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Tax period extended for excise tax registrants

In an effort to support Excise Tax Registrants during the difficult circumstances caused by COVID-19, the Federal Tax Authority has decided to extend the tax period for businesses registered for Excise Tax, which commenced on 1/3/2020 for one month on an exceptional basis, to end on 30/4/2020. The tax period shall now respectively cover the months of March 2020 and April 2020, allowing registered businesses sufficient time to fulfil their tax obligations before the deadline.

Excise Tax Registrants must fulfil the following obligations:

  • file two separate tax returns, one for March 2020 and one for April 2020, by no later than Sunday, May 17, 2020; and
  • ensure that the Federal Tax Authority has received the tax payable for the tax periods as reported in the March 2020 and April 2020 tax returns by no later than Sunday, May 17, 2020.

Our expert tax lawyers are available to assist with this and all your tax needs during these difficult times.

Lower Taxes Without Renouncing Your American Citizenship

Being born in the United States comes with many privileges. But it also comes with many responsibilities. According to Fortunly’s insightful infographic, the United States is one of two countries in the world that implement citizenship-based taxation. The only other one is the northeast African nation of Eritrea.

Interestingly enough, America’s citizenship-based tax system doesn’t only affect its natural-born citizens. Foreigners may also be held liable for income tax if they meet the country’s residency requirements. Spending too much vacation time is a common reason why non-Americans might need to hand over some cash to Uncle Sam.

But, there are legal ways to beat America’s citizenship-based income taxation system.

The most obvious way is to renounce your US citizenship. But this is a major decision that could lead to dramatic consequences. An alternative to such a drastic measure is filing for tax exemptions. The Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE) is a viable option for American professionals who intend to make a living outside of any US territory.

With the FEIE, a portion of a citizen’s total active income can be excluded up to a certain limit, which changes every year. To increase the excludable amount, a foreign housing credit can be added into the equation.

When it comes to income from passive activities like stock trading, the United States considers them taxable as usual. However, there are ways to classify passive incomes as active in order to render them partly excludable.

In addition, using an offshore company to run a business may provide an income-tax reduction. This move can legally separate an American-citizen owner and a business entity for tax purposes.

Pursuing every allowable avenue to minimize citizenship-based income tax liabilities is more practical than unpatriotic.

BDO PHOTO

BDO expands product development Advisory Services in Life Sciences

BDO USA, LLP, one of the nation’s leading professional services organisations, today announced the acquisition of BioProcess Technology Consultants, Inc. (BPTC), a provider of chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC) consulting services to the global biopharmaceutical industry. The acquisition of BPTC bolsters BDO’s capabilities in the life sciences industry within the biopharmaceutical product development space and is effective as of April 1, 2019.

“We are pleased to welcome BPTC’s knowledge and resources to enhance our focus in the life sciences industry and deepen our biopharmaceutical product development offerings,” said Eric Jia-Sobota, national leader of BDO’s Industry Specialty Services and Life Sciences practices. “Joining forces with BPTC strengthens our ability to assist life sciences companies in managing risk, maximising profitability and fostering continued innovation to unlock new value and deliver improved outcomes.”

Founded in 1994, BPTC was a biologics CMC consulting firm, providing a full range of technical, regulatory and strategic assistance related to the development and commercialisation of biopharmaceutical products. BPTC assisted clients in developing manufacturing processes and strategies that enhanced the overall value of their products, while de-risking product development.

Howard L. Levine, Ph.D., BPTC founder, president and CEO will become managing director and national leader of the Bioprocess Technology Group within BDO’s Life Sciences practice.

“Since our inception, we’ve worked with companies to advance and de-risk the biotherapeutic development process, address unmet medical needs and increase patient access to novel medicines,” said Levine. “We’re excited to join BDO’s Life Sciences practice to support clients across the entire product development and company lifecycles.”

The professionals of BPTC who have joined BDO’s Life Sciences practice are headquartered in BDO’s Boston office at One International Place and based in locations throughout the country.

BDO Facts:

  • Over the past six years, BDO USA’s cumulative growth rate has far outpaced all other major U.S. accounting firms, with revenues more than doubling from $618 million in 2012 to $1.47 billion in 2018. During that time, BDO entered 24 new U.S. cities and expanded its critical mass in 13 existing markets.
  • BDO represents companies ranging from closely-held private businesses to leading non-profits to Fortune 500 multinationals.
  • BDO USA has industry practices specialised in serving businesses in the construction, energy, financial institutions, asset management, government contracting, healthcare, insurance, life sciences, manufacturing, non-profit, private equity, real estate, restaurant, retail and technology sectors.
  • BDO has been named a Best Company by Working Mother Magazine for eight consecutive years and been recognised with the When Work Works Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility for nine consecutive years.
  • BDO has more than 60 offices and over 650 independent alliance firm locations around the country.
  • BDO USA has been serving clients for more than 100 years since its founding in 1910 (as Seidman & Seidman).
  • As an independent member of BDO International Limited, the firm can leverage the resources of more than 80,000 people in 1,591 offices across 162 countries.

Firm Overview

BDO is the brand name for BDO USA, LLP, a U.S. professional services firm providing assurance, tax, and advisory services to a wide range of publicly traded and privately held companies. For more than 100 years, BDO has provided quality service through the active involvement of experienced and committed professionals. The firm serves clients through more than 60 offices and over 650 independent alliance firm locations nationwide. As an independent Member Firm of BDO International Limited, BDO serves multi-national clients through a global network of more than 80,000 people working out of 1,591 offices across 162 countries.

BDO USA, LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership, is the U.S. member of BDO International Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, and forms part of the international BDO network of independent member firms. BDO is the brand name for the BDO network and for each of the BDO Member Firms. For more information please visit https://www.bdo.com/

Ebay paid UK corporation tax of £1.6m in 2016

The UK arm of eBay paid only £1.6m in corporation tax last year, even though its US parent had total revenues from its UK operations of $1.32bn (£1bn).

Ebay’s UK accounts record only £200m in revenues, which came entirely from a Swiss parent firm, seemingly for acting as its advertising agency.

The company declined to explain how its UK revenues were not booked though its UK business. However, an eBay spokesman said its tax affairs were entirely legal.

“In all countries and at all times, eBay is fully compliant with national, EU and international tax rules including those of the OECD, including the remittance of VAT to the appropriate authorities,” he said.

The pre-tax profit eBay UK made on its revenues in 2016 was £7.7m, according to the accounts, and it was on this figure that the UK corporation tax was levied.

Ebay is a huge international business that makes money mainly from advertisers and the commission on sales made through its auction site.

The total revenues of $1.32bn that the parent US business generated from the UK included those from subsidiaries such as the Stubhub ticket exchange and Gumtree classifieds site.

Within the group, the UK arm of eBay is wholly owned by eBay International, which is based in Switzerland and is itself owned by eBay in the US.

The firm’s UK accounts describe the role of eBay UK as providing “services to eBay International by recommending market penetration and advertising strategies for the UK internal marketplace and related third party advertising sales in the UK, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Australia”.

The seeming ability of the company to shelter most its UK profits from the UK tax authorities raises again the ability of big international companies to route their revenues to the countries with the most favourable tax regimes.

This has led in the past few years to intense scrutiny of the tax practices of big firms such as Apple, Amazon, Google and Starbucks.

Ebay in the US, whose international revenues hit $9bn last year, acknowledged that its tax affairs were under scrutiny in several countries, which may leave it with more tax to pay.

“The material jurisdictions where we are subject to potential examination by tax authorities for tax years after 2002 include, among others, the US (Federal and California), Germany, Korea, Israel, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Canada,” its US accounts said.