Disclose 27, Focus piece 5: Audit 4.0, Part 1, Finance functions and processes

Disclose – PwC’s online magazine

«It takes people, digital technologies and trust to achieve top performance.»

Reading our latest issue of Disclose (disclose.pwc.ch/27/) you’re sure to get an adrenaline rush as we investigate a topic with particularly close connections to sport: high-performing organisations.

Focus piece 5 gives you an insight into the topic Audit 4.0, Part 1, Finance functions and processes:

Most of the repetitive tasks carried out by the Finance function can be standardised and automated across systems using robotic process automation (RPA). This development has long been predicted. But it has only become reality now that data and such a wide variety of digital tools are available. This way digitisation is fundamentally transforming the Finance function, from number cruncher to sparring partner.

Read the full report here.

Contacts

Paul de Jong
Partner, Head of Systems & Process Assurance, PwC Switzerland
Tel.: +41 58 792 76 58
paul.l.de.jong@ch.pwc.com

Dr Christian B. Westermann
Partner, Data & Analytics Leader, PwC Switzerland
Tel.: +41 58 792 27 97
christian.westermann@ch.pwc.com

EMEA PE Webcast Series – Episode Four – VAT consequences of a corporate tax permanent establishment

Tuesday, 17 April 2018, 3.00 – 3.45 pm CET

After a short break, we are pleased to inform you that we will resume the PE Webcast Series, with Episode 4 – VAT consequences of a corporate tax permanent establishment.

In this webcast specialists from our international tax and VAT practice will compare the objectives and concepts of a corporate tax permanent establishment with a VAT fixed establishment (FE).

We will walk through practical examples to demonstrate the interaction of these rules, outlining the VAT consequences of creating a corporate tax PE, as well as the corporate tax position if you have a VAT FE.  As part of the discussion we will highlight trends in the application of PE and FE rules by tax authorities, leading in some cases to a blurring of the concepts.

You will have the chance to raise questions directly to our specialists.

Speakers for episode four will include:

  • Monica Cohen-Dumani – Partner, International Tax Services, EMEA ITS Leader – PwC Switzerland
  • Ine Lejeune – Partner Tax Policy, Dispute Resolution & Litigation – Law Square
  • Herman van Kesteren – Partner Indirect Taxes – PwC Netherlands

Registration Link

Complete the required registration fields and select “Submit”.
Once you have registered, you will receive the WebEx access details. The WebEx will be recorded and you will receive a link to the recording via e-mail after the event using the same details. There will be time for questions and answers with your speakers during the WebEx. Questions can also be sent in advance of the
WebEx session to the following email address: grasiele.neves@ch.pwc.com

We do hope that you will join us online!

Best regards,
Monica Cohen-Dumani

Contact

Monica Cohen-Dumani
Partner, EMEA ITS Central Cluster Leader
+41 58 792 97 18
monica.cohen.dumani@ch.pwc.com

Grasiele Teixeira Neves
International tax services
+41 58 792 98 25
grasiele.neves@ch.pwc.com

Update: Repatriation Tax (Notice 2018-26)

On April 2, 2018, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS released their third notice on the Toll Tax also known as the Repatriation Tax (Notice 2018-26)

Some of the key guidance provided in this latest notice which affect US individuals living abroad are:

  • Extension of time to pay the first installment of the Toll Tax for US individuals living abroad until June 15, 2018, the same date as the automatically-extended personal tax return deadline for these individuals.
  • Clarification on the allowable deductions for US individuals subject to the Toll Tax, who wish to make an election to be taxed similar to a US domestic corporation (i.e. §962 election)
  • US partners holding less than 5% in a partnership structure with investments in US domestic corporations may not be subject to the Toll Tax
  • If a foreign corporation filed an election to be treated as a tax-transparent entity (i.e. check-the-box election) after November 2, 2017, the Toll Tax may still be attributed to its US individual shareholders for the 2017 tax year.

From a practical perspective, US individuals (US national, US green card holder, US tax resident) residing abroad who are investors in a structure holding directly and indirectly, 10% ownership in a US domestic corporation should carefully review their toll tax exposure before June 15, 2018.

For more information, a complete copy of the notice can be found in the following link: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-18-26.pdf

Contact Us

Richard Barjon, CPA
PwC | US Tax Director
+41 58 792 13 53
richard.barjon@ch.pwc.com

European Commission proposes new rules on the taxation of the digital economy

On 21 March 2018, the European Commission proposed new rules to ensure that digital business activities are taxed in a fair and growth-friendly way in the EU.

Background

While digital businesses have evolved rapidly in the recent past, the current tax rules do not fully fit the modern, increasingly digital economy, resulting often in a misalignment between the place where the profits are taxed and the place where value is created. In order to address the tax challenges from the digital economy the EU Commission presented its so-called “Digital Tax Package”, which mainly consists of two draft Directives and one Recommendation to the EU Member States. This package supports the Commission’s key priority of completing the Digital Single Market, which also takes into account the global dimension: the OECD has committed to bring forward a report on the next steps internationally by 2020.

Legislative proposals in a nutshell

Draft Directive on the corporate taxation of a significant digital presence:

  • To reform corporate tax rules so that profits are allocated and taxed where businesses have significant interaction with users through digital channels (assumption of a taxable digital presence or a virtual permanent establishment);
  • This is the EU Commission’s preferred long-term solution.

With respect to non-EU countries, not captured by this Directive, the EU Commission issued a Recommendation to the Member States for adaption of such rule via the double tax treaty (see also below).

Draft Directive on Digital Services Tax (DST):

  • To introduce a DST of 3% on certain revenues from digital activities;
  • The introduction of a DST is considered as an interim solution until the above long term solution is in place.

As a next step, both legislative proposals will be submitted to the European Council for adoption and to the European Parliament for consultation. If adopted by unanimous vote, the expected effective date would be 1 January 2020.

Legislative proposals in detail

Draft Directive on the corporate taxation of a significant digital presence (long-term, comprehensive solution)

A digital platform shall constitute a significant taxable digital presence in an EU Member State if it fulfils one or more of the following criteria:

  • Total annual revenues from digital services to users in that Member State in a taxable year exceed a threshold of EUR 7 million, and/or
  • Users of digital services in that Member State in a taxable year exceed 100’000, and/or
  • Business contracts for digital services in that Member State in a taxable year exceed 3’000.

The new rules would also change how profits are allocated to Member States in a way which better reflects how companies can create value online: for example, depending on where the user is based at the time of consumption or where the value is generated through user participation.

Such directive would apply to all companies that are resident in an EU member state. It would also apply to companies in non-EU member states rendering digital business to EU based users and customers unless there is a double tax treaty in place which does not provide for similar rules on significant digital presence and profits attribution (this is for the time being the case, since currently existing double tax treaties do typically not allow for such digital taxation). Hence the below recommendation to the EU member states to re-negotiate double tax treaties to include such digital business taxation rules.

Draft Directive on Digital Services Tax (short term, interim solution)

Unlike the common EU reform of the underlying tax rules, the interim DST would apply to revenues created from certain digital activities which under the current tax rules would not be taxed in the countries where the value is generated. This DST would only remain in force as an interim measure, until the comprehensive solution is in place. However, it would apply to any company rendering digital services in the EU irrespective whether an EU member state based company or not and irrespective of existing double tax treaties.

The tax would apply to revenues created from activities where users play a major role in value creation and which are the hardest to capture with current tax rules, such as those revenues:

  • created from selling online advertising space;
  • created from digital intermediary activities which allow users to interact with other users and which can facilitate the sale of goods and services between them;
  • created from the sale of data generated from user-provided information.

The DST would only apply to companies with total annual worldwide revenues of EUR 750 million and taxable revenues of EUR 50 million in the EU. This would help to ensure that smaller start-ups and scale-up businesses remain unburdened.

Recommendation relating to the corporate taxation of a significant digital presence

In connection with the long term Draft Directive on the corporate taxation of a significant digital presence, the EU Commission also issued an accompanying Recommendation to the EU Member States for cases where the proposed Directive would not apply, i.e. when Member States have tax treaties in place with non-EU countries (which would also be the case for Switzerland).

In particular the EU Commission recommends to Member States to amend their tax treaties with non-EU countries by a) changing the definition of permanent establishment to take into account significant digital presence and b) including rules for respective profit attribution.

For further details regarding the EU Digital Tax Package please refer to the detailed newsletter of the PwC Network EUDTG.

Implications of proposed rules for Switzerland

Although the above legislative proposals are EU Directives, the directives still impact companies operating out of Switzerland or other non-EU states, if finally adopted.

Draft directive on Digital Services Tax:
The DST would affect Swiss groups performing digital services in the EU as the tax becomes due if the user / customer is in the EU, provided they meet the thresholds mentioned above.

Draft directive on the corporate taxation of a significant digital presence:
These rules shall not apply if an entity is resident for tax purposes in a non-EU jurisdiction (e.g. Switzerland) that has a double tax convention (DTC) in force with the relevant Member State, and if the DTC does not provide for a taxable digital presence (which is currently the case for all Swiss DTCs). Hence, groups operating out of Switzerland are expected to be affected by this potential measure only in the longer term, i.e. when DTCs are renegotiated (as proposed in the EU Commission’s Recommendation) to include the taxable digital presence, subject also to any further OECD developments.

For further details on the progress of the OECD work in this respect as well as for a summarised overview of the different approaches between the OECD and the EU, please find here OECD’s Interim Report 2018 respectively our PwC Tax Policy Bulletin.

Overall, the attractiveness of Switzerland as a location for digital businesses is not negatively impacted compared to the EU as a result of these directive proposals.

Related VAT Aspects

Even if the digital taxation proposals implicate significant changes in the corporate tax landscape, from an indirect tax (VAT) point of view the taxation of turnovers for digitally provided services at the place of the consumer (B2C) is already in force in the EU since 2015. However, the question remains whether the digital presence will also affect the definition of fixed establishments for VAT purposes and such change would have a major impact on how digitally provided services would be taxed in a B2B context.

Current position of Switzerland regarding taxation of digital economy

The State Secretariat for International Finance (SIF) recently has performed an analysis regarding the taxation of the digitalised economy and is generally committed to tax rules that allow for and promote fair competition. However, there have not been any concrete measures yet. In any case Switzerland holds the opinion that measures outside the scope of DTCs are to be avoided and interim measures (e.g. DST) should be limited in scope and time. Read SIF’s position on taxing the digitalised economy here.

Call for action

At this stage it is not clear yet whether respectively how the proposed directives will be adopted by the EU (formal adoption still pending and subject to unanimity among the EU Member States). Further, also the developments on the OECD BEPS project should be taken into consideration and monitored.

Nevertheless, it is recommendable for groups operating out of Switzerland to:

  • identify the digital services rendered in each of the EU Member States;
  • start performing impact assessments of (i) the DST and (ii) a taxable digital presence in the EU Member States, and
  • continue monitoring the EU legislative process and potential unilateral country measures (such as the unilateral measures in Italy, introducing a new tax on digital transactions effective January 1, 2019).

Your contacts

Stefan Schmid
Tel. +41 58 792 44 82
E-Mail: stefan.schmid@ch.pwc.com

Anna-Maria Widrig Giallouraki
Tel. +41 58 792 42 87
E-Mail: anna-maria.widrig.giallouraki@ch.pwc.com

Christa Elsässer
Tel. +41 58 792 42 66
E-Mail: christa.elsaesser@ch.pwc.com

Jeannine Haiböck
Tel. +41 58 792 43 19
E-Mail: jeannine.haiboeck@ch.pwc.com

IFRS News March 2018

Our latest IFRS News contains some information about transition requirements when applying IFRS 9, 15, 16 and 17, IFRS Interpretations committee agenda decisions and more.

Adopting IFRS or preparing a transaction document? You may be subject to different transition requirements when applying IFRS 9, 15, 16 and 17

Read more about the issue and and the impact – IFRS News – March 2018

IFRS Interpretations committee agenda decision on the presentation of interest revenue for certain financial instruments

The IFRS Interpretations Committee has concluded that the line item “interest revenue” can contain only interest income on assets that are measured at amortised cost or fair value through other comprehensive income (subject to the effect of applying hedge accounting to derivatives in designated hedge relationships).

IFRS News – March 2018

Cannon street press

The March 2018 IASB Update has been published and the work plan updated.

IFRS News – March 2018

Disclose – PwC’s online magazine

Reading our latest issue of Disclose you’re sure to get an adrenaline rush as we investigate a topic with particularly close connections to sport: high-performing organisations.

Also in this edition of the Disclose you can read more about “IFRS: the impact of IFRS 15 on your financial statements prepared under the Swiss Code of Obligations”.

QI and CRS Updates

IRS opens QI portal for the Responsible Officer Certification and published new FAQs

On 4 April 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has opened the QI portal and published new FAQs regarding the upcoming QI Responsible Officer certification. A new section titled “Periodic Certification” has been added to the existing FAQs.

Please refer to the following link for access to the updated FAQs.

Additionally, the IRS has updated the QI User Guide and made it available on its website (see “Publication 5262”). You can find the updated QI User Guide here.

OECD news regarding CRS

On 5 April 2018, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (“OECD”) published an updated list of all activated CRS agreements on its website.

Please refer to the following link for access to the updated list.

There are now more than 2700 bilateral agreements in place.

Additionally, the OECD published an updated version of the CRS Implementation Handbook, which can be accessed under the following link.

The Implementation Handbook is a guidance for governments to refer to in terms of their implementation of CRS rules into their local legislation and guidance, as well as a practical overview of CRS for the financial sector and the wider public.

We will continue to keep you updated as we follow and analyze these updates over the next few days. In the meantime, we are happy to answer any of your QI- and CRS-related questions.

Contact

Bruno Hollenstein
Partner, Operational Tax
+41 58 792 43 72
bruno.hollenstein@ch.pwc.com

Blockchain: Key challenges to get your solution GDPR compliant

What is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) about?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 harmonises personal data protection law on the territory of the European Union (EU). It stipulates rules on data processing and on the transfer of personal data in and outside the EU. Coming into effect on 25 May 2018, it will replace the 1995 Data Protection Directive (Directive 95/46/EC). Non-compliance with the GDPR may lead under some circumstances to severe fines of up to 4% of worldwide annual turnover.

What are the key challenges the GDPR triggers for blockchain?

Depending on the blockchain-based activity the GDPR raises considerable legal concerns. Among the most relevant ones relate to the processing principles of data minimisation and storage limitation. Some key challenges relate specifically to blockchain features, such as:

    • Immutability of transactions
    • Replication
    • Encryption
    • Data controllers and data processors

Read the full article

 

Contacts

Dr. Guenther Dobrauz
Leader|PwC Legal Switzerland, Zurich
+41 58 792 14 97
guenther.dobrauz@ch.pwc.com

Susanne Hofmann
Director|PwC Legal Switzerland, Zurich
+ 41 58 792 17 12
susanne.hofmann@ch.pwc.com

Dr. Idir Laurent Khiar
Manager|PwC Legal Switzerland, Zurich
+41 58 792 17 51
idir.laurent.khiar@ch.pwc.com

Orkan Sahin
Assistant Manager|PwC Legal Switzerland, Zurich
+41 58 792 19 94
orkan.sahin@ch.pwc.com

Restrictions related to the sale, distribution, or marketing of CFD and Binary Options to EU-domiciled retail investors also for Swiss-based financial market participants coming soon

The European regulator ESMA has announced that soon restrictions related to the sale, distribution, or marketing of CFD and Binary Options to retail investors domiciled in the EU will become effective. The prohibitions will also apply  to Swiss based financial market participants engaging in such activities purely on a cross-border basis. The restrictions will become effective one month in case of Binary Options respectively two months in case of CFD after their publication in the Official Journal and will last for three months, but might be prolonged thereafter. Affected market participants have thus some limited time to prepare.

Restrictions applicable to contracts for difference (CFD)

Affected by the restrictions are contracts for differences (CFD), meaning any derivative other than an option, future, swap, or forward rate agreement, the purpose of which is to give the holder a short or long exposure to fluctuations in the price, level, or value of the underlying that must be settled in cash or may be settled in cash at the option of one party other than by reason of default or another termination event. Warrants and turbo certificates are not affected.

The restrictions will consist of the following measures:

  • Leverage limits: leverage limits will apply on the opening of CFD positions. The following initial margin requirements will apply:
    • 3,33% if the underlying is composed of any two of the following currencies: USD, EUR, JPY, GBP, CAD, or CHF.
    • 5% when the underlying is one of the key mentioned international indices, a currency pair of at least one of the currencies mentioned above, or gold.
    • 10% when the underlying is another commodity or another equity index.
    • 50% if the underlying is a cryptocurrency.
    • 20% if the underlying is a stock not listed above.
  • Margin close-out rules per account: margin close-out rules per account and not per position apply if the sum of the funds in the CFD trading account and the unrealised net profits of all CFD positions connected to that account fall to less than half of all initial margins of these CFD-positions. Margin close-out rules of 50% per position are still applicable.
  • Negative balance protection on a per account basis: negative balance protection on a per account basis limits a retail investor’s aggregate liability for all CFDs connected to a CFD trading account with a CFD provider to the funds in the CFD trading account.
  • Restrictions of incentives of CFD trading: no monetary benefits can be provided to retail investors other than the proof of a CFD. These restrictions will apply to all existing and prospective clients.
  • Risk warning: appropriate risk warnings must be included in all communication and publications containing the percentage of retail investors that lost money over the preceding twelve months.

Restrictions applicable to Binary Options

Restrictions will also apply to Binary Options, meaning any cash settled derivative in which the payment at close-out or expiry of a predetermined fixed monetary amount or zero depends on whether one or more specified events in relation to the underlying occur at, or prior to the derivative’s expiry. There will be a three-month prohibition on the marketing, distribution, or sale of Binary Options to retail investors domiciled in the EU.

Contact Us

Martin Liebi
Director, PwC Legal Switzerland
Tel: +41 58 792 28 86
martin.liebi@ch.pwc.com

 

21st CEO Survey: Key findings from the Asset and Wealth Management industry

Optimistic CEOS and buoyant growth, yet disruption looms

There’s great confidence in the asset and wealth management (AWM) industry, but also acknowledgement that times are changing. While CEOs are optimistic about growth, they’re aware that they face challenges, although perhaps not the full extent of them. Those are the inescapable conclusions of PwC’s 21st CEO Survey in which 126 of the sector’s CEOs were interviewed.

While AWM CEOs are optimistic about revenue growth in 2018, they also report seeing a myriad of challenges. This contrast begs the question: Will the extent of potential disruption outpace the time needed to prepare for and react to it?

Accelerating technological change, more demanding customers, embedding the blizzard of new regulation – these powerful forces will transform, and perhaps terminate, some of the sector’s traditional ways of operating. The survey’s findings echo the recent report, “Asset & Wealth Management Revolution: Embracing Exponential Change,” which estimates that by 2025 global assets under management will have almost doubled – rising from US$84.9 trillion in 2016 to US$145.4 trillion.

Yet certain AWM CEOs seem to underestimate the widespread industry reinvention under way, with major changes to fees, products, distribution, regulation, technology, and people skills, and how a failure to properly navigate these changes may cut into assets under management and eventual profits. Perhaps this is due to the disparate nature of the sector. It ranges from global giants to active and alternative investment boutiques. Many AWM participants in PwC’s 21st CEO Survey lead relatively small shops, reflecting the entrepreneurial nature of the industry.

Read the full study

Contact

Jean-Sébastien Lassonde
PwC | Partner, Swiss Leader Asset & Wealth Management
Office: +41 58 792 81 46 | Mobile: 41 79 598 57 38
Email: jean.sebastien.lassonde@ch.pwc.com

EU Direct Tax Group: January – February 2018

The following topics are covered in this issue of EU Tax News:

CJEU Cases

  • Germany – CJEU referral of German dividend withholding tax regime to in the case of a Canadian pension fund
  • Germany – AG Opinion on the compatibility of German Trade Tax exemption with EU law
  • Netherlands – CJEU judgment on compatibility of Dutch group taxation regime with EU fundamental freedoms
  • Spain – European Commission opens infringement procedure against Spanish state liability regime

National Developments

  • Italy – Italian court rules on incompatibility of presumption of abuse/tax evasion with EU freedom of establishment
  • Spain – Appeal at the Spanish Supreme Court against Andalusian tax on deposits on financial entities
  • Spain – Appeal at the Spanish Supreme Court on the rules to eliminate international double taxation

EU Developments

  • EU – European Commission publishes Roadmap on Evaluation of Administrative Cooperation in Direct Taxation
  • EU – European Commission announces comprehensive fitness check on public reporting by companies within the EU
  • EU – European Parliament sets up TAXE 3 Special Committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance

Read the full newsletter

This bi-monthly newsletter is prepared by members of PwC’s pan-European EU Direct Tax Group (EUDTG) network.

To receive this newsletter and our newsalerts automatically and free of charge, please send an e-mail to: eudtg@nl.pwc.com with “subscription EU Tax News”. For previous editions of PwC’s EU Tax News see: www.pwc.com/eudtg

Contact Us

Armin Marti
Partner Tax & Legal Services, Leader Tax Policy
+41 58 792 43 43
armin.marti@ch.pwc.com