News

April 7, 2021

I would argue that HNWIs both in Asia and the Americas should now start to look at effective investment migration strategies that allow one to hedge their bets. As this article in Asia Nikkei and the legislative proposals of Senators Warren and Sanders in the United States suggests, the wealthy are in for a period of great uncertainty. Governmental action everywhere over the last twelve months has pushed the world towards economic stagnation, and the tax man shall be quite…

April 7, 2021

On March 25, 2021, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced legislation entitled “For the 99.5% Act.”  The aim of the bill is to tax the fortunes of the top 0.5% of wealthy Americans. This is the first piece of legislation introduced since Joe Biden came into office and is designed to lower the U.S. federal estate tax exemption.  Highlights include: regarding personal wealth: Reduce the U.S. federal estate tax exemption to USD $3.5m for U.S. citizens / domiciliaries (Note: There is no…

April 6, 2021

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen argued this week for the imposition of a global minimum corporate tax rate. Her comments were set in the context of increasing U.S. corporate taxes to fund Joe Biden’s USD $2 trillion+ infrastructure plan.   Why do we care? The argument goes that by convincing other countries to impose a global minimum tax would greatly reduce the likelihood of U.S. companies relocating offshore, as America is set to potentially increase the corporate rate from 21% to…

March 28, 2021

Cyprus has made some changes to its permanent residency by investment program.  Quite a good step in the right direction.  However, in order to be competitive, Cyprus must align its offering with that of Portugal or the new Bulgarian fast track programme.  Permanent residency is quite limited in Cyprus because the island is physically cutoff from Europe and is not part of Schengen. A very good synopsis on the program can be found at IMI Daily.

March 27, 2021

Saw an interesting piece on crypto-currencies and tax regimes in Wealth Management.  Worth the read.

March 15, 2021

In the waning days of the Trump Presidency a little known act – the “Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2019” – was passed into law as part of the reconciled National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (H.R. 6395). Overcoming a Presidential Veto, the passed enactments ushered in broad changes to US anti-money laundering, financial crime and tax evasion laws. As it stands, today America’s treasury and justice departments can subpoena any account records from…

March 14, 2021

Came across an interesting piece in the New York Post regarding NY state legislature proposing an additional USD $7bn in new and increased taxes on businesses and the ultra wealthy. What legislatures continually fail to grasp is the fact that such additional taxes just cause capital flight.  Read more.

March 10, 2021

The United States has never had a wealth tax. European nations have had such things, but many of repealed them over the last few decades. Simply put, wealth taxes don’t work for they spur capital flight. That has not deterred Senator Warren (D-MA) with Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Brendan Boyle (D-PA) from introducing legislation to create a flat 2% annual tax on all household worth above $50 million, which would rise to 3% for anyone above $1 billion. Senator…

February 13, 2021

With the more onerous tax burdens coming into play, the wealthy of India are looking for options. Many are still looking to the UK but with Brexit now a reality, a new and exciting opportunity is the Portuguese Golden Visa Program, which allows one to “place their bets” so to speak as they wait to see where the winds will blow. Quite an interesting article in this respect in the Times of India.

February 10, 2021

Nigerians are increasingly looking for additional options when it comes to global travel and relocation. The most popular options are the citizenship by investment (CBI) programs – the Caribbean primarily. Here, foreign nationals can legally obtain a second citizenship and passport in another country through an investment in that nation. Next up are certain residency by investment programs; specifically the Portuguese Golden Visa Program, which allows one and his family to obtain a permanent residency in Portugal and 6 years…

January 20, 2021

With the Democrats now controlling Congress and the Presidency, the new Biden Administration is set to fundamentally change the nature of tax. How this will impact Americans and business remains an open question. What is certain is the fact that wealth preservation and tax structuring will become primary motivators for the migration industry over the next four years. It is only a matter of time before other countries start to look to America for inspiration and guidance, as governments everywhere…

January 8, 2021

As this year’s US defence appropriations act demonstrates, there seems to be a growing international trend on the part of governments to create a baseline in terms of disclosure of beneficial ownership. How a new Biden-Harris administration will act in its first 100 days will be quite telling indeed. All of this will have a profound impact for private wealth clients and tax structuring professionals. As governments become increasingly dependent upon sourcing additional tax revenues, investment migration will no longer…

January 2, 2021

Very nice to be featured in IMI Daily’s “Ten On The Weekend”.

December 12, 2020

With all due respect to the BBC, the imposition of such a “one-time” wealth tax would have a disastrous impact on the British economy. Capital flight would occur, much like what is happening already in Argentina (which brought in such a measure last week). Given the now noticeable shift in public discourse in favour of greater burdens being placed on successful business people, those with means should start thinking about reorganising their affairs. Second citizenship and permanent residency verticals are…

December 11, 2020

Argentinians normally look to Uruguay and then the United States when thinking about tax planning. Those routes seem now insufficient, given the political shift. Arguably, Latin Americans, and even North Americans, with means should now consider wealth planning options that utilise residency options, as tax matters are only set to get worse. Read More.

December 7, 2020

Like other major economies in 2020, the UK is facing a tax deficiency in light of covid-19 and the severe contraction of its economy. Governments are now looking to new tax revenue schemes and everything is on the table. The Portuguese Golden Visa Program tied to a fund investment is one such possibility, as it provides a functional result coupled with a financial product designed to create liquidity and ease of exit. Read More.

November 11, 2020

Like others governments facing revenue shortfalls, India has just recently introduced citizenship-based taxation. Henceforth, Indian nationals, irrespective of physical presence in India, will be deemed to be tax residents in certain circumstances. Although India is still quite flexible in terms of application, the fact remains that the tax system is slowly moving towards obtaining additional revenues from those living and working abroad. Indian citizens should expect that matters will only get worse. Governments rarely lessen the tax burden. As such,…

November 10, 2020

A very nice development in Portugal this week. Birthright citizenship will be henceforth allowed for those that are born in Portugal to parents that have been permanent residency for at least one year. Coupled with the country’s Golden Visa Program, this will push Portugal to the top of the list in terms of permanent residency and citizenship programs (through the backdoor). An outstanding piece is found at IMI Daily.

October 25, 2020

As of November 1st, Cyprus will suspend its existing citizenship by investment programme. Although the benefits of such a programme are beyond question – FDI into the local economy and providing an opportunity for people and their families – the problem has been the misfeasance on the part of a few bad apples. What is certain is that on November 2nd all real estate in Cyprus associated with the citizenship programme will essentially be worth zero and real estate prices…

October 20, 2020

Very nice to have my article featured in IMI Daily.  My supposition is that the Cypriot economy cannot be so heavily real property focused, as it leads to not only stratification of wealth but also over exposure to a single economy.  As such, real property in Cyprus is now set to collapse with the closure of the country’s CIP. Read More.

September 27, 2020

It seems that many in the financial industry are starting to push the notion that somehow the pending global real estate correction will be limited in scope. In my opinion, this is a dangerous fallacy. Misguided governmental response to Covid-19 has brought the global economy to its knees and countries everywhere are facing negative growth. In turn, this has created a liquidity issue for the general public. We are on the path of a downward spiral for the foreseeable future….

August 24, 2020

IMI Daily today requested my feedback to the Al Jazeera investigation of the Cyprus citizenship-by-investment program and related corruption. Although there have been significant problems in the past, today the Cyprus CIP is one of the most onerous and well managed programmes in the world. We are most pleased to be part of this program that provides opportunity and hope to many. Read More.

August 5, 2020

With the Democrats now solidifying around a Biden-Harris ticket, the U.S. faces a real choice. Continue with the Trump-Pence paradigm or reject it in favour of something just as earth shattering. Never has politics been so polarising and the World must wait for America to decide. Those with means now need to consider backup strategies that preserve wealth and opportunity. Read More.

April 10, 2020

Arguably, COVID-19 will be a world-wide tipping point for the ushering in of a more restrictive global system, flying in the face of unabated free trade that is predicated on the mobility of goods, services and labour. How this plays out is anyone’s guess. What is certain is that citizenship by investment programmes will become critical in terms of providing mobility choices to those that are able to meet regulatory thresholds. Read More.

March 25, 2020

Epidemics are related to population mobility. COVID-19 is special in that today’s global economy is intrinsically linked to unprecedentedly prevalent and frequent population mobility. Today, a virus can spread unabated. Free-traders have always argued that the global circulation of goods, services and labour is more important than factory assembly lines when it comes to sustaining growth. They are uninterested in social disruption; only wealth enhancement. The COVID-19 epidemic and the subsequent national responses are particularly stark because they have abruptly…

November 11, 2019

The Republic of Cyprus has recently amended its Naturalization by Exception Programme. The changes become effective as of 15 May 2019. Highlights include: A minimum investment of € 2.5m +VAT, compared to € 2m + VAT with current status under some conditions. The holding of relevant real property for a minimum of 5 years, compared to 3 years under the current status. An additional contribution of € 150k into donations and start-ups. The holding of a Schengen Visa before applying….

November 8, 2019

Austria’s Ministry of Finance has recently provided some guidance on the question of an Austrian home office as it applies to an Austrian tax resident employee and whether such a setup can qualify as an Austrian permanent establishment for a non-Austrian enterprise. A permanent establishment for Austrian domestic tax purposes is a fixed place through which an enterprise’s business is carried out. Such an establishment can be an employee’s private flat, provided that employee renders his/her work at least partly…

October 15, 2019

The Austrian tax court has recently opined on the question of dividend payments from Austria to an intermediate EU holding company which has no substance (while its EU parent does). Generally in Austria dividends paid out by Austrian corporations trigger a 27.5% withholding tax. Nevertheless, pursuant to the EU Parent/Subsidiary Directive applied in Austria, outbound dividends are totally exempt from withholding tax if the parent company fulfils the criteria as set out in the Directive and holds at least 10%…

September 20, 2019

On 12 September 2019, the advocate general of the European Court of Justice held that Hungary’s advertisement tax legislation based on which Google was fined HUF 1 billion (approx. EUR 3 million) constitutes an unjustifiable restriction on the freedom to provide services. Hungary’s advertisement tax was introduced in 2014 as a special tax on the turnover from the broadcasting or publication of advertisements. Individuals or entities that broadcast or publish advertisements may – irrespective of their residence – be subject…

August 1, 2019

On 31 July 2019, Bulgaria’s parliament adopted new transfer pricing rules in line with recommendations of the OECD. The new rules set out obligations for Bulgarian companies, Bulgarian permanent establishments of non-resident foreign companies and locally registered sole trades to maintain mandatory transfer pricing documentation evidencing the arm’s length basis of their transactions with related parties. Exemptions exist, and are relevant to the following taxpayer categories: Persons exempt from Bulgarian corporate income tax (certain collective investment schemes, national investment funds…

March 30, 2019

Recently, the Czech government submitted to parliament a bill implementing DAC 6 on the mandatory disclosure of cross-border tax arrangements. The bill underwent several changes in comparison with the initial draft published in March 2019. DAC 6 – the EU Council Directive 2011/16 on cross border tax arrangements – is being implement by the Czech Republic via domestic legislation no later than 31 December 2019, and will start to apply as of1 July 2020. The government has drafted a bill…

February 25, 2019

Towards the end of January 2019, Bulgaria’s legislature adopted the EU’s GDPR regulation, but was subsequently overruled by the Bulgarian President. The President exercised his veto right on the grounds that the legislation did not go far enough to address concerns regarding data processing for journalistic purposes and the purposes of academic, artistic or literary expression. Veto’s background The EU’s GDPR grants legislative discretion to EU States in the area of data processing for journalistic, academic, artistic, or literary purposes….

January 20, 2019

Hungary has recently amended its labour code in order to increase permissible overtime levels. On an annual basis, permissible overtime has increased from 250 hours per year to 400 hours per year. Such overtime overrides any collective labour agreements in place. The new legislation leaves the 48 hours/week work limit unchanged but raises the overtime banking period to 3 years from 1 year. In practice, it will be possible for an employer to pay the employee for overtimes in one…

January 20, 2019

On 1 January 2019, Albania’s Income Tax Act was amended with respect to imposition of new rules on the indirect transfer of ownership of assets situated in Albania. The new rules deal with the taxation of gains arising from such indirect asset transfers. An indirect transfer occurs when an Albanian company owning assets in Albania decides to sell said assets to a third party, but such third party merely purchases the shares/quota in the Albanian company holding the assets or…

January 5, 2019

As of the close of 2018, Serbia has now established its central register of ultimate beneficial owners. Henceforth, Serbian companies, institutions, as well as branches and representative offices established by foreign investors in Serbia are required to register their UBOs with the central register no later than 31 January 2019. The register has established an online portal in order to facilitate quick and efficient UBO registration. While disclosure is required, actual documentary support underlying UBO disclosure is not. Nevertheless, entities…

December 15, 2018

In early November, the Austrian Data Protection Authority issued a directive that data processing operations in all cases requires a data protection impact assessment (DPIA). Under Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), DPIA is required during data collection. The Austrian rule changes are bringing effect to GDPR into the national regime. Please note that failure to carry out a DPIA can result in fines up to EUR 10m or 2% of worldwide annual turnover. DPIA Examples Some examples include:…

November 5, 2018

Just this past October, Government Emergency Ordinance GEO 8/2018 was published, which set out certain new amendments to Romania’s insolvency regime. The ordinance amends: (i) Law no. 85/2014, regarding Romania’s insolvency law itself; (ii) ordinance no. 2/2000 regarding judicial application; (iii) ordinance no. 90/2017 regarding fiscal budgetary matters; and (iv) ordinance no. 86/2006 regarding the insolvency practitioner profession. Essentially, GEO 88/2018 was adopted in order to improve mechanisms for the recover of state receivables from insolvent companies, and to take…

October 10, 2018

On October 4, 2018, ESMA (the European Securities and Markets Authority) updated its view on the applicability Directive 2011/61/EU on alternative investment fund managers (AIFMs). The update provides guidance with respect to the cross-border management of alternative investment funds (AIFs), which have an umbrella structure with multiple compartments, or sub-funds, via the EU passport regime. Henceforth, AIFMs that wish to engage in cross-border management of AIFs must notify their respective national competent authority regarding the general umbrella fund as well as the names and…

September 19, 2018

Recently in August, Germany moved forward with a proposal directed against VAT avoidance relating to supplies of goods with a German nexus over online marketplaces. The bills expected to pass parliament in late fall and become effective as of January 1, 2019. Key elements entail: operators of online marketplaces shall be obliged to fulfil new documentation duties regarding providers of goods;  documentation requirements shall apply to any goods that touch Germany – if the shipment starts or ends in Germany;…

September 8, 2018

With concerns over challenges posed by China, the US government recently introduced new measures designed to enact control over the transfer and use of US goods and technologies both in the US and abroad. Applicable to emerging market M&A and joint ventures, these new measures manifest as two new laws – The Foreign Investment Risk Modernization Act (FIRRMA) and the Export Control Reform Act (ECRA). FIRRMA clarifies and expands the authority of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United…

September 1, 2018

Just this past August, Slovenia introduced a new collective agreement baseline for companies. The new collective agreement regulates business times for employers – specifically, it prohibits the scheduling of work on public holidays and bank holidays. With respect to weekends, it limits the use of Sundays. WHAT DOES IT ENTAIL? Most rights and obligations under the new collective agreement baseline is essentially the same as the previous act. There are some notable exceptions, as follows: •work week: The maximum weekly…

August 15, 2018

In the wake of GDPR, Poland has adopted a number of measures related to employee monitoring. Enshrined in the Polish Labor Code, there are a number of issues one should be aware of now when carrying on business in Poland. Video monitoring An employer can now utilise video monitoring only when it is considered necessary for furthering employee safety, property protection, production supervision and ensuring the confidentiality of information. Utilization is allowed in places of work; whereas monitoring is forbidden…

August 13, 2018

Bulgaria has recently adopted new appeal procedures related to public procurement. Designed to speed-up appeals and to bring an end to bad faith actions, the new rules are designed to place Bulgaria in line with more general European norms. Public procurement makes up approx. 9% of Bulgaria’s annual GDP; thus, the new measures are designed to protect and enhance this very important aspect of Bulgaria’s economy. Prior to the adopte…d measures, Bulgaria has found it difficult to implement large infrastructure…

August 10, 2018

This past July, Croatia’s parliament adopted a new Capital Markets Act in order to align Croatian legislation with the EU acquis. The at meets the EU’s cornerstone financial markets regulation – the Directive on Markets in Financial Instruments repealing Directive 2004/39/EC and the Regulation on Markets in Financial Instruments; commonly referred to as MiFID II and MiFIR. MiFID II and MiFIR are designed to ensure fair, safe and more efficient markets, and to better facilitate greater transparency for all market participants. More precisely,…

July 24, 2018

Russia has slowly moved forward in terms of its response to a recent push by the US to levy sanctions in April 2018 against certin Russian state-controlled entities and individuals, and the companies they control. Last month, legislation was passed in Russia providing the Russian government with the authority to impose certain restrictive measures against certain foreign persons and goods and services in accordance with a decision of th…e Russian president. This new law does not in itself impose restrictions….

July 5, 2018

The EU has introduced new cross-border transaction reporting requirements. Recently in May, the EU quietly adopted Council Directive 2018/822/EU on the reporting of “potentially aggressive” cross-border tax-planning arrangements. Reporting requirements will kick-in on August 31st, 2020, after the Council Directive is implemented by EU Member States. What is important is that the Council Directive is simply an instruction to Member States to create new national laws according to the principles of the directive; the directive itself is not itself a…

July 2, 2018

The US has put the WTO Appellate Body into crisis mode. Since the advent of the Trump administration, the US has consistently blocked appointments and reappointments to the WTO Appellate Body. As a result, the appellate body has now shrunk to four from its original seven members. In October this year, it is expected that this will go down to three members. WTO rules specify that three members must server on a case, selected by rotation. This will be meaningless in…

June 27, 2018

The Hungarian government has recently proposed legislative changes designed to enable regulatory screening of foreign acquisitions of certain Hungarian companies. Designed to protect strategic businesses, the proposed changes would include oversight of certain services (such as finance and telecoms) and critical infrastructure and technologies subject to potential interest by non-European bidders. Legislative motivation is on national security and public policy grounds. Proposed oversight would be applicable for acquistions in excess of 25% of Hungarian companies (10% if the target is…

June 22, 2018

Quite recently, a Romanian government emergency ordinance regarding certain amendments to Romania’s public procurement regime (“GEO 45/2018”) has been approved and gazetted. Essentially, GEO 45/2018 amended and supplemented four laws and two government emergency ordinances as follows: Law no. 98/2016 on public procurement; Law no. 99/2016 on sectoral procurement; Law no. 100/2016 on concessions of works and concessions of services; Law no. 101/2016 on remedies and appeals; Government Emergency Ordinance no. 13/2015 regarding the establishment, organization and functioning of the…

June 11, 2018

The Serbian parliament has recently adopted a new law regarding the introduction of a central registry of ultimate beneficial owners (UBOs). In force as of June 8th, the UBO law stipulates that entities and their authorized persons conducting business in Serbia shall have 30 days henceforth to identify their UBOs. Applicability is broad in scope, as the UBO law applies to both Serbian entities but also foreign companies conducting business in the Republic. With respect to foreign entities, the UBO…

June 6, 2018

On May 24th, the EC published proposals related to the promotion of the use of small and medium sized enterprise (SME) growth markets. The proposals are designed to give more flexibility for SME growth market operators as to whether they wish to impose obligations related to the production of semi-annual reports on SME debt-only issuers. The MiFID II Directive (2014/65/EU) created the SME growth market trading venue (a subset of MTFs) to… facilitate access to capital for SMEs and the…

June 4, 2018

Poland has recently introduced another public registry related to debtors. Poland is in the process of introducing the Register of Public Law Dues, which is desiged to provide information related to any financial liabilities of an individual or corporate entity. With the legal foundation already in place, the registry is set to go live in the second half of 2018. The aim is to create a system whereby potential business partners, banks, etc. have comfort in terms of increased… security…

May 25, 2018

Bulgaria is set to introduce certain changes to the application of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Bulgaria’s government has announced that it will legislate additional protocols to that exisitng under GDPR. Areas to be effected include employment, the role of GDPR or data protection officers (DPOs) and data protection impact assessments. Regarding DPOs, Bulgaria-based businesses would be required to designate a DPO if they process the personal data of more than 1…0,000 individuals. In addition, specific corporate rules…

May 21, 2018

Cyprus has brought its domestic law inline with EU directive on mandatory automatic exchange of tax information. Cyprus has recently introduced Law 33(I)/2018 in furtherance of EU Directive 2016/881/EU. The changes concern EU wide administrative cooperation in the field of taxation. The definition of ‘automatic exchange’ has been changed; and there are new provisions requiring ultimate parent entities of multinational enterprises resident in Cyprus for tax purposes to file country-by-country reports within 12 months of the end of each fiscal…

May 18, 2018

US banks have begun applying the US Treasury’s new customer due diligence regime, requiring them to verify the identities of new business customers’ beneficial owners, and report them to law enforcement agencies. The rules were finalised two years ago, under the Obama administration, after almost two years of consultation. But implementation was deferred until now, to give the banks time to implement the new system. A beneficial owner is defined as anyone who owns 25 per cent or more of…

May 17, 2018

As the oil and gas industry strengthens with eyes on rising commodity prices, costs and emerging technologies, there are certain trends developing for 2018 that the industry should also keep in mind. Will 2018 be the year for the digital revolution takeoff, transforming talk into lucrative plans to help drive growth? Will natural gas make strides toward becoming the dominant fuel of the future, replacing oil? How will U.S. shale perform with still struggling oilfield service …companies and equipment manufacturers…

May 16, 2018

Greece has abolished and replaced its “National Cadastre and Mapping Agency S.A.” with a new public entity entitled the “Hellenic Cadastre” (“Elliniko Ktimatologio”). The new agency shall be based in Athens and is supervised by the Minister of Environment and Energy. In addition, seventeen (17) cadastral offices shall be established, one in each region (except for the Attica region where three (3) offices shall be established and Central Macedonia region where two (2) offices… shall be established) and other sixty…

September 9, 2017

When it comes to M&A in Cyprus, there are a number of major laws one should be aware of, as follows: 1. Companies Law Cap. 113 (a) Sections 198-201 of Companies Law regulate mergers, divisions, partial divisions, transfers of assets and exchange of shares in two or more companies intending to merge together. (b) Sections 201A – H of Companies Law as amended by Law 70(I) of 2003 regulate mergers of public companies in line with European practices. (c) Sections…

September 9, 2017

Albania performs reasonably well overall with respect to the quality of its energy (electricity and natural gas) sector. A recent EBRD energy law reform assessment, for example, shows that the country’s regulatory independence remains strong although private sector participation and market framework are the key weaknesses. Within the electricity sector, Albania has a regulatory framework in place that is relatively compliant with EU requirements, with partial market opening. Major challenges remain the country’s singular dependence on, aside from imports, hydro…

August 20, 2017

The National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska (RS) adopted amendments to the Profit Tax Law on 28 December 2016. The main changes have become effective as of 1 January 2017 and will be briefly presented in this article. With the amendments, the Law clarifies the definition of “taxable person” and harmonizes the concept of residence with the Profit Tax Law of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) and Brcko District in order to avoid double taxation. Namely, a…

June 15, 2017

A draft law that would amend the Tax Code of the Republic of Belarus has been posted on the website of the Belarusian Ministry of Finance (the “Draft Law”). This time the draft has been published long before the start of the calendar year in which the amendments are to take effect, giving taxpayers a chance to understand the changes and prepare for them. In addition to the traditional indexation of tax rates in Belarusian rubles, the draft law contains…

September 29, 2016

The purpose of the new amendment to the Hungarian Civil Code, effective as of 1 October 2016, is to make effective the independent mortgage, which was used under the former civil code, along with refining rules with respect to the security deposit. The independent mortgage is a security that does not require enforcement dependent on the loan or other security relationships between a creditor and debtor. It is inspired from the German Civil Code. Starting with 1 October 2016 the…

September 12, 2016

One of the most popular enquiries after Brexit is how expats and people who own property in Bulgaria will be affected. There are approximately 1.3 million UK citizens living in Europe many of which chose Bulgaria for their second home or just bought a holiday home in Bulgarian resorts on the Black Sea. Around 7000 UK citizens reside permanently in Bulgaria as of March 2016, according to UK embassy data. In Bulgaria, non-EU citizens are allowed to buy built property…

August 30, 2016

Serbia’s new Enforcement and Security Act (ESA) was adopted on 18 December 2015, and has become effective as of 1 July 2016. The most relevant new rules are: the provision of new mechanisms to ensure effective enforcement; new competence of the courts and the bailiffs; and the status/role of the bailiffs. Most importantly, ESA introduces the possibility to lodge an appeal against both the decisions of the court and the bailiff, except in cases where the law explicitly excludes the…

August 9, 2016

A limited liability company is the most common corporate form established by foreign investors in Czech Republic. The activity is governed by a Memorandum of Association, which is signed by all shareholders. It is essential to note that it is executed in a form of notorial deed of a Czech notary. The notary fee usually does not exceed CZK 5,000 (180 EUR) and is depending on the amount of the registered capital. This founding deed must contain basic information about…

July 25, 2016

Pursuant to a judgement dated 29 February 2016, the Bulgarian Supreme Court repealed Regulation no 196 of the Council of Ministers of 10 July 2014 with respect to the approval of the fee rates applicable to proceedings under Chapter Eleven of the Public Procurement Act before the Commission for the Protection of Competition and the Supreme Administrative Court (promulgated in The State Gazette, no 58 of 15 July 2014 and entered into force on 15 July 2014). The Commission for…

July 14, 2016

An important amendment to the Assessment and Collection of Taxes Law (N.4/1978) in Cyprus is currently under consideration by the Council of Ministers regarding automatic exchange of information. More specifically, the proposed amendment aims at regulating the conditions under which the Cypriot Tax Commissioner may disclose information on any person with a view to complying with agreements for automatic exchange of information between Cyprus and other countries (both EU and non-EU countries). While the notion of automatic exchange of information…

July 14, 2016

Complete bank secrecy is fast becoming a matter of the past.  The Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) portal provides a comprehensive overview of the work the OECD and the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes in the area of the automatic exchange of information, in particular with respect to the Common Reporting Standard. That is why your account provider (bank, building society, insurance or investment firm) may ask you to provide certain information about yourself…

June 24, 2016

On the 23rd of June, the UK voted to leave the European Union. Known as “Brexit”, the UK Government with now initiate Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, starting the two year procedure leading to the UK’s eventual withdrawal from the EU and, ultimately, to the establishment of a new relationship with its former EU partners. Whatever your position, it is clear that Brexit will have a significant impact across a wide range of sectors – financial services, trade, employment,…

May 19, 2016

Slovenia has amended the Financial Operations, Insolvency Proceedings and Compulsory Dissolution Act, which follow on amendments in 2013, amending preventive restructuring, simplified compulsory settlement and personal bankruptcy proceedings. Amendments to Slovenia’s Insolvency Act, which were adopted by the National Assembly on 31 March 2016, will come into force on 26 April 2016. The main modifications introduced by the amendments are as follows: small companies may now rely on proceedings on preventive restructuring, in addition to medium-sized and large companies as was…

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April 7, 2021

I would argue that HNWIs both in Asia and the Americas should now start to look at effective investment migration strategies that allow one to hedge their bets. As this article in Asia Nikkei and the legislative proposals of Senators Warren and Sanders in the United States suggests, the wealthy are in for a period of great uncertainty. Governmental action everywhere over the last twelve months has pushed the world towards economic stagnation, and the tax man shall be quite…

April 7, 2021

On March 25, 2021, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced legislation entitled “For the 99.5% Act.”  The aim of the bill is to tax the fortunes of the top 0.5% of wealthy Americans. This is the first piece of legislation introduced since Joe Biden came into office and is designed to lower the U.S. federal estate tax exemption.  Highlights include: regarding personal wealth: Reduce the U.S. federal estate tax exemption to USD $3.5m for U.S. citizens / domiciliaries (Note: There is no…

April 6, 2021

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen argued this week for the imposition of a global minimum corporate tax rate. Her comments were set in the context of increasing U.S. corporate taxes to fund Joe Biden’s USD $2 trillion+ infrastructure plan.   Why do we care? The argument goes that by convincing other countries to impose a global minimum tax would greatly reduce the likelihood of U.S. companies relocating offshore, as America is set to potentially increase the corporate rate from 21% to…

March 28, 2021

Cyprus has made some changes to its permanent residency by investment program.  Quite a good step in the right direction.  However, in order to be competitive, Cyprus must align its offering with that of Portugal or the new Bulgarian fast track programme.  Permanent residency is quite limited in Cyprus because the island is physically cutoff from Europe and is not part of Schengen. A very good synopsis on the program can be found at IMI Daily.

March 27, 2021

Saw an interesting piece on crypto-currencies and tax regimes in Wealth Management.  Worth the read.

March 15, 2021

In the waning days of the Trump Presidency a little known act – the “Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2019” – was passed into law as part of the reconciled National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (H.R. 6395). Overcoming a Presidential Veto, the passed enactments ushered in broad changes to US anti-money laundering, financial crime and tax evasion laws. As it stands, today America’s treasury and justice departments can subpoena any account records from…

March 14, 2021

Came across an interesting piece in the New York Post regarding NY state legislature proposing an additional USD $7bn in new and increased taxes on businesses and the ultra wealthy. What legislatures continually fail to grasp is the fact that such additional taxes just cause capital flight.  Read more.

March 10, 2021

The United States has never had a wealth tax. European nations have had such things, but many of repealed them over the last few decades. Simply put, wealth taxes don’t work for they spur capital flight. That has not deterred Senator Warren (D-MA) with Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Brendan Boyle (D-PA) from introducing legislation to create a flat 2% annual tax on all household worth above $50 million, which would rise to 3% for anyone above $1 billion. Senator…

February 13, 2021

With the more onerous tax burdens coming into play, the wealthy of India are looking for options. Many are still looking to the UK but with Brexit now a reality, a new and exciting opportunity is the Portuguese Golden Visa Program, which allows one to “place their bets” so to speak as they wait to see where the winds will blow. Quite an interesting article in this respect in the Times of India.

February 10, 2021

Nigerians are increasingly looking for additional options when it comes to global travel and relocation. The most popular options are the citizenship by investment (CBI) programs – the Caribbean primarily. Here, foreign nationals can legally obtain a second citizenship and passport in another country through an investment in that nation. Next up are certain residency by investment programs; specifically the Portuguese Golden Visa Program, which allows one and his family to obtain a permanent residency in Portugal and 6 years…

January 20, 2021

With the Democrats now controlling Congress and the Presidency, the new Biden Administration is set to fundamentally change the nature of tax. How this will impact Americans and business remains an open question. What is certain is the fact that wealth preservation and tax structuring will become primary motivators for the migration industry over the next four years. It is only a matter of time before other countries start to look to America for inspiration and guidance, as governments everywhere…

January 8, 2021

As this year’s US defence appropriations act demonstrates, there seems to be a growing international trend on the part of governments to create a baseline in terms of disclosure of beneficial ownership. How a new Biden-Harris administration will act in its first 100 days will be quite telling indeed. All of this will have a profound impact for private wealth clients and tax structuring professionals. As governments become increasingly dependent upon sourcing additional tax revenues, investment migration will no longer…

January 2, 2021

Very nice to be featured in IMI Daily’s “Ten On The Weekend”.

December 12, 2020

With all due respect to the BBC, the imposition of such a “one-time” wealth tax would have a disastrous impact on the British economy. Capital flight would occur, much like what is happening already in Argentina (which brought in such a measure last week). Given the now noticeable shift in public discourse in favour of greater burdens being placed on successful business people, those with means should start thinking about reorganising their affairs. Second citizenship and permanent residency verticals are…

December 11, 2020

Argentinians normally look to Uruguay and then the United States when thinking about tax planning. Those routes seem now insufficient, given the political shift. Arguably, Latin Americans, and even North Americans, with means should now consider wealth planning options that utilise residency options, as tax matters are only set to get worse. Read More.

December 7, 2020

Like other major economies in 2020, the UK is facing a tax deficiency in light of covid-19 and the severe contraction of its economy. Governments are now looking to new tax revenue schemes and everything is on the table. The Portuguese Golden Visa Program tied to a fund investment is one such possibility, as it provides a functional result coupled with a financial product designed to create liquidity and ease of exit. Read More.

November 11, 2020

Like others governments facing revenue shortfalls, India has just recently introduced citizenship-based taxation. Henceforth, Indian nationals, irrespective of physical presence in India, will be deemed to be tax residents in certain circumstances. Although India is still quite flexible in terms of application, the fact remains that the tax system is slowly moving towards obtaining additional revenues from those living and working abroad. Indian citizens should expect that matters will only get worse. Governments rarely lessen the tax burden. As such,…

November 10, 2020

A very nice development in Portugal this week. Birthright citizenship will be henceforth allowed for those that are born in Portugal to parents that have been permanent residency for at least one year. Coupled with the country’s Golden Visa Program, this will push Portugal to the top of the list in terms of permanent residency and citizenship programs (through the backdoor). An outstanding piece is found at IMI Daily.

October 25, 2020

As of November 1st, Cyprus will suspend its existing citizenship by investment programme. Although the benefits of such a programme are beyond question – FDI into the local economy and providing an opportunity for people and their families – the problem has been the misfeasance on the part of a few bad apples. What is certain is that on November 2nd all real estate in Cyprus associated with the citizenship programme will essentially be worth zero and real estate prices…

October 20, 2020

Very nice to have my article featured in IMI Daily.  My supposition is that the Cypriot economy cannot be so heavily real property focused, as it leads to not only stratification of wealth but also over exposure to a single economy.  As such, real property in Cyprus is now set to collapse with the closure of the country’s CIP. Read More.

September 27, 2020

It seems that many in the financial industry are starting to push the notion that somehow the pending global real estate correction will be limited in scope. In my opinion, this is a dangerous fallacy. Misguided governmental response to Covid-19 has brought the global economy to its knees and countries everywhere are facing negative growth. In turn, this has created a liquidity issue for the general public. We are on the path of a downward spiral for the foreseeable future….

August 24, 2020

IMI Daily today requested my feedback to the Al Jazeera investigation of the Cyprus citizenship-by-investment program and related corruption. Although there have been significant problems in the past, today the Cyprus CIP is one of the most onerous and well managed programmes in the world. We are most pleased to be part of this program that provides opportunity and hope to many. Read More.

August 5, 2020

With the Democrats now solidifying around a Biden-Harris ticket, the U.S. faces a real choice. Continue with the Trump-Pence paradigm or reject it in favour of something just as earth shattering. Never has politics been so polarising and the World must wait for America to decide. Those with means now need to consider backup strategies that preserve wealth and opportunity. Read More.

April 10, 2020

Arguably, COVID-19 will be a world-wide tipping point for the ushering in of a more restrictive global system, flying in the face of unabated free trade that is predicated on the mobility of goods, services and labour. How this plays out is anyone’s guess. What is certain is that citizenship by investment programmes will become critical in terms of providing mobility choices to those that are able to meet regulatory thresholds. Read More.

March 25, 2020

Epidemics are related to population mobility. COVID-19 is special in that today’s global economy is intrinsically linked to unprecedentedly prevalent and frequent population mobility. Today, a virus can spread unabated. Free-traders have always argued that the global circulation of goods, services and labour is more important than factory assembly lines when it comes to sustaining growth. They are uninterested in social disruption; only wealth enhancement. The COVID-19 epidemic and the subsequent national responses are particularly stark because they have abruptly…

November 11, 2019

The Republic of Cyprus has recently amended its Naturalization by Exception Programme. The changes become effective as of 15 May 2019. Highlights include: A minimum investment of € 2.5m +VAT, compared to € 2m + VAT with current status under some conditions. The holding of relevant real property for a minimum of 5 years, compared to 3 years under the current status. An additional contribution of € 150k into donations and start-ups. The holding of a Schengen Visa before applying….

November 8, 2019

Austria’s Ministry of Finance has recently provided some guidance on the question of an Austrian home office as it applies to an Austrian tax resident employee and whether such a setup can qualify as an Austrian permanent establishment for a non-Austrian enterprise. A permanent establishment for Austrian domestic tax purposes is a fixed place through which an enterprise’s business is carried out. Such an establishment can be an employee’s private flat, provided that employee renders his/her work at least partly…

October 15, 2019

The Austrian tax court has recently opined on the question of dividend payments from Austria to an intermediate EU holding company which has no substance (while its EU parent does). Generally in Austria dividends paid out by Austrian corporations trigger a 27.5% withholding tax. Nevertheless, pursuant to the EU Parent/Subsidiary Directive applied in Austria, outbound dividends are totally exempt from withholding tax if the parent company fulfils the criteria as set out in the Directive and holds at least 10%…

September 20, 2019

On 12 September 2019, the advocate general of the European Court of Justice held that Hungary’s advertisement tax legislation based on which Google was fined HUF 1 billion (approx. EUR 3 million) constitutes an unjustifiable restriction on the freedom to provide services. Hungary’s advertisement tax was introduced in 2014 as a special tax on the turnover from the broadcasting or publication of advertisements. Individuals or entities that broadcast or publish advertisements may – irrespective of their residence – be subject…

August 1, 2019

On 31 July 2019, Bulgaria’s parliament adopted new transfer pricing rules in line with recommendations of the OECD. The new rules set out obligations for Bulgarian companies, Bulgarian permanent establishments of non-resident foreign companies and locally registered sole trades to maintain mandatory transfer pricing documentation evidencing the arm’s length basis of their transactions with related parties. Exemptions exist, and are relevant to the following taxpayer categories: Persons exempt from Bulgarian corporate income tax (certain collective investment schemes, national investment funds…

March 30, 2019

Recently, the Czech government submitted to parliament a bill implementing DAC 6 on the mandatory disclosure of cross-border tax arrangements. The bill underwent several changes in comparison with the initial draft published in March 2019. DAC 6 – the EU Council Directive 2011/16 on cross border tax arrangements – is being implement by the Czech Republic via domestic legislation no later than 31 December 2019, and will start to apply as of1 July 2020. The government has drafted a bill…

February 25, 2019

Towards the end of January 2019, Bulgaria’s legislature adopted the EU’s GDPR regulation, but was subsequently overruled by the Bulgarian President. The President exercised his veto right on the grounds that the legislation did not go far enough to address concerns regarding data processing for journalistic purposes and the purposes of academic, artistic or literary expression. Veto’s background The EU’s GDPR grants legislative discretion to EU States in the area of data processing for journalistic, academic, artistic, or literary purposes….

January 20, 2019

Hungary has recently amended its labour code in order to increase permissible overtime levels. On an annual basis, permissible overtime has increased from 250 hours per year to 400 hours per year. Such overtime overrides any collective labour agreements in place. The new legislation leaves the 48 hours/week work limit unchanged but raises the overtime banking period to 3 years from 1 year. In practice, it will be possible for an employer to pay the employee for overtimes in one…

January 20, 2019

On 1 January 2019, Albania’s Income Tax Act was amended with respect to imposition of new rules on the indirect transfer of ownership of assets situated in Albania. The new rules deal with the taxation of gains arising from such indirect asset transfers. An indirect transfer occurs when an Albanian company owning assets in Albania decides to sell said assets to a third party, but such third party merely purchases the shares/quota in the Albanian company holding the assets or…

January 5, 2019

As of the close of 2018, Serbia has now established its central register of ultimate beneficial owners. Henceforth, Serbian companies, institutions, as well as branches and representative offices established by foreign investors in Serbia are required to register their UBOs with the central register no later than 31 January 2019. The register has established an online portal in order to facilitate quick and efficient UBO registration. While disclosure is required, actual documentary support underlying UBO disclosure is not. Nevertheless, entities…

December 15, 2018

In early November, the Austrian Data Protection Authority issued a directive that data processing operations in all cases requires a data protection impact assessment (DPIA). Under Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), DPIA is required during data collection. The Austrian rule changes are bringing effect to GDPR into the national regime. Please note that failure to carry out a DPIA can result in fines up to EUR 10m or 2% of worldwide annual turnover. DPIA Examples Some examples include:…

November 5, 2018

Just this past October, Government Emergency Ordinance GEO 8/2018 was published, which set out certain new amendments to Romania’s insolvency regime. The ordinance amends: (i) Law no. 85/2014, regarding Romania’s insolvency law itself; (ii) ordinance no. 2/2000 regarding judicial application; (iii) ordinance no. 90/2017 regarding fiscal budgetary matters; and (iv) ordinance no. 86/2006 regarding the insolvency practitioner profession. Essentially, GEO 88/2018 was adopted in order to improve mechanisms for the recover of state receivables from insolvent companies, and to take…

October 10, 2018

On October 4, 2018, ESMA (the European Securities and Markets Authority) updated its view on the applicability Directive 2011/61/EU on alternative investment fund managers (AIFMs). The update provides guidance with respect to the cross-border management of alternative investment funds (AIFs), which have an umbrella structure with multiple compartments, or sub-funds, via the EU passport regime. Henceforth, AIFMs that wish to engage in cross-border management of AIFs must notify their respective national competent authority regarding the general umbrella fund as well as the names and…

September 19, 2018

Recently in August, Germany moved forward with a proposal directed against VAT avoidance relating to supplies of goods with a German nexus over online marketplaces. The bills expected to pass parliament in late fall and become effective as of January 1, 2019. Key elements entail: operators of online marketplaces shall be obliged to fulfil new documentation duties regarding providers of goods;  documentation requirements shall apply to any goods that touch Germany – if the shipment starts or ends in Germany;…

September 8, 2018

With concerns over challenges posed by China, the US government recently introduced new measures designed to enact control over the transfer and use of US goods and technologies both in the US and abroad. Applicable to emerging market M&A and joint ventures, these new measures manifest as two new laws – The Foreign Investment Risk Modernization Act (FIRRMA) and the Export Control Reform Act (ECRA). FIRRMA clarifies and expands the authority of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United…

September 1, 2018

Just this past August, Slovenia introduced a new collective agreement baseline for companies. The new collective agreement regulates business times for employers – specifically, it prohibits the scheduling of work on public holidays and bank holidays. With respect to weekends, it limits the use of Sundays. WHAT DOES IT ENTAIL? Most rights and obligations under the new collective agreement baseline is essentially the same as the previous act. There are some notable exceptions, as follows: •work week: The maximum weekly…

August 15, 2018

In the wake of GDPR, Poland has adopted a number of measures related to employee monitoring. Enshrined in the Polish Labor Code, there are a number of issues one should be aware of now when carrying on business in Poland. Video monitoring An employer can now utilise video monitoring only when it is considered necessary for furthering employee safety, property protection, production supervision and ensuring the confidentiality of information. Utilization is allowed in places of work; whereas monitoring is forbidden…

August 13, 2018

Bulgaria has recently adopted new appeal procedures related to public procurement. Designed to speed-up appeals and to bring an end to bad faith actions, the new rules are designed to place Bulgaria in line with more general European norms. Public procurement makes up approx. 9% of Bulgaria’s annual GDP; thus, the new measures are designed to protect and enhance this very important aspect of Bulgaria’s economy. Prior to the adopte…d measures, Bulgaria has found it difficult to implement large infrastructure…

August 10, 2018

This past July, Croatia’s parliament adopted a new Capital Markets Act in order to align Croatian legislation with the EU acquis. The at meets the EU’s cornerstone financial markets regulation – the Directive on Markets in Financial Instruments repealing Directive 2004/39/EC and the Regulation on Markets in Financial Instruments; commonly referred to as MiFID II and MiFIR. MiFID II and MiFIR are designed to ensure fair, safe and more efficient markets, and to better facilitate greater transparency for all market participants. More precisely,…

July 24, 2018

Russia has slowly moved forward in terms of its response to a recent push by the US to levy sanctions in April 2018 against certin Russian state-controlled entities and individuals, and the companies they control. Last month, legislation was passed in Russia providing the Russian government with the authority to impose certain restrictive measures against certain foreign persons and goods and services in accordance with a decision of th…e Russian president. This new law does not in itself impose restrictions….

July 5, 2018

The EU has introduced new cross-border transaction reporting requirements. Recently in May, the EU quietly adopted Council Directive 2018/822/EU on the reporting of “potentially aggressive” cross-border tax-planning arrangements. Reporting requirements will kick-in on August 31st, 2020, after the Council Directive is implemented by EU Member States. What is important is that the Council Directive is simply an instruction to Member States to create new national laws according to the principles of the directive; the directive itself is not itself a…

July 2, 2018

The US has put the WTO Appellate Body into crisis mode. Since the advent of the Trump administration, the US has consistently blocked appointments and reappointments to the WTO Appellate Body. As a result, the appellate body has now shrunk to four from its original seven members. In October this year, it is expected that this will go down to three members. WTO rules specify that three members must server on a case, selected by rotation. This will be meaningless in…

June 27, 2018

The Hungarian government has recently proposed legislative changes designed to enable regulatory screening of foreign acquisitions of certain Hungarian companies. Designed to protect strategic businesses, the proposed changes would include oversight of certain services (such as finance and telecoms) and critical infrastructure and technologies subject to potential interest by non-European bidders. Legislative motivation is on national security and public policy grounds. Proposed oversight would be applicable for acquistions in excess of 25% of Hungarian companies (10% if the target is…

June 22, 2018

Quite recently, a Romanian government emergency ordinance regarding certain amendments to Romania’s public procurement regime (“GEO 45/2018”) has been approved and gazetted. Essentially, GEO 45/2018 amended and supplemented four laws and two government emergency ordinances as follows: Law no. 98/2016 on public procurement; Law no. 99/2016 on sectoral procurement; Law no. 100/2016 on concessions of works and concessions of services; Law no. 101/2016 on remedies and appeals; Government Emergency Ordinance no. 13/2015 regarding the establishment, organization and functioning of the…

June 11, 2018

The Serbian parliament has recently adopted a new law regarding the introduction of a central registry of ultimate beneficial owners (UBOs). In force as of June 8th, the UBO law stipulates that entities and their authorized persons conducting business in Serbia shall have 30 days henceforth to identify their UBOs. Applicability is broad in scope, as the UBO law applies to both Serbian entities but also foreign companies conducting business in the Republic. With respect to foreign entities, the UBO…

June 6, 2018

On May 24th, the EC published proposals related to the promotion of the use of small and medium sized enterprise (SME) growth markets. The proposals are designed to give more flexibility for SME growth market operators as to whether they wish to impose obligations related to the production of semi-annual reports on SME debt-only issuers. The MiFID II Directive (2014/65/EU) created the SME growth market trading venue (a subset of MTFs) to… facilitate access to capital for SMEs and the…

June 4, 2018

Poland has recently introduced another public registry related to debtors. Poland is in the process of introducing the Register of Public Law Dues, which is desiged to provide information related to any financial liabilities of an individual or corporate entity. With the legal foundation already in place, the registry is set to go live in the second half of 2018. The aim is to create a system whereby potential business partners, banks, etc. have comfort in terms of increased… security…

May 25, 2018

Bulgaria is set to introduce certain changes to the application of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Bulgaria’s government has announced that it will legislate additional protocols to that exisitng under GDPR. Areas to be effected include employment, the role of GDPR or data protection officers (DPOs) and data protection impact assessments. Regarding DPOs, Bulgaria-based businesses would be required to designate a DPO if they process the personal data of more than 1…0,000 individuals. In addition, specific corporate rules…

May 21, 2018

Cyprus has brought its domestic law inline with EU directive on mandatory automatic exchange of tax information. Cyprus has recently introduced Law 33(I)/2018 in furtherance of EU Directive 2016/881/EU. The changes concern EU wide administrative cooperation in the field of taxation. The definition of ‘automatic exchange’ has been changed; and there are new provisions requiring ultimate parent entities of multinational enterprises resident in Cyprus for tax purposes to file country-by-country reports within 12 months of the end of each fiscal…

May 18, 2018

US banks have begun applying the US Treasury’s new customer due diligence regime, requiring them to verify the identities of new business customers’ beneficial owners, and report them to law enforcement agencies. The rules were finalised two years ago, under the Obama administration, after almost two years of consultation. But implementation was deferred until now, to give the banks time to implement the new system. A beneficial owner is defined as anyone who owns 25 per cent or more of…

May 17, 2018

As the oil and gas industry strengthens with eyes on rising commodity prices, costs and emerging technologies, there are certain trends developing for 2018 that the industry should also keep in mind. Will 2018 be the year for the digital revolution takeoff, transforming talk into lucrative plans to help drive growth? Will natural gas make strides toward becoming the dominant fuel of the future, replacing oil? How will U.S. shale perform with still struggling oilfield service …companies and equipment manufacturers…

May 16, 2018

Greece has abolished and replaced its “National Cadastre and Mapping Agency S.A.” with a new public entity entitled the “Hellenic Cadastre” (“Elliniko Ktimatologio”). The new agency shall be based in Athens and is supervised by the Minister of Environment and Energy. In addition, seventeen (17) cadastral offices shall be established, one in each region (except for the Attica region where three (3) offices shall be established and Central Macedonia region where two (2) offices… shall be established) and other sixty…

September 9, 2017

When it comes to M&A in Cyprus, there are a number of major laws one should be aware of, as follows: 1. Companies Law Cap. 113 (a) Sections 198-201 of Companies Law regulate mergers, divisions, partial divisions, transfers of assets and exchange of shares in two or more companies intending to merge together. (b) Sections 201A – H of Companies Law as amended by Law 70(I) of 2003 regulate mergers of public companies in line with European practices. (c) Sections…

September 9, 2017

Albania performs reasonably well overall with respect to the quality of its energy (electricity and natural gas) sector. A recent EBRD energy law reform assessment, for example, shows that the country’s regulatory independence remains strong although private sector participation and market framework are the key weaknesses. Within the electricity sector, Albania has a regulatory framework in place that is relatively compliant with EU requirements, with partial market opening. Major challenges remain the country’s singular dependence on, aside from imports, hydro…

August 20, 2017

The National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska (RS) adopted amendments to the Profit Tax Law on 28 December 2016. The main changes have become effective as of 1 January 2017 and will be briefly presented in this article. With the amendments, the Law clarifies the definition of “taxable person” and harmonizes the concept of residence with the Profit Tax Law of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) and Brcko District in order to avoid double taxation. Namely, a…

June 15, 2017

A draft law that would amend the Tax Code of the Republic of Belarus has been posted on the website of the Belarusian Ministry of Finance (the “Draft Law”). This time the draft has been published long before the start of the calendar year in which the amendments are to take effect, giving taxpayers a chance to understand the changes and prepare for them. In addition to the traditional indexation of tax rates in Belarusian rubles, the draft law contains…

September 29, 2016

The purpose of the new amendment to the Hungarian Civil Code, effective as of 1 October 2016, is to make effective the independent mortgage, which was used under the former civil code, along with refining rules with respect to the security deposit. The independent mortgage is a security that does not require enforcement dependent on the loan or other security relationships between a creditor and debtor. It is inspired from the German Civil Code. Starting with 1 October 2016 the…

September 12, 2016

One of the most popular enquiries after Brexit is how expats and people who own property in Bulgaria will be affected. There are approximately 1.3 million UK citizens living in Europe many of which chose Bulgaria for their second home or just bought a holiday home in Bulgarian resorts on the Black Sea. Around 7000 UK citizens reside permanently in Bulgaria as of March 2016, according to UK embassy data. In Bulgaria, non-EU citizens are allowed to buy built property…

August 30, 2016

Serbia’s new Enforcement and Security Act (ESA) was adopted on 18 December 2015, and has become effective as of 1 July 2016. The most relevant new rules are: the provision of new mechanisms to ensure effective enforcement; new competence of the courts and the bailiffs; and the status/role of the bailiffs. Most importantly, ESA introduces the possibility to lodge an appeal against both the decisions of the court and the bailiff, except in cases where the law explicitly excludes the…

August 9, 2016

A limited liability company is the most common corporate form established by foreign investors in Czech Republic. The activity is governed by a Memorandum of Association, which is signed by all shareholders. It is essential to note that it is executed in a form of notorial deed of a Czech notary. The notary fee usually does not exceed CZK 5,000 (180 EUR) and is depending on the amount of the registered capital. This founding deed must contain basic information about…

July 25, 2016

Pursuant to a judgement dated 29 February 2016, the Bulgarian Supreme Court repealed Regulation no 196 of the Council of Ministers of 10 July 2014 with respect to the approval of the fee rates applicable to proceedings under Chapter Eleven of the Public Procurement Act before the Commission for the Protection of Competition and the Supreme Administrative Court (promulgated in The State Gazette, no 58 of 15 July 2014 and entered into force on 15 July 2014). The Commission for…

July 14, 2016

An important amendment to the Assessment and Collection of Taxes Law (N.4/1978) in Cyprus is currently under consideration by the Council of Ministers regarding automatic exchange of information. More specifically, the proposed amendment aims at regulating the conditions under which the Cypriot Tax Commissioner may disclose information on any person with a view to complying with agreements for automatic exchange of information between Cyprus and other countries (both EU and non-EU countries). While the notion of automatic exchange of information…

July 14, 2016

Complete bank secrecy is fast becoming a matter of the past.  The Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) portal provides a comprehensive overview of the work the OECD and the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes in the area of the automatic exchange of information, in particular with respect to the Common Reporting Standard. That is why your account provider (bank, building society, insurance or investment firm) may ask you to provide certain information about yourself…

June 24, 2016

On the 23rd of June, the UK voted to leave the European Union. Known as “Brexit”, the UK Government with now initiate Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, starting the two year procedure leading to the UK’s eventual withdrawal from the EU and, ultimately, to the establishment of a new relationship with its former EU partners. Whatever your position, it is clear that Brexit will have a significant impact across a wide range of sectors – financial services, trade, employment,…

May 19, 2016

Slovenia has amended the Financial Operations, Insolvency Proceedings and Compulsory Dissolution Act, which follow on amendments in 2013, amending preventive restructuring, simplified compulsory settlement and personal bankruptcy proceedings. Amendments to Slovenia’s Insolvency Act, which were adopted by the National Assembly on 31 March 2016, will come into force on 26 April 2016. The main modifications introduced by the amendments are as follows: small companies may now rely on proceedings on preventive restructuring, in addition to medium-sized and large companies as was…

April 7, 2021

I would argue that HNWIs both in Asia and the Americas should now start to look at effective investment migration strategies that allow one to hedge their bets. As this article in Asia Nikkei and the legislative proposals of Senators Warren and Sanders in the United States suggests, the wealthy are in for a period of great uncertainty. Governmental action everywhere over the last twelve months has pushed the world towards economic stagnation, and the tax man shall be quite…

April 7, 2021

On March 25, 2021, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced legislation entitled “For the 99.5% Act.”  The aim of the bill is to tax the fortunes of the top 0.5% of wealthy Americans. This is the first piece of legislation introduced since Joe Biden came into office and is designed to lower the U.S. federal estate tax exemption.  Highlights include: regarding personal wealth: Reduce the U.S. federal estate tax exemption to USD $3.5m for U.S. citizens / domiciliaries (Note: There is no…

April 6, 2021

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen argued this week for the imposition of a global minimum corporate tax rate. Her comments were set in the context of increasing U.S. corporate taxes to fund Joe Biden’s USD $2 trillion+ infrastructure plan.   Why do we care? The argument goes that by convincing other countries to impose a global minimum tax would greatly reduce the likelihood of U.S. companies relocating offshore, as America is set to potentially increase the corporate rate from 21% to…

March 28, 2021

Cyprus has made some changes to its permanent residency by investment program.  Quite a good step in the right direction.  However, in order to be competitive, Cyprus must align its offering with that of Portugal or the new Bulgarian fast track programme.  Permanent residency is quite limited in Cyprus because the island is physically cutoff from Europe and is not part of Schengen. A very good synopsis on the program can be found at IMI Daily.

March 27, 2021

Saw an interesting piece on crypto-currencies and tax regimes in Wealth Management.  Worth the read.

March 15, 2021

In the waning days of the Trump Presidency a little known act – the “Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2019” – was passed into law as part of the reconciled National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (H.R. 6395). Overcoming a Presidential Veto, the passed enactments ushered in broad changes to US anti-money laundering, financial crime and tax evasion laws. As it stands, today America’s treasury and justice departments can subpoena any account records from…

March 14, 2021

Came across an interesting piece in the New York Post regarding NY state legislature proposing an additional USD $7bn in new and increased taxes on businesses and the ultra wealthy. What legislatures continually fail to grasp is the fact that such additional taxes just cause capital flight.  Read more.

March 10, 2021

The United States has never had a wealth tax. European nations have had such things, but many of repealed them over the last few decades. Simply put, wealth taxes don’t work for they spur capital flight. That has not deterred Senator Warren (D-MA) with Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Brendan Boyle (D-PA) from introducing legislation to create a flat 2% annual tax on all household worth above $50 million, which would rise to 3% for anyone above $1 billion. Senator…

February 13, 2021

With the more onerous tax burdens coming into play, the wealthy of India are looking for options. Many are still looking to the UK but with Brexit now a reality, a new and exciting opportunity is the Portuguese Golden Visa Program, which allows one to “place their bets” so to speak as they wait to see where the winds will blow. Quite an interesting article in this respect in the Times of India.

February 10, 2021

Nigerians are increasingly looking for additional options when it comes to global travel and relocation. The most popular options are the citizenship by investment (CBI) programs – the Caribbean primarily. Here, foreign nationals can legally obtain a second citizenship and passport in another country through an investment in that nation. Next up are certain residency by investment programs; specifically the Portuguese Golden Visa Program, which allows one and his family to obtain a permanent residency in Portugal and 6 years…

January 20, 2021

With the Democrats now controlling Congress and the Presidency, the new Biden Administration is set to fundamentally change the nature of tax. How this will impact Americans and business remains an open question. What is certain is the fact that wealth preservation and tax structuring will become primary motivators for the migration industry over the next four years. It is only a matter of time before other countries start to look to America for inspiration and guidance, as governments everywhere…

January 8, 2021

As this year’s US defence appropriations act demonstrates, there seems to be a growing international trend on the part of governments to create a baseline in terms of disclosure of beneficial ownership. How a new Biden-Harris administration will act in its first 100 days will be quite telling indeed. All of this will have a profound impact for private wealth clients and tax structuring professionals. As governments become increasingly dependent upon sourcing additional tax revenues, investment migration will no longer…

January 2, 2021

Very nice to be featured in IMI Daily’s “Ten On The Weekend”.

December 12, 2020

With all due respect to the BBC, the imposition of such a “one-time” wealth tax would have a disastrous impact on the British economy. Capital flight would occur, much like what is happening already in Argentina (which brought in such a measure last week). Given the now noticeable shift in public discourse in favour of greater burdens being placed on successful business people, those with means should start thinking about reorganising their affairs. Second citizenship and permanent residency verticals are…

December 11, 2020

Argentinians normally look to Uruguay and then the United States when thinking about tax planning. Those routes seem now insufficient, given the political shift. Arguably, Latin Americans, and even North Americans, with means should now consider wealth planning options that utilise residency options, as tax matters are only set to get worse. Read More.

December 7, 2020

Like other major economies in 2020, the UK is facing a tax deficiency in light of covid-19 and the severe contraction of its economy. Governments are now looking to new tax revenue schemes and everything is on the table. The Portuguese Golden Visa Program tied to a fund investment is one such possibility, as it provides a functional result coupled with a financial product designed to create liquidity and ease of exit. Read More.

November 11, 2020

Like others governments facing revenue shortfalls, India has just recently introduced citizenship-based taxation. Henceforth, Indian nationals, irrespective of physical presence in India, will be deemed to be tax residents in certain circumstances. Although India is still quite flexible in terms of application, the fact remains that the tax system is slowly moving towards obtaining additional revenues from those living and working abroad. Indian citizens should expect that matters will only get worse. Governments rarely lessen the tax burden. As such,…

November 10, 2020

A very nice development in Portugal this week. Birthright citizenship will be henceforth allowed for those that are born in Portugal to parents that have been permanent residency for at least one year. Coupled with the country’s Golden Visa Program, this will push Portugal to the top of the list in terms of permanent residency and citizenship programs (through the backdoor). An outstanding piece is found at IMI Daily.

October 25, 2020

As of November 1st, Cyprus will suspend its existing citizenship by investment programme. Although the benefits of such a programme are beyond question – FDI into the local economy and providing an opportunity for people and their families – the problem has been the misfeasance on the part of a few bad apples. What is certain is that on November 2nd all real estate in Cyprus associated with the citizenship programme will essentially be worth zero and real estate prices…

October 20, 2020

Very nice to have my article featured in IMI Daily.  My supposition is that the Cypriot economy cannot be so heavily real property focused, as it leads to not only stratification of wealth but also over exposure to a single economy.  As such, real property in Cyprus is now set to collapse with the closure of the country’s CIP. Read More.

September 27, 2020

It seems that many in the financial industry are starting to push the notion that somehow the pending global real estate correction will be limited in scope. In my opinion, this is a dangerous fallacy. Misguided governmental response to Covid-19 has brought the global economy to its knees and countries everywhere are facing negative growth. In turn, this has created a liquidity issue for the general public. We are on the path of a downward spiral for the foreseeable future….

August 24, 2020

IMI Daily today requested my feedback to the Al Jazeera investigation of the Cyprus citizenship-by-investment program and related corruption. Although there have been significant problems in the past, today the Cyprus CIP is one of the most onerous and well managed programmes in the world. We are most pleased to be part of this program that provides opportunity and hope to many. Read More.

August 5, 2020

With the Democrats now solidifying around a Biden-Harris ticket, the U.S. faces a real choice. Continue with the Trump-Pence paradigm or reject it in favour of something just as earth shattering. Never has politics been so polarising and the World must wait for America to decide. Those with means now need to consider backup strategies that preserve wealth and opportunity. Read More.

April 10, 2020

Arguably, COVID-19 will be a world-wide tipping point for the ushering in of a more restrictive global system, flying in the face of unabated free trade that is predicated on the mobility of goods, services and labour. How this plays out is anyone’s guess. What is certain is that citizenship by investment programmes will become critical in terms of providing mobility choices to those that are able to meet regulatory thresholds. Read More.

March 25, 2020

Epidemics are related to population mobility. COVID-19 is special in that today’s global economy is intrinsically linked to unprecedentedly prevalent and frequent population mobility. Today, a virus can spread unabated. Free-traders have always argued that the global circulation of goods, services and labour is more important than factory assembly lines when it comes to sustaining growth. They are uninterested in social disruption; only wealth enhancement. The COVID-19 epidemic and the subsequent national responses are particularly stark because they have abruptly…

November 11, 2019

The Republic of Cyprus has recently amended its Naturalization by Exception Programme. The changes become effective as of 15 May 2019. Highlights include: A minimum investment of € 2.5m +VAT, compared to € 2m + VAT with current status under some conditions. The holding of relevant real property for a minimum of 5 years, compared to 3 years under the current status. An additional contribution of € 150k into donations and start-ups. The holding of a Schengen Visa before applying….

November 8, 2019

Austria’s Ministry of Finance has recently provided some guidance on the question of an Austrian home office as it applies to an Austrian tax resident employee and whether such a setup can qualify as an Austrian permanent establishment for a non-Austrian enterprise. A permanent establishment for Austrian domestic tax purposes is a fixed place through which an enterprise’s business is carried out. Such an establishment can be an employee’s private flat, provided that employee renders his/her work at least partly…

October 15, 2019

The Austrian tax court has recently opined on the question of dividend payments from Austria to an intermediate EU holding company which has no substance (while its EU parent does). Generally in Austria dividends paid out by Austrian corporations trigger a 27.5% withholding tax. Nevertheless, pursuant to the EU Parent/Subsidiary Directive applied in Austria, outbound dividends are totally exempt from withholding tax if the parent company fulfils the criteria as set out in the Directive and holds at least 10%…

September 20, 2019

On 12 September 2019, the advocate general of the European Court of Justice held that Hungary’s advertisement tax legislation based on which Google was fined HUF 1 billion (approx. EUR 3 million) constitutes an unjustifiable restriction on the freedom to provide services. Hungary’s advertisement tax was introduced in 2014 as a special tax on the turnover from the broadcasting or publication of advertisements. Individuals or entities that broadcast or publish advertisements may – irrespective of their residence – be subject…

August 1, 2019

On 31 July 2019, Bulgaria’s parliament adopted new transfer pricing rules in line with recommendations of the OECD. The new rules set out obligations for Bulgarian companies, Bulgarian permanent establishments of non-resident foreign companies and locally registered sole trades to maintain mandatory transfer pricing documentation evidencing the arm’s length basis of their transactions with related parties. Exemptions exist, and are relevant to the following taxpayer categories: Persons exempt from Bulgarian corporate income tax (certain collective investment schemes, national investment funds…

March 30, 2019

Recently, the Czech government submitted to parliament a bill implementing DAC 6 on the mandatory disclosure of cross-border tax arrangements. The bill underwent several changes in comparison with the initial draft published in March 2019. DAC 6 – the EU Council Directive 2011/16 on cross border tax arrangements – is being implement by the Czech Republic via domestic legislation no later than 31 December 2019, and will start to apply as of1 July 2020. The government has drafted a bill…

February 25, 2019

Towards the end of January 2019, Bulgaria’s legislature adopted the EU’s GDPR regulation, but was subsequently overruled by the Bulgarian President. The President exercised his veto right on the grounds that the legislation did not go far enough to address concerns regarding data processing for journalistic purposes and the purposes of academic, artistic or literary expression. Veto’s background The EU’s GDPR grants legislative discretion to EU States in the area of data processing for journalistic, academic, artistic, or literary purposes….

January 20, 2019

Hungary has recently amended its labour code in order to increase permissible overtime levels. On an annual basis, permissible overtime has increased from 250 hours per year to 400 hours per year. Such overtime overrides any collective labour agreements in place. The new legislation leaves the 48 hours/week work limit unchanged but raises the overtime banking period to 3 years from 1 year. In practice, it will be possible for an employer to pay the employee for overtimes in one…

January 20, 2019

On 1 January 2019, Albania’s Income Tax Act was amended with respect to imposition of new rules on the indirect transfer of ownership of assets situated in Albania. The new rules deal with the taxation of gains arising from such indirect asset transfers. An indirect transfer occurs when an Albanian company owning assets in Albania decides to sell said assets to a third party, but such third party merely purchases the shares/quota in the Albanian company holding the assets or…

January 5, 2019

As of the close of 2018, Serbia has now established its central register of ultimate beneficial owners. Henceforth, Serbian companies, institutions, as well as branches and representative offices established by foreign investors in Serbia are required to register their UBOs with the central register no later than 31 January 2019. The register has established an online portal in order to facilitate quick and efficient UBO registration. While disclosure is required, actual documentary support underlying UBO disclosure is not. Nevertheless, entities…

December 15, 2018

In early November, the Austrian Data Protection Authority issued a directive that data processing operations in all cases requires a data protection impact assessment (DPIA). Under Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), DPIA is required during data collection. The Austrian rule changes are bringing effect to GDPR into the national regime. Please note that failure to carry out a DPIA can result in fines up to EUR 10m or 2% of worldwide annual turnover. DPIA Examples Some examples include:…

November 5, 2018

Just this past October, Government Emergency Ordinance GEO 8/2018 was published, which set out certain new amendments to Romania’s insolvency regime. The ordinance amends: (i) Law no. 85/2014, regarding Romania’s insolvency law itself; (ii) ordinance no. 2/2000 regarding judicial application; (iii) ordinance no. 90/2017 regarding fiscal budgetary matters; and (iv) ordinance no. 86/2006 regarding the insolvency practitioner profession. Essentially, GEO 88/2018 was adopted in order to improve mechanisms for the recover of state receivables from insolvent companies, and to take…

October 10, 2018

On October 4, 2018, ESMA (the European Securities and Markets Authority) updated its view on the applicability Directive 2011/61/EU on alternative investment fund managers (AIFMs). The update provides guidance with respect to the cross-border management of alternative investment funds (AIFs), which have an umbrella structure with multiple compartments, or sub-funds, via the EU passport regime. Henceforth, AIFMs that wish to engage in cross-border management of AIFs must notify their respective national competent authority regarding the general umbrella fund as well as the names and…

September 19, 2018

Recently in August, Germany moved forward with a proposal directed against VAT avoidance relating to supplies of goods with a German nexus over online marketplaces. The bills expected to pass parliament in late fall and become effective as of January 1, 2019. Key elements entail: operators of online marketplaces shall be obliged to fulfil new documentation duties regarding providers of goods;  documentation requirements shall apply to any goods that touch Germany – if the shipment starts or ends in Germany;…

September 8, 2018

With concerns over challenges posed by China, the US government recently introduced new measures designed to enact control over the transfer and use of US goods and technologies both in the US and abroad. Applicable to emerging market M&A and joint ventures, these new measures manifest as two new laws – The Foreign Investment Risk Modernization Act (FIRRMA) and the Export Control Reform Act (ECRA). FIRRMA clarifies and expands the authority of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United…

September 1, 2018

Just this past August, Slovenia introduced a new collective agreement baseline for companies. The new collective agreement regulates business times for employers – specifically, it prohibits the scheduling of work on public holidays and bank holidays. With respect to weekends, it limits the use of Sundays. WHAT DOES IT ENTAIL? Most rights and obligations under the new collective agreement baseline is essentially the same as the previous act. There are some notable exceptions, as follows: •work week: The maximum weekly…

August 15, 2018

In the wake of GDPR, Poland has adopted a number of measures related to employee monitoring. Enshrined in the Polish Labor Code, there are a number of issues one should be aware of now when carrying on business in Poland. Video monitoring An employer can now utilise video monitoring only when it is considered necessary for furthering employee safety, property protection, production supervision and ensuring the confidentiality of information. Utilization is allowed in places of work; whereas monitoring is forbidden…

August 13, 2018

Bulgaria has recently adopted new appeal procedures related to public procurement. Designed to speed-up appeals and to bring an end to bad faith actions, the new rules are designed to place Bulgaria in line with more general European norms. Public procurement makes up approx. 9% of Bulgaria’s annual GDP; thus, the new measures are designed to protect and enhance this very important aspect of Bulgaria’s economy. Prior to the adopte…d measures, Bulgaria has found it difficult to implement large infrastructure…

August 10, 2018

This past July, Croatia’s parliament adopted a new Capital Markets Act in order to align Croatian legislation with the EU acquis. The at meets the EU’s cornerstone financial markets regulation – the Directive on Markets in Financial Instruments repealing Directive 2004/39/EC and the Regulation on Markets in Financial Instruments; commonly referred to as MiFID II and MiFIR. MiFID II and MiFIR are designed to ensure fair, safe and more efficient markets, and to better facilitate greater transparency for all market participants. More precisely,…

July 24, 2018

Russia has slowly moved forward in terms of its response to a recent push by the US to levy sanctions in April 2018 against certin Russian state-controlled entities and individuals, and the companies they control. Last month, legislation was passed in Russia providing the Russian government with the authority to impose certain restrictive measures against certain foreign persons and goods and services in accordance with a decision of th…e Russian president. This new law does not in itself impose restrictions….

July 5, 2018

The EU has introduced new cross-border transaction reporting requirements. Recently in May, the EU quietly adopted Council Directive 2018/822/EU on the reporting of “potentially aggressive” cross-border tax-planning arrangements. Reporting requirements will kick-in on August 31st, 2020, after the Council Directive is implemented by EU Member States. What is important is that the Council Directive is simply an instruction to Member States to create new national laws according to the principles of the directive; the directive itself is not itself a…

July 2, 2018

The US has put the WTO Appellate Body into crisis mode. Since the advent of the Trump administration, the US has consistently blocked appointments and reappointments to the WTO Appellate Body. As a result, the appellate body has now shrunk to four from its original seven members. In October this year, it is expected that this will go down to three members. WTO rules specify that three members must server on a case, selected by rotation. This will be meaningless in…

June 27, 2018

The Hungarian government has recently proposed legislative changes designed to enable regulatory screening of foreign acquisitions of certain Hungarian companies. Designed to protect strategic businesses, the proposed changes would include oversight of certain services (such as finance and telecoms) and critical infrastructure and technologies subject to potential interest by non-European bidders. Legislative motivation is on national security and public policy grounds. Proposed oversight would be applicable for acquistions in excess of 25% of Hungarian companies (10% if the target is…

June 22, 2018

Quite recently, a Romanian government emergency ordinance regarding certain amendments to Romania’s public procurement regime (“GEO 45/2018”) has been approved and gazetted. Essentially, GEO 45/2018 amended and supplemented four laws and two government emergency ordinances as follows: Law no. 98/2016 on public procurement; Law no. 99/2016 on sectoral procurement; Law no. 100/2016 on concessions of works and concessions of services; Law no. 101/2016 on remedies and appeals; Government Emergency Ordinance no. 13/2015 regarding the establishment, organization and functioning of the…

June 11, 2018

The Serbian parliament has recently adopted a new law regarding the introduction of a central registry of ultimate beneficial owners (UBOs). In force as of June 8th, the UBO law stipulates that entities and their authorized persons conducting business in Serbia shall have 30 days henceforth to identify their UBOs. Applicability is broad in scope, as the UBO law applies to both Serbian entities but also foreign companies conducting business in the Republic. With respect to foreign entities, the UBO…

June 6, 2018

On May 24th, the EC published proposals related to the promotion of the use of small and medium sized enterprise (SME) growth markets. The proposals are designed to give more flexibility for SME growth market operators as to whether they wish to impose obligations related to the production of semi-annual reports on SME debt-only issuers. The MiFID II Directive (2014/65/EU) created the SME growth market trading venue (a subset of MTFs) to… facilitate access to capital for SMEs and the…

June 4, 2018

Poland has recently introduced another public registry related to debtors. Poland is in the process of introducing the Register of Public Law Dues, which is desiged to provide information related to any financial liabilities of an individual or corporate entity. With the legal foundation already in place, the registry is set to go live in the second half of 2018. The aim is to create a system whereby potential business partners, banks, etc. have comfort in terms of increased… security…

May 25, 2018

Bulgaria is set to introduce certain changes to the application of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Bulgaria’s government has announced that it will legislate additional protocols to that exisitng under GDPR. Areas to be effected include employment, the role of GDPR or data protection officers (DPOs) and data protection impact assessments. Regarding DPOs, Bulgaria-based businesses would be required to designate a DPO if they process the personal data of more than 1…0,000 individuals. In addition, specific corporate rules…

May 21, 2018

Cyprus has brought its domestic law inline with EU directive on mandatory automatic exchange of tax information. Cyprus has recently introduced Law 33(I)/2018 in furtherance of EU Directive 2016/881/EU. The changes concern EU wide administrative cooperation in the field of taxation. The definition of ‘automatic exchange’ has been changed; and there are new provisions requiring ultimate parent entities of multinational enterprises resident in Cyprus for tax purposes to file country-by-country reports within 12 months of the end of each fiscal…

May 18, 2018

US banks have begun applying the US Treasury’s new customer due diligence regime, requiring them to verify the identities of new business customers’ beneficial owners, and report them to law enforcement agencies. The rules were finalised two years ago, under the Obama administration, after almost two years of consultation. But implementation was deferred until now, to give the banks time to implement the new system. A beneficial owner is defined as anyone who owns 25 per cent or more of…

May 17, 2018

As the oil and gas industry strengthens with eyes on rising commodity prices, costs and emerging technologies, there are certain trends developing for 2018 that the industry should also keep in mind. Will 2018 be the year for the digital revolution takeoff, transforming talk into lucrative plans to help drive growth? Will natural gas make strides toward becoming the dominant fuel of the future, replacing oil? How will U.S. shale perform with still struggling oilfield service …companies and equipment manufacturers…

May 16, 2018

Greece has abolished and replaced its “National Cadastre and Mapping Agency S.A.” with a new public entity entitled the “Hellenic Cadastre” (“Elliniko Ktimatologio”). The new agency shall be based in Athens and is supervised by the Minister of Environment and Energy. In addition, seventeen (17) cadastral offices shall be established, one in each region (except for the Attica region where three (3) offices shall be established and Central Macedonia region where two (2) offices… shall be established) and other sixty…

September 9, 2017

When it comes to M&A in Cyprus, there are a number of major laws one should be aware of, as follows: 1. Companies Law Cap. 113 (a) Sections 198-201 of Companies Law regulate mergers, divisions, partial divisions, transfers of assets and exchange of shares in two or more companies intending to merge together. (b) Sections 201A – H of Companies Law as amended by Law 70(I) of 2003 regulate mergers of public companies in line with European practices. (c) Sections…

September 9, 2017

Albania performs reasonably well overall with respect to the quality of its energy (electricity and natural gas) sector. A recent EBRD energy law reform assessment, for example, shows that the country’s regulatory independence remains strong although private sector participation and market framework are the key weaknesses. Within the electricity sector, Albania has a regulatory framework in place that is relatively compliant with EU requirements, with partial market opening. Major challenges remain the country’s singular dependence on, aside from imports, hydro…

August 20, 2017

The National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska (RS) adopted amendments to the Profit Tax Law on 28 December 2016. The main changes have become effective as of 1 January 2017 and will be briefly presented in this article. With the amendments, the Law clarifies the definition of “taxable person” and harmonizes the concept of residence with the Profit Tax Law of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) and Brcko District in order to avoid double taxation. Namely, a…

June 15, 2017

A draft law that would amend the Tax Code of the Republic of Belarus has been posted on the website of the Belarusian Ministry of Finance (the “Draft Law”). This time the draft has been published long before the start of the calendar year in which the amendments are to take effect, giving taxpayers a chance to understand the changes and prepare for them. In addition to the traditional indexation of tax rates in Belarusian rubles, the draft law contains…

September 29, 2016

The purpose of the new amendment to the Hungarian Civil Code, effective as of 1 October 2016, is to make effective the independent mortgage, which was used under the former civil code, along with refining rules with respect to the security deposit. The independent mortgage is a security that does not require enforcement dependent on the loan or other security relationships between a creditor and debtor. It is inspired from the German Civil Code. Starting with 1 October 2016 the…

September 12, 2016

One of the most popular enquiries after Brexit is how expats and people who own property in Bulgaria will be affected. There are approximately 1.3 million UK citizens living in Europe many of which chose Bulgaria for their second home or just bought a holiday home in Bulgarian resorts on the Black Sea. Around 7000 UK citizens reside permanently in Bulgaria as of March 2016, according to UK embassy data. In Bulgaria, non-EU citizens are allowed to buy built property…

August 30, 2016

Serbia’s new Enforcement and Security Act (ESA) was adopted on 18 December 2015, and has become effective as of 1 July 2016. The most relevant new rules are: the provision of new mechanisms to ensure effective enforcement; new competence of the courts and the bailiffs; and the status/role of the bailiffs. Most importantly, ESA introduces the possibility to lodge an appeal against both the decisions of the court and the bailiff, except in cases where the law explicitly excludes the…

August 9, 2016

A limited liability company is the most common corporate form established by foreign investors in Czech Republic. The activity is governed by a Memorandum of Association, which is signed by all shareholders. It is essential to note that it is executed in a form of notorial deed of a Czech notary. The notary fee usually does not exceed CZK 5,000 (180 EUR) and is depending on the amount of the registered capital. This founding deed must contain basic information about…

July 25, 2016

Pursuant to a judgement dated 29 February 2016, the Bulgarian Supreme Court repealed Regulation no 196 of the Council of Ministers of 10 July 2014 with respect to the approval of the fee rates applicable to proceedings under Chapter Eleven of the Public Procurement Act before the Commission for the Protection of Competition and the Supreme Administrative Court (promulgated in The State Gazette, no 58 of 15 July 2014 and entered into force on 15 July 2014). The Commission for…

July 14, 2016

An important amendment to the Assessment and Collection of Taxes Law (N.4/1978) in Cyprus is currently under consideration by the Council of Ministers regarding automatic exchange of information. More specifically, the proposed amendment aims at regulating the conditions under which the Cypriot Tax Commissioner may disclose information on any person with a view to complying with agreements for automatic exchange of information between Cyprus and other countries (both EU and non-EU countries). While the notion of automatic exchange of information…

July 14, 2016

Complete bank secrecy is fast becoming a matter of the past.  The Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) portal provides a comprehensive overview of the work the OECD and the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes in the area of the automatic exchange of information, in particular with respect to the Common Reporting Standard. That is why your account provider (bank, building society, insurance or investment firm) may ask you to provide certain information about yourself…

June 24, 2016

On the 23rd of June, the UK voted to leave the European Union. Known as “Brexit”, the UK Government with now initiate Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, starting the two year procedure leading to the UK’s eventual withdrawal from the EU and, ultimately, to the establishment of a new relationship with its former EU partners. Whatever your position, it is clear that Brexit will have a significant impact across a wide range of sectors – financial services, trade, employment,…

May 19, 2016

Slovenia has amended the Financial Operations, Insolvency Proceedings and Compulsory Dissolution Act, which follow on amendments in 2013, amending preventive restructuring, simplified compulsory settlement and personal bankruptcy proceedings. Amendments to Slovenia’s Insolvency Act, which were adopted by the National Assembly on 31 March 2016, will come into force on 26 April 2016. The main modifications introduced by the amendments are as follows: small companies may now rely on proceedings on preventive restructuring, in addition to medium-sized and large companies as was…

April 7, 2021

I would argue that HNWIs both in Asia and the Americas should now start to look at effective investment migration strategies that allow one to hedge their bets. As this article in Asia Nikkei and the legislative proposals of Senators Warren and Sanders in the United States suggests, the wealthy are in for a period of great uncertainty. Governmental action everywhere over the last twelve months has pushed the world towards economic stagnation, and the tax man shall be quite…

April 7, 2021

On March 25, 2021, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced legislation entitled “For the 99.5% Act.”  The aim of the bill is to tax the fortunes of the top 0.5% of wealthy Americans. This is the first piece of legislation introduced since Joe Biden came into office and is designed to lower the U.S. federal estate tax exemption.  Highlights include: regarding personal wealth: Reduce the U.S. federal estate tax exemption to USD $3.5m for U.S. citizens / domiciliaries (Note: There is no…

April 6, 2021

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen argued this week for the imposition of a global minimum corporate tax rate. Her comments were set in the context of increasing U.S. corporate taxes to fund Joe Biden’s USD $2 trillion+ infrastructure plan.   Why do we care? The argument goes that by convincing other countries to impose a global minimum tax would greatly reduce the likelihood of U.S. companies relocating offshore, as America is set to potentially increase the corporate rate from 21% to…

March 28, 2021

Cyprus has made some changes to its permanent residency by investment program.  Quite a good step in the right direction.  However, in order to be competitive, Cyprus must align its offering with that of Portugal or the new Bulgarian fast track programme.  Permanent residency is quite limited in Cyprus because the island is physically cutoff from Europe and is not part of Schengen. A very good synopsis on the program can be found at IMI Daily.

March 27, 2021

Saw an interesting piece on crypto-currencies and tax regimes in Wealth Management.  Worth the read.

March 15, 2021

In the waning days of the Trump Presidency a little known act – the “Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2019” – was passed into law as part of the reconciled National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (H.R. 6395). Overcoming a Presidential Veto, the passed enactments ushered in broad changes to US anti-money laundering, financial crime and tax evasion laws. As it stands, today America’s treasury and justice departments can subpoena any account records from…

March 14, 2021

Came across an interesting piece in the New York Post regarding NY state legislature proposing an additional USD $7bn in new and increased taxes on businesses and the ultra wealthy. What legislatures continually fail to grasp is the fact that such additional taxes just cause capital flight.  Read more.

March 10, 2021

The United States has never had a wealth tax. European nations have had such things, but many of repealed them over the last few decades. Simply put, wealth taxes don’t work for they spur capital flight. That has not deterred Senator Warren (D-MA) with Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Brendan Boyle (D-PA) from introducing legislation to create a flat 2% annual tax on all household worth above $50 million, which would rise to 3% for anyone above $1 billion. Senator…

February 13, 2021

With the more onerous tax burdens coming into play, the wealthy of India are looking for options. Many are still looking to the UK but with Brexit now a reality, a new and exciting opportunity is the Portuguese Golden Visa Program, which allows one to “place their bets” so to speak as they wait to see where the winds will blow. Quite an interesting article in this respect in the Times of India.

February 10, 2021

Nigerians are increasingly looking for additional options when it comes to global travel and relocation. The most popular options are the citizenship by investment (CBI) programs – the Caribbean primarily. Here, foreign nationals can legally obtain a second citizenship and passport in another country through an investment in that nation. Next up are certain residency by investment programs; specifically the Portuguese Golden Visa Program, which allows one and his family to obtain a permanent residency in Portugal and 6 years…

January 20, 2021

With the Democrats now controlling Congress and the Presidency, the new Biden Administration is set to fundamentally change the nature of tax. How this will impact Americans and business remains an open question. What is certain is the fact that wealth preservation and tax structuring will become primary motivators for the migration industry over the next four years. It is only a matter of time before other countries start to look to America for inspiration and guidance, as governments everywhere…

January 8, 2021

As this year’s US defence appropriations act demonstrates, there seems to be a growing international trend on the part of governments to create a baseline in terms of disclosure of beneficial ownership. How a new Biden-Harris administration will act in its first 100 days will be quite telling indeed. All of this will have a profound impact for private wealth clients and tax structuring professionals. As governments become increasingly dependent upon sourcing additional tax revenues, investment migration will no longer…

January 2, 2021

Very nice to be featured in IMI Daily’s “Ten On The Weekend”.

December 12, 2020

With all due respect to the BBC, the imposition of such a “one-time” wealth tax would have a disastrous impact on the British economy. Capital flight would occur, much like what is happening already in Argentina (which brought in such a measure last week). Given the now noticeable shift in public discourse in favour of greater burdens being placed on successful business people, those with means should start thinking about reorganising their affairs. Second citizenship and permanent residency verticals are…

December 11, 2020

Argentinians normally look to Uruguay and then the United States when thinking about tax planning. Those routes seem now insufficient, given the political shift. Arguably, Latin Americans, and even North Americans, with means should now consider wealth planning options that utilise residency options, as tax matters are only set to get worse. Read More.

December 7, 2020

Like other major economies in 2020, the UK is facing a tax deficiency in light of covid-19 and the severe contraction of its economy. Governments are now looking to new tax revenue schemes and everything is on the table. The Portuguese Golden Visa Program tied to a fund investment is one such possibility, as it provides a functional result coupled with a financial product designed to create liquidity and ease of exit. Read More.

November 11, 2020

Like others governments facing revenue shortfalls, India has just recently introduced citizenship-based taxation. Henceforth, Indian nationals, irrespective of physical presence in India, will be deemed to be tax residents in certain circumstances. Although India is still quite flexible in terms of application, the fact remains that the tax system is slowly moving towards obtaining additional revenues from those living and working abroad. Indian citizens should expect that matters will only get worse. Governments rarely lessen the tax burden. As such,…

November 10, 2020

A very nice development in Portugal this week. Birthright citizenship will be henceforth allowed for those that are born in Portugal to parents that have been permanent residency for at least one year. Coupled with the country’s Golden Visa Program, this will push Portugal to the top of the list in terms of permanent residency and citizenship programs (through the backdoor). An outstanding piece is found at IMI Daily.

October 25, 2020

As of November 1st, Cyprus will suspend its existing citizenship by investment programme. Although the benefits of such a programme are beyond question – FDI into the local economy and providing an opportunity for people and their families – the problem has been the misfeasance on the part of a few bad apples. What is certain is that on November 2nd all real estate in Cyprus associated with the citizenship programme will essentially be worth zero and real estate prices…

October 20, 2020

Very nice to have my article featured in IMI Daily.  My supposition is that the Cypriot economy cannot be so heavily real property focused, as it leads to not only stratification of wealth but also over exposure to a single economy.  As such, real property in Cyprus is now set to collapse with the closure of the country’s CIP. Read More.

September 27, 2020

It seems that many in the financial industry are starting to push the notion that somehow the pending global real estate correction will be limited in scope. In my opinion, this is a dangerous fallacy. Misguided governmental response to Covid-19 has brought the global economy to its knees and countries everywhere are facing negative growth. In turn, this has created a liquidity issue for the general public. We are on the path of a downward spiral for the foreseeable future….

August 24, 2020

IMI Daily today requested my feedback to the Al Jazeera investigation of the Cyprus citizenship-by-investment program and related corruption. Although there have been significant problems in the past, today the Cyprus CIP is one of the most onerous and well managed programmes in the world. We are most pleased to be part of this program that provides opportunity and hope to many. Read More.

August 5, 2020

With the Democrats now solidifying around a Biden-Harris ticket, the U.S. faces a real choice. Continue with the Trump-Pence paradigm or reject it in favour of something just as earth shattering. Never has politics been so polarising and the World must wait for America to decide. Those with means now need to consider backup strategies that preserve wealth and opportunity. Read More.

April 10, 2020

Arguably, COVID-19 will be a world-wide tipping point for the ushering in of a more restrictive global system, flying in the face of unabated free trade that is predicated on the mobility of goods, services and labour. How this plays out is anyone’s guess. What is certain is that citizenship by investment programmes will become critical in terms of providing mobility choices to those that are able to meet regulatory thresholds. Read More.

March 25, 2020

Epidemics are related to population mobility. COVID-19 is special in that today’s global economy is intrinsically linked to unprecedentedly prevalent and frequent population mobility. Today, a virus can spread unabated. Free-traders have always argued that the global circulation of goods, services and labour is more important than factory assembly lines when it comes to sustaining growth. They are uninterested in social disruption; only wealth enhancement. The COVID-19 epidemic and the subsequent national responses are particularly stark because they have abruptly…

November 11, 2019

The Republic of Cyprus has recently amended its Naturalization by Exception Programme. The changes become effective as of 15 May 2019. Highlights include: A minimum investment of € 2.5m +VAT, compared to € 2m + VAT with current status under some conditions. The holding of relevant real property for a minimum of 5 years, compared to 3 years under the current status. An additional contribution of € 150k into donations and start-ups. The holding of a Schengen Visa before applying….

November 8, 2019

Austria’s Ministry of Finance has recently provided some guidance on the question of an Austrian home office as it applies to an Austrian tax resident employee and whether such a setup can qualify as an Austrian permanent establishment for a non-Austrian enterprise. A permanent establishment for Austrian domestic tax purposes is a fixed place through which an enterprise’s business is carried out. Such an establishment can be an employee’s private flat, provided that employee renders his/her work at least partly…

October 15, 2019

The Austrian tax court has recently opined on the question of dividend payments from Austria to an intermediate EU holding company which has no substance (while its EU parent does). Generally in Austria dividends paid out by Austrian corporations trigger a 27.5% withholding tax. Nevertheless, pursuant to the EU Parent/Subsidiary Directive applied in Austria, outbound dividends are totally exempt from withholding tax if the parent company fulfils the criteria as set out in the Directive and holds at least 10%…

September 20, 2019

On 12 September 2019, the advocate general of the European Court of Justice held that Hungary’s advertisement tax legislation based on which Google was fined HUF 1 billion (approx. EUR 3 million) constitutes an unjustifiable restriction on the freedom to provide services. Hungary’s advertisement tax was introduced in 2014 as a special tax on the turnover from the broadcasting or publication of advertisements. Individuals or entities that broadcast or publish advertisements may – irrespective of their residence – be subject…

August 1, 2019

On 31 July 2019, Bulgaria’s parliament adopted new transfer pricing rules in line with recommendations of the OECD. The new rules set out obligations for Bulgarian companies, Bulgarian permanent establishments of non-resident foreign companies and locally registered sole trades to maintain mandatory transfer pricing documentation evidencing the arm’s length basis of their transactions with related parties. Exemptions exist, and are relevant to the following taxpayer categories: Persons exempt from Bulgarian corporate income tax (certain collective investment schemes, national investment funds…

March 30, 2019

Recently, the Czech government submitted to parliament a bill implementing DAC 6 on the mandatory disclosure of cross-border tax arrangements. The bill underwent several changes in comparison with the initial draft published in March 2019. DAC 6 – the EU Council Directive 2011/16 on cross border tax arrangements – is being implement by the Czech Republic via domestic legislation no later than 31 December 2019, and will start to apply as of1 July 2020. The government has drafted a bill…

February 25, 2019

Towards the end of January 2019, Bulgaria’s legislature adopted the EU’s GDPR regulation, but was subsequently overruled by the Bulgarian President. The President exercised his veto right on the grounds that the legislation did not go far enough to address concerns regarding data processing for journalistic purposes and the purposes of academic, artistic or literary expression. Veto’s background The EU’s GDPR grants legislative discretion to EU States in the area of data processing for journalistic, academic, artistic, or literary purposes….

January 20, 2019

Hungary has recently amended its labour code in order to increase permissible overtime levels. On an annual basis, permissible overtime has increased from 250 hours per year to 400 hours per year. Such overtime overrides any collective labour agreements in place. The new legislation leaves the 48 hours/week work limit unchanged but raises the overtime banking period to 3 years from 1 year. In practice, it will be possible for an employer to pay the employee for overtimes in one…

January 20, 2019

On 1 January 2019, Albania’s Income Tax Act was amended with respect to imposition of new rules on the indirect transfer of ownership of assets situated in Albania. The new rules deal with the taxation of gains arising from such indirect asset transfers. An indirect transfer occurs when an Albanian company owning assets in Albania decides to sell said assets to a third party, but such third party merely purchases the shares/quota in the Albanian company holding the assets or…

January 5, 2019

As of the close of 2018, Serbia has now established its central register of ultimate beneficial owners. Henceforth, Serbian companies, institutions, as well as branches and representative offices established by foreign investors in Serbia are required to register their UBOs with the central register no later than 31 January 2019. The register has established an online portal in order to facilitate quick and efficient UBO registration. While disclosure is required, actual documentary support underlying UBO disclosure is not. Nevertheless, entities…

December 15, 2018

In early November, the Austrian Data Protection Authority issued a directive that data processing operations in all cases requires a data protection impact assessment (DPIA). Under Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), DPIA is required during data collection. The Austrian rule changes are bringing effect to GDPR into the national regime. Please note that failure to carry out a DPIA can result in fines up to EUR 10m or 2% of worldwide annual turnover. DPIA Examples Some examples include:…

November 5, 2018

Just this past October, Government Emergency Ordinance GEO 8/2018 was published, which set out certain new amendments to Romania’s insolvency regime. The ordinance amends: (i) Law no. 85/2014, regarding Romania’s insolvency law itself; (ii) ordinance no. 2/2000 regarding judicial application; (iii) ordinance no. 90/2017 regarding fiscal budgetary matters; and (iv) ordinance no. 86/2006 regarding the insolvency practitioner profession. Essentially, GEO 88/2018 was adopted in order to improve mechanisms for the recover of state receivables from insolvent companies, and to take…

October 10, 2018

On October 4, 2018, ESMA (the European Securities and Markets Authority) updated its view on the applicability Directive 2011/61/EU on alternative investment fund managers (AIFMs). The update provides guidance with respect to the cross-border management of alternative investment funds (AIFs), which have an umbrella structure with multiple compartments, or sub-funds, via the EU passport regime. Henceforth, AIFMs that wish to engage in cross-border management of AIFs must notify their respective national competent authority regarding the general umbrella fund as well as the names and…

September 19, 2018

Recently in August, Germany moved forward with a proposal directed against VAT avoidance relating to supplies of goods with a German nexus over online marketplaces. The bills expected to pass parliament in late fall and become effective as of January 1, 2019. Key elements entail: operators of online marketplaces shall be obliged to fulfil new documentation duties regarding providers of goods;  documentation requirements shall apply to any goods that touch Germany – if the shipment starts or ends in Germany;…

September 8, 2018

With concerns over challenges posed by China, the US government recently introduced new measures designed to enact control over the transfer and use of US goods and technologies both in the US and abroad. Applicable to emerging market M&A and joint ventures, these new measures manifest as two new laws – The Foreign Investment Risk Modernization Act (FIRRMA) and the Export Control Reform Act (ECRA). FIRRMA clarifies and expands the authority of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United…

September 1, 2018

Just this past August, Slovenia introduced a new collective agreement baseline for companies. The new collective agreement regulates business times for employers – specifically, it prohibits the scheduling of work on public holidays and bank holidays. With respect to weekends, it limits the use of Sundays. WHAT DOES IT ENTAIL? Most rights and obligations under the new collective agreement baseline is essentially the same as the previous act. There are some notable exceptions, as follows: •work week: The maximum weekly…

August 15, 2018

In the wake of GDPR, Poland has adopted a number of measures related to employee monitoring. Enshrined in the Polish Labor Code, there are a number of issues one should be aware of now when carrying on business in Poland. Video monitoring An employer can now utilise video monitoring only when it is considered necessary for furthering employee safety, property protection, production supervision and ensuring the confidentiality of information. Utilization is allowed in places of work; whereas monitoring is forbidden…

August 13, 2018

Bulgaria has recently adopted new appeal procedures related to public procurement. Designed to speed-up appeals and to bring an end to bad faith actions, the new rules are designed to place Bulgaria in line with more general European norms. Public procurement makes up approx. 9% of Bulgaria’s annual GDP; thus, the new measures are designed to protect and enhance this very important aspect of BulgariaR