ニュースレター November 2013

ゼットランドよりニュースレターの配信(2013年11月号)

平素より格別なご高配を賜り、厚くお礼を申し上げます。

ご希望のお客様へニュースレターを配信させていただいております。
英語でのオリジナル版から要点のみを取り上げ日本語の翻訳サポートを行っております。それぞれの英文記事の最後に日本語翻訳を合わせてご一読ください。

尚、日本語翻訳付版は翻訳に時間がかかるため、英語オリジナル版より遅れての発行となります。ご了承願います。

今後も変わらぬご愛顧のほどよろしくお願いいたします。

Zetland Newsletter
November, 2013 | www.zetland.biz/

Dear Friend of Zetland,
The new Hong Kong Companies Ordinance will be effective in the first quarter of 2014. The highlights are the requirement for a natural person to now be a director of a Hong Kong company, though unlike Singapore the director need not be resident in Hong Kong.
Other exciting news that as of 1st December there will be the introduction into the law of the Hong Kong Trust Amendment Ordinance.
This article newsletter will focus on both the new developments.
Additionally, there will be information on the new Shanghai Free Trade Zone which though in its early days, is expected to be a huge thing for China. The article will explain more about it and how Zetland through its Shanghai office can help.
If anyone has any questions on the recent developments, or pretty much anything else for that matter, please feel free to contact me. No question will go unanswered.

香港にて新会社条例が来年(2014年)第一四半期中(3月まで)に執行されます。今回もっとも注目すべき変更内容は、個人の取締役登録が義務づけられるという点です。ただし、シンガポールとは異なり取締役が香港居民である必要はありません。(シンガポール法人の場合、個人取締役はシンガポール居住民である必要がある)

お客様法人にて法人取締役のみをご利用の方は、是非この機会に変更手続き見直しをお勧めいたします。

11月号ニュースレター取り扱い記事:

  • 香港会社条例改定
  • 香港信託法の改定
  • 透明性と高い競争力を狙う課税管轄区域、シンガポールの魅力
  • ベリーズ、オフショア金融センターとして2014年に向けた発展
  • 二重非課税とOECDによるBEPS計画(税源侵食と利益移転に関する行動計画)
  • 上海自由貿易試験区、リフォーム内容詳細公表

(*日本語訳は、英語原文を簡略したものです。内容詳細についてご興味のある方は弊社へお問い合わせください)

Yours sincerely,

James Lee
Group Managing Director
Zetland Fiduciary Group

Hong Kong – New Companies Ordinance
香港、新会社条例

1311_HKNewCompanyNew Companies OrdinanceIn our December 2012 issue, we have provided a brief summary of the main changes introduced by the new Companies Ordinance (Cap. 622) (the “Ordinance”). With the commencement of the new Ordinance expected in the first quarter of 2014, it is now time to review your Hong Kong companies (if any) to make sure they are in compliant with the new Ordinance. We highlight the changes that are of most significance and relevance to our clients in a series of issues to follow.
All changes we refer here are in relation to private companies which are not members of a group of companies of which a listed company is a member.

Directors (Part 10 of the Ordinance)
  1. Requirement to have a natural person director (section 457)

    Private companies are required to have at least one director who is a natural person to enhance transparency and accountability. The natural person should be above 18 and can be of any nationality. Corporate directorship is still allowed.

    For existing companies with no natural person director, there will be a grace period of 6 months after the commencement of the Ordinance to comply with the new requirement. There is an exemption for existing dormant companies but they are required to comply with the requirement when they cease to be dormant.

    Before September 2014, all existing companies are required to have an individual director. We recommend keeping the corporate director (if any) for ease of administration. Zetland offers individual directorship services. With more than 25 years’ experience in the industry, we can tailor a solution to suit your needs. Please contact us for further details.

  2. Clarifying the standard of director’s duty of care, skill and diligence (sections 465 and 466)

    Under the current Companies Ordinance (Cap. 32), there is no provision on director’s duty of care, skill and diligence and the common law position in Hong Kong is not entirely clear. With a view to providing clear guidance to directors, the standard is clarified in the Ordinance to incorporate a mixed objective and subjective test.

    In deciding whether a director of a company has breached the duty of care, skill and diligence owed by him to the company, his conduct is compared to the standard that would be exercised by a reasonably diligent person having –

    The general knowledge, skill and experience that may reasonably be expected of a person carrying out the functions carried out by the director in relation to the company (objective test); and
    The general knowledge, skill and experience that the director has (subjective test).
    The duty has effect in place of the corresponding common law rules and equitable principles, and it applies to a shadow director. The existing civil consequences of breach of the duty are preserved. The remedies for breach of the duty will be exactly the same as those that are currently available following a breach of the common law rules and equitable principles that the said duty replaces.

  3. Clarifying the rules on indemnification of directors against liabilities to third parties (sections 467 and 469-472)

    The law regulating a director’s right to be indemnified against liabilities to third parties is currently found in case law, which is fairly difficult for lay directors to understand. The uncertainty over the right to be indemnified against liabilities to third parties may deter competent persons from accepting directorships.

    The Ordinance permits a company to indemnify a director against liability incurred by the director to a third party if the specified conditions are met. Certain liabilities and costs must not be covered by the indemnity, such as criminal fines, penalties, defence costs of criminal proceedings where the director is found guilty. To enhance transparency, a company that provides any permitted indemnity must disclose the provision in the directors’ report available for inspection by any member on request.

Company Formation and related matters (Part 3 of the Ordinance)

Constitution – abolishing the Memorandum of Association (the “MA”) (Sections 67-70, 75-85 and 98)
The Ordinance states that a person may form a company by, amongst other things, delivering to the Registrar for registration an incorporation form in specified format and a copy of the company’s Articles of Association. These will include all information currently contained in the MA.

Common seal – making the keeping and use optional (Sections 124, 125 and 127)
In order to facilitate business and gives flexibility to companies and does not prejudice those companies which may still wish to keep and use their common seals, the Ordinance simplifies the mode of execution of documents by making the keeping and the use of a common seal optional. It allows a company to execute a document by having the document signed by the director or in case of a company having two or more directors, by two authorised signatories. A document signed in accordance with the sections and expressed to be executed by the company has effect as if the document had been executed under the company’s common seal.

With the deeming provisions set out in the Ordinance, it is not necessary for existing companies to do anything in this respect. However, you may wish to review the current constitutional documents to take advantages of some of the new initiatives set out in the Ordinance, such as making the company seal optional.

Zetland provides ongoing maintenance services for Hong Kong and offshore companies and we can make suggestions to the operations of your business according to your specific requirements.

Share Capital (Part 4 of the Ordinance)

Abolition of nominal value of shares (Section 135)
The par value of shares does not serve the original purpose of protecting creditors and shareholders and may be misleading as it does not necessarily give an indication of the real value of the shares. The Ordinance adopts the mandatory system of no-par and abolishes relevant concepts such as nominal value, share premium and requirement for authorised capital.

Upon the commencement of the Ordinance, all shares, including shares issued before that day, will have no nominal value. The share capital of a company is its issued share capital (including full proceeds the company actually received as capital contribution).

The share capital can be altered in a number of ways under a no-par environment, e.g. to allow a company to capitalize its profits without issuing new shares and to allot and issue bonus shares without increasing share capital.

Deeming provisions are introduced to ensure contractual rights defined by reference to par value and related concepts will not be affected by the abolition of par. Although the Ordinance provides comprehensive transitional provisions for existing companies, you may wish to review the particular situation to determine if specific changes are required as a result of the migration to no par regime, such as reviewing the constitutional documents, contracts, trust deeds and share certificates.

Please feel free to contact Zetland for any specific advice. Our team of professionals in Hong Kong, London, Singapore and Shanghai is ready to respond to your enquiries.

Company Administration and Procedure (Part 12 of the Ordinance)
  1. AGM – allowing companies to dispense with AGM by unanimous shareholders’ consent (Sections 612 to 614)

    A company is allowed to dispense with the requirement for holding of AGMs by passing a written resolution or a resolution at a general meeting by all members. After passing the resolution, the company will not be required to hold any AGMs for the financial year or for subsequent financial years to which the resolution relates. The company may revoke the resolution by passing an ordinary resolution to that effect. A single member company is not required to hold an AGM at all.

    The financial statements and reports originally required to be laid before an AGM will still be required to be sent to the members.

  2. 2.Written resolution – introducing a comprehensive set of rules for proposing and passing (Sections 548 to 561)

    The new procedures facilitate the use of written resolutions for decision-making, which is more expeditious and less costly than passing a resolution in a general meeting. The Articles of a company may set out alternative procedures for passing a resolution without a meeting, provided the resolution has been agreed by the members unanimously.

  3. 3.Keeping and inspection of company records – provisions updated

    ‘Company records’ is defined as any register, index, agreement, memorandum, minutes or other document required by the Ordinance to be kept by a company, but does not include accounting records. A company must keep its records at the company’s registered office or a prescribed place. Inspection of company records kept in electronic form to be inspected by electronic means is allows if so requested by the person inspecting the records.

The requirement to keep records of resolutions and meetings of members, etc. and entries relating to former members in the register of members for 10 years (30-year period in the existing ordinance) is provided. There is no time limit for adducing evidence to challenge the accuracy of an entry in the register.

去年12月号のニュースレターにて香港会社条例について行われる主な変更点について簡潔に紹介しました。新条例は2014年第一四半期中(3月まで)に執行される予定です。香港に法人をお持ちの方は当該法人が新条例の規定に準じているか見直しをご検討ください。
(*日本語訳:上記英文の要点のみ抜粋、詳細は弊社までお問い合わせください)
取締役に関する改定点

1.非公開会社において、取締役のうち最低1名を個人とする(47条項目)

- 個人取締役は18歳以上、国籍は自由
- 休眠会社には当てはまらない、ただし活動開始時から規定に準ずること
- 2014年9月までに全ての法人は個人取締役を設けること

尚、現在法人取締役をお持ちのお客様において、弊社では個人取締役のほかに、事務簡潔化のためにそのまま法人取締役も引き続き使用することを推奨します。弊社では個人取締役の提供サービスも行っております、ご必要な方はご相談ください。

2.取締役の注意義務、能力や精勤さに関する規定の明確化
3.取締役の免責に関する規定の明確化

会社設立事項に関する改定点

1.基本定款の廃止(英語名:M&A、Memorandum of Association)

新会社条例の元で設立される会社において、基本定款の作成義務がなくなり、通常定款(英語名:A&A、Articles of Association)のみの作成となる。通常定款には今まで基本定款にあった情報が含まれることになる

2.会社印の使用がオプショナルとなる。取締役(2名以上いる場合は全ての取締役の)署名でもって、会社印と同じ権限を執行することができる。

株式資本に関する改定点
1.額面株式の廃止
- 額面株式制度は真の株価を示すものではなく、会社債権者や株主の保護という本来の役目を果たさないことなどから廃止
- 無額面株式の導入に伴い、額面株式、株式プレミアム、授権資本金の廃止を行う
-増資手続きの簡潔化

会社事務管理に関する改定【会社条例12項】
1.株主全員の書面により一致などの条件を満たした際に、年次総会開催義務の免除
- 役員1名からなる法人については年次総会開催義務がなくなる

HK’s Trust Amendments to Take Effect from 1st December
香港の信託法改定版、2013月12月1日より執行

1311_HKTrustHK TrustHong Kong being the gateway to China, its trust industry has a clear comparative advantage over other locations in Asia.
However, many industry players have long felt that Hong Kong’s premier position is being eroded by its trust law, which is relatively out of date and inflexible. Since its enactment in 1934, the Trustee Ordinance has not been substantially reviewed and amended.

In response to such market sentiment and increasing competition from Singapore, the Trust Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2013 was gazetted in February this year and will take effect from 1st December.

These amendments are intended to strengthen the clarity and certainty of Hong Kong trust law, and grant trustees modernised powers necessary for the efficient management of trusts in Hong Kong.

The Ordinance updates the existing legislation in certain specific aspects of by enhancing trustees default powers, abolishing the rule against perpetuities and changing the rule against excessive accumulation of income. In practice though, in most cases there will be a trust deed drafted to govern the powers and obligations of professional trustees.

Here is a brief summary of the main changes to HK trust legislation:

Introduction a statutory duty of care for trustees when they are exercising their powers in relation to investment, delegation, and appointment of nominees.
General power for trustees to appoint agents, with specified safeguards.
Abrogation of the existing rules against perpetuity in respect of new trusts to be set up.
Abrogation of the rules against excessive accumulation of income in respect of new trusts to be set up, except for charitable trusts.
Granting of more powers to insure trust assets against risk of loss or damage by any event, and pay the premium out of the trust funds.
Foreign forced heirship rules will not affect the validity of a lifetime transfer of moveable assets to a trust expressed to be governed by Hong Kong law.
Trust instruments can no longer exempt a trustee from liability for fraud, wilful misconduct and gross negligence.
Having considered the essential features of the Trust Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2013, the advantages for the settlor in setting up a trust based in HK and with a HK trustee will depend mostly on the settlor’s personal circumstances and country of residence. Some may be attracted by the fact that HK is a major finance and business centre well known internationally compared to “exotic” jurisdictions.

中国大陸へのゲートとして発展してきた香港、他アジア地域の信託法と比べ、香港の信託法は利点が多いことでも知られています。しかしながら香港の信託法は時代錯誤であり且つフレキシブルに対応していないとの批判も聞かれてきました。1934年に信託法が設立されて以来、大きな改定がさせずにきましたが、ここ近年、金融市場のライバルであるシンガポールの台頭を受け、香港でも2013年の2月に信託法への改正案が出され、2013年の12月1日を持って新信託法が執行されます。
これら新信託法では受託者がより効率的に信託を管理できるように改定されています。
弊社では信託管理のライセンスを有し、各お客様のニーズにあわせた信託の設定を承っております。詳しくは弊社までお問い合わせください。

Singapore as an Attractive, Competitive and Transparent Tax Jurisdiction
透明性と高い競争力を狙う課税管轄区域、シンガポールの魅力

1311_BelizeSingaporeBefore deciding upon a location for establishing an international business in Asia, there are many issues to be considered, and one of the key considerations is usually the taxation.
Singapore offers a very tax competitive tax regime with its low tax rate and a wide range of tax incentives. Businesses based here can also benefit from its network of 71 comprehensive taxation agreements and increasing.

Singapore operates a territorial and remittance-based tax system. This means taxes apply to income that is accrued to or derived by the company from Singapore or foreign-sourced income received in Singapore. Foreign-sourced income received in Singapore that meets certain qualifying conditions is exempt from Singapore tax, while foreign-sourced income that is not remitted into Singapore is exempt from Singapore taxation. Singapore follows a single-tier tax policy which means once the income has been taxed at the corporate level, dividends can be distributed to shareholders tax free. Those companies that do not meet the qualifying conditions can rely on the relief from double taxation treaties.

If we compare the taxes with Hong Kong company, smaller businesses or SMEs are in fact better off in Singapore. Newly established companies, subject to certain conditions, pays about 4.5% tax for the first S$300,000 chargeable income for the first 3 years of assessment. Companies that do not qualify for full tax exemption will still have access to partial tax exemption, ie the first S$300,000 chargeable income, the effective tax rate will be approximately 8.5%. Excess profits are taxed at 17%.

There are also various industry specific tax incentives that the government has to offer. SMEs have various tax rebates/benefits and even cash bonus to assist companies to increase their productivity that give them a competitive edge.

Singapore has strict banking secrecy laws, despite having applied the OECD standard on Exchange of Information (“EOI”) to all its existing bilateral tax treaties without the need to renegotiation, subject to the reciprocity by the tax treaty partner. With respect to the EOI requests, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore will no longer require a court order to obtain information protected the Banking Act and Trustees Act from financial institutions. While the court order will no longer be required, basic safeguards to taxpayers’ interests remain. Fishing expeditions are not permissible and information requests must be specific and reasonable. Singapore is determined to protect the integrity and reputation of Singapore as a trusted and transparent financial centre. It has also designate tax crimes as money laundering as predicate offence from 1 July 2013.

If one’s objective is to avoid paying taxes all together, it will be quite challenging to achieve through a Singapore company. However, if the goal is to avoid paying double taxes but let the income to be subjected to low tax regime of Singapore, incorporating a Singapore entity would be a perfect choice.

国際的なビジネスを展開するにあたり各国の税制に対する考慮は重要なキーポーントとなります。シンガポールは低税地区であり、あらゆる控除が受けられる税制的に非常に魅力的な地域として有名で、現在71カ国と結んでいる租税条約によっても税制整備の非常に整った地域として知られています。
シンガポールは属地主義(Territorial System)を採用しており、シンガポールに源泉がある所得ならびにシンガポール国外源泉所得のうちシンガポールで受け取る所得が課税対象となります。シンガポールで受け取る国外源泉所得については一定の免税範囲があり、シンガポールで受け取らない分についてはシンガポールでは課税対象になりません。シンガポールはSingle-Tier Tax Policy(一層税制)を導入しており、一度法人税で課税されている場合、株主に対する配当については課税されません。
シンガポールは香港に比べても税制において中小企業を優遇しており、ある一定の条件を満たした新法人の場合、課税対象額S$300,000に対し初頭3年の課税率は4.5%となっています。条件を満たさない会社でも課税対象額S$300,000に対し8.5%の税率が適応される条件枠を設けるなど、中小企業向けの税面優遇が多くみられます。(普通のシンガポールにおける法人税率は17%です。香港は16.5%)
弊社では弊社のシンガポール支社を通じ、シンガポール法人設立サポートも行っております。詳しくは弊社までお問い合わせください。

Belize: Steady, Secure and Steering into 2014
ベリーズ、(オフショア金融センターとして)2014年に向けた発展

1311_BelizeBelizeBelize is recognized worldwide as being a reputable financial centre for safe offshore banking, offshore accounts, IBC company formations, Foundation establishment, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) and secure Offshore Trusts. This gives you maximum privacy, international banking, asset protection, wealth building and tax-free investment in a financially solid and trustworthy country with Laws designed so that nobody can touch your assets or find out who owns them. Highlighted below are the various offshore structures and their special features.
Belize’s Trust Law is one of the strongest and most flexible asset protection trust legislations in the world and highly favoured for estate planning, asset protection and investment purposes. The primary benefit of a trust is that it allows the legal ownership of property to be distinguished and separately vested from the enforceable rights of use and enjoyment of that property. This makes the Belize trust an extremely sophisticated, flexible and creative instrument for asset protection, investment planning, tax, estate and preservation of confidentiality.

International foundations are another alternative choice to succession planning and wealth management. Other potential uses of foundations are for discrete structures, discretionary benefits, and charitable or non-charitable purposes. Belizean Foundations are exempt from business tax and offer a no tax haven for offshore investors.

The International Limited Liability Companies Act is known to have a special appeal for international investors. The LLC is a hybrid between two familiar business structures, namely a corporation and a partnership. LLCs has distinct advantages over both a corporation and a partnership in that it not only avoids multiple level taxation, it also limits the liability of its members to the extent of the contributions made by them to the Company. No member of an LLC has personal liability for the debts of the LLC except where there are personal guarantees or other special arrangements. The LLC is also exempted from duties, taxes and exchange control.

The international financial services sector of Belize is continuously subject to revisions and improvements to meet with international standards. As such, Belize has taken all necessary action to comply with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) standards in this respect.

Belize has now entered into Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with 17 countries and is on the OECD’s White List: United Kingdom, Australia, France, Belgium, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Netherlands, Portugal, Greenland, Norway, Iceland and Faroes, Mexico, Poland and India.

We have remained steady and secure with the advent of the global financial crisis of 2008, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) whose objective is the reporting of foreign financial account and offshore assets held by U.S. taxpayers of foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest and development of intergovernmental agreements.

As we steer towards the year 2014, it is evident that despite global challenges and unforeseen ones yet to come, Belize continues to grow and develop as a thriving financial services business. Currently, there are 138,568 International Business Companies incorporated, 166 LLC’s, 2016 Trusts established and 168 Foundations created.

We continue to offer confidentiality and professional excellence and at the same time ensure that we meet and exceed regulatory requirements.

今、ベリーズは安全なオフショア金融センターとして、オフショア銀行、オフショア口座、IBC(国際商業法人)の設立、財団法人の設立、LLC(Limited Liability Companies、有限責任会社)の設立、そしてオフショア信託の設定先として国際的に認知されています。
匿名性の確保に続き、国際銀行取引、資金保護、資金運用管理、非課税投資などが行なえる、財政的にも信頼がおけ且つ安定している国で、特に資金保護と匿名性の守秘に関してはもっとも最善を尽す法律を提供する国として知られています。

ベリーズ、オフショアサービスの特徴:

  • ベリーズ共和国信託法:ベリーズにおける信託設定においてもっともパワフルに有効する法律は、第一受益者において資産の法的所有者と実際に資産を活用できる権利を有する者を分けて設定できるという点です。
  • 財団法人の設立(課税なし)
  • LLC(Limited Liability Company、有限責任会社)の設立
  • OECDの規定に全て準じ、ホワイト・リストに記載されている
  • 17カ国との租税情報交換条約に加盟
  • 2008年の金融危機(リーマンショックによる危機)を受けて成立したFATCA(米国市民の海外口座に対する情報公開要求法律)に対しても、守秘主義を堅持

現在ベリーズでは138,568社が法人登記されています。LLC(有限責任会社)が166社、2016件の信託設定、168社の財団法人が登記設立されています。2014年に向け、ベリーズは国際金融センターとして更なる発展が期待されています。

Double Non-Taxation and OECD’S BEPS Action Plan
二重非課税とOECDによるBEPS計画(税源侵食と利益移転に関する行動計画)

1311_NonTaxNoTaxDouble non-taxation has recently made the news and created public discussions on tax moral with cases like Apple, Starbucks, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Vodafone and others. The problem of double non-taxation has been a concern by tax authorities all over the world. As we all know, no two tax systems are exactly the same. The right to tax lies with a jurisdiction on an entity by entity basis having some connection to that jurisdiction, i.e. residency. The interaction of domestic tax systems can sometimes lead to an overlap and double taxation. The interaction can however also leave gaps which results in an item of income not being taxed anywhere, so called double non-taxation. In particular the effects of increasing globalization and the digital economy create opportunities for corporations to exploit the possibilities of double non-taxation. The WTO estimates that 60% of global trade is between related corporations. Aside from exceptional cases of illegal abuse most companies comply with the legal requirements of the jurisdictions involved.
Example: Trading and/or service profits are captured by a Hong Kong entity which are claimed as non-taxable offshore sourced profits on the basis that actual work is performed by travelling employees or agents of the Hong Kong entity in China. If the activities performed in China do not constitute a permanent establishment in China it is possible to legitimately achieve an outcome where the profits are taxed neither in Hong Kong nor in China.

In the past years the focus has been not only to avoid double taxation but also double non-taxation. Newer DTAs include already anti avoidance provisions especially towards aggressive tax planning structures. These rules and regulations however only exist on a national level and greater international harmonization will be required. National governments recognized this and call on international cooperation to tackle base erosion and profit shifting.

As a result, the OECD has defined a 15 point action plan on base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) which is to be implemented within 2 years:

Address the tax challenges of the digital economy
Neutralise the effects of hybrid mismatch arrangements
Strengthen Controlled Foreign Corporation (CFC) rules
Limit base erosion via interest deductions and other financial payments
Counter harmful tax practices more effectively, taking into account transparency and substance
Prevent treaty abuse
Prevent the artificial avoidance of Permanent Establishment (PE) status
Develop rules to prevent BEPS by moving intangibles among group members
Develop rules to prevent BEPS by transferring risks among, or allocating excessive capital to, group members
Develop rules to prevent BEPS by engaging in transactions which would not, or would only very rarely, occur between third parties
Establish methodologies to collect and analyse data on BEPS and the actions to address it
Require taxpayers to disclose aggressive tax planning arrangements
Re-examine transfer pricing documentation
Make dispute resolution mechanisms more effective
Analyse the tax and public international law issues related to the development of a multilateral instrument
The action plan attempts to curb issues that give rise to BEPS and promises to encourage the updating of international tax rules from the single principle of avoiding double taxation to avoiding double taxation and eliminating BEPS by closing loopholes for double non-taxation. An important part is of this action plan is a revision of transfer pricing guidelines and development of a coordinated approach to documentation.

The proposed action plan may have substantial effect on corporate structures using offshore structures where little to none business activities take place. As mid-shore jurisdictions Hong Kong and Singapore are less open to criticism from high tax jurisdictions and bilateral tax relations are governed by DTAs.

ここの所、アップルやスターバックス、マイクロソフト社、アマゾン、グーグル、ボーダフォンといった企業に対する税モラルに対する議論がニュースを賑わせています。二重非課税という問題は、世界中の国において新たな課題となっています。
課税システムは対象の司法管轄に居住しているか否かに関連してきます。二つ以上の司法管轄間における各国内税法のあり方によっては、二重課税が発生する場合もあります。または別なあり方によっては司法管轄間の税制に隙間が生じ、二重非課税が発生する場合もあります。
WTOの予測では、世界貿易の60%はそのような隙間を合法的に利用して節税が行なわれていると言われています。
例として、中国大陸にある香港法人があるとします。この香港法人の貿易及びサービス提供から得た利益は出張ベースで中国大陸に拠点を持たない者によって得られた利益として、または中国大陸に拠点を置く香港法人(代理店)によって得られた利益として非課税対象の申告をしたとします。その時、中国大陸において恒久施設の存在なしにビジネス活動が中国大陸にて行われたとされた場合、香港においても中国においても課税されない、つまり二重非課税が発生する場合があります。

ここ数年、租税条約は二重課税の回避に加え二重非課税の回避にも取り組んでいます。新しい租税条約は租税回避対策が盛り込まれています。ただし、これらの対策は各国の国内レベルにおいてのみ効果を発揮するものに留まり、司法管轄間をまたいだグローバルレベルでの効果は十分に発揮しておらず、そのため各国間の協力が今後も求められます。こうしたグローバルレベルでの協力の必要性が認識される中、OECDはこの問題に対して15の特定の行動を明らかにし2年以内の実行を目指しています。
その15項目には以下が含まれます。デジタル経済の課税への取り組み、ハイブリッドの利用制限、CFCルール(タックスヘイブン対策税制)の強化、利息減免やその他の支払いを利用した税源侵食の食い止め、透明性の強化、条約の悪用防止の強化、人為的な恒久的施設の排除の防止、等。
OCDEのこうした取り組みの狙いは、税制の隙間をなくし、二重課税の回避及び二重非課税の回避を強化することにあります。また、この取り組みはビジネス実態をほどんと持たないオフショア法人に大きく影響してきます。
オフショア地域としてはミドルクラスに位置する香港とシンガポールではこれらの批判にさらされることなく、高税国との税的関係はすでに締結されている租税条約によって良好に保たれています。

China Unveils Reform Details for China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone
上海自由貿易区、リフォーム内容詳細公表

1311_ChinaChinaChina’s Central Government released the “Framework Plan for the China (Shanghai) Free Trade Zone (the “Framework Plan”)”, which listed out the reform tasks and liberalizing measures for the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (“Shanghai FTZ”) on 27 September, and the “Shanghai FTZ” was officially launched on 29 September 2013.
The creation of a Shanghai FTZ is the Chinese government’s latest major initiative in adapting to global economic development trends and furthering its opening up to the outside world. The government is taking a more “business friendly” and “market driven” approach and aims to lift the zone up to international standards with convenient investment and trading procedure, full convertibility of currencies, effective and efficient goods supervision, and investor-friendly regulatory environment, according to the Framework Plan. Below are highlights of some features of the reform details of the Shanghai FTZ.

1. Easier Investment Access

According to the Framework Plan, the Shanghai FTZ will offer easier investment access to both foreign and domestic capital and further open up 6 service sectors (including 18 service industries), including the financial services, transportation services, commerce and trade services, professional services, cultural services, and public services.

Market access restrictions such as requirements concerning the qualification of investors, limitations on foreign participation, restrictions concerning business scope, etc., (except in respect of banks, information and communication services) will be suspended or cancelled, in order to create an environment of equal market access for the benefit of all investors, according to the Framework Plan. Below are the highlights of opening-up measures for the banking and Value-added Telecommunication sectors.

Banking Services

“Qualified foreign financial institutions will be allowed to set up wholly foreign-owned banks and Sino-foreign equity joint venture banks with eligible private capital within the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone. Restricted license banks will be allowed to be incorporated under certain conditions.”

Under current regulations (PRC Administrative Regulations on Foreign-invested Banks), foreign banks or the sole/controlling investors of foreign banks must set up a representative office and operate it in China for at least two years before they may set up an operating branch or a wholly foreign-owned bank. The Framework Plan therefore appears to eliminate the pre-condition of a rep office establishment.

Value-added Telecommunications

“Subject to the network information security, qualified FIEs (Foreign Invested Enterprises) will be allowed to engage in specific value added telecommunication services. Approval by the State Council is required if the limitations exist in current administrative regulations.”

Under the Administrative Provisions on Foreign Invested Telecommunications Enterprises, the proportion of foreign investment in value-added telecommunications services (“VATS”) must not exceed 50%. However in practice, VATS licenses are seldom granted where direct foreign investments are involved, even where such investment is restricted to less than 50% equity ownership.

2. Negative List Management Approach towards Foreign Investment

The Framework Plan provides that the Shanghai FTZ will adopt a “negative list” approach towards foreign investment administration, which means that foreign investment in all sectors should be allowed unless listed as prohibited or restricted under the “negative list” (“Negative List”). For the projects that are not stated in the “Negative List”, foreign investors and domestic investors will receive the same treatment, by going through filing procedures instead of approving requirements (with the exception of areas specifically defined by the State Council), according to the Framework Plan.

The Negative List is set to replace the 2011 Foreign Investment Industrial Guidance Catalogue (“General Catalogue”) in the Shanghai FTZ, a catalogue setting out all sectors in which foreign investment is encouraged, restricted or prohibited in China. Like the General Catalogue, the Negative List will be updated from time to time to cater to the on-going development needs of the zone.

The 2013 Negative List covers 18 main sectors divided further into 1,069 subcategories, and includes 190 special regulatory measures. The Negative List is to help reduce administrative interference and build an international business investment management system, however the 2013 Negative List is longer and more restricted than the market had expected, said analysts.

3. Opening-up of the Financial Services Sector

According to the Framework Plan, under the precondition that risk can be controlled, the Shanghai FTZ will pilot RMB capital account convertibility, interest rate liberalization, and the cross-border use of RMB. In the zone, the assets by the financial institutions will be at market rate. The Shanghai FTZ will explore the trial of a foreign exchange administrative system that is in line with international practice to better facilitate trade and investment. Enterprises are encouraged to leverage on both domestic and international market resources to liberalize cross-border financing. Administration on foreign debt will be further reformed to facilitate cross-border financing. Foreign exchange centralized operation by multinational companies’ headquarters will be enhanced to encourage the setup of regional or global treasury centers in Shanghai FTZ. The oversea companies will gradually be allowed to engage in commodity futures trading. Financial market innovations are encouraged. Equity escrow institutions will be supported to setup comprehensive financial service platform in Shanghai FTZ. The cross-border RMB reinsurance business is also encouraged to cultivate reinsurance market.

The above policies, e.g. RMB capital account convertibility and interest rates liberation, are all subject to the issuance of more detailed implementation rules. Financial experiments would proceed “as conditions allowed,” the State Council statement said, and “risks would be controlled.” Rules would be put in place over a three-year period, it said, without hint about priorities.

4. Business Registration Reform

China’s State Administration of Industry and Commerce released “Several Opinions on Supporting the Construction of Shanghai Free Trade Zone (the ‘Opinions’)” on September 26, which specify several opinions regarding the business registration reform in the Shanghai FTZ, with summary of details as follows:

Piloting the business registration system reform

Piloting the registration of subscribed capital instead of paid-up capital (excluding those subject to separate requirements for the paid-up registered capital)
Relaxing the capital registration requirements: The following capital registration requirements have been canceled in the Shanghai FTZ:
The minimum registered capital of limited liability companies (RMB30, 000);
The minimum registered capital of one-person limited liability companies (RMB100,000);
The minimum registered capital of joint stock limited companies (RMB5,000,000); and
The period within which the shareholders shall fully pay up their capital contribution.
Piloting the “license before certificate” registration system. Enterprises within the Shanghai FTZ that have obtained business licenses shall be allowed to engage in general production and business operations; for activities where permits are required, enterprises shall apply for permit to competent authorities after obtaining their business licenses.
Piloting the public announcement of enterprises’ annual reports. Enterprises in the Shanghai FTZ shall submit annual reports to the industry and commerce authority, and such reports shall be publicly released except for commercial secret related contents. Enterprises shall be responsible for the authenticity and legality of the annual reports.
Piloting the record-filing system for foreign-invested advertising enterprises
Optimizing the enterprise setting-up process and improving the registration efficiency

Piloting an “AIC One-off acceptance” system to simplify the administrative procedures for business registration: 4 working days to obtain Business Registration compared with government committed 29 working days in the past.
A new type of business license has been piloted in the zone.
Transforming the market entity supervision mode and maintaining the market order in the Shanghai FTZ.

The Shanghai FTZ will set up an information sharing system to strengthen the credit supervision of enterprises established within the zone.
Other reform details also include: simplifying the import supervision model to facilitate trade convenient and setting up a system to support outbound investment, etc.

“Shanghai FTZ should function as a test field for reforms and an open economy that would provide experience that can be duplicated and promoted nationwide,” the State Council said in a statement. Like all previous economic experiments, this project is going to be a work in progress, subject to constant refinement, analysts said.

中国政府は今年9月29日に正式オープンした上海自由貿易区におけるリフォーム計画の枠組み方針を公表しました。
中国は上海自由貿易特区を設けることにより積極的にグローバル経済への参加を試みています。市場主義アプローチを取り組んだ国際スタンダードに見合ったビジネスフレンドリー地区を目指し、投資面、貿易面、金融面などで大幅な規制緩和と環境の整備が行われます。また、外資系企業の投資を禁止する分野以外では外資投資の事前審査制度を廃止し、登録制度も実施します。

会社設立関連用件のリフォーム

国家工商行政管理総局は「上海自由貿易試験特区への支持に関する意見」を9月26日に公布しました。その中から会社登記システムのリフォーム内容について下記があげられています。
- 払込資本に変わり発行資本による登記への変更
- 最低資本金額規定を特区では排除
* 有限責任会社の最低資本金額、3万元を排除
* 一人有限責任会社の最低資本金額、10万元を排除
* 株式有限会社の最低資本金額、500万元を排除
- 出資期限を設けない
- 営業許可の前に行政認可証の取得が必要だったがこれを排除。営業許可を取得後し業務に従事できる。従事に許可が必要な営業活動に対しては、営業許可証の受け取り後、必要許可の申請となる
- 年度報告開示制度の採用、一般公開制となる
- 外商投資広告企業に対する規制緩和、許可取得が不要となる
- 会社設立手続きの簡潔化、最短4日で可能(以前は29日)
- 新しい営業許可証の発行
- 政府による監視・監督を緩和し、市場主義の強化

その他、情報共有システムの構築を初め、貿易面でもあらゆる手続きの簡潔化を図り経済の活性化を図ります。上海自由貿易試験区を通じ中国は経済自由化の試験を図り、やがて国全体に広める展望意思を強く発表しています。経済アナリストの間では、こういった中国の動きについて今後も修正などが加えられ成長していくであろうプロジェクトの一つとして注目されています。

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