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UK Investor visa scheme halted in money laundering crackdown

Ministers are halting a "gold-plated" visa scheme offering foreign investors a fast-track to settling in the UK, as part of a crackdown on financial crime. Tier 1 investor visas were introduced in 2008 to encourage rich people from outside the EU to invest in the UK. A £2m investment bought a visa and indefinite leave to remain after five years. But concerns were raised the scheme was being used to launder money. Its suspension will end after an audit process is introduced, ministers say. "We will not tolerate people who do not play by the rules and seek to abuse...

UK renews crackdown on offshore tax evasion

The UK is set to update its offshore tax compliance strategy to target the overseas entities that wealthy individuals use to conceal their assets. “This will build on the substantial progress the UK has made in tackling offshore tax evasion and non-compliance since the government’s previous strategy was published in 2014,” the Budget reads. The Budget also reiterated a promise made in the previous year to introduce legislation to tax income from intangible property — like copyright, trademarks and patents — held in low-tax jurisdictions “to the extent that it is referable to UK sales.” This legislation is expected to...

New Economic Substance Requirements in the Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands enacted The International Tax Co-Operation (Economic Substance) Law on 1 January 2019 (the “Law”). The Law requires entities engaged in certain relevant activities to have demonstrable “economic substance” within the Cayman Islands, in accordance with the standards established by the OECD and the EU to combat base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS). WHO DOES THE LAW APPLY TO? Currently, the Law applies to Cayman entities that are defined as “relevant entities” conducting “relevant activities”. Relevant entities will include most Cayman Islands exempted companies, limited partnerships and Cayman LLCs except investment funds or entities through which investment funds...

Here are 5 ways the ultra-wealthy manage to pay lower taxes

The more money you make, the more taxes you pay — right? Not necessarily. While the U.S. tax code is structured so that high earners pay a higher tax rate, the ultra-wealthy often take advantage of laws that enable them to lower their effective tax rate. "In general, America's wealthy are different when it comes to tax planning because of the options they may have with categorizing the assets they hold," said Ron Carson, founder and CEO of Carson Group and co-author of "Avalanche: The 9 Principles for Uncovering True Wealth." "Their net worth often presents opportunities when tax planning...

China Considers Tax Breaks to Draw In Global Funds, Fend Off Tax Havens

China is considering tax breaks to attract more global funds to register in the country and reverse swelling outflows to international tax havens, people with knowledge of the matter said. The Ministry of Finance has enlisted a global accounting firm to conduct due diligence ahead of a potential feasibility study on a capital gains tax exemption, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. The deliberations are at a preliminary stage, and there are regulatory hurdles that would need to be cleared first. Attracting international funds is a key part of President Xi Jinping’s push to build...

EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive: Upcoming Changes To The Cyprus Tax Laws

A. Introduction The House of Representatives is currently reviewing draft legislation which will introduce parts of the EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD) into local law. The upcoming changes relate to the introduction of: interest deductibility limitations; Controlled Foreign Company (CFC) rules; and General Anti-Abuse Rules (GAAR). We aim to cover the rules relating to CFC and GAAR in our next newsletter. In addition to the above, it is expected that the final outstanding sections from the ATAD (i.e. exit taxation and intra-EU hybrid mismatches) will be transposed into local law later in the year and come into force from 2020...

BVI Tax Alert-Legislation on economic substance passed

The legislation is being introduced in response to concerns expressed by the Council of the European Union (EU) about the absence of clear general legal substance requirements for entities doing business in and through the BVI. The legislation reinforces BVI’s commitment to meet the requirements imposed by the EU Code of Conduct Group on jurisdictions that currently appear on the EU’s “grey list” as a result of these concerns. Economic substance requirements The measures in the Act apply as from 1 January 2019 (with a six-month transitional period for existing legal entities). The requirements apply to all BVI companies and...

Offshore Incorporation: Hong Kong vs. British Virgin Islands (BVI)

Incorporating in Hong Kong Hong Kong, as a major commercial, financial and international trade centre, has traditionally been a popular place for setting up an offshore holding company. Having a low tax rate on salaries, profits and real estate, no exchange controls, and no tax being charged on income derived from outside Hong Kong ads to its attractiveness, especially for trade companies and investors targeting the PRC and East Asia markets. When creating a holding vehicle in Hong Kong one must acquire a Business Registration certificate from the Inland Revenue Department, which should disclose the following: A local physical address...