January 2014 International Indirect Tax Updates
10 January 2014
Posted by: Author: Patrycja Wolniczek Mucha
Author: Patrycja Wolniczek Mucha ( Thomson Reuters)
Along with released budget measures for year 2014 many countries have passed legislation or announced a number of changes that have an impact on the VAT rates. These changes are a response to economic and budgetary developments in the particular country. We have summarized the upcoming VAT rate changes with the following countries.
The changes will become effective 1 January 2014 unless otherwise noted.
In accordance with the Law Amending the Law on Value Added Tax of 4 December 2013, the reduced VAT rate of 10% will increase to 13%. The government expects that these measures along with excise and income tax changes will reduce the budget deficit by HRK 2 billion or around 0.6% of Gross Domestic Product and by HRK 4 billion or 1.2% of GDP in 2015 and a further 1.7% of GDP in 2016. On 1 July 2013 Croatia became a Member of the European Union.
In year 2012 the Cypriot government has announced a VAT increase in two stages. In accordance with the plan, on 14th January 2013 the standard rate went up by 1% reaching 18%. A further 1% increase will come into effect on 13th January 2014. The new standard rate will be 19% and the reduced rate will increase to 9%. Cyprus’s VAT change is an economic response to the Greek financial crisis. In order to secure beneficial loan terms with Russia, the government had to agree to the VAT changes as part of the bail out by the ‘Troika’ of the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Under the Law No. 253-12 effective 1 January 2014 the reduced VAT rate of 8% will go up to 11%. The VAT change is part of the 2012 tax reform which included the initial reduced rate increase to 8% in 2013 and the standard rate hike to 18%. According to the law schedule the reduced rate will further increase to 13% in 2015 and to 16% in 2016. The standard rate is planned, however, to go down to 16% in 2015. Subject to the reduced rate increase are most of the basic food commodities.
The standard VAT rate will increase to 20% on 1 January 2014. In addition, many basic commodities will become more expensive as the reduced VAT rate will go up from current 7% to 10%. In Corsica the current 8% reduced rate will also go up to 10%. The increase reflects changes included in the Amending Finance Law no. 2012-1510 of 29 December 2012. Article 68 of the above mentioned law, initially provided for a decrease in the lower reduced VAT rate from 5.5% to 5% as of 1 January 2014. The new Budget Finance Law 2014 draft keeps, however, the 5.5% rate in place for 2014. With the VAT increase France will be joining most other EU member states which have been shifting the tax burden from business onto consumers in a bid to attract and retain multinational businesses.
Following the 2014 Budget, the parliament passed a new VAT Act, which increased the standard VAT rate from 12.5% to 15%. The government justifies the increase with the need of infrastructure investments in accordance with the development agenda. Currently, Ghana is heavily reliant on deposits of gold. Expanding the revenue basis with higher VAT would help raise €300 million.
As published in the Official Gazette of Honduras and in accordance with Decreto No. 278-2013, the standard VAT Rate went up from 12% to 15% and the increased VAT rate went up from 15% to 18% effective 1 January 2014. The increase was included in the package of fiscal measures aiming at preventing the country from a major economic crisis. The economists assess the impact of changes as intense enough to generate, according to estimates of the Ministry of Finance, about three billion Lempiras in inflation by rising prices of basic commodities. The rate change will also contribute to increase the poverty rate among Hondurans.
In accordance with the new Consumption Tax Act, the consumption tax will increase from 5% to 8% with effect from April 2014. This change is the first of a two-step process which is expected to reach 10% by 2015. The reason for the hike relates to the government’s long-term plan to reduce its primary budget deficit by 2015 and stabilizing its debt burden by 2020. Before a final decision on the 2015 increase, the government will have to further examine economic factors and other conditions.
With the economic package, the government repealed the current 11% rate of VAT, as applicable for the border region (the border between Mexico and the United States), and will impose the general VAT rate of 16% as of 1 January 2014. The change will have a negative impact on local business and employment in the border zone.
Portugal Autonomous Regions – Azores
As part of the 2014 budget and in accordance with the budget approving Decree n. º 191/XII, the standard and both reduced VAT rates will go up. As of 1 January 2014 the standard VAT rate will increase from 16% to 18%, the intermediate rate from 9% to 10% and the reduced rate from 4% to 5%.
The reduced VAT rate of 8% will become 10%. Serbia’s Finance Minister Lazar Krstic explained the measure as a necessary step to avoid a financial meltdown. The increase will help close the budgetary gaps but will also hit the poorest parts of society hardest.
As a result of economic factors the following initially scheduled VAT rate changes will not be implemented in the upcoming months:
According to the Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Prokopovich last statement, the current VAT rates will remain unchanged for the year 2014. Earlier this year, the Government announced a plan to increase the standard VAT rate to 22% in 2014.
The current VAT rates will remain unchanged as a result of the last VAT Act amendment. The VAT rates were temporarily increased on 1 January 2011 and were scheduled to take effect until 31 December 2013. Effective 1 January 2014 the VAT rates were supposed to return to their previous lower level. Based on the information provided by the Government Information Centre (CIR), the extension of the current higher rates was caused by the need to reduce imbalances in public finances, as well as by a weak demand in major export markets. Both factors are limiting the economic growth.
On 19 December 2013, the parliament adopted amendments to the Tax Code. The initially planned decrease of the VAT standard rate to 17% has been postponed until 2015. In 2014, the VAT standard rate will remain at 20%. On 31 December 2013 the President Viktor Yanukovych signed the amendments into law.
This article first appeared on thomsonreuters.com.