submitted to the Depositary by the respective countries. The authentic legal texts of the treaties and the MLI take precedence and remain the legal texts applicable.

The provisions of the MLI have effect with respect to the 2016 Slovenia-Kazakhstan tax treaty:

  • with respect to taxes withheld at source on amounts paid or credited to non-residents, where the event giving rise to such taxes occurs on or after 1 January 2021; and
  • with respect to all other taxes levied by each Contracting State, for taxes levied with respect to taxable periods beginning on or after 1 April 2021.

The provisions of the MLI have effect with respect to the 2003 Slovenia-Portugal tax treaty:

  • with respect to taxes withheld at source on amounts paid or credited to non-residents, where the event giving rise to such taxes occurs on or after 1 January 2021; and
  • with respect to all other taxes levied by each Contracting State, for taxes levied with respect to taxable periods beginning on or after 1 December 2020.

Notwithstanding the above, the provisions of Part VI (Arbitration) of the MLI have effect with respect to the treaty for cases presented to the competent authority of a Contracting State on or after 1 June 2020, and for cases presented prior to that date to the extent agreed by the competent authorities.

The provisions of the MLI have effect with respect to the 2010 Slovenia-Qatar tax treaty:

  • with respect to taxes withheld at source on amounts paid or credited to non-residents, where the event giving rise to such taxes occurs on or after 1 January 2021; and
  • with respect to all other taxes levied by each Contracting State, for taxes levied with respect to taxable periods beginning on or after 1 October 2020.

Click the following link for the Ministry of Finance treaty webpage, which includes the synthesized texts of Slovenia's treaties.

01-19-2021
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