Tax settings overhauled in recent Seychelles’ 2018 Budget

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles legislation, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction, Tourism industry at 8:39 pm by Robert Klien

The Seychelles Budget included numerous proposals to change the jurisdiction’s tax settings, including new corporate tax reliefs and the settings for a progressive personal income tax regime.

According to the Government of Seychelles, its proposals for a progressive income tax will mark the 3rd phase of reform efforts that began in April 2016, with the introduction of a higher personal income tax exemption, for those earning less than SCR8,555 (USD618) a month.

Under the new changes, the threshold will remain the same, but income up to SCR10,000 will be subject to a 15% rate; income up to SCR83,333 will be subject to a 20% rate, and a 30% rate will be levied on income above that threshold. Foreign individuals will not benefit from the tax exempt threshold which will be applicable on a monthly basis, in a move said to be to reduce the tax compliance burden.

Also, an alternative for small businesses from being taxed under the business tax regime was proposed. They can be subject instead to a flat fee of SCR3,000, for businesses with a turnover of not more than SCR500,000; or a flat percentage of 3% for those businesses with turnover between SCR500,000 and SCR25m. Those with a turnover greater than this will not be eligible. In addition, it was noted that Seychelles has offered a presumptive tax with a 1.5% rate since 2013.

In the Budget, it is proposed that the following businesses will no longer have 5% tax deducted at source (DAS): building contractors, maintenance contractors, mechanics, hirers or operators of plant and equipment, or hirers of buses.

Amendments are proposed to the Business Tax Act to clarify, first, that Seychelles will have a territorial tax regime and, second, tax on depreciable assets will be limited to the original cost of the asset.

From 2019, the following tax concessions for the tourism sector will be repealed:

  • accelerated depreciation and the 200% allowable deduction for marketing and promotion costs. Instead the Government is considering offering a 200% allowable deduction for employing a qualified Seychellois graduate holding a Certificate, Diploma, or Degree or higher from an institution endorsed by Seychelles Qualification Authority (SQA); a 150% deduction for emoluments paid by an employer to a Post-Secondary or Tertiary, who is in full-time education and in part-time employment, and 150% for a business paying for training endorsed by the Agency of National Human Resources Development (ANHRD).
  • for the maritime industry, “artisanal and semi-industrial fishermen” will no longer be included in the scope of the business tax regime; instead they will play a fee in addition to current license and registration fees.

The Government has proposed to amend the tax rules for landlords of residential buildings to replace the current 15% tax with a 3% tax on gross rental receipts.

These business tax reform proposals are proposed to be effective from January 2019.

In addition, the Government is to reintroduce legislation to establish an immovable property tax, having earlier shelved plans to introduce this tax from July 2017. Under the levy, a rate of 0.25% will be charged on the capital-improved value of property owned by all foreigners as from January 2018. The tax will be applicable for all foreign-owned residential, company-owned, and leased properties of more than 25 years. Owners must make a declaration between January and June 2018, with collections expected to start from October 2018.

In accordance with the Budget, changes to the International Trade Zone Act, 1995, will be considered for inclusion in the 2019 Budget. The rate of tax on plug-in hybrid vehicles will be lowered from 15 to 10%. The Budget also exempts from VAT funeral services and reduces customs duty on dietary supplements from 25 to 0%.

Finally, it was announced in the Budget that the Seychelles Revenue Commission’s (SRC’s) organization structure will be re-organized in 2018.

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