- Withholding tax rate on services reduced to 1.5%
- Filing deadlines postponed
- Privileges for income and expenses related to debt restructuring
- Expanded online filings allowed for importers and exporters
- Social security contributions cut
- Unemployment benefits increased and expanded
In view of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, numerous tax and related measures have been announced by relevant government agencies to help support businesses and individuals through the ongoing disruption. Further measures can be expected as a number have been approved by the cabinet but not yet formally announced.
For business operators measures include extensions of the deadlines for the annual corporate income tax filing for 2019 and the interim filing for 2020, a temporary measure allowing the use of copies of the Form E origin certificate for claiming privileges on imports from China, extended deadlines for making excise tax filings for services and oil and petroleum products, expedited VAT refunds for registered Good Exporters, and VAT filing deadline extensions for operators that are instructed to temporarily close their businesses.
In cases of debt restructuring there are also exemptions for various types of income, relaxation of the criteria for claiming bad debt write-offs as expenses, and reduced fees on transfers of property.
There are also VAT exemptions on asset donations, a 6-month reduction of the social security contribution rate from 5% of wages to 4%, for both employers and employees, and extensions of the filing deadlines for social security contributions of March to May.
Non-tax measures include allowing BOI-promoted companies to make online submissions of supporting documents for bills of materials and inventory movements, while the Department of Foreign Trade will grant a 2-month extension for importers and exporters whose registration is due to expire before the end of May 2020, and a 6-month extension for exporters whose product origin verification status is expiring before the end of September 2020. The Department of Foreign Trade will also temporarily allow online submission of applications for self-certification of origin status, although supporting documents will need to be mailed.
Measures for individuals include a tax exemption on risk payments to medical workers, an increase in the allowance for health insurance premiums and a further extension of the deadlines for income tax filings to 31 August.
In addition, unemployment benefits are extended to specifically cover those who lose their jobs due to the pandemic, effective from 1 March. Employees affected by temporary closures of businesses ordered by a government agency will receive benefits at 50% of wages for 90 days, while if the unemployment is not temporary 50% coverage is for 180 days. Rates are also increased in general cases of voluntary or involuntary unemployment of insured persons, for a period of two years.
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Further to the extensions of filing deadlines, the Department of Business Development has specified that while e-filing deadlines for audited financial statements of partnerships or juristic persons incorporated under foreign laws (e.g. branch offices, representative offices) and joint ventures are extended to 31 August 2020, there is no specific deadline for other entities, although a letter explaining the late filing is to be attached by companies. Also, the Board of Investment has now extended the deadline for filing applications for corporate income tax privileges to “31 July or not less than 30 days before the corporate income tax filing date.”
On 30 March an expected Ministerial Regulation was issued, reducing the withholding tax rate on service fees from 3% to 1%, effective from 1 April to 30 September 2020. A reduced 2% rate will also apply from 1 October 2020 to 31 December2021, for submissions made via the e-withholding tax system.