As you may be aware, the amendment to the Draft Financial Bill for 2019 aiming at fighting against “Cumex practice” has been modified and was voted by the National Assembly on 17 December 2018.
The Belgian law targeting situations of Belgian WHT evasion and avoidance was published on 22 January and entered into force on that day. There has been no material change to the scope of the legislation between the draft and final versions, and no guidance issued by the tax authorities as of yet.
On January 18, 2019 the Council of Ministers approved the Financial Transactions Tax Bill ("the Bill") and its remittance to the Congress for starting approval proceedings. In this Bulletin, we comment on the most relevant changes made to the text of the Draft Bill that was submitted to public information until November 15, 2018 ("the Draft Bill"). The text of the Bill incorporates many of the observations proposed by the industry during the public information proceeding.
PwC’s FS Tax Forum, held in London on 20 November, discussed how financial services businesses must begin to rethink their operating models as tax systems change around them.
What most concerns tax professionals in financial services as they survey the outlook for the months and years ahead? Above all, it is the realisation that incremental change will not be enough to ensure their businesses remain fit for purpose given the pace and scale of the transformation confronting them.
PwC’s Tax Forum, held in London on 20 November, discussed how the proliferation of big data, to which tax authorities have increasing access, exposes financial services organisations to new tax risks.
It has become fashionable to describe data as the new oil, such is the value to organisations of the information they are now able to collect, store, manage and mine for insight. But it’s often forgotten that oil is a tough business, dirty and accident-prone; so too does data expose financial services companies to new dangers – and tax now has to be at the forefront of managing this risk.
What do we mean by data in this context? The reality is that all the data held by a financial services business is relevant data from a tax perspective, particularly where there is some form of dispute with the tax authorities. HM Revenue & Customs is entitled to ask for data of any kind – a VAT inquiry, say, may well pull in data that will subsequently be useful for personal or corporation tax inquiries.
PwC’s FS Tax Forum, held in London on 20 November, considered how the disruption of the financial services industry by new technologies could affect its tax profile.
Disruption has become a fact of life for financial services companies, whether in banking, insurance or asset and wealth management. Delegates to PwC’s Tax Forum were under no illusions about the transformation to come: in a poll conducted at the event, 88% said they expected technology to change the operating model of their businesses either moderately or significantly in the years ahead. But as the industry’s value proposition begins to shift, what will that mean for the way in which value is taxed?
At PwC’s FS Tax Forum, held in London on 20 November, delegates looked ahead as the pace of change in tax continues to accelerate
After a decade of change, spanning everything from a new base erosion profit shifting (BEPS) regime and heightened transparency requirements, to US tax reform and the emergence of the EU as a key player in setting international standards, the tax functions of financial services businesses could be forgiven for thinking they’re due a break. No such luck: the next few years will see yet more transformation for both direct and indirect tax systems – and firms must be prepared for this change.
Delegates to PwC’s tax forum are not expecting to rest on their laurels. While most do not expect fundamental international tax reform in the near future, 67% are anticipating further reforms in the years ahead – and two-thirds of them worry such changes are likely to be for the worse for their firms.
Has the financial services industry reached an inflection point? If the 10 years since the financial crisis could be characterised as the decade of regulation, then the 10 years to come will be the decade of digitalisation. Everywhere you look within financial services, disruption is the order of the day: across the industry, businesses are rethinking their business models – and their core value propositions – as new technologies offer exciting new opportunities and create new threats.
The French Senate introduced six amendments to the Draft Financial Bill for 2019 aiming at taxing payments made, under any form, over certain financial contracts. Those amendments were notably motivated by the recent articles published by various journals (notably “Le Monde”) on the CumCum and CumEx practices and inscribed themselves in the more global fight against tax fraud and tax optimisation. The objectives of the Senators is to implement new provisions inspired by US regulations (e.g. 871m). On 26 November, the Senators adopted those amendments.
Corporate Tax (CT)
Contrary to recent indications it appears that the EU Digital Services Tax may not exempt FS as extensively as had been hoped.
On October the 19th the Spanish Council of Ministers approved a draft proposal for creating a Financial Transactions Tax (“FTT”). The creation of this tax was part of the Political Agreement for the 2019 Budget signed between the Spanish Government and the “United We Can” party in the earlier week.
Accounting - GAAP, IAS, IFRS
Our November tax accounting update covered topics ranging from VAT in financial statements to the impacts of structural reform and Brexit. Financial Services groups will need to consider how these areas may affect accounting and disclosures in FY18 financial statements and beyond.
Please see below for a summary of our banking and capital markets tax leaders.
Philip Hammond delivered the Autumn Budget this afternoon, highlighting a number of fiscal measures which will affect both business and personal finances. We have highlighted key issues affecting financial services businesses.
In early July, as follow up work in relation to the BEPS project, the OECD issued a new public discussion draft paper (the “Draft Paper”) regarding the transfer pricing aspects of financial transactions.
The Draft Paper seeks to clarify principles previously included in the 2017 OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administrations (the “OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines”) in relation to four areas. Further detail on each of these topics and the implications for Financial Services groups appears below.
As you may have recently seen, on 25 May 2018, the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (“ECOFIN”) formally adopted rules regarding the mandatory automatic exchange of information in relation to reportable cross-border arrangements.
Corporate Tax (CT)
Hybrid legislation came into effect as of 1 January 2017, and was drafted closely in line with the recommendations of the BEPS Action 2 report. While the UK considered its rules consistent with the ATAD and ATAD 2 for the most part (which is unsurprising given these too were aligned with the Action 2 report principles), the UK government has now proposed some changes with the aim of ensuring its legislation fully conforms with the Directive requirements. Notwithstanding that the UK is scheduled to leave the EU on 29 March 2019, the UK is still proposing to adopt those minimum standards required to be implemented by Member States by 1 January 2020. (It is likely that the UK will be required to comply with the Directives during any Brexit transition period, and this period is currently anticipated to last from 29 March 2019 to 31 December 2020.)
Five years on since the EU Commission first proposed the introduction of a wide ranging EU Financial Transactions Tax (FTT), rumours occasionally resurface to suggest a new momentum for introduction of the tax. Differing views across Member States on the scope and form of the tax, and the practical challenges of implementing the tax as originally proposed, suggests it is unlikely that the required consensus across those Member States in support of such a tax would ever be achieved.
IFRS 16 - (Draft) Finance Bill proposed tax changes
The draft clauses of Finance (No.3) Bill released on 6 July 2018 covered the taxation of leases for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2019. Despite the Government’s intention that the legislative changes proposed would ensure that the leasing rules continue to work as originally intended, the draft legislation will have a significant impact on the ‘status quo’ and place a heavy compliance burden on lessees, particularly on transition.