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Encyclopedia > Double taxation

Double taxation is a situation in which two or more taxes may need to be paid for the same asset, financial transaction and/or income and arises due to overlap between different countries' tax laws and jurisdictions. The liability is often mitigated by "tax treaties" between countries. A tax is a financial charge or other levy imposed on an individual or a legal entity by a state or a functional equivalent of a state (for example, tribes, secessionist movements or revolutionary movements). ... In business and accounting an asset is anything owned which can produce future economic benefit, whether in possession or by right to take possession, by a person or a group acting together, e. ... A financial transaction involves a change in the status of the finances of two or more businesses or individuals. ... Income, generally defined, is the money that is received as a result of the normal business activities of an individual or a business. ...


In the USA, the term "double taxation" is often applied to Dividend taxation. This usage is not widely recognised outside the USA. A dividend tax is an income tax on money paid to the owners of a company through dividend payments. ...

Contents

International Double Taxation Agreements

Main article: Tax treaty

It is not unusual for a business or individual who is resident in one country to make a taxable gain (earnings, profits) in another. This person may find that he is obliged by domestic laws to pay tax on that gain locally and pay again in the country in which the gain was made. Since this is inequitable, many nations make bilateral Double taxation agreements with each other. Conventionally, this requires that tax be paid in the country of residence and be exempt in the country in which it arises. To do this, the taxpayer must declare himself (in the foreign country) to be non-resident there. So the second aspect of the agreement is that the two taxation authorities exchange information about such declarations, and so may investigate any anomalies that might indicate tax evasion. Tax treaties exist between many countries on a bilateral basis to prevent double taxation (taxes levied twice on the same income, profit, capital gain, inheritance or other item). ...


European Union savings taxation

In the European Union, member states have concluded a multilateral agreement1 on information exchange. This means that they will each report (to their counterparts in each other jurisdiction) a list of those savers who have claimed exemption from local taxation on grounds of not being a resident of the state where the income arises. These savers should have declared that foreign income in their own country of residence, so any difference suggests tax evasion. The principle of a withholding tax is that it is withheld (retained) by the payer and given directly to the taxation authorities. ... This article contrasts tax evasion, tax avoidance, tax resistance and tax mitigation. ...


(For a transition period, some2 states have a separate arrangement. They may offer each non-resident account holder the choice of taxation arrangements: either (a) disclosure of information as above, or (b) deduction of local tax on savings interest at source as is the case for residents).


India Mauritius Double taxation avoidance treaty

According to Double Taxation Avoidance Act between India and Mauritius, Capital Gains arising from sale of shares is taxable in the country of residence of the shareholder and not in the country of residence of the Company whose shares have been sold. Therefore, a Company resident in Mauritius selling shares of Indian Company will not pay tax in India. Since there is no Capital gains tax in Mauritius, the gain will escape tax altogether. A capital gains tax (abbreviated: CGT) is a tax charged on capital gains, the profit realized on the sale of an asset that was purchased at a lower price. ...


German Taxation Avoidance

If a foreign citizen is in Germany for less than a relevant 183 day period (approximately six months) and are tax resident (ie., and paying taxes on your salary/benefits) elsewhere, then it may be possible to claim tax relief under a particular Double Tax Treaty. The relevant 183 day period is either 183 days in a calendar year or in any period of 12 months, depending upon the particular treaty involved. The Double Tax Treaty with the UK, for example, looks at a period of 183 days in the German tax year (which is the same as the calendar year). Legal residence is the principle that each legal person (natural or corporate) has a single location of primary residence. ...


So, for example, you could work in Germany from 1 September through to the following 30 May, a total of 10 months, whilst being tax resident in Germany and could claim to be exempt from German tax under a Double Tax Treaty. This is assuming that during this period you were were tax resident in another country and paying taxes on your salary and benefits there.


In some cases, it would be beneficial, from a tax standpoint, to claim exemption under a Double Tax Treaty, i.e., if your other country of tax residence levies much lower taxes. In other cases, whilst the tax liability may be broadly similar (e.g., as with the UK and Germany), claiming exemption under a Double Tax Treaty offers administrative convenience and savings in professional fees (payroll bureau, tax return filing etc). In Germany, if the criteria of a relevant Double Tax Treaty are satisfied then there is no requirement to submit a formal claim for relief; rather, exemption may simply be assumed. The other criteria are that you are paid by a non-German company and that the costs of your employment are borne by a non-German company. You should not, generally, have a problem satisfying these criteria.


If you are receiving a salary for working in Germany and that salary is subject to German tax, i.e., relief under a Double Tax Treaty is not available or desirable, you (as a company) or your employer is obliged to deduct a German withholding tax and pay this over to the German Revenue authorities on a regular basis. You will need to seek professional advice in Germany as to the calculation, regularity and transmission of these payments and contact details can be provided if required.


U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad

The US requires its citizens to file tax returns reporting their earnings wherever they reside. However, there are some measures designed to reduce the international double taxation that results from this requirement. [1] Tax returns (in the United States) are forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service or with the state or local tax collection agency (California Franchise Tax Board, for example) containing information used to calculate income tax or other taxes. ...


First, an individual who is a bona fide resident of a foreign country or is physically outside the US for an extended time is entitled to an exclusion (exemption) of part or all of her earned income(i.e. personal service income, as distinguished from income from capital or investments.) That exemption is currently set at $82,400 (2006).[1] A wage is the amount of money paid for some specified quantity of labour. ...


Second, the US allows a foreign tax credit by which income taxes paid to foreign countries can be offset against US income tax liability attributable to foreign income. This can be a complex issue that often requires the services of a tax advisor. The foreign tax credit is not allowed for taxes paid on earned income that is excluded under the rules described in the preceding paragraph (i.e. no double dipping).[1] An income tax is a tax levied on the financial income of persons, corporations, or other legal entities. ... A tax advisor is a financial expert especially trained in tax law. ...


Notes

  1. ^ a b c IRS Publication 54: Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad

Note 1: Council Directive 2003/48/EC of 3 June 2003 on taxation of savings income in the form of interest payments.


Note 2: See (17) and (18) of above, for a "temporary" period, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg may apply a withholding tax to non-resident accounts rather than exchange information. The principle of a withholding tax is that it is withheld (retained) by the payer and given directly to the taxation authorities. ...


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Double taxation of corporate dividends ceased to exist in Australia on 1987 after the introduction of "Dividend Imputation."
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