COMPUTER LAW REVIEW

CRI

 

Issue 1

A Journal

15 February 2016

of Information Law

P. 1 – 32

and Technology

 

 

 

 

 

Articles

Maarten Truyens/Patrick van Eecke – Surprised by

 

Embedded Assumptions: The Online Sector’s Troubled

 

Relationship with EU Case Law

1

John Beardwood – The New ISO 37500 Outsourcing Stan-

 

dard: Useful Tool or “Outsourcing for Dummies”?

10

Diego Fern andez´ – Argentina: ISP Liability Between EU

 

and USA

16

Case Law

 

EU: “Safe Harbor”-Decision Invalid – Maximilian Schrems v.

 

Data Protection Commissioner

22

 

Updates

 

Probir Roy Chowdhury/Yajas Setlur – India: The Cost of

 

Content – Social Media Platforms put under the Scanner

28

Till Morstadt – Thailand: New Rules for E-Commerce

30

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thailand: New Rules for E-Commerce

 

E-Commerce in Thailand and Southeast Asia is still in its infancy. However, the untapped potential is huge. In 2013, only 28 % of South-east Asia’s inhabitants used the internet and only 16 % could be classified as digital buyers.1 Japan, at the same time, had 94 % internet users and 74 % digital buyers, whereas of Thailand’s 65 million inhabitants, only 19 million (29 %) used the internet and only 14 mil-lion (22 %) were digital buyers. In Europe, between 5 to 8 % of total retail sales were related to e-com-merce. In Southeast Asia, it was less than 1 %.

 

However, Southeast Asia is deter-mined to improve e-commerce and already took necessary steps:

 

In 1999, the ASEAN countries adopted the “e-ASEAN Initia-tive”. This initiative was aimed at improving the ICT (“Informa-tion and Communication Tech-nology”) throughout ASEAN. One key provision was to estab-lish and strengthen e-commerce. A framework agreement has been concluded in 2012.2

 

In 2011, the “ICT ASEAN Mas-terplan” was introduced to facil-itate the further digital integra-tion of ASEAN and to boost e-commerce (see 4.a) below).3

 

In         November           2015,     the        new

 

“Blueprint 2025” for the ASEAN Economic Community (“AEC”) was introduced4, pro-posing to strengthen e-com-merce throughout ASEAN by improving consumer protection and supporting small and medium enterprises to distribute their products by electronic means (see 4.b) below).

 

Nevertheless, challenges remain. Aside from structural challenges, practical challenges hinder e-com-merce from flourishing, such as the big gap regarding digital infrastruc-ture between rural and metropoli-tan areas.

1           eMarketer’s Worldwide Retail Ecommerce.

 

http://www.asean.org/?static_post=e-asean-framework-agreement.

 

http://www.asean.org/?static_post=asean-ic t-masterplan-2015.

 

http://www.asean.org/storage/images/2015/ November/aec-page/AEC-Blueprint-2025-FINAL.pdf.

 

New Rules for E-Commerce

 

The following article shall give a brief overview of the legal frame-work for e-commerce businesses in Thailand (1.) and shall describe the most recent legal developments (2.). The article shall further outline the differences to related EU legisla-tion (3.) and give an outlook on the future of e-commerce in Thai-land (4.).

 

  1. Market and Legal Framework

 

Thailand’s network capacities are comparably well developed, at least in metropolitan areas. The Thai government keeps expanding the in-frastructure, especially for mobile devices. In December 2015, two “4G-licences” were auctioned for a price of approximately THB 75 bil-lion (roughly 1.875 billion!). Ana-lysts put this price at four times the actual market value of the licenses, indicating the importance of mobile internet in Thailand: “M-Com-merce” is considered a very strong future market in Thailand.5

The most common forms of e-com-merce in Thailand are online shops and Electronic Marketplaces (“EMP”). Big players are “www.laz ada.co.th”and “www.weloveshopp ing.com”. ”Social Commerce”, i.e. commerce taking place over social media, is also gaining momentum.

  1. a) Foreign Investment Law

 

The Thai foreign investment law is rather restrictive and requires ma-jority foreign-owned companies to obtain a Foreign Business License (“FBL”) for most activities.6 Instead of the lengthy application process to obtain an FBL, investors can apply for investment promotion through the Thailand Board of Investment (“BOI”). Apart from the possibility to hold 100 % of the company’s shares, BOI-promoted companies benefit from various tax and non-tax incentives.7

 

Regarding e-commerce, only the op-eration of Electronic Marketplaces is eligible for BOI promotion.8 The operation of online shops for trad-

http://www.bangkokpost.com/tech/local-ne ws/753724/mobile-commerce-on-rise.

 

Foreign Business Act B.E. 2542 (1999), Sec-tion 8.

 

BOI Announcement No. 2/2557 (2014), http://www.boi.go.th/upload/content/newp olicy-announcement%20as%20of%2020_ 3_58_23499.pdf.

 

BOI Announcement No. 2/2557 (2014), List of Activities Eligible for Investment Promo-tion, Section 5.8.

 

 

ing products is not eligible for BOI promotion and is generally also not eligible for an FBL. The only way to operate an online shop is to increase the capital to THB 100 million (ap-prox. 2.5 million) which makes the company eligible for an exemp-tion under the Foreign Business Act. Companies with a paid-up capital of at least THB 100 million are al-lowed to conduct retail or wholesale business in Thailand without requir-ing any further licence. Most larger European e-commerce players such as Lazada and Zalora make use of this exemption.

 

Special rights are granted to U.S. American investors under the Thai-US Treaty of Amity. The treaty gives majority U.S.-owned companies a fast track access to an FBL in nearly all areas including trading. Howev-er, to benefit from the treaty, ulti-mate beneficial U.S.-American own-ership of the Thai company has to be proven to the authorities.

 

  1. b) General Requirements

 

Enterprises offering goods or ser-vices on the internet, e.g. via online shops or EMP, have to apply for an e-commerce Certificate to ensure their compliance with quality stan-

 

dards.9 Furthermore, other applica-ble laws have to be complied with, such as providing a product warran-ty and complying with advertising guidelines. Details depend on the circumstances of the proposed busi-ness.

 

  1. Recent Legal Developments

 

Direct Sales and Direct Marketing Act

 

Since 1 July 2015, all enterprises conducting direct marketing busi-ness in Thailand have to apply for a special Direct Marketing License, based on the Direct Sales and Direct Marketing Act B.E. 2545 (2002).10

 

This requirement is intended to con-tribute to a higher degree of con-sumer protection, as consumers in online trade are not able to inspect the goods regarding their conformi-ty with the advertised product before purchasing. Direct Market-ing Licenses are usually issued with-in 60 days after the submission of

9           Electronic   Transactions Act         B.E.        2544

 

(2001), Section 32.

 

Central Company and Partnership Registra-tion Office Regulation (No. 11) re: Compa-ny and Partnership Registration B.E. 2558 (2015), Section 13.

 

 

 

 

New Rules for E-Commerce

 

 

complete application documents with the Office of the Consumer Protection Board.

 

Direct marketing without a proper license is subject to imprisonment of up to 1 year and/or fines of up to THB 100,000 (approx. 2,500), as well as a fine of THB 10,000 for ev-ery day of continued direct market-ing without a license.

 

  1. b) Draft Legislation

 

Currently, Thailand is reviewing several proposals for new or revised legislation.11 The details are still un-der discussion.

 

Draft Electronic Transactions Act

 

The Electronic Transactions Act shall improve and secure electronic transactions. It foresees the estab-lishment of the “Office of the Na-tional Electronic Transaction De-velopment”.

 

Draft Cyber Security Protec-tion Act

 

The draft provides new regulations regarding cyber-security and their enforcement through the new “Na-tional Cyber Security Protection Committee”.

 

  1. cc) Draft Data Privacy Act

 

The draft regulates the collection, utilization or disclosure of data which enables to identify individu-als. It gives enforceable rights to da-ta owners. It foresees the establish-ment of the “Data Privacy Protec-tion Committee” to oversee and en-force the act.

 

The recent developments emphasize Thailand’s commitment to improv-ing relevant legislature. Especially the improvements regarding cyber-security and data protection are nec-essary to facilitate the acceptance of e-commerce in Thailand and to bring it up to international stan-dards.

 

  1. Thai/ASEAN vs. EU Legislation

 

Legislation similar to Directive 2000/31/EC12 does not exist in

http://www.thaigov.go.th/index.php/en/cab inet-synopsis-/item/88954-88954.html.

 

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/A LL/?uri=CELEX:32000L0031.

 

Thailand and, therefore, compared to the EU, consumer protection in e-commerce is rather limited. Howev-er, ASEAN tries to improve and har-monise the respective domestic leg-islations.

 

The ICT ASEAN Masterplan 2015

 

The Masterplan 2015 aims to deliv-er the following four key outcomes:

 

Establishing ICT as an engine of growth for ASEAN countries;

 

Promoting the recognition for ASEAN as a global ICT hub;

 

Enhancing the quality of life for peoples of ASEAN; and

 

Contributing towards ASEAN integration.

 

The full implementation of the plan is still outstanding.13 However, the draft recognizes ICT as a major source of development, empower-ment, and innovation. It sees the need to harmonise regulatory prac-tices and ICT standards and it also urges the member states to provide incentives and promotions.

 

  1. b) The AEC Blueprint 2025

 

The AEC Blueprint 2025 sets the goal of developing a comprehensive ASEAN agreement on e-commerce, addressing the following issues:

Harmonising consumer rights and protection laws;

 

Harmonising the legal frame-work for online dispute resolu-tion, taking into account inter-national standards;

 

Developing interoperable, mu-tually recognized, secure, reli-able and user-friendly e-identifi-cation and authorisation schemes;

 

Developing a coherent and com-prehensive framework for per-sonal data protection.

 

  1. c) Conclusion

 

Neither the “Masterplan 2015” nor the “Blueprint 2025” is comparable to the Directive 2001/31/EC. It re-

http://www.asean.org/resources/publication s/asean-publications/item/asean-ict-masterp lan-2015.

 

mains within the responsibility of each member state to introduce do-mestic legislation facilitating e-com-merce.

 

For example, foreign (i.e. non-Thai) companies providing e-commerce services to Thai customers are not covered by Thai legislation as long as they are not conducting their business from within Thailand. Due to a lack of ASEAN-wide legisla-tion, local companies might consid-er law-shopping, i.e. looking for the jurisdiction with the least strict laws on e-commerce to provide their ser-vices ASEAN-wide. To avoid a race-to-the-bottom regarding consumer protection, market-wide laws com-parable to the EU would be desir-able.14

 

  1. Outlook

 

To tap the full potential of e-com-merce not only in the Thai market but on an ASEAN-wide scale, an in-crease of regional integration will be required. In particular, an ASEAN-wide legislation regarding the fol-lowing key aspects is desirable:

 

Harmonized laws on consumer protection, comparable to the EU’s Unfair Commercial Prac-tices Directive15;

 

ASEAN-wide dispute resolution body;

 

Setting up a regional task force against cyber crime, comparable to the EU’s Cybercrime Centre16.

 

Furthermore, to extend the internet broadband internet coverage, state-aided funding could foster private sector broadband deployment pro-jects for remote areas where reliable internet coverage is currently not sufficiently available.

 

Till Morstadt, Bangkok. Further information about the author on p. 32.

See EU e-commerce Directive 2000/31/EC, Article 3.

 

Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Par-liament and of the Council concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market.

 

The European Cybercrime Centre (EC3 or EC³) is part of Europol and coordinates cross-border law enforcement activities against computer crime and acts as a centre of technical expertise on the matter.

 

 

 

 

Michael Lorenz, Rechtsanwalt/Foreign Registered Lawyer (Hongkong), und Stefan Schmierer, LL.M., Rechtsanwalt/Foreign Registered Lawyer (Hongkong), beide Hongkong

 

Hongkongs neues Gesellschaftsrecht

 

 

Companies Ordinance 2014

 

Hongkong ist eine der bedeutendsten Wirtschaftsme-tropolen der Welt und f4r viele internationale Unter-nehmen das Zugangstor zu China und Asien. Um mit den internationalen Konkurrenten wie Singapur, To-kio oder Schanghai konkurrenzf hig zu bleiben, wurde schon vor vielen Jahren beschlossen, das Han-dels- und Gesellschaftsrecht komplett zu 4berarbei-ten, um den modernen internationalen Anforderun-gen an einen internationalen Wirtschaftsstandort ge-recht zu werden. Die neuen Regelungen sind mit der Companies Ordinance 2014 in Kraft getreten. Der folgende Beitrag stellt das neue Recht vor.

 

 

 

 

  1. Einleitung

 

Am 12. 7. 2012 wurde von der Hongkonger Legislative das neue Hongkonger Gesellschaftsgesetz (Companies Ordi-nance, Chapter 622) beschlossen und vom Hongkonger Re-gierungschef (Chief Executive) am 9. 8. 2012 verk4ndet,1 welches dann zum 3. 3. 2014 in Kraft trat. Das neue Gesetz ist das Ergebnis von langj hrigen Beratungen, welche bis in das Jahr 1984 zur4ckgehen, als das „Committee on Compa-ny Law Reform“ ins Leben gerufen wurde, um eine kom-

1           Unter: http://www.legislation.gov.hk/blis_pdf.nsf/CurAllEngDoc/707 C1C4DC6BDF92848257A5500549A21?OpenDocument.

 

Lorenz/Schmierer, Hongkongs neues Gesellschaftsrecht  Heft 4/2015       RIW  201

 

 

plette Modernisierung der Companies Ordinance zu erarbei-ten. Das vorhergehende Gesetz ging auf das Jahr 1932 zu-r4ck und wurde seitdem mehrere Male ge ndert und erwei-tert. Dies f4hrte dazu, dass das Gesetz sehr un4bersichtlich wurde und den Anforderungen an ein Handelsgesetz f4r eine der dynamischsten St dte der Welt nicht mehr gerecht wur-de. Im Jahr 1997 wurde der sog. „Pascutto Report“2 erstellt und ver.ffentlicht, der eine Reihe von Verbesserungsvor-schl gen enthielt. Allerdings dauerte es von diesem Zeit-punkt nochmals 4ber 15 Jahre, bis das neue Gesetz in Kraft trat.

 

Das Ergebnis ist die umfassendste Znderung des Gesetzes seit 4ber 80 Jahren, welche nicht nur bestimmte Neuerungen umsetzt, sondern ein komplett neues Gesetz in Kraft setzt.

 

Im Januar und Februar 2014 wurden ca. 25 000 neue Gesell-schaften gegr4ndet, was einen Anstieg um 16 % im Ver-gleich zum Vorjahr darstellt. Insgesamt sind nunmehr ca.1,2 Millionen Gesellschaften in Hongkong registriert.3

 

  1. bersicht

 

Die neue Companies Ordinance besteht aus 21 Abschnitten, 4ber 900 einzelnen Vorschriften und 11 Anh ngen. Weiter-hin wurden 12 Ausf4hrungsvorschriften zur neuen Compa-nies Ordinance erlassen, welche Aspekte regeln, die als eher subsidi r angesehen werden (Regelungen zu Gesellschafts-namen, Angaben auf Gesch ftskorrespondenz, etc.), so dass beschlossen wurde, diese Aspekte nicht im Gesetz an sich zu regeln, um dieses so 4bersichtlich wie m.glich zu belas-sen.

 

Die alte Companies Ordinance (Chapter 32) bleibt bestehen, wird aber umbenannt in „Companies (Winding Up and Mis-cellaneous Provisions) Ordinance“.4 Dieses Gesetz enth lt nun lediglich noch Regelungen zur Insolvenz und Liquidati-on von Gesellschaften (limited companies). S mtliche wei-tere Regelungen des alten Gesetzes wurden unwirksam und traten außer Kraft.

 

Abschaffung des Nominalwerts f4r Gesellschaftsanteile

 

Bis zum 3. 3. 2014 hatte jeder Gesellschaftsanteil einer Hongkonger Limited Company einen bestimmten Nominal-wert, den die Gesellschaft in ihren Articles of Association festlegen konnte (z. B. 1 HKD oder 10 Euro oder 1000 USD). Dies  ndert sich mit dem neuen Gesetz, nachdem s mtliche Anteile von Hongkonger Gesellschaften (sowohl bereits bestehende als auch neu zu gr4ndende) 4ber keinen Nominalwert mehr verf4gen, Section 135 (1) Companies Ordinance (nachfolgend: CO). Section 135 CO lautet insge-samt:

 

Sec. 135. (1) Shares in a company have no nominal value.

 

(2) This section applies to shares issued before the commence-ment date of this section as well as shares issued on or after that date.

 

Die H.he des Stammkapitals bestimmt sich aber nicht mehr nach der Anzahl der Anteile multipliziert mit deren Nomi-nalwert, sondern sowohl die H.he des Kapitals als auch die Anzahl der Anteile einer Gesellschaft k.nnen nun von den Gesellschaftern bei Gr4ndung der Gesellschaft (oder danach durch Znderung der Articles of Association) frei festgelegt werden; allerdings muss der festgesetzte Wert angemessen sein und darf die oder einen Gesellschafter nicht unange-

 

 

messen benachteiligen.5 Begr4ndet wird diese Znderung mit gr.ßerer Flexibilit t, um den Gesellschaftern bei der Zu-teilung der Aktien und der Einzahlung des Stammkapitals mehr Freiheit zu geben.6

 

Diese Znderung hat auch Auswirkungen auf einen m.gli-chen Ausgabeaufschlag (Agio), den ein Gesellschafter an die Gesellschafter f4r Anteile zahlte, wenn die Zahlung f4r die Anteile an die Gesellschaft h.her war als der Nominal-wert der Anteile. In einem solchen Fall wurde der zus tzli-che Betrag auf ein separates Konto gebucht (Share Premium Account) und nicht als Stammkapital bewertet. Nach den neuen Vorschriften7 f llt der Betrag auf dem Share Premium Account nun dem Stammkapital zu, so dass sich das Stamm-kapital der Gesellschaft entsprechend erh.ht und der ur-spr4nglich separate Betrag nun als haftendes Kapital bewer-tet wird.

 

  1. Board of Directors

 

Seit dem 3. 3. 2014 muss jede Gesellschaft 4ber zumindest eine nat4rliche Person als Director verf4gen. Die einschl gi-ge Section 157 (2) CO lautet:

 

(2) The company must have at least one director who is a natural person.

 

Nach dem alten Gesetz war es m.glich, dass s mtliche Di-rectors einer Gesellschaft juristische Personen (z. B. andere Hongkong-Gesellschaften, BVI-Gesellschaften) waren, was zu erheblicher Intransparenz beitrug. Dieser international nicht erw4nschten Intransparenz soll nun entgegengewirkt werden, indem zumindest ein Mitglied des Board of Direc-tors eine nat4rliche Person sein muss. Wie bisher ist aber nicht notwendig, dass der Director einen Wohnsitz in Hong-kong hat.

 

Weiterhin hat die neue Regelung keine Auswirkung auf die Struktur der Gesellschafter, hier ist es weiterhin m.glich, dass s mtliche Gesellschafter einer Hongkong Limited Company juristische Personen sind.

 

F4r bestehende Gesellschaften, die zurzeit lediglich 4ber ju-ristische Personen im Board of Directors verf4gen, besteht die Pflicht, dies entsprechend dem neuen Gesetz zu  ndern; ansonsten kann das Handelsregister anordnen, dass das Board of Directors entsprechend umgestaltet werden muss, Section 458 (1) CO.

 

  1. Weitere Regelungen in Bezug auf die Directors

 

  1. a) Darlehen an Directors

 

Grunds tzlich war und wird es in Zukunft auch verboten sein, dass Gesellschaften ohne Zustimmung durch die Ge-sellschafterversammlung ein Darlehen an Directors der Ge-sellschaft geben (Section 500 CO). Dies wurde in der Ver-gangenheit teilweise umgangen, indem das Darlehen an dem Director nahestehende Personen, eine Gesellschaft des Di-rector oder Treuh nder gegeben wurde. Um dies in Zukunft

 

2           Pascutto, Review of the Hongkong Companies Ordinance, Consultancy Report (March 1997).

3           Unter: http://www.cr.gov.hk/en/statistics/statistics_02.htm.

 

4           Unter: http://www.legislation.gov.hk/blis_pdf.nsf/6799165D2FEE3FA 94825755E0033E532/BFBC0BDE18CA0665482575EE0030D882?O penDocument&bt=0.

5           Shearer versus Bercain Limited (1980) 3 All ER 295 at 307–308.

6           Butterworths Hongkong, Company Law Handbook, 16. Aufl. 2014, Sec-tion 135.

7           Schedule 11, Section 31 (1).

 

202  RIW  Heft 4/2015  Lorenz/Schmierer, Hongkongs neues Gesellschaftsrecht

 

 

zu verhindern, wurde der Kreis der betroffenen Personen, an welche ohne Zustimmung kein Darlehen gegeben werden darf, erweitert um Kinder, Eltern, Ehegatten und Gesell-schaften, die von einem Director kontrolliert werden (min-destens 30 % Stimmanteile), Sections 486 (1), (2), 487 CO). Gem ß Section 500 (1) kann allerdings ein Darlehen ge-w hrt werden, wenn dies durch die Gesellschafter geneh-migt wurde.

 

  1. b) Sorgfaltsmaßstab

 

Bis jetzt wurde der Sorgfaltsmaßstab, nach welchem ein Di-rector handeln muss, objektiv allgemein definiert („the skills and experience that may reasonably be expected of a person carrying out the functions carried out by the director in rela-tion to the company“). Dies wird nun gem ß Section 465 (2) erg nzt um eine subjektive Komponente, nachdem nun auch zus tzlich die pers.nlichen F higkeiten und Kenntnisse des Director zu ber4cksichtigen sind („the general knowledge, skill and experience that the director has“).

 

Diese Gesetzes nderung wurde haupts chlich von der Rechtsprechung australischer und englischer Gerichte 4ber-nommen,8 welche seit der R4ckgabe von Hongkong an Chi-na zwar nicht mehr zwingendes Recht ist, aber dennoch Lei-tungsfunktion (persuasive) hat. Auch das Hongkonger Revi-sionsgericht (Hongkong Court of Appeal) wandte in einem Fall in 2010 diesen gemischt objektiven-subjektiven Test an,9 so dass hier die Hongkonger Gesetzgebung lediglich das Gesetz an die neuere Rechtsprechung anpasste.

 

Das hat vor allem Auswirkungen auf Directors, die 4ber ein erh.htes Wissen (Rechtsanw lte, Steuerberater, CPA, etc.) verf4gen, da dies nun zur Auslegung des Sorgfaltsmaßtabs herangezogen werden kann und zu einem erh.hten Haf-tungsrisiko f4hren kann. Gerade in Hongkong kommt es oft vor, dass Rechtsanw lte, CPAs oder Steuerberater als Treu-h nder eingesetzt werden (Nominee Directors), um dem Handelsregister und damit der  ffentlichkeit nicht v.llig of-fenzulegen, wer der eigentlich final und de facto dahinter Stehende ist und die Gesch fte f4hrt. Diese vorgeschobenen Personen sehen sich nun unter Umst nden einem erh.hten Haftungsrisiko ausgesetzt, wenn ohne deren Wissen die Ge-sellschaft unlautere Gesch fte vornimmt und der Treuh n-der diese h tte wissen k.nnen, wovon aufgrund der Direc-tor-Stellung und dem erh.hten Wissen grunds tzlich auszu-gehen ist.

 

  1. c) Director-Vertr ge

 

Jeder Vertrag mit einem Director, der 4ber einen l ngeren Zeitraum als drei Jahre abgeschlossen wird, ben.tigt in Zu-kunft die Zustimmung der Gesellschafter, wenn eine feste Vertragslaufzeit von 4ber drei Jahren vereinbart wird, Secti-on 534 (1) CO. Nicht umfasst von dieser neuen Regel sind unbefristete Vertr ge, da diese jederzeit gek4ndigt werden k.nnen.

 

 

den sollen, also der Director selbst oder ihm nahestehende Personen, Section 473 CO. Stimmt eine ausgeschlossene Person trotzdem ab, so wird die abgegebene Stimme gem ß Section 473 (3) CO bei dem Abstimmungsergebnis nicht ge-z hlt. Gem ß der Gesetzesbegr4ndung11 dient diese neue Vorschrift einer verbesserten Corporate Governance.

 

Allerdings bleibt die nicht kodifizierte Regel des Common Law auch weiterhin anwendbar, nachdem illegale Handlun-gen des Director, welche gegen eine Verbotsnorm verstoßen, von den Gesellschaftern nicht genehmigt werden k.nnen.12 So k.nnen die Gesellschafter eine Handlung des Director nicht genehmigen, welche die Zahlungsunf higkeit der Ge-sellschaft zur Folge h tte oder welche, bei bereits bestehen-der Insolvenz, noch vorhandenes Verm.gen der Gesellschaft verringern w4rde, da dies eine Handlung zum Nachteil der Gl ubiger der Gesellschaft w re, welche zum Schutz des lauteren Gesch ftsverkehrs nicht genehmigungsf hig ist.13

 

  1. e) Handlungen der Directors

 

In der neuen Companies Ordinance wird in Section 117 (1) ausdr4cklich klargestellt, dass die Vertretungsmacht der Di-rectors nach außen weder durch die Articles of Association noch durch eine Vereinbarung des Director mit der Gesell-schaft beschr nkt werden kann. Diese Regel ist im Common Law bekannt als „Turquant Rule“14 und wurde zur Klarstel-lung in das neue Gesetz aufgenommen. Grunds tzlich war es auch schon in der Vergangenheit herrschende Ansicht, dass ein Director einer Hongkong-Gesellschaft unbe-schr nkte Vertretungsbefugnis f4r die Gesellschaft hat. Mei-nungsverschiedenheiten traten aber dann auf, wenn die Ver-tretungsbefugnis des Director durch eine interne Vereinba-rung beschr nkt wurde. Die vorherrschende Meinung folgte hier seit dem Jahr 1856 der Ansicht, dass eine Beschr nkung der Vertretungsmacht im Innenverh ltnis keine Auswirkun-gen auf das Außenverh ltnis habe und dies selbst dann gelte, wenn die Beschr nkung der Vertretungsmacht .ffentlich be-kannt gemacht wurde, z. B. durch Eintragung im Handelsre-gister. Das Hauptargument war vor allem der Schutz des Ge-sch ftsverkehrs, da man nicht davon ausgehen k.nne, dass jeder, der mit einer Gesellschaft Gesch fte machen m.chte, davor das entsprechende Handelsregister 4berpr4ft, ob die Vertretungsmacht des Director unter Umst nden begrenzt sei. Die Gegenansicht berief sich gerade auf die Eintra-gungsf higkeit einer entsprechenden Vertretungsmacht und argumentierte mit dem .ffentlichen Glauben des Handelsre-gisters.

 

Mit Section 117 (1) CO schloss sich Hongkong der Tur-quand Rule an, so dass es nicht m.glich ist, die Vertretungs-macht eines Director im Außenverh ltnis zu begrenzen. Die Grenze ist lediglich, wenn und soweit der Handelnde positiv weiß, dass die Vertretungsmacht des Director begrenzt ist. Allerdings stellt Section 117 (2) (b) CO klar, dass die Gut-gl ubigkeit vermutet wird, so dass die andere Seite positiv zu beweisen hat, dass der Handelnde b.sgl ubig war („a per-

 

 

  1. d) Entlastung von Directors

 

Bisher fand eine Entlastung von Directors durch eine einfa-che Entscheidung und Genehmigung der Gesellschafter statt, bei welcher der Director, der entlastet werden sollte, ebenfalls stimmberechtigt war, soweit er Gesellschafter ist.10 Dies wird dahingehend ge ndert, dass nun bei der Abstim-mung 4ber die Entlastung solche Gesellschafter nicht ab-stimmungsberechtigt sind, die ein pers.nliches Interesse an den Handlungen haben, f4r die die Directors entlastet wer-

 

Charterbridge Corp Ltd versus Lloyds Bank Ltd (1970) Ch 62, 74; Equi-ticorp Finance Ltd (in liq) versus Bank of New Zealand (1993) 32

NSWLR 50, 148.

9           Akai Holdings Ltd versus Kaiskorn Bank PCL (2010) 3 HKC 153, (64).

North West Transportation Co versus Beauty (1887) 12 App Cas 589.

Financial Services and Treasury Bureau, Consultation Paper on Draft Companies Bill- First Phase Consultation, December 2009, S. 94.

Re Exchange Banking Co, Flitcroft’s Case (1882) 21 Ch D 519; Re Halt Garage (1964) Ltd (1982) 3 All ER 1016.

 

Chintung Futures Ltd versus Arthur Lai Cheuk Kwan (194) HKLR 95.

Royal British Bank versus Turquand (1856) 119 ER 886.

 

Lorenz/Schmierer, Hongkongs neues Gesellschaftsrecht  Heft 4/2015       RIW  203

 

 

son dealing with a company is presumed, unless the contrary is proved, to have acted in good faith“). Gem ß Section 117

 

(2) (c) CO kann sogar davon ausgegangen werden, dass selbst die positive Kenntnis einer Eintragung der Beschr n-kung der Vertretungsmacht im Hongkonger Handelsregister den Handelnden nicht als b.sgl ubig qualifiziert („a person dealing with a company is not to be regarded as acting in bad faith by reason only of the person’s knowing that an act is be-yond the directors’ powers under any relevant document of the company“). Section 117 (2) (d) stellt weiterhin ausdr4ck-lich klar, dass keine Nachforschungspflicht besteht.

 

  1. f) Verbot von Entsch digungszahlungen

 

Bisher war es verboten, einem Director, der aus seinem Amt ausschied oder gek4ndigt wurde, eine Abfindung zu zahlen, wenn und soweit diese nicht von den Gesellschaftern geneh-migt war. Dieses Verbot wird nun ausgeweitet, so dass auch Zahlungen an Gesellschaften oder Personen, die mit dem ausscheidenden Director verbunden sind, verboten sind, ebenso wie Zahlungen an Directors der Holding-Gesell-schaft.

 

  1. Verantwortliche Personen

 

Beging die Gesellschaft in der Vergangenheit einen Geset-zesverstoß, so konnte jeder „officer in default“ der Gesell-schaft hierf4r verantwortlich gemacht werden.15 Diese Be-schreibung war allerdings eng begrenzt und umfasste ledig-lich die offiziellen Directors der Gesellschaft, sowie den Company Secretary. Dies wird erweitert, indem in Section 3 CO „officer in default“ durch „responsible person in de-fault“ ersetzt wird, wodurch auch solche Personen verant-wortlich gemacht werden k.nnen, die keine formale Posi-tion in der Gesellschaft begleiten (z. B. Director oder Com-pany Secretary), aber dennoch f4r die Entscheidungen der Gesellschaft verantwortlich sind (z. B. außenstehende Perso-nen, final Berechtigte, etc.). Viele Hongkong-Gesellschaf-ten werden formal von einem Nominee Director gef4hrt, die wichtigen und gesch ftsentscheidenden Entscheidungen trifft allerdings der de facto Berechtigte, der nicht offiziell in Erscheinung tritt. Section 3 (3) CO stellt ausdr4cklich klar, dass auch ein solcher sog. „Shadow Director“ von der Haftung erfasst ist. Verschiedene Sections der Companies Ordinance beziehen sich auf die allgemeine Definition in Section 3 und ordnen eine entsprechende Haftung der ver-antwortlichen Personen an.16

 

  1. Auditors

 

Die Rechte der Auditors werden gest rkt, in dem diese nun gem ß Section 412 (2) CO das Recht hat, von jeder Person die notwendigen Informationen einzufordern, die f4r die Er-stellung des Pr4fungsberichts notwendig sind:

 

Section 412. (2) An auditor of a company may require a person that is a related entity of the company, or was a related entity of the company at the time to which the information or explanation relates, to provide the auditor with any information or explana-tion that the auditor reasonably requires for the performance of the duties as auditor of the company.

 

Wird der Aufforderung des Auditors nicht nachgekommen, so stellt dies einen Verstoß gegen Section 413 (1) CO dar und kann mit einer Geldstrafe belegt werden.

 

Sollten bestimmte Informationen, die der Auditor zur Erstel-lung des Pr4fungsberichts ben.tigt, gleichwohl nicht verf4g-bar sein, so hat der Auditor dies in dem Bericht anzugeben.17


  1. Herabsetzung des Kapitals

 

Die H.he des Stammkapitals einer Gesellschaft wird durch die Gr4ndungsgesellschafter bei der Gr4ndung festgelegt. Nach der Gr4ndung kann das Stammkapital gem ß Section 170 (2) (a) CO relativ einfach erh.ht werden, indem die Di-rectors dies vorschlagen und die Gesellschafter zustimmen. Entweder erh.hen dann die bestehenden Gesellschafter ihre Stammeinlage oder es werden neue Gesellschafter aufge-nommen, die ihre Stammeinlage zu leisten haben. Aller-dings konnte bisher eine Gesellschaft das Stammkapital zum Schutz der Gl ubiger lediglich reduzieren, nachdem dies vom Gericht genehmigt wurde.18

 

Diese M.glichkeit bleibt bestehen; es wird nun aber alterna-tiv m.glich sein, gem ß Section 210 (1), 211(a) CO auch ohne Genehmigung des Gerichts das Kapital zu reduzie-ren,19 wenn die Directors best tigen,20 dass

 

– die Gesellschaft unmittelbar nach der Kapitalreduzierung auch weiterhin die Verbindlichkeiten bedienen kann, Section 216 (1) CO, und

 

– die Gesellschaft auch in den folgenden 12 Monaten s mtliche Verbindlichkeiten, sobald diese f llig werden, bedienen kann.

 

Stellt sich sp ter heraus, dass die Gesellschaft nicht f hig ist, den Zahlungsverpflichtungen nachzukommen, so macht dies die Kapitalreduzierung nicht unwirksam; allerdings ha-ben sich die Directors, diese Erkl rung abgegeben haben ge-m ß Section 207 CO strafbar, was mit Geldstrafe und Frei-heitsentzug von bis zu zwei Jahren geahndet werden kann.

 

Znderungen f4r General Meetings von Gesellschaftern

 

Gem ß Section 610 (1) CO muss jede Hongkong-Gesell-schaft ein Annual General Meeting (AGM) abhalten. Das AGM dient als Hauptversammlung f4r die Gesellschafter, in welchem die Directors den Gesellschaftern die Bilanz vorle-gen m4ssen, 4ber die Zahlung einer Dividende entschieden wird und die Directors entlastet werden.

 

  1. a) Verzicht auf das AGM

 

Auf das AGM kann nun verzichtet werden, wenn die Gesell-schaft 4ber lediglich einen Gesellschafter verf4gt, oder s mtliche Gesellschafter schriftlich zustimmen, auf das AGM zu verzichten, Sections 612 (2), 613 CO. Gem ß Sec-tion 612 (5) kann allerdings jeder Gesellschafter jederzeit verlangen, dass dieser Verzicht wieder aufgehoben wird.

 

  1. b) Zeitpunkt

 

Nach der alten Gesetzgebung musste ein AGM zumindest alle 12 Monate nach dem letzten AGM stattfinden. Dies wird nun in Section 610 (1), (2), (3) CO dahingehend ge n-dert, dass ein AGM innerhalb von neun (9) Monaten nach dem Ende des Finanzjahres („accounting reference period“) der Gesellschaft stattfinden muss. Der Begriff „accounting

Section 351 (2) Companies Ordinance a. F., Chapter 32.

  1. B. Sections 212, 267, 275, 426–428, 430, 433, 436.

Pacific Acceptance Corp Ltd versus Forsyth (1970) 92 WN (NSW) 29; Sasea Finance Ltd (in liq) versus KPMG (2000) 1 All ER 676.

Sections 58, 59 C) a. F., Chapter 32.

Auch in Singapur (Companies Act Sections 78B–78F) und in Großbri-tannien (Companies Act 2006, Sections 642–644) besteht diese M.g-lichkeit.

Siehe zusammenfassend Consultation Paper (June 2008), S. 21 f.; Con-sultation Conclusions (February 2009), S. 10 f.

 

204  RIW  Heft 4/2015  Lorenz/Schmierer, Hongkongs neues Gesellschaftsrecht

 

 

reference period“ wurde neu in das Gesetz aufgenommen und wird in Sections 367– 371 CO n her definiert.

 

 

Es wird in Zukunft auch m.glich sein, Flugzeuge oder An-teile an Flugzeugen zu verpf nden, Section 334 (1) (h) CO.

 

 

  1. c) Ablauf eines AGM

 

Die neue Companies Ordinance l sst es nun in Section 584 ausdr4cklich zu, dass ein AGM nicht physisch statt-finden muss. Falls es die Technik (Telefon- oder Video-konferenz) zul sst, k.nnen die Teilnehmer eines AGM sich an verschiedenen Orten aufhalten, soweit sicherge-stellt ist, dass alle Teilnehmer ein Mitspracherecht haben. In einem solchen Fall ist es aber umso wichtiger, dass ge-nau Protokoll gef4hrt wird 4ber die Punkte, 4ber die dis-kutiert und abgestimmt wurde und wie abgestimmt wurde. Diese Protokollf4hrungspflicht („Minutes of the Mee-ting“21) ergibt sich aus Section 618 (1) (b) CO. Das Proto-koll muss s mtliche wichtigen Angaben (Ort, Zeit, Tages-ordnungspunkte, Anwesenheit, Abstimmungen, Enthaltun-gen, etc.) enthalten.22

 

Weiterhin wird ausdr4cklich geregelt (Section 548), dass s mtliche Entscheidungen, die w hrend eines Treffens von Directors oder Gesellschaftern getroffen werden k.nnen, auch schriftlich getroffen werden k.nnen (written resoluti-on), ohne dass ein konkretes pers.nliches Treffen stattfin-den muss. M.chte ein Director oder ein Gesellschafter, der mindestens 4ber 5 % der Stimmrechte23 verf4gt, eine Entscheidung per „written resolution“ zur Abstimmung bringen, so hat er das Board of Directors entsprechend zu informieren, welches dann verpflichtet ist, die written re-solution unter den Directors oder den Gesellschaftern zir-kulieren zu lassen (hard copy oder Email), welche dann entsprechend zustimmen oder ablehnen k.nnen, Sections 549 (a), 550 CO. Die Entscheidung gilt dann als angenom-men, wenn s mtliche Personen, die berechtigt sind, an der Abstimmung teilzunehmen,24 die written resolution unter-zeichnet haben, Section 556 (1) CO. Es ist somit lediglich m.glich, eine Entscheidung herbeizuf4hren, wenn s mtli-che Personen zustimmen. Unterzeichnet eine Person die written resolution nicht, so gilt diese als nicht angenom-men. Eine written resolution wird gem ß Section 558 (1)

 

(b) CO sp testens mit dem Ende des 28. Tages unwirk-sam, an dem die resolution zur Unterschrift in Umlauf ge-geben wurde.25

 

  1. Weiteres

 

Gesellschaften, die nach dem 3. 3. 2014 gegr4ndet werden, werden 4ber kein Memorandum of Association mehr verf4-gen.26 In diesem konnten vor allem der Gesellschaftszweck geregelt werden, es konnten die Gr4ndungsgesellschafter genannt werden und es wurde die H.he des Stammkapitals genannt. S mtliche Gesichtspunkte werden nun direkt in den Articles of Association der Gesellschaft geregelt, so dass auf das Memorandum of Association verzichtet werden kann. Bestehende Gesellschaften m4ssen das Memorandum und die Articles of Association nicht  ndern; es wird aber fingiert, dass das Memorandum nun Teil der Articles of As-sociation ist.

 

Weiterhin ist die Gesellschaft nicht mehr verpflichtet, ein of-fizielles Siegel zu f4hren.27 Verf4gt die Gesellschaft 4ber kein Siegel, so kann anstatt des Siegels der allgemeine Ge-sellschaftsstempel auf dem entsprechenden Dokument an-gebracht werden.28 Diese Znderung war l ngst 4berf llig, da die Handhabung des Firmensiegels umst ndlich und nicht mehr zeitgem ß war.

 

 

III. Zusammenfassung

 

Die neue Companies Ordinance stellt ein zu begr4ßendes St4ck Reformgesetzgebung f4r Hongkong dar. Neben den vielen Neuerungen, welche l ngst 4berholte Regelungen er-setzen, ist es vor allem zu begr4ßen, dass nun viele Regelun-gen, die 4ber die Jahre durch die Hongkonger, englische und australische Rechtsprechung herausgearbeitet und definiert wurden, so nunmehr in dem neuen Gesetz kodifiziert wur-den, so dass sich das langwierige Suchen in alten Gerichtsur-teilen erledigen sollte.

 

Gleichwohl muss beachtet werden, dass die praktische Um-setzung der neuen Regelungen einige Zeit in Anspruch neh-men wird und f4r s mtliche beteiligte Personen und Beh.r-den eine Herausforderung darstellt. Es werden noch ein bis zwei Jahre vergehen, bis die Hongkonger Gerichte sich mit F llen zu der neuen Companies Ordinance auseinanderset-zen werden. Letztlich wird es sich erst dann herausstellen, ob die Znderungen tats chlich die vorgesehenen Erleichte-rungen gebracht haben.

 

 

 

Michael Lorenz

 

Studium der Rechtswissenschaften und Be-triebswirtschaft in Freiburg, Taipei, Wien und Paris. Nach Studium und Referendariat kam er als Leiter der Rechtsabteilung zur deutschen Handelskammer nach Thailand. In Bangkok gr4ndete er 1995 die Kanzlei Lorenz & Part-

 

ners. Von Anfang an beschr nkte sich der Fokus der Kanzlei nicht nur auf die rechtliche Beratung, sondern umfasste auch die kon-krete Managementunterst4tzung von Unternehmen. Als deutsch-sprachiger Anwalt in Thailand verf4gt er 4ber einen großen Erfahrungsschatz bez4glich gesellschaftsrechtlicher und steuer-rechtlicher Fragestellungen sowie im Bereich der Investment-F.rderung in der Region. Seit 2006 ist er auch in Hongkong und seit 2011 in Vietnam als ausl ndischer Rechtsanwalt registriert.

 

Stefan Schmierer

 

Jurastudium an der Universit t Regensburg und an der University of Indianapolis (USA). Er begann seine Karriere als Rechtsanwalt bei einer internationalen Kanzlei und arbeitete an den Standorten N4rnberg, Stuttgart und in Pe-king, bevor er im Jahre 2009 zu Lorenz &

 

Partners in Hongkong wechselte. Seit dem Jahr 2010 ist er als ausl ndischer Rechtsanwalt bei der Hongkonger Rechtsanwalts-kammer registriert. Er ber t haupts chlich deutschsprachige Mandanten hinsichtlich Fragen zu Auslandsinvestitionen in Hongkong und China.

 

August Investments Pty Ltd versus Poseidon Ltd (1971) 2 SASR 60, 62, per Zelling J.

 

Jon J Starr (Real Estate) Pty Ltd versus Robert R Andrew (A’Asia) Pty Ltd. (1991) 6 ACSR 63, 89–90.

In den Articles of Association kann von dieser Grenze nach unten, aber nicht nach oben abgewichen werden; Section 552 (2) CO.

„Members entitled to vote“; vgl. Section 547 (2) CO.

Siehe Section 547 (1), (2) CO zur n heren Definition dieses Tages.

Section 98 CO.

Section 125 CO.

Section 127 (3) CO.

 

 

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Newsletter Nr. 77 (GE)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Investitionen in Vietnam

 

Eine kurze Einführung in die rechtlichen Rahmenbedingungen

 

Dezember 2012

 

 

 

 

 

Alle Rechte vorbehalten © Lorenz & Partners 2012

 

 

 

Obwohl Lorenz & Partners große Sorgfalt darauf verwenden, die in diesen Newslettern bereitgestellten In-formationen auf aktuellem Stand für Sie zur Verfügung zu stellen, möchten wir Sie darauf hinweisen, dass diese eine individuelle Beratung nicht ersetzen können. Lorenz & Partners übernimmt keinerlei Gewähr für die Aktualität, Korrektheit oder Vollständigkeit der bereitgestellten Informationen. Haftungsansprüche ge-gen Lorenz & Partners, welche sich auf Schäden materieller oder ideeller Art beziehen, die durch die Nut-zung oder Nichtnutzung der dargebotenen Informationen bzw. durch die Nutzung fehlerhafter und unvoll-ständiger Informationen verursacht wurden, sind grundsätzlich ausgeschlossen, sofern seitens Lorenz & Partners kein vorsätzliches oder grob fahrlässiges Verschulden vorliegt.

 

 

 

 

  1. Einleitung

Investitionen in Vietnam sind deutlich attrakti-ver geworden, seit Vietnam am 11. Januar 2007 nach einer Wartezeit von 12 Jahren in die Welthandelsorganisation WTO aufgenommen worden ist. Um den Anforderungen zu genü-gen, hat die Nationalversammlung verschiede-ne Gesetze erlassen, u.a. ein Unternehmensge-setz (Law on Enterprises) und ein Investitions-gesetz (Law on Investments). Diese sind am 01. Juli 2006 in Kraft getreten und sichern die weitgehende Gleichbehandlung von inländi-schen und ausländischen Investoren mit Aus-nahme einiger Investitionssektoren.

 

In der Folge sind die wichtigsten Regelun-gen in Bezug auf Investitionen in Vietnam, das Steuerrecht für Unternehmen und Ein-zelpersonen, Mindestlöhne und die Land-nutzung aufgeführt.

 

 

 

Business Co-operation Contract (BCC):

 

Mehrere Unternehmen arbeiten auf ver-traglicher Grundlage zusammen, ohne

 

aber eine neue rechtlich selbständige Wirtschaftseinheit zu bilden. Aufgaben, Kosten und Erträge werden auf der Grundlage dieses Vertrages geteilt.

 

Build-Operate-Transfer Contract (BOT):

 

Durch einen solchen Vertrag verpflich-tet sich der Investor, eine Infrastruktur-einrichtung zu errichten und diese nach Ablauf der vereinbarten Zeit an den Vietnamesischen Staat ohne eine geson-derte Vergütung zu übertragen. Wäh-rend dieser Zeit kann der Investor die Infrastruktureinheit selbst bewirtschaf-ten.

 

Build-Transfer-Operate Contract (BTO):

 

 

Ausländische Direktinves-titionen und Unterneh-mensformen

  1. Direktinvestitionen

 

Errichtung von Unternehmen die zu 100% in vietnamesischem oder ausländi-schem Eigentum stehen;

Joint ventures zwischen vietnamesischen und ausländischen Investoren;

Investitionen in folgenden Vertragsfor-men:

 

Dieser Vertrag entspricht dem BOT, al-lerdings wird die Infrastruktureinheit so-fort nach Errichtung an den Staat über-tragen. Auch hier erzielt der Investor seine Einkünfte aus der Betreibung, al-lerdings hier eben nach Übertragung.

 

Build-Transfer Contract (BT):

 

Unter einem solchen Vertrag kann der Investor die geschaffene Infrastruktur-einheit nicht bewirtschaften, erhält von seinem Vertragspartner, dem Vietname-sischen Staat aber andere Gegenleistun-gen, insbesondere günstige Bedingungen

 

 

 

für ein anderes Projekt, welches der In-vestor verwirklichen will.

 

Investitionen in die Wirtschafts-förderung.

Kauf von Aktien oder Gesellschaftsan-teilen, Tätigung von Kapitaleinlagen um auf diese Weise Einfluss auf das Mana-gement und die Investitionsaktivitäten zu erhalten.

 

Investierende Beteiligung an Unterneh-mensfusionen und –käufen.

 

Andere Formen der direkten Investition.

 

 

  1. Unternehmensformen

(1)  Zweigniederlassung

Die Zweigniederlassung ist eine rechtlich unselbständige Einheit des Mutterunter-nehmens. Sie darf alle oder einige der Funk-tionen des Mutterunternehmens ausführen, soweit dies den gesetzlichen Vorschriften in Vietnam und den internationalen Verträgen entspricht.

 

Die Eröffnung einer Zweigniederlassung in Vietnam ist Unternehmen vorbehalten, die bereits 5 Jahre bestehen und in dem Ge-schäftsfeld des An- und Verkaufs von Wa-ren sowie hierauf bezogener Dienstleistun-gen spezialisiert sind.

 

Zuständig für die Ausstellung der Genehmi-gung ist das Ministry of Trade. Binnen 15 Tagen ab Eingang des vollständigen begrün-deten Antrages soll diese erteilt sein.

 

 

(2) Repräsentanz (Rep. Office)

Die Repräsentanz ähnelt der Zweignieder-lassung. Sie darf aber als solche kein Ge-schäft betreiben sondern ist auf die Aufgabe der Repräsentation des Mutterunternehmens beschränkt. Dies schließt die Markterkun-dung ein. Der Abschluss von Geschäften gem. dem Geschäftszweck des Mutterunter-

 

nehmens ist nicht zulässig. Vertragsschlüsse sind auf den Repräsentattionszweck zu be-grenzen, z.B. Arbeitsvertrag, Mietvertrag.

 

Wird der Leiter der Repräsentanz darüber hinaus zu Geschäftsabschlüssen namens des Mutterunternehmens direkt bevollmächtigt, kann dies steuerliche Folgen für das Rep. Office haben.

 

Zuständig für die Ausstellung der Genehmi-gung ist die Provinzverwaltung. Binnen 15 Tagen ab Eingang des vollständigen begrün-deten Antrages soll diese erteilt sein.

 

 

Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haf-tung (GmbH)

Die Haftung der Gesellschafter einer GmbH ist auf die Einzahlung des gesesellschafts-vertraglich vereinbarten Stammkapitals be-schränkt. Das Gesetz schreibt kein Mindest-kapital vor, bei Beantragung der Investiti-onsgenehmigung ist aber darzulegen, dass das Stammkapital in einem angemessenen Verhältnis zur beabsichtigten Investition steht.

 

Die GmbH kann 1 bis 50 Gesellschafter ha-ben.

 

Die GmbH erlangt ihre Rechtspersönlich-keit mit Erteilung der Investitionsgenehmi-gung.

 

Die GmbH kann keine Aktien ausgeben. Der Gesellschafter erhält jedoch eine Bestä-tigung der Volleinzahlung seines Anteils.

 

Die Leitung des Tagesgeschäftes obliegt dem “Direktor”, der zugleich auch gesetzli-cher Vertreter der GmbH sein kann. Ande-renfalls ist zusätzlich ein gesetzlicher Vertre-ter zu bestellen.

 

Im Falle einer Mehrpersonen-GmbH ist entweder der Vorsitzende der Gesellschaf-terversammlung oder aber der Direktor als gesetzlicher Vertreter zu bestellen.

 

 

(4) Personengesellschaft

Eine Personengesellschaft besteht aus 2 oder mehr Personen, welche unter einheitlichem Namen einen gemeinsamen Zweck wirt-schaftlicher Ausrichtung verfolgen. Neben den unbegrenzt auch mit ihrem privaten Vermögen haftenden Gesellschaftern kön-nen auch Gesellschafter aufgenommen wer-den, deren Haftung auf die übernommene Einlagepflicht begrenzt ist.

 

Unter vietnamesischem Recht genießt die Personengesellschaft Rechtspersönlichkeit, die sie mit Ausstellung der Investitionsge-nehmigung erhält.

 

 

(5) Aktiengesellschaft

Der wesentlichste Unterschied zur GmbH besteht darin, dass die Aktiengesellschaft Aktien ausgeben darf.

 

Pflichten der Vertragsparteien und zur Ver-teilung des Ergebnisses.

 

Auf den ersten Blick hat diese Form der In-vestition den Vorteil, dass sie recht flexibel ist. Die Auflösung erfordert nicht mehr als die Aufteilung des Ergebnisses. Allerdings ergeben sich durchaus praktische Schwierig-keiten, nicht zuletzt weil getrennte Buchhal-tungssysteme bestehen.

 

Investitionen in bestimmten Geschäftsfel-dern wie z.B. der Telekommunikation sind nur in dieser Form zulässig.

 

  1. Formen indirekter Investition

 

Kauf von Aktien, Aktienbeteiligungen, Anleihen und anderen Wertpapieren.

 

Kauf von Anteilen an Investmentfonds.

 

Investition durch andere vermittelnde Finanzinstitute.

 

 

 

 

(6) Kooperationsvertrag

Unter einem solchen Vertrag bleibt die je-weilige steuerliche und haftungsrechtliche Selbständigkeit der Partner gewahrt.

 

Als Investitionsform ist eine solche Ver-tragssituation ungeeignet. Die Errichtung ei-nes Unternehmens mit eigener Rechtsper-sönlichkeit ist anzuraten.

 

Falls doch dieser Weg gegangen werden soll, ist angesichts des Fehlens von Rechtsvor-schriften dringend zu einer sehr sorgfältigen Vertragsgestaltung zu raten, insbesondere wegen u.U. nicht einfacher steuer- und haf-tungsrechtlicher Fragen.

 

Notwendig sind Regelungen zum Zweck, zur Dauer und zum genauen Inhalt der Zu-sammenarbeit sowie zu den Rechten und

 

  1. Steuern

 

Vietnam hat einige Doppelbesteuerungsab-kommen abgeschlossen (vgl. Anhang I). Die Bedeutung dieser Abkommen ist in Vietnam eher größer als in anderen Ländern. Steuer-behörden in Vietnam neigen allerdings gele-gentlich zu einem kreativen Umgang mit derlei Abkommen. Die Einschaltung eines qualifizierten örtlichen Beraters ist zwin-gend.

 

 

  1. a) Unternehmenssteuer

Der Standardsatz für die Steuer auf Unter-nehmensgewinne liegt bei 25%. Je nach Un-ternehmensgegenstand, Geschäftsfeld und Lokalität des Unternehmens werden einige Steuervergünstigungen gewährt.

 

Begünstigende Sätze von 10%, 15% oder 20% können Anwendung finden, wenn auf das Projekt diese Kriterien zutreffen:

 

Investitionen in Sektoren mit einem hohen Exportanteil, Infrastruktur und Aufforstung;

Investitionen in Regionen mit Inves-titionspräferenz;

Investitionen in Industrieparks oder Freihandelszonen.

 

Im Grundsatz werden solche Vergünstigun-gen nur für eine begrenzte Zeit von meist 10-12 und bis zu 15 Jahren gewährt.

 

Zusätzlich sind Steuerbefreiungen von bis zu 4 Jahren und eine Reduzierung der Steu-ersätze von bis zu 9 Jahren anzuwenden, wenn diese Bedingungen zutreffen:

 

Investition in einem begünstigten Geschäftsfeld oder einer begünstig-ten Region;

 

 

Investition in ein Projekt mit einer hohen Zahl von Beschäftigten;

Investitionen in Industrieparks oder Freihandelszonen.

 

 

Einkommensteuer

Ausländer sind in Vietnam im Grundsatz zur Zahlung von Einkommensteuer ver-pflichtet. Bei Aufenthalt von bis 183 Tagen bezieht sich die Steuerpflicht auf das in Vietnam erzielte Einkommen, welches dann einem Steuersatz von 20% unterliegt.

 

Bei einem Aufenthalt von mehr als 183 Ta-gen unterliegt das Welteinkommen den Steuersätzen wie in nachstehender Tabelle aufgeführt:

 

 

Steuerstufe

Steuerbares Jahresein-

Steuerbares Monatseinkom-

Steuersatz (%)

 

kommen (VND Million)

men

 

 

 

(VND Million)

 

 

 

 

 

1

Bis zu 60

Bis zu 5

5

 

(ca. 2.250 EUR)

(ca. 200 EUR)

 

 

 

 

 

2

Mehr als 60 bis 120

Mehr als 5 bis 10

10

 

(ca. 2.250 EUR – 4.500 EUR)

(ca. 200 EUR – 400 EUR)

 

 

 

 

 

3

Mehr als 120 bis 216

Mehr als 10 bis 18

15

 

(ca.4.500 EUR – 8.100 EUR)

(ca. 400 EUR – 700 EUR)

 

 

 

 

 

4

Mehr als 216 bis 384

Mehr als 18 bis 32

20

 

(ca. 8.100 EUR – 14.350 EUR)

(ca. 700 EUR – 1.250 EUR)

 

 

 

 

 

5

Mehr als 384 bis 624

Mehr als 32 bis 52

25

 

(ca. 14.350 EUR – 23.300 EUR)

(ca. 1.250 EUR – 2.000 EUR)

 

 

 

 

 

6

Mehr als 624 bis 960

Mehr als 52 bis 80

30

 

(ca. 23.300 EUR – 35.800 EUR)

(ca. 2.000 EUR – 3.050 EUR)

 

 

 

 

 

7

Mehr als 960

Mehr als 80

35

 

(ca. 35.800 EUR)

(ca. 3.050 EUR)

 

 

 

 

 

  

  1. Arbeitsrecht
  2. a) Mindestlohn

Ab dem 01. Januar 2013 ist der Mindestlohn auf diese Sätze Angehoben worden:

 

In Hanoi und HCMC 117.50 USD;

 

In den Vororten von Hanoi und HCMC sowie in Haiphong, Halong Stadt, Bien Hoa, Vung Tau and an-deren Städten 105 USD;

 

In anderen Gegenden 82.50 bis 90 USD.

 

Eine Erhoehung ist vorgesehen fuer den Jahresbeginn 2013. Im Gespraech sind Betraege von bis zu 110 USD.

 

Diese Mindestlöhne sind zu zahlen an unge-lernte Arbeiter. Arbeiter mit einer Ausbil-dung haben mindestens 7% mehr zu be-kommen.

 

Zum Vergleich Mindestlöhne in:

 

Thailand: 291 USD (300 Baht / 9,72 USD je Tag);

Kambodscha: 55 USD;

Schanghai: 230 USD; Peking: 200 USD.

 

 

  1. b) Sozialversicherung

Arbeitgeber haben für alle Vietnamesischen Mitarbeiter einen Sozialversicherungsbeitrag von 17% bezogen auf das Einkommen mo-natlich abzuführen. Der entsprechende Bei-trag der Arbeitnehmer beläuft sich auf 7% des Einkommens.

 

Darüber hinaus ist ein Arbeitgeberbeitrag für die gesetzliche Krankenversicherung von 3 % monatlich abzuführen, der entspre-chende Arbeitnehmerbeitrag ist 1,5%.

 

 

 

sche Steuerrecht diese Ausgaben nicht als steuerbaren Vorteil des Arbeitnehmers ein-ordnet. Die Arbeitnehmerbeiträge sind bei Festsetzung der Einkommensteuer absetz-bar.

 

  1. Land und Landnutzungsrechte

 

Eigentum an Grund und Boden steht in Vietnam dem gesamten Volk zu. Das Recht zur Nutzung wird durch den Staat vergeben. Dies erfolgt nur an institutionelle Investoren aus dem Ausland und nur für eine begrenzte Zeit. Die Dauer beläuft sich normalerweise auf 50 Jahre, in Ausnahmefällen kann der

 

Premierminister den Zeitraum auf bis zu 70

Jahre verlängern.

 

Diese Rechtslage stößt auf viel Kritik so-wohl von in Vietnam ansässigen ausländi-schen Investoren als auch von Auslands-vietnamesen und bezieht sich in besonderem Maß auf den Bereich des Wohnungsbaus.

 

Im Normalfall ist in die Beantragung einer Investitionslizenz der Nachweis einzubezie-hen, dass ein entsprechendes Gebäude (Pro-duktions- oder Bürogebäude) zur Verfügung steht. Dies erfolgt in der Regel durch den Abschluss eines Vorvertrages. Mit Erteilung der Lizenz ist dann entweder das Nutzungs-recht an dem Land zu übertragen oder aber ein Mietvertrag abzuschließen.

 

Der Einsatz der Landnutzungsrechte als Kreditsicherheit ist nahezu unmöglich, auch wenn es Ausnahmen gibt, z.B. in bestimm-ten Industriegebieten wie der „Quang Trung Software City“, in welcher ausländischen In-vestoren der Einsatz der Landnutzungsrech-te als Kreditsicherheit ermöglicht wird.

 

 

Die Arbeitgeberbeiträge unterliegen nicht der Einkommensteuer, da das vietnamesi-

 

 

 

Anhang I: Einige Doppelbesteuerungsabkommen und ausgewählte Quellensteuersätze

 

Vertragsstaat

Inkrafttreten

Quellensteuer

 

Quellensteuer auf Li-

 

 

in Vietnam

auf Zinsen in %

 

zenzeinkünfte in %

 

Australien

01/01/1993

10

 

10

 

Österreich

01/01/2010

10

 

7,5 / 10

 

Weißrussland

01/01/1998

10

 

15

 

Belgien

01/01/2000

10

 

5, 10 or 15

 

Bulgarien

01/01/1997

10

 

15

 

Kanada

01/01/1999

10

 

7.5 or 10

 

China

01/01/1997

10

 

10

 

Kuba

01/01/2004

10

 

10

 

Tschechische Republik

01/01/1999

10

 

10

 

Dänemark

01/01/1997

10

 

5 or 15

 

Finnland

01/01/2003

10

 

10

 

Frankreich

01/01/1994

Nil

 

10

 

Deutschland

01/01/1997

5 or 10

 

7.5 or 10

 

Hong Kong

12/08/2009

10

 

7

 

Ungarn

01/01/1996

10

 

10

 

Island

27/12/2002

10

 

10

 

Indien

01/01/1996

10

 

10

 

Indonesien

01/01/2000

15

 

15

 

Irland

01/01/2009

10

 

5 / 10 / 15

 

Israel

03/10/2011

10

 

5 / 7.5 /15

 

Italien

01/01/1996

10

 

7.5 or 10

 

Japan

01/01/1996

10

 

10

 

Korea (Rep.)

01/01/1995

10

 

5 or 15

 

Laos

30/09/1996

10

 

10

 

Luxemburg

01/01/1996

10

 

10

 

Malaysia

01/01/1997

10

 

10

 

Mongolei

11/10/1996

10

 

10

 

Myanmar

01/04/2004

10

 

10

 

Niederlande

01/01/1996

7 or 10

 

5, 10 or 15

 

Norwegen

01/01/1997

10

 

10

 

Philippines

01/01/2004

15

 

15

 

Polen

01/01/1996

10

 

10 or 15

 

Rumänien

01/01/1997

10

 

15

 

Russland

01/01/1997

10

 

15

 

Singapur

01/01/1993

10

 

5 or 15

 

Spanien

01/01/2006

10

 

10

 

Schweden

01/01/1995

10

 

5 or 15

 

Schweitz

01/01/1998

10

 

10

 

Taiwan

01/06/1998

10

 

15

 

Thailand

01/01/1993

10 or 15

 

15

 

Ukraine

01/01/1997

10

 

10

 

Großbritannien

01/01/1995

10

 

10

 

Usbekistan

01/01/1997

10

 

15

 

 

 

Die Quellensteuer in Vietnam sowohl für Zinseinkünfte als auch für Lizenzeinkünfte ist 10%.

 

In Fällen, in denen der lokale Steuersatz geringer ist als der sich aus dem DBA ergebende Steuer-satz, ist der entsprechende Steuersatz im Höchstsatz auf den lokalen Steuersatz beschränkt. Dies gilt für die DBA´s mit den folgenden Ländern:

 

Weißrussland

Polen

Belgien

Rumänien

Bulgarien

Rußland

Dänemark

Singapur

Indonesien

Schweden

Republik Südkorea

Taiwan

Niederlande

Thailand

Philippinen

Usbekistan

 

 

 

Wir hoffen, dass wir Ihnen mit den vorliegenden Informationen behilflich sein konnten.

 

Sollten Sie weitere Fragen haben, wenden Sie sich bitte an:

 

 

 

The Thai Value Added Tax (VAT) System

 

July 2013

 

 

All rights reserved © LORENZ & PARTNERS 2013

 

 

 

The rate of Thai Value Added Tax is currently at 7 %

 

Question:      In which cases does a company have to add Thai VAT on the invoiced amount?

 

(A German company gets an invoice from a Thai company or a Thai company gets an invoice from a German company:)

 

 

 

 

Invoice issued for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

service

work

 

(“5 hour painting”)

(“invoice for painted wall”)

 

 

 

Job

Germany or Thailand

Germany or Thailand

performed in

 

 

 

 

 

Result

Germany or Thailand

Germany or Thailand

used in

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following combinations are possible:

 

A German company has


 

 

performed a service, that is used in Germany

German VAT

only

 

 

 

performed a service, that is used in Thailand

7 % Thai VAT

performed a service in Germany, that is used in Thailand

7 % Thai VAT

performed a service in Thailand, that is used in Germany

0 % Thai VAT

performed work, that is used in Germany

German VAT

only

 

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legal, Tax and Business Consultants

 

 

 

performed work, that is used in Thailand          7 % Thai VAT

 

performed work in Germany, that is used in Thailand           7 % Thai VAT

 

performed work in Thailand, that is used in Germany           0 % Thai VAT

 

 

 

 

A Thai company has


performed a service, that is used in Germany

German VAT

only

 

 

 

performed a service, that is used in Thailand

7 % Thai VAT

performed a service in Germany, that is used in Thailand

7 % Thai VAT

performed a service in Thailand, that is used in Germany

0 % Thai VAT

performed work, that is used in Germany

German VAT

only

 

performed work, that is used in Thailand

7 % Thai VAT

performed work in Germany, that is used in Thailand

7 % Thai VAT

performed work in Thailand, that is used in Germany

0 % Thai VAT

       

 

 

 

 

Examples:

 

Service rendered abroad, and used in Thailand:

 

 

In case a foreign registered company has rendered service abroad and the service is used in Thailand, it shall be regarded that the service in question is rendering of service in Thailand:

 

The Company has the duty to add 7% VAT

 

 

The rendering of service abroad and service used in Thailand refers to any action that could be used to seek benefit that is not a sale of goods.

 

 

Transfer of ownership of intangible goods (i.e. transfer of ownership of rights in patent, a transfer of ownership of trademark, copyright, royalty) from abroad into Thailand shall not be regarded as a rendering of service abroad and that such service is used in Thailand:

 

0% VAT has to be added on the invoiced amount.

 

 

But: If the company registered abroad has permitted any Thai Co. or any person in Thailand to use rights, whereby this company is still the owner of the aforesaid rights, it shall not be regarded as a sale of intangible goods. It shall be regarded as a rendering of service abroad used in Thailand:

 

The Thai Co. has the duty to add 7 % VAT

 

 

A company registered abroad has rendered service abroad and the service has been used abroad, the mentioned service shall be regarded as if the service has been rendered outside Thailand:

 

0 % VAT has to be added

 

 

 

Service rendered in Thailand, and used abroad:

 

 

In case service is rendered in Thailand and used abroad: 0 % VAT has to be added. (Sec. 80/1 (2)), but:

 

Transfer of ownership of intangible goods (i.e. transfer of ownership of rights in patent, a transfer of ownership of trademark, copyright, royalty) from Thailand to abroad shall not be regarded as a rendering of service in Thailand and that such service is used abroad:

 

The Thai Co. has the duty to add 7% VAT

 

 

If a Thai company has permitted any company abroad to use rights (patents, etc.), whereby the Thai company is still the owner of the aforesaid rights, it shall not be regarded as a sale of intangible goods. It shall be regarded as a rendering of service in Thailand used abroad and VAT has to be added:

 

0 % VAT has to be added. (Sec. 80/1 (2))

 

 

 

VAT exempted business (Revenue Code, Div.5, Sec. 81)

 

 

Financial support from foreign headquarters to the Thai subsidiary. Sale of:

agricultural products, animals, fertilizers, fish meals,

 

animal feeds, drugs and chemical products of plants and animals, newspapers, magazines, textbooks,

 

goods or provision of services by a ministry department,

 

goods or provision of services exclusively for the benefit of a religion, or

 

a public charity in Thailand, of which the profits are not applied for other purposes, goods or provision of services designated by a royal decree.

 

Provision of:

 

educational services, an artistic and cultural service in the branch, services by practicing arts of healing, auditing, advocacy in courts, services in healing and nursing by a clinic under law governing

 

clinics,

 

research or technical services in the branch, library, museum, or zoological garden services,

 

services under an agreement on hire of service, services of organizing amateur sports contests,

 

services of public entertainers, only if being the service in the branch,

 

services of domestic and international transport, not being transport by means of aircraft or sea-going vessels,

 

services of letting out an immovable property on hire

 

services by a local government authority, not including its commercial services or services for seeking revenues or benefits, whether or not being a public utility.

 

Import of the following goods:

 

agricultural products, animals, fertilizers, fish meals,

 

animal feeds, drugs and chemical products of plants and animals, newspapers, magazines, textbooks,

 

goods from a foreign country that are brought into an export processing zone, only if the goods are exempt from import duty,

 

goods listed in the part on the goods exempted from duty under the law governing customs tariff,

 

goods imported and kept under the custody of the Customs Department,

 

export of goods or provision of a service by a registrant liable to value added tax under Sec. 82/16, RC,

 

a small company with an annual turnover less than 1,800,000 THB (since 1 April 2005).

 

 

Zero percent VAT (0 %VAT) (Revenue Code, Div.4, Sec.80/1):

 

 

provision of a service performed in Thailand and used in a foreign country, according to the categories, rules, procedures and condition, prescribed by the Director-General (provision of service performed in Thailand for manufacturing goods in an export processing zone for export and service performed in an export processing zone for manufacturing goods for export)

 

export of goods other than that exempt from value added tax

 

 

provision of an international transport service by aircraft or sea-going vessels by a supplier who is a juristic person.

 

Calculation of VAT

 

The main problem however, is how to calculate the amount of VAT that a Thai company has to pay to the Revenue Department (“RD”). The formulas will be explained in the following.

 

  1. Principles

 

 

To understand the below formulas there is a need to clarify the used terms. “Output Tax” is the received VAT amount (received from customers). “Input Tax” is the paid VAT amount (paid to supplier).

 

General calculation of the amount that has to be paid to the Revenue Department on a monthly basis is as follows:

 

Output Tax – Input Tax = tax debt (to pay monthly)

 

In case the tax debt is negative, the tax debtor can claim this negative amount from the Revenue Department or may use it in the future as a tax credit

 

 

Example:

 

Thai company (A) has received 214 THB (200 THB for service + 7% VAT

 

(= 14 THB VAT) = in total 214 THB) from company (B):

 

 

 

 

200 THB

 

A   B

 

VAT: 14 THB

 

 

 

Thai company (A) has received

 

VAT from company (B):  14        THB = Output tax (VAT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The same Thai company (A) has paid 107 THB (100 THB for service and 7 THB VAT) to company (C):

 

100 THB

 

A    C

 

VAT: 7 THB

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newsletter No. 2 (EN)

 

 

 

L&P

 

 

 

 

Legal, Tax and Business Consultants

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thai company has paid VAT

 

 

 

 

 

to company (C):

7

THB

= Input tax (VAT)

 

—————–

 

 

 

Thai company (A) has to pay

 

 

 

 

 

to the Revenue Department:

7

THB

= tax debt (VAT)

 

 

 

Calculation as stated above:

 

14 THB Output tax – 7 THB Input tax = 7 THB VAT/ tax debt

 

 

 

 

  1. Exception

 

 

 

 

It is important to distinguish between normal VAT (7%), 0 % VAT business and VAT exempted business!

 

 

 

 

“0 % VAT”-business can be used as Input tax. It is not possible to offset VAT exempted business:

 

 

 

 

If over 10 % of the company’s revenue is VAT exempted, then, the company’s claimable Input tax has to be reduced proportionally.

 

 

 

Claimable Input tax:

 

Exempted Revenue per month

1       ————————————-     X total Input Tax = claimable

 

total Revenue per month  Input VAT

 

 

Example:

 

Legal, Tax and Business Consultants

 

 

 

 

 

 

VAT (7%) -Amount:

To be used as

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Revenue

100 THB

7

Output Tax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thereof exempted

40 THB

exempted

Output Tax

 

revenue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total purchase

80 THB

5.6

Input Tax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

40 THB

 

1 – ————-

X 5.6 THB =

100 THB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 – (0.4) =     0.6       X 5.6 THB = 3.36 THB = claimable Input VAT

 

 

 

 

Amount of VAT be paid to the Revenue Department

 

 

 

 

Output VAT – claimable Input VAT:

 

7 – 3.36 = 3.64 THB has to be paid to the Revenue Department (and not: 7 – 5.6 = 1.4 THB)

 

 

 

 

Although Lorenz & Partners Co., Ltd. always pays greatest attention on updating the information provided in this newsletter we cannot take responsibility for the topicality, completeness or quality of the information provided. None of the information contained in this newsletter is meant to replace a personal consultation. Liability claims regarding damage caused by the use or disuse of any information provided, including any kind of information which is incomplete or incorrect, will therefore be rejected, if not generated deliberately or grossly negligent.

 

 

 

 

Legal, Tax and Business Consultants

 

 

 

 

 


 

Möglichkeiten der Steueroptimierung bei Mietver-trägen Thailand / Deutschland

 

 

 

August 2011

 

 

 

 

 

All rights reserved © Lorenz & Partners 2011

 

Obwohl Lorenz & Partners große Sorgfalt darauf verwenden, die in diesen Newslettern bereitgestellten Infor-mationen auf aktuellem Stand für Sie zur Verfügung zu stellen, möchten wir Sie darauf hinweisen, dass diese ei-ne individuelle Beratung nicht ersetzen können. Lorenz & Partners übernimmt keinerlei Gewähr für die Aktuali-tät, Korrektheit oder Vollständigkeit der bereitgestellten Informationen. Haftungsansprüche gegen Lorenz & Partners, welche sich auf Schäden materieller oder ideeller Art beziehen, die durch die Nutzung oder Nichtnut-zung der dargebotenen Informationen bzw. durch die Nutzung fehlerhafter und unvollständiger Informationen verursacht wurden, sind grundsätzlich ausgeschlossen, sofern seitens Lorenz & Partners kein vorsätzliches oder grob fahrlässiges Verschulden vorliegt.

 

 

  1. Einleitung

 

Vor dem Hintergrund, dass der Grund-stückserwerb in Thailand für Ausländer rela-tiv schwierig ist und Miet- bzw. Lea-singverträge oftmals ihre Probleme mit sich bringen ist es für Privatpersonen als auch für Investoren wichtig, sich vorab über dieses Thema zu informieren. Dieser Newsletter soll dabei helfen, eine erste Orientierung zu erlangen.

  1. Welche Steuern fallen an?

 

House and Land Tax

Corporate Tax / Personal Income Tax

VAT

Stamp Duty

 

Es ist möglich, statt eines einheitlichen Miet-vertrags mehrere, voneinander unabhängige Verträge abzuschließen. Denkbar ist etwa die Aufsplittung in:

 

Mietvertrag über die Räumlichkeiten

 

Servicevertrag (z.B. für Security Guard)

Mietvertrag für die Inneneinrichtung

 

Für jeden Vertrag gelten nunmehr eigene steuerrechtliche Besonderheiten:

  1. Der Mietvertrag über Räumlichkeiten

 

(1) Die Mieteinnahmen für Räumlichkeiten unterfallen der House and Land Tax in Hö-he von 12,5%. Diese ist jährlich auf die ge-samten Mieteinkünfte zu zahlen und kann zusammen mit anderen Kosten von den ge-samten Mieteinnahmen abgezogen werden. Der so ermittelte Gewinn/Überschuss ist mit der Körperschaftsteuer von 23% (seit

 

Januar 2012, urspruenglich 30%) oder der Personal Income Tax zu versteuern.

 

(2) VAT ist auf die Mietsumme für unbe-wegliche Sachen bzw. Gebäude nicht zu zahlen.

 

Vermietung und Verleasen sowohl unbeweg-licher als auch beweglicher Sachen ist eine Dienstleistung (provision of service), deren Vergütung grundsätzlich gem. Section 77/2 RC der VAT unterfällt. Jedoch ist das Ver-mieten und das Verleasen von unbewegli-chen Sachen bzw. von Gebäuden durch Sec-tion 81 (1) (r) RC von der VAT ausge-nommen. Daher wird bei der Vermietung und dem Verleasen von unbeweglichen Sa-chen bzw. Gebäuden keine VAT fällig.

 

Zu beachten ist allerdings, dass Miet- und Leasingverträge von den thailändischen Fi-nanzbehörden häufig nicht als solche aner-kannt, sondern als dem unterfallende Dienstleistungsverträge eingeordnet werden, mit der Folge, dass die Ausnahme des Sec. 81 (1) (r) RC nicht greift. So wurde die Überlassung des Teils eines Korridors, in dem der „Leasingnehmer“ Maschinen auf-stellte, nicht als Leasing anerkannt, mit der Folge, dass der Eigentümer VAT zu entrich-ten hatte.

 

Auch die Übertragung von Rechten aus Miet- und Leasingverträgen wird von den Fi-nanzbehörden in Übereinstimmung mit D.I. No. Paw. 49 / 2542 und unter Abkehr von der früheren Praxis (vgl. No. Gor Khor 0811 / Phor. Gor. 632 vom 22. November 2001) nicht länger unter die Ausnahmerege-lung des Sec. 81 (1) (r) RC subsumiert.

 

(3) Vor dem Hintergrund, dass der Grund-stückserwerb in Thailand für Ausländer rela-tiv schwierig ist und Miet- bzw. Leasingver-

 

 

Legal, Tax and Business Consultants

 

träge oftmals keine optimale Lösung darstel-len, lassen viele Ausländer eine Dienstbarkeit (servitude) registrieren. Dabei ist freilich zu beachten, dass Sec. 81 (1) (r) RC ggf. nicht greift und der an den Grundstückseigentü-mer als Gegenleistung gezahlte Betrag der VAT unterfällt.

 

Beim Abschluss eines Mietvertrages über Räumlichkeiten fällt die sog. Stamp Duty in Höhe von 0,1% auf den „Vertragswert“, also auf die gesamte Mietsumme während der Laufzeit des Vertrages, an. Sollte eine unbe-grenzte Vertragslaufzeit vereinbart worden sein, wird für die Berechnung der Stamp Duty eine Laufzeit von 3 Jahren fingiert.

 

Der in Thailand steuerregistrierte Mieter (i.e. Thai-Company) hat 5 % Withholding Tax von der Mietsumme einzubehalten und an das Revenue Department abzuführen (Sec. 40 (5) (a) R.C., 3 tredecim R.C., D.G. N. No. Thor. Por. 4 / 2528). Der Vermieter erhält insoweit einen verrechen-baren Tax-Credit in entsprechender Höhe. Die With-holding Tax beträgt 15 %, wenn der Vermi-eter non-resident/Company not carrying out business in Thailand ist (Sec. 40 (5) (a) R.C., Sec. 50 (3) R.C.).

  1. Servicevertrag

 

Auf den Servicevertrag, der das Gebäude be-trifft, wird 7% VAT auf die regelmäßig zu entrichtende Gebühr zuzüglich 0,1 % Stamp Duty auf den „Vertragswert“ fällig.

 

Der Mieter (z.B. Thai-Company) hat 3% Withholding Tax von der Servicegebühr ein-zubehalten und an das Revenue Department abzuführen (Sec. 40 (5) (a) R.C., 3 tredecim R.C., D.G. N. No. Thor. Por. 4 / 2528). Der Vermieter erhält insoweit einen verrechen-baren Tax-Credit in entsprechender Höhe.

 

  1. Mietvertrag für die Inneneinrichtung

 

Eine getrennte Anmietung der Inneneinrich-tung hat den Vorteil, dass die Stamp Duty entfällt. Allerdings sind 7% VAT auf die Mietsumme zu zahlen. Gem. Section 3 (1) Royal Decree (No. 246) unterfällt die Ver-mietung von beweglichen Gegenständen der VAT.

 

Der Mieter hat auch hier 5% Withholding Tax einzubehalten und an das Revenue De-partment abzuführen. Der Vermieter erhält insoweit einen verrechenbaren Tax Credit in entsprechender Höhe.

III. Schlussbemerkung

 

Bitte beachten Sie, dass eine etwaige Auf-splittung des Mietvertrages den tatsächlichen Umständen Rechnung trägt und einer kri-tischen Überprüfung durch die Finanzbe-hörden standhält.

 

Dass Vorsicht geboten ist, zeigt der Fall des Vermieters, der versucht hat, die Stamp Du-ty zu umgehen, indem er Gegenstände wie Telefon- und Sprinkleranlage in einem ei-genen Mietvertrag zusammenfasste und so-mit als “movable items“ vermietete. Die Be-endigung eines Vertrages sollte nach der ge-troffenen Vereinbarung die Auflösung der anderen Verträge zur Folge haben.

 

Nach der Entscheidung des Revenue De-partments waren die Verträge jedoch als einheitlicher Vertrag zu behandeln, so dass im Ergebnis die Stamp Duty doch anfiel.

 

 

_________________________

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VAT auf

Stamp Duty auf

Withholding Tax

House and

23%Corporate

 

 

 

 

Mietsumme

die gesamte

auf Miete/

Land tax pro

Tax / 0-37% Pers.

 

 

 

 

(z.Zt. 7%)

Mietsumme der

Gebühr

Jahr auf die ge-

Income tax auf

 

 

 

 

 

Vertragslaufzeit

 

samten Mietein-

die Mieteinkünfte

 

 

 

 

 

(max. 3 Jahre)

 

künfte

nach Abzug von

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

„House and Land

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tax“ und anderer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kosten

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.

 

Mietvertrag

n.a.

0,1 %

5% (resident ) /

12,5 %

 

+ (aber an-

 

 

 

Räume

 

 

15% (non-resident)

 

 

rechenbarer Tax

 

 

 

 

 

/5% (Company car-

 

 

Credit der

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

rying on business in

 

 

Withholding Tax)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thailand) /15 %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Company not car-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

rying on business in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thailand)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.

 

Mietvertrag

7 %

0 %

5 %

n.a.

+ (aber an-

 

 

 

Mobiliar

 

 

 

 

 

rechenbarer Tax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credit der

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Withholding Tax)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.

 

Service

7 %

0,1 %

3 %

n.a.

+ (aber anrechen-

 

 

 

Vertrag

 

 

 

 

 

barer Tax Credit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

der Withholding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tax)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wir hoffen, dass wir Ihnen mit den vorliegenden Informationen behilflich sein konnten.

Sollten Sie weitere Fragen haben, wenden Sie sich bitte an:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newsletter Nr. 31 (EN)

 

 

 

Taxation of Income in Vietnam in Consideration

 

of the DTA Germany – Vietnam

 

October 2011

 

 

 

All rights reserved © Lorenz & Partners 2011

 

Although Lorenz & Partners always pays great attention on updating information provided in newsletters and brochures we cannot take responsibility for the completeness, correctness or quality of the information provided. None of the information contained in this newsletter is meant to replace a personal consultation with a qualified lawyer. Liability claims regarding damage caused by the use or disuse of any information provided, including any kind of information which is incomplete or incorrect, will therefore be rejected, if not generated deliberately or grossly negligent.

 

 

  1. Introduction

 

This Newsletter explains how the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (“DTA”) between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Socialistic Republic of Vietnam (27 December 1996) influences the taxation of income earned in Vietnam.

 

The German-Vietnamese Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement 1996 came into ef-fect on January 1997 and is one of 57 Dou-ble Taxation Avoidance Agreements con-cluded by the Vietnamese Government to date. The avoiding of double taxation is just one of the ways by which the Vietnamese Government tries to create incentives for German investment in Vietnam.

 

Whilst the DTA covers both corporate in-come tax and personal income tax, our newsletter is limited to the topic of personal income tax (“PIT”).

  1. Applicability and Definitions

 

The DTA is applicable to persons residing in Germany or Vietnam or both countries. The term “residing” is defined in the DTA, Art. 4 as follows: a person is considered as resi-dent in a contractual state when he/she is, according to that state’s law, liable for taxa-tion due to his/her domicile, his/her per-manent place of abode or any other criteria which defines him/her as a resident.

 

According to Vietnamese Law a person is a resident for taxation purposes, if

 

he/she stays 183 days or more in Viet-nam within a western calendar year; or

 

 

he/she stays 183 days or more in Viet-nam within a consecutive 12 months pe-riod from his/her arrival date; or

 

he/she holds a temporary or permanent Residency Card; or

 

he/she has entered into a residential lease for a period of 90 days or more.

 

Such residency is determined on a year to year basis. The above time periods are counted from the arrival date in Vietnam. The first tax period is from the date of arri-val to the end of the current tax year. The subsequent tax periods mirror the calendar year.

 

Under German tax law a person is a resident for tax purposes if he/she holds an apart-ment in Germany and the circumstances show that he/she intend to keep and use the apartment. For this purpose the term “apartment” means a site with the principle purpose of which is residential. The tax-payer’s domicile does not need to be stipu-lated in a Residency Card.

 

Under the above definitions a taxpayer can have unlimited tax liability in Germany and Vietnam at the same time. In this case art. 4 section 2 of the DTA regulates as follows:

 

If a person holds a tax domicile in both countries, he/she will be considered to be a resident of that country which is his/her permanent home. His/her “permanent home” is that country where he/she maintains the closest per-sonal or economic relations.

 

If it is impossible to determine the per-son’s in question permanent home, then residence is defined under the DTA as the place of general habitation.

 

If the person resides generally in both or neither countries then he/she will be as-

 

 

Legal, Tax and Business Consultants

 

 

signed to the country of his/her citizen-ship.

 

If the person has both German and the Vietnamese nationality or is exclusively a citizen of a third country, then the com-petent authorities of the two countries should settle the residency question by mutual agreement.

 

III. Taxation of income in Vietnam

 

Basically, individuals are obliged to pay PIT on income arising from Vietnam, regardless of whether they are a resident of Vietnam or not. PIT applies to both salary and non-sal-ary income.

  1. PIT on regular income

 

The taxation of income by the Vietnamese tax authorities depends on the residency status of the taxable person, i.e. whether he/she is classed as residing in Vietnam or not

 

(1) PIT for Vietnam residents

 

PIT on income of residents in Vietnam is charged on the basis of progressive tax rates irrespective of if the payment is made inside or outside of Vietnam. All kinds of income are taxable, i.e. business, employment, in-vestment, capital gains, royalty, inheritance, gifts etc. The PIT rates do NOT differ-entiate between foreign and local residents. Normally the lowest tax band is five million Vietnamese Dong (VND) and under, which is the equivalent of approximately 170 EUR. However in August 2011 the Government introduced a series of tax cuts which ex-empted income under five million from PIT until 31 December 2011.

 

The current tax rates for Vietnam residents on income arising from employment (regular income) can be seen in the following chart:

 

(2) PIT for non-residents in Vietnam

1 This is the amount of income which remains after various deductions have been applied.

 

 

 

Level

Average monthly taxable income1

 

Tax rate (%)

 

 

 

0 until 31 De-

1

Up to 5,000,000

 

cember 2011

(approx. 170 EUR)

 

and 5 there-

 

 

 

 

 

after

 

 

 

 

2

Over 5,000,000 to 10,000,000

 

10

(Over 170 EUR to 340 EUR)

 

 

 

 

3

Over 10,000,000 to 18,000,000

 

15

(Over 340 EUR to 600 EUR)

 

 

 

 

4

Over 18,000,000 to 32,000,000

 

20

(Over 612 EUR to 1,100 EUR)

 

 

 

 

5

Over 32,000,000 to 52,000,000

 

25

(Over 1,090 EUR to 1,800 EUR)

 

 

 

 

6

Over 52,000,00 to 80,000,000

 

30

(Over 1,770 EUR to 2,700 EUR)

 

 

 

 

7

Over 80,000,000

 

35

(Over 2,700EUR)

 

 

 

 

The income of a non-resident which arises out of Vietnam is subject to PIT. The PIT rates which apply to this income differ from the rates for resident taxpayers (as listed above). Instead of a progressive tax rate sys-tem such non residents are taxed at a flat rate. The current flat rate for EMPLOY-MENT income is 20%, non-employment in-come is taxed at various other rates depend-ing on its exact nature (see chart below).

  1. PIT on irregular income

 

According to Vietnamese tax law irregular income includes the irregular earnings of taxable persons e.g. dividends or royalties.

 

Such income is only taxable, if it exceeds 10 million VND in a given tax year (approxi-mately EUR 340). The PIT rate for such in-come varies from 0.1 to 10%, depending upon the income’s origin. Please note, how-ever, that under the Government’s recent tax cuts PIT on the sale proceeds from stock transfers has been reduced by 50% until the end of 2012 and there is a PIT exemption on stock dividends until further notice.

 

 

Legal, Tax and Business Consultants

 

 

The current PIT rates for regular and irregu-lar income for Vietnam non-residents can be seen in the following chart:

 

No.

Type of taxable income

Tax rate (%)

1.

Employment income

20

2.

Business income

1 – 5

 

 

depending on type

 

 

of business income

3.

– Interest

5

 

– Dividends

0 until further no-

 

 

tice. Thereafter 5

4.

Sale of securities

0.05 (0.1 after 2011

No.

Type of taxable income

Tax rate (%)

1.

Interest

5

 

Dividends

0 until further no-

 

 

tice. Than 5

2.

Sale of securities:

 

 

Net gain; or

10 (20 after 2011)

 

Sale proceeds

0.05 (0 .1 after

 

 

2011)

3.

Sale of real estate:

 

 

Net gain; or

25

 

Sale proceeds

2

4.

Income from copyright

5

5.

Income from franchis-

5

 

ing/royalties

 

6.

Income from winning

10

 

prizes

 

7.

Income from inheri-

10

 

tance/gifts

 

 

 

 

 

Some kinds of irregular income, e.g. divi-dend payments, interests, licence fees or re-munerations for technical services are liable for tax in both Vietnam and Germany. However, double taxation is prevented by the provisions of the DTA as described in Section IV below.

  1. Tax exemptions and reduc-tions in Vietnam in accordance with the DTA

 

The DTA details tax exemptions and reduc-tions which are available for income which is subject to tax in both Vietnam and Ger-many. These provisions make a distinction between resident and non-resident foreign-ers of Vietnam.

 

  1. Tax exemptions for foreign residents in Vietnam

 

A PIT exemption on income earned in Viet-nam is usually possible for foreigners who lived in Germany before their arrival in Viet-nam and whose activities are limited to teaching, lecturing or research activities at universities, schools, museums or other cul-tural institutions.

 

In these cases a PIT exemption in Vietnam for income which is already taxed in Ger-many will be granted for a maximum of two years from the date of arrival in Vietnam. This is regulated by art. 20 of the DTA

 

.

 

A similar regulation applies to students, trainees or apprentices, who work in Viet-nam but who are paid an allowance or simi-lar income from a non-Vietnamese source. This exemption will apply as long as the in-come in question does not exceed EUR 4,602 per year.

  1. Tax exemptions for resident and non-resident foreigners of Vietnam

 

Regardless of a person’s residency status they will be exempt from PIT under art. 19 DTA, if his/her salary or pension is paid as a result of their prior employment in the German public service sector. This exemp-tion does not include remunerations or pen-sions for services rendered in connection with a commercial activity in either Vietnam or Germany.

  1. PIT reduction for non-resident for-eigners in Vietnam

 

A person residing in Germany, who has a salary arising out of Vietnam, can be taxed in Vietnam for that said income. Equally tax on income in the form of dividends, interests or licence fees and remunerations for technical services will also be taxed according to Viet-namese tax law as long as the applicable PIT rate does not exceed the rates for such in-come which are set out in the DTA. For ex-ample, the maximum PIT rate applied in

 

 

 

 

 

Legal, Tax and Business Consultants

 

 

Vietnam for technical services must not ex-ceed 7.5% of the gross amount of the in-come.

 

Tax paid in Vietnam can normally be cred-ited against the income tax which is payable in Germany by presenting a proper with-holding tax certificate.

  1. Practical examples

 

We would like to clarify how the DTA works in practice by presenting the follow-ing two examples:

 

Example 1:

(1 EUR =29,000 VND)

 

Mr. A, a German residing in Vietnam is paid a total salary of EUR 36,000 per year in Vietnam and additionally receives a taxable salary in Germany of EUR 18,000. It is as-sumed that the tax payable in Germany amounts to EUR 3,600 per year or EUR 300 per month2.

 

According to the Law on PIT, the payable income tax in Vietnam is calculated on the basis of progressive tax rates and average monthly income. Foreigners residing in Viet-nam are taxed based on their worldwide in-come. Accordingly, Mr. A’s total taxable in-come amounts to EUR 54,000 (EUR 36,000 earned in Vietnam and EUR 18,000 earned in Germany) per year or EUR 4,500 per month. This equates to 132.2 million VND taxable income per month.

 

Applying the progressive rates (see page 5), the PIT payable on the total income amounts to EUR 1,575 per month (46.3 mil-lion VND). To avoid double taxation, the income tax calculation under the DTA is as follows:

 

 

 

Income which is taxable in Viet-

1,575.00  EUR

nam per month before any cred-

(1)

iting  of  income  tax  payable  in

 

Germany

 

 

 

 

Income tax payable in Germany

300.00 EUR

 

 

 

 

 

(2)

Tax credited against Vietnamese

300.00 EUR

income   tax

(because   already

(3)

paid in Germany)

 

 

 

Income  tax  to  be  paid  in  Viet-

(1) – (3) =

nam after tax crediting

 

1,275.00 EUR

Result:

 

 

 

 

a)

Income

tax

payable

in

300.00 EUR

 

Germany

 

 

 

b)

Income

tax

payable

in

1,275.00 EUR

 

Vietnam

 

 

 

 

Example 2:

 

Our second example concerns the avoidance of double taxation in case of taxation of re-muneration for technical services i.e. irregu-lar income.

 

Mr. B, a German residing in Vietnam re-ceives EUR 10,000 as remuneration for technical services performed in Germany. According to the current German tax laws, approximately 20% of the entire remunera-tion amount is eligible for income tax. However, due to the DTA this is reduced to 7.5%. Furthermore, under the current Viet-namese tax laws Mr. B should also pay a fur-ther 5% income tax on this remuneration to the Vietnamese tax authorities. To avoid double taxation, the following tax crediting will occur:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 This assumed taxable income amount is absolutely notional and sub-ject to variations of the current tax laws in Germany. The above men-tioned amount is for example purposes only.

 

 

 

 

Legal, Tax and Business Consultants

 

 

Income which is taxable in Viet-

10,000.00

nam before any tax crediting of

EUR x 5 % =

the  income  tax  payable  in  Ger-

500.00 EUR

many

 

(1)

Tax payable in Germany

10,000.00

 

 

EUR x 7.5 %

 

 

= 750.00 EUR

 

 

(2)

Tax credited against Vietnamese

500.00 EUR

Tax  because  already  payable  in

(3)

Germany (max. total income tax

 

payable in Vietnam)

 

Tax liability in Vietnam after tax

(1) – (3) =

crediting

0.00 EUR

Result:

 

c)

Tax payable in Germany

750.00 EUR

d)

Tax payable in Vietnam

0.00 EUR

 

  1. Summary

 

Germany and Vietnam both have a relatively high tax burden. The existing DTA is there-fore of great benefit to persons who might be liable for income tax in both states.

 

It should be noted that when the taxpayer is travelling between Vietnam and Germany, they are able to a certain extent to choose where his/her salary is taxed. In such cases it is advisable to survey the advantages and disadvantages of the respective tax legisla-tion, and to analyse the determining factors for taxation in each country under the DTA before making a final choice. Furthermore, even when the taxpayer officially resides in one country, it is still advisable to analyse the regulations of the DTA in order to minimise the tax burden and to prevent any possible double taxation.

 

 

Newsletter Nr. 31 (EN)

 

 

 

 

Personal Income Tax in consideration of the

 

Germany/Vietnam Double Taxation Agreement

 

October 2011

 

A l l r i g h t s r e s e r v e d © L o r e n z & P a r t n e r s 2 0 1 1

 

Although Lorenz & Partners always pays great attention on updating information provided in newsletters and brochures we cannot take responsibility for the completeness, correctness or quality of the information provided. None of the information contained in this newsletter is meant to replace a personal consultation with a qualified lawyer. Liability claims regarding damage caused by the use or disuse of any information provided, including any kind of information which is incomplete or incorrect, will therefore be rejected, if not generated deliberately or grossly negligent.

 

 

  1. Introduction

This Newsletter explains how the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (“DTA”) between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Socialistic Republic of Vietnam (27 December 1996) influences the taxation of income earned in Vietnam.

 

The German-Vietnamese Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement 1996 came into ef-fect on January 1997 and is one of 57 Dou-ble Taxation Avoidance Agreements con-cluded by the Vietnamese Government to date. The avoiding of double taxation is just one of the ways by which the Vietnamese Government tries to create incentives for German investment in Vietnam.

 

Whilst the DTA covers both corporate in-come tax and personal income tax, our newsletter is limited to the topic of personal income tax (“PIT”).

  1. Applicability and Definitions

 

The DTA is applicable to persons residing in Germany or Vietnam or both countries. The term “residing” is defined in the DTA, Art. 4 as follows: a person is considered as resi-dent in a contractual state when he/she is, according to that state’s law, liable for taxa-tion due to his/her domicile, his/her per-manent place of abode or any other criteria which defines him/her as a resident.

 

According to Vietnamese Law a person is a resident for taxation purposes, if

 

he/she stays 183 days or more in Viet-nam within a western calendar year; or

 

he/she stays 183 days or more in Viet-nam within a consecutive 12 months pe-riod from his/her arrival date; or

 

he/she holds a temporary or permanent Residency Card; or

 

he/she has entered into a residential lease for a period of 90 days or more.

 

Such residency is determined on a year to year basis. The above time periods are counted from the arrival date in Vietnam. The first tax period is from the date of arri-val to the end of the current tax year. The subsequent tax periods mirror the calendar year.

 

Under German tax law a person is a resident for tax purposes if he/she holds an apart-ment in Germany and the circumstances show that he/she intend to keep and use the apartment. For this purpose the term “apartment” means a site with the principle purpose of which is residential. The tax-payer’s domicile does not need to be stipu-lated in a Residency Card.

 

Under the above definitions a taxpayer can have unlimited tax liability in Germany and Vietnam at the same time. In this case art. 4 section 2 of the DTA regulates as follows:

 

If a person holds a tax domicile in both countries, he/she will be considered to be a resident of that country which is his/her permanent home. His/her “permanent home” is that country where he/she maintains the closest per-sonal or economic relations.

 

If it is impossible to determine the per-son’s in question permanent home, then residence is defined under the DTA as the place of general habitation.

 

If the person resides generally in both or neither countries then he/she will be as-

 

 

signed to the country of his/her citizen-ship.

 

If the person has both German and the Vietnamese nationality or is exclusively a citizen of a third country, then the com-petent authorities of the two countries should settle the residency question by mutual agreement.

 

III. Taxation of income in Vietnam

 

Basically, individuals are obliged to pay PIT on income arising from Vietnam, regardless of whether they are a resident of Vietnam or not. PIT applies to both salary and non-sal-ary income.

 

  1. PIT on regular income

The taxation of income by the Vietnamese tax authorities depends on the residency sta-tus of the taxable person, i.e. whether he/she is classed as residing in Vietnam or not

 

(1) PIT for Vietnam residents

 

PIT on income of residents in Vietnam is charged on the basis of progressive tax rates irrespective of if the payment is made inside or outside of Vietnam. All kinds of income are taxable, i.e. business, employment, in-vestment, capital gains, royalty, inheritance, gifts etc. The PIT rates do NOT differ-entiate between foreign and local residents. Normally the lowest tax band is five million Vietnamese Dong (VND) and under, which is the equivalent of approximately 170 EUR. However in August 2011 the Government introduced a series of tax cuts which ex-empted income under five million from PIT until 31 December 2011.

 

The current tax rates for Vietnam residents on income arising from employment (regular income) can be seen in the following chart:

 

(2) PIT for non-residents in Vietnam

1 This is the amount of income which remains after various deductions have been applied.

 

 

Level

Average monthly taxable income1

 

Tax rate (%)

 

 

 

0 until 31 De-

1

Up to 5,000,000

 

cember 2011

(approx. 170 EUR)

 

and 5 there-

 

 

 

 

 

after

 

 

 

 

2

Over 5,000,000 to 10,000,000

 

10

(Over 170 EUR to 340 EUR)

 

 

 

 

3

Over 10,000,000 to 18,000,000

 

15

(Over 340 EUR to 600 EUR)

 

 

 

 

4

Over 18,000,000 to 32,000,000

 

20

(Over 612 EUR to 1,100 EUR)

 

 

 

 

5

Over 32,000,000 to 52,000,000

 

25

(Over 1,090 EUR to 1,800 EUR)

 

 

 

 

6

Over 52,000,00 to 80,000,000

 

30

(Over 1,770 EUR to 2,700 EUR)

 

 

 

 

7

Over 80,000,000

 

35

(Over 2,700EUR)

 

 

 

 

The income of a non-resident which arises out of Vietnam is subject to PIT. The PIT rates which apply to this income differ from the rates for resident taxpayers (as listed above). Instead of a progressive tax rate sys-tem such non residents are taxed at a flat rate. The current flat rate for EMPLOY-MENT income is 20%, non-employment in-come is taxed at various other rates depend-ing on its exact nature (see chart below).

 

  1. PIT on irregular income

According to Vietnamese tax law irregular income includes the irregular earnings of taxable persons e.g. dividends or royalties.

 

Such income is only taxable, if it exceeds 10 million VND in a given tax year (approxi-mately EUR 340). The PIT rate for such in-come varies from 0.1 to 10%, depending upon the income’s origin. Please note, how-ever, that under the Government’s recent tax cuts PIT on the sale proceeds from stock transfers has been reduced by 50% until the end of 2012 and there is a PIT exemption on stock dividends until further notice.

 

The current PIT rates for regular and irregu-lar income for Vietnam non-residents can be seen in the following chart:

 

No.

Type of taxable income

Tax rate (%)

1.

Employment income

20

2.

Business income

1 – 5

 

 

depending on type

 

 

of business income

3.

– Interest

5

 

– Dividends

0 until further no-

 

 

tice. Thereafter 5

4.

Sale of securities

0.05 (0.1 after 2011

No.

Type of taxable income

Tax rate (%)

1.

Interest

5

 

Dividends

0 until further no-

 

 

tice. Than 5

2.

Sale of securities:

 

 

Net gain; or

10 (20 after 2011)

 

Sale proceeds

0.05 (0.1 after

 

 

2011)

3.

Sale of real estate:

 

 

Net gain; or

25

 

Sale proceeds

2

4.

Income from copyright

5

5.

Income from franchis-

5

 

ing/royalties

 

6.

Income from winning

10

 

prizes

 

7.

Income from inheri-

10

 

tance/gifts

 

 

 

 

 

Some kinds of irregular income, e.g. divi-dend payments, interests, licence fees or re-munerations for technical services are liable for tax in both Vietnam and Germany. However, double taxation is prevented by the provisions of the DTA as described in Section IV below.

  1. Tax exemptions and reduc-tions in Vietnam in accordance with the DTA

 

The DTA details tax exemptions and reduc-tions which are available for income which is subject to tax in both Vietnam and Ger-many. These provisions make a distinction between resident and non-resident foreign-ers of Vietnam.

 

  1. Tax exemptions for foreign residents in Vietnam

A PIT exemption on income earned in Viet-nam is usually possible for foreigners who lived in Germany before their arrival in Viet-nam and whose activities are limited to teaching, lecturing or research activities at universities, schools, museums or other cul-tural institutions.

 

In these cases a PIT exemption in Vietnam for income which is already taxed in Ger-many will be granted for a maximum of two years from the date of arrival in Vietnam. This is regulated by art. 20 of the DTA

 

.

 

A similar regulation applies to students, trainees or apprentices, who work in Viet-nam but who are paid an allowance or simi-lar income from a non-Vietnamese source. This exemption will apply as long as the in-come in question does not exceed EUR 4,602 per year.

 

  1. Tax exemptions for resident and non-resident foreigners of Vietnam

Regardless of a person’s residency status they will be exempt from PIT under art. 19 DTA, if his/her salary or pension is paid as a result of their prior employment in the German public service sector. This exemp-tion does not include remunerations or pen-sions for services rendered in connection with a commercial activity in either Vietnam or Germany.

 

  1. PIT reduction for non-resident for-eigners in Vietnam

A person residing in Germany, who has a salary arising out of Vietnam, can be taxed in Vietnam for that said income. Equally tax on income in the form of dividends, interests or licence fees and remunerations for technical services will also be taxed according to Viet-namese tax law as long as the applicable PIT rate does not exceed the rates for such in-come which are set out in the DTA. For ex-ample, the maximum PIT rate applied in

 

 

Vietnam for technical services must not ex-ceed 7.5% of the gross amount of the in-come.

 

Tax paid in Vietnam can normally be cred-ited against the income tax which is payable in Germany by presenting a proper with-holding tax certificate.

  1. Practical examples

 

We would like to clarify how the DTA works in practice by presenting the follow-ing two examples:

 

 

Income which is taxable in Viet-

1,575.00 EUR

nam per month before any cred-

(1)

iting of income tax payable in

 

Germany

 

 

Income tax payable in Germany

300.00 EUR

 

 

 

(2)

Tax credited against Vietnamese

300.00 EUR

income  tax

(because  already

(3)

paid in Germany)

 

Income tax to be paid in Viet-

(1) – (3) =

nam after tax crediting

1,275.00 EUR

Result:

 

 

a)

Income

tax  payable  in

300.00 EUR

 

Germany

 

b)

Income tax payable in Vi-

1,275.00 EUR

 

etnam

 

 

 

 

Example 1:

 

(1 EUR =29,000 VND)

 

Mr. A, a German residing in Vietnam is paid a total salary of EUR 36,000 per year in Vi-etnam and additionally receives a taxable sal-ary in Germany of EUR 18,000. It is as-sumed that the tax payable in Germany amounts to EUR 3,600 per year or EUR 300 per month2.

 

According to the Law on PIT, the payable income tax in Vietnam is calculated on the basis of progressive tax rates and average monthly income. Foreigners residing in Viet-nam are taxed based on their worldwide in-come. Accordingly, Mr. A’s total taxable in-come amounts to EUR 54,000 (EUR 36,000 earned in Vietnam and EUR 18,000 earned in Germany) per year or EUR 4,500 per month. This equates to 132.2 million VND taxable income per month.

 

Applying the progressive rates (see page 5), the PIT payable on the total income amounts to EUR 1,575 per month (46.3 mil-lion VND). To avoid double taxation, the income tax calculation under the DTA is as follows:

 

Example 2:

 

Our second example concerns the avoidance of double taxation in case of taxation of re-muneration for technical services i.e. irregu-lar income.

 

Mr. B, a German residing in Vietnam re-ceives EUR 10,000 as remuneration for technical services performed in Germany. According to the current German tax laws, approximately 20% of the entire remunera-tion amount is eligible for income tax. However, due to the DTA this is reduced to 7.5%. Furthermore, under the current Viet-namese tax laws Mr. B should also pay a fur-ther 5% income tax on this remuneration to the Vietnamese tax authorities. To avoid double taxation, the following tax crediting will occur:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 This assumed taxable income amount is absolutely notional and sub-ject to variations of the current tax laws in Germany. The above men-tioned amount is for example purposes only.

  

 

Income which is taxable in Viet-

10,000.00

nam before any tax crediting of

EUR x 5 % =

the income tax payable in Ger-

500.00 EUR

many

 

(1)

Tax payable in Germany

10,000.00

 

 

EUR x 7.5 %

 

 

= 750.00 EUR

 

 

(2)

Tax credited against Vietnamese

500.00 EUR

Tax because already payable in

(3)

Germany (max. total income tax

 

payable in Vietnam)

 

Tax liability in Vietnam after tax

(1) – (3) =

crediting

0.00 EUR

Result:

 

c)

Tax payable in Germany

750.00 EUR

d)

Tax payable in Vietnam

0.00 EUR

 

  1. Summary

Germany and Vietnam both have a relatively high tax burden. The existing DTA is there-fore of great benefit to persons who might be liable for income tax in both states.

 

It should be noted that when the taxpayer is travelling between Vietnam and Germany, they are able to a certain extent to choose where his/her salary is taxed. In such cases it is advisable to survey the advantages and disadvantages of the respective tax legisla-tion, and to analyse the determining factors for taxation in each country under the DTA before making a final choice. Furthermore, even when the taxpayer officially resides in one country, it is still advisable to analyse the regulations of the DTA in order to minimise the tax burden and to prevent any possible double taxation.

 

 

Newsletter Nr. 46          (EN)

 

 

 

 

Forms of Direct Foreign Investment in

 

Vietnam

 

 

November 2011

 

 

 

 

All rights reserved © Lorenz & Partners 2011

 

 

Although Lorenz & Partners always pays great attention on updating information provided in newsletters and brochures we cannot take responsibility for the completeness, correctness or quality of the information provi-ded. None of the information contained in this newsletter is meant to replace a personal consultation with a qualified lawyer. Liability claims regarding damage caused by the use or disuse of any information provided, in-cluding any kind of information which is incomplete or incorrect, will therefore be rejected, if not generated de-liberately or grossly negligent.

 

 

 

 

  1. Introduction

Vietnam’s combination of a growing econ-omy, political stability and vibrant culture has made it one of the most attractive in-vestment environments in the Asia-Pacific region. In light of this fact this newsletter has been drafted to provide a basic intro-duction to the key investment formats which are open to those wishing to do busi-ness in Vietnam.

 

There are three main forms of foreign direct investment in Vietnam:

 

Joint venture companies;

 

100% foreign-owned enterprises; and Business co-operation contracts.

 

 

Joint Venture

 

  1. General

A joint venture company is a form of in-vestment whereby a foreign party and local party co-operate to create a new legal entity. The purpose of such companies (mostly) is to circumvent the ban on 100% foreign owned companies in certain economic sec-tors e.g. logistics.

 

In the past, joint ventures were not a par-ticularly popular format of doing business as most potential local partners were State – owned and thus their objectives were often tied to the fiscal interests of the country ra-ther than the commercial interests of the joint venture. However, nowadays the local partner is much more likely to be a private entity.

 

 

  1. Legal Status and Capitalisation

A joint venture can be either a limited liabil-ity company or a joint stock company. The main difference between these two possibili-ties is that only a joint stock company can issues shares, securities or be listed on a Stock Exchange.

 

The exact percentage which will be held by each joint venture partner will depend on the specific business line(s) which the com-pany intends to carry out. For example a foreign partner can only hold up to 51% of a logistics joint venture company.

 

Capital contributions can be made in cash, gold or in assets. As of 2011 the term “as-sets” is deemed to include industrial prop-erty rights. In many cases the Vietnamese party, especially ones which are State owned, will contribute land to fulfil their capital obligation. The value of theses assets is determined by the parties. However, the Ministry of Planning and Investment has the power to review this evaluation in order to ensure that they have not been under or over valued. Unless agreed otherwise, the joint venture’s profits are shared between the parties in the same proportion as their capital contributions.

 

 

 

______________________

 

 

  1. Corporate Structure

(1) Limited Liability Company

 

The highest decision making body is the Member’s Council which consists of a rep-resentative of each investor.

 

In addition to the Council a limited liability company also has a Director and may have a Board of Controllers. The Director is re-sponsible for the day to day business of the company. A Board of Controllers monitors the actions of the Member’s Council. A Board is compulsory for all companies with 11 or more investors. They are voluntary for all other companies.

 

(2) Joint Stock Company

 

The General Shareholder’s Meeting is the highest decision-making body of a joint stock company. However, the day-to-day business is carried out by a Board of Direc-tors. The members of the Board are ap-pointed by the investors, usually in propor-tion to their respective capital contributions. The Board is overseen by a Chairman who is usually appointed jointly by the investors The Chairman is responsible for convening Board meetings and monitoring the imple-mentation of Board resolutions etc.

 

Further, a Board of Controllers may also be appointed to monitor the actions of the Di-rectors. A Board of Controllers is compul-sory, if there are more than 11 individual in-vestors or if any entity investor holds 50% or more of the total shares. They are volun-tary for all other companies.

 

III. 100% Foreign Owned Enterprise

Under Vietnamese law 100% foreign owned enterprises are only permitted in specific sectors. The number of these sectors is con-tinuously developing and by 2014 almost all business lines will be open to 100% foreign investment.

 

The corporate structure of a 100% foreign owned enterprise is the same as that for a joint venture, i.e. Board of Mem-bers/Directors etc.

 

  1. Business Co-operation Contract

Unlike a joint venture or a 100% foreign-owned enterprise, a business co-operation contract does not create a legal entity. In-stead it is simply a contractual arrangement between at least one foreign party and at least one Vietnamese party.

 

The law on business co-operation contracts is quite short with no specific regulations for matters such as management and opera-tional structures or the role of key person-nel. Therefore these issues should be cov-ered in detail within the contract.

 

  1. Other Investment Vehicles

Foreign investment can also be effected through the following vehicles.

 

  1. Representative Office

Opening a representative office is the sim-plest way for a foreign entity to establish a presence in Vietnam. Representative offices are permitted to initiate, accelerate and su-pervise economic, technical and scientific co-operation projects with Vietnamese par-ties. However, they cannot directly enter in-to commercial contracts or conduct profit making activities. To be eligible to open a representative office the foreign company must be a business which has been legally registered abroad for at least one year.

 

 

_____________________

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In contrast to representative offices a branch office of a foreign enterprise may conduct all activities which are consistent with its establishment license, the law and any international treaty to which Vietnam is a member. To be eligible to open a branch, the foreign enterprise must have been regis-tered and operating in their home country for at least five years.

 

The preceding pages contain a basic outline of the investment options for foreign enti-ties wishing to enter the Vietnamese market. However, please note that the law in this ar-ea changes regularly in line with Vietnam’s economic and social needs. Therefore it is advisable to obtain up to date and detailed legal advice before undertaking any sort of investment in Vietnam.

 

 

 

 

 

Newsletter No. 47         (EN)

 

 

 

 

Operational Considerations for

 

Foreign Investments in Vietnam

 

 

December 2011

 

Lorenz & Partners 2011

 

Although Lorenz & Partners always pays great attention on updating information provided in newsletters and brochures we cannot take responsibility for the completeness, correctness or quality of the information pro-vided. None of the information contained in this newsletter is meant to replace a personal consultation with a qualified lawyer. Liability claims regarding damage caused by the use or disuse of any information provided, in-cluding any kind of information which is incomplete or incorrect, will therefore be rejected, if not generated de-liberately or grossly negligent.

 

 

 

  1. Introduction

 

Vietnam is a country of ambivalence. Al-though it is politically oriented towards social-ism, its economy increasingly reflects free mar-ket principles. Even the Constitution acknowl-edges the importance of market forces and the need to internationalise the economy. This dual approach has been surprisingly successful and has resulted in staggering development over the last 20 years. However the question now is, how far is the government willing and able to push further reforms?

 

This newsletter is intended to assist new for-eign investors to weigh the opportunities and the risks of investing in Vietnam.

 

 

  1. Land

 

The rules that relate to land ownership and us-age in Vietnam are complex. A variety of cul-tural, economic and political considerations have influenced the way land use regulations have evolved.

 

There are 2 fundamental principles which all investors must understand in regards to Viet-nam’s land law system.

 

First, under Vietnamese law the land itself and any building or “asset” attached to the land are deemed to be two different things which are subject to different regulations.

 

Second, all land in Vietnam is officially collec-tively owned by the “People.” Land cannot be privately owned by a single individual or

 

 

organisation. Moreover the State is empow-ered to “manage” the land on behalf of the “People”. In practice this means that the State grants or leases land use rights to eligible indi-viduals and organisations for a set period of time and purpose.

 

Thus a foreign investor who requires land for their factory, warehouse etc must lease the land use rights to their preferred site from the State. Foreigners who are not licensed to oper-ate in Vietnam cannot obtain such a lease. When the lease expires, the right to use the land – and any infrastructure connected on the land – reverts to the State with no compensa-tion. A foreign investor can only lease land di-rectly from the State. A foreign investor can not sub-lease land from a private individ-ual/enterprise.

 

If a foreign investor only requires a ready made building for their investment project e.g. office space, then this may be leased from the State or a private individual or enterprise.

 

Foreign-invested joint venture banks and branches of foreign banks in Vietnam are al-lowed to take security over Vietnamese land and buildings.

 

It is common practice for the Vietnamese partner in a joint venture to contribute their capital in the form of land-use rights. There have even been cases where the Vietnamese partner has been allocated the land by the State for the express purpose of enabling them to participate in a joint venture.

 

 

III. Intellectual Property

 

Vietnam has signed a number of international treaties on intellectual property protection, in-cluding:

 

the Paris Convention;

 

the Madrid Agreement; and

 

the Patent Co-Operation Treaty.

 

 

Vietnam law protects inventions, utility solu-tions (which are similar to inventions but with-out the creative element), industrial designs, trademarks and copyrights. Appellations of origin, business secrets, geographical indica-tions and trade names are also protected. All intellectual property rights, including trade-marks, business secrets, geographical indica-tions and trade names, must be registered with the National Office of Intellectual Property. Unregistered trademarks are not protected unless they are “recognised well-known marks”.

 

Registration of copyrights is not compulsory but it is highly recommended. Such registra-tion comes under the Ministry of Culture and Information. Protection is on a first-to-file ba-sis. Copyright protection arises from the time the work is created in a definite form or, in the case of foreigners, created in a definite form in Vietnam or when it is first published or broad-cast in Vietnam.

 

Vietnam is not a signatory to the Berne Con-vention. Accordingly, the legal framework for business secrets, geographical indications and trade names is currently very basic.

  1. Technology Transfer and Li-

censing

 

 

  1. Introduction


transfer contract which involves the transfer of technology from abroad and/or is paid for by the State budget and has a value of less than US$30,000, must be registered with the Ministry of Science and Technology. Tech-nology transfer contracts which are valued at over US$30,000, and that are paid from the State budget require the said Ministry’s pre-ap-proval. Technology may be transferred to a foreign-invested enterprise as a capital contri-bution, in which case the transferor is re-munerated via their share of the company’s profits. Alternatively the transfer can occur under a transfer agreement, in which case re-muneration is by way of royalties.

 

  1. Capitalised Transfers

 

The capital value of the contributed technol-ogy can be agreed amongst the enterprises’ in-vestors. However if the technology is overval-ued then the investors will be jointly liable for all debts and other property obligations of the company up to an amount equal to the differ-ence between the agreed value and the actual value of the contributed technology.

 

 

 

  1. Non-capitalised Transfers

 

Companies are encouraged to calculate royal-ties for non-capitalised technology transfers as a percentage (maximum 25%) of the after-tax profit which are attributable to sales of the product produced by the transferred technol-ogy. Alternatively, royalties may be based on a percentage of the net selling price of the prod-uct produced by the transferred technology or on a combination of both calculation meth-ods. Where the combined method is used, a limit of 5% (exceptionally 8%) of the net sell-ing price is imposed. Further the total aggre-gate rate may not exceed those of the 2 sepa-rate methods.

 

Technology transfers are often an essential part of an investment project. A technology

 

 

 

The transferee has the exclusive right to use the technology in Vietnam. They may also de-velop the technology without the transferor’s consent. If the transferor wants to obtain the rights to these developments they must enter into an agreement with the transferee on the principle of mutual benefit. The transferee may require the transferor (or a court or other competent State body) to take action against any third party which infringes the technol-ogy’s intellectual property rights. Further the transferor must assist the transferee in any claim in connection with the technology’s in-tellectual property rights.

 

The technology can only be sub-transferred with the transferor’s consent unless the sub-transfer is in the interests of the State or the public, according to a decision of the compe-tent State authority.

 

The parties must notify one another of any new technical and scientific knowledge which will affect the implementation of the agree-ment, and they must consider the possibility of amending (or even cancelling) the agreement in light of any such developments.

 

The content of the technology transfer agree-ment is mostly determined by the parties. However the anti-competitive provisions which are set out below are prohibited:

 

provisions which compel the transferee to obtain, inter alia, materials and equipment from a specified source;

 

provisions under which the transferee agrees to reduce, inter alia, production or prices in exchange for the transfer; and

 

provisions which restrict the transferee’s right to export or to develop the technol-ogy or to obtain similar technology from other sources.

 

 

While outright transfers of technology are en-couraged, Vietnam law also recognises licens-ing agreements.

 

A license agreement must be in writing and may be exclusive or non exclusive. The object of a license agreement may be sub-licensed unless the agreement specifically states other-wise. The duration of a license agreement may be agreed between the parties so long as it does not exceed the duration of the applicable certificate of protection.

 

License agreements between a foreign and local party must be registered in order to be effective against third parties. Further royal-ties paid under a license agreement will be subject to corporate/personal income tax.

 

Finally, it is forbidden to include anti-competi-tive clauses in the licensing agreement.

  1. Secured Lending

 

Vietnam permits borrowers to mortgage and pledge a variety of assets. The National Centre for Registration of Security Transactions was established in 2002 and a number of security transactions must be registered there in order to be enforceable. The information which is recorded at the Centre is available to the pub-lic. To date the Centre has proven itself to be reliable and efficient.

 

The Civil Code states that any Vietnamese based person or entity (including foreign-in-vested enterprises) may pledge or mortgage a building in order to secure a “civil obligation”. However what is meant by “civil obligation” is not clearly defined. As Vietnam divides con-tracts between civil contracts and economic contracts, it is possible that a civil obligation is an obligation arising from a civil contract. Economic contracts may generally only be en-tered into by businesses and relate to produc-tion, exchange of goods or the provision of services and other business matters.

 

 

 

 

  1. Foreign Exchange

 

It is the responsibility of the foreign-invested enterprise to ensure that it meets its own for-eign exchange expenditure requirements. The expectation is that foreign-invested enterprises will export sufficient products to meet their needs. However, in reality companies regularly purchase additional foreign currency at Viet-nam’s commercial banks.

 

It should be noted that the government does not guarantee the availability of hard currency, except for certain, special projects. Further, the law stipulates that the Ministry of Planning and Investment guarantees its “assistance” where a foreign-invested enterprise suffers a foreign exchange shortage and is engaged in projects such as:

 

Construction of infrastructure;

 

Manufacture of import substitutes; and

 

Other important projects, of which the government has identified

 

 

Vietnamese Dong may be converted and re-mitted abroad if the foreign exchange is avail-able and the remittance consists of:

 

Profits earned from business operations;

 

Revenue earned from the provision of ser-vices and transfers of technology;

 

Principal of and/or interest on a loan;

 

Invested capital; and

 

Any other sum of money and/or assets le-gally owned by the foreign investor.

 

 

Similarly, foreign employees are entitled to re-patriate their Vietnam-sourced income after payment of income tax. All conversions must be made at the official rate set by the State Bank of Vietnam on the date of conversion.

 

VII. Unfair Competition

 

Vietnam has no general law on unfair compe-tition. Instead there are a number of laws on the subject, some rather specific and some rather vague, but no complete body of law.

 

Due to the above, monopolies, cartels, abuse of market share and unfair pricing are not ade-quately policed in Vietnam yet. Indeed, there are still a number of State-owned monopolies, e.g. EVN in the electricity sector. As noted above certain anti-competitive or monopolis-tic contract provisions are prohibited. How-ever, there is no definition of what a monop-oly is and what steps may be taken to prevent or break up a monopoly.

 

Further, Vietnam’s contract law only contains very general principles regarding this issue. For example a civil contract, must not be contrary to social morality, and it must be based on equality, good will, co-operation and good faith. Equally an economic contract must be based on mutual benefit and equality of rights. However these general provisions do not really offer a sufficient basis to curb unfair and anti-competitive business practices.

 

The Vietnamese Government is aware of the above mentioned deficiencies and is trying to tackle them. For example, an Anti Trust Agency has been set up in order to improve the situation.

 

VIII. Banking

 

A foreign-invested enterprise or a party to a business co-operation contract is permitted to open accounts, in both Vietnamese Dong and the relevant foreign currency, with a bank in Vietnam. In special cases, a foreign-invested enterprise or a foreign party to a business co-operation contract may open an offshore ac-count with the permission of the State Bank of Vietnam. However, the law does not define the phrase “special cases”.

 

 

 

  1. Insurance

 

A foreign-invested enterprise or a party to a business co-operation contract may purchase life, health, property and civil liability insurance cover. The said insurance may be purchased from a Vietnamese or foreign-invested insur-ance company licensed to operate in Vietnam.

 

  1. Labour

 

 

All positions must be advertised to local candi-dates for either 30 or 60 days (depending on the size of the company) before foreign candi-dates may be considered. Further a foreign candidate should only be chosen if the Viet-namese candidates do not possess the specific skills required for the position. In such situa-tions a local “apprentice” should be hired and then trained to replace the foreigner in due course.

 

In general terminating labour agreements in Vietnam is a complicated (and sometimes ex-pensive) process. Therefore foreign investors should recruit their employees with care.

 

Finally, all business enterprises, both local and foreign invested, must be represented by a des-ignated trade union. This can either be a spe-cific union for the enterprise in question or the local general union. Businesses are required to co-operate closely with the union and to create favourable conditions for union activities. Employers must not harass any employee for forming, joining or participating in a union. Labour disputes must be resolved in consulta-

 

tion with the union and in certain circum-stances employees have the right to strike.

 

  1. Accounting and Financial

 

Matters

 

Foreign-invested enterprises and parties to business co-operation contracts may adopt in-ternational accounting standards and princi-ples if these are recognized and authorized by the Ministry of Finance. Obtaining such au-thorisation is not easy. Therefore, most for-eign-invested enterprises use the Vietnamese accounting standards.

 

All records and accounts must be kept in the Vietnamese language, and (if approved by the Ministry of Finance) a widely used foreign lan-guage e.g. English or French. Arabic numerals are mandatory. All values must be recorded in Vietnamese Dong or in a foreign currency ap-proved by the Ministry of Finance. All physi-cal materials must be recorded using Viet-nam’s official units of measurement.

 

Annual audits are required to be conducted by an independent auditing company licensed to operate in Vietnam. All major international ac-countancy firms have offices in Vietnam.

  1. Summary

 

It is essential for foreign investors to under-stand both the risks and the opportunities of investing in Vietnam. Therefore it is highly advisable to carefully evaluate the current situation in Vietnam before undertaking any sort of investment there.

 

 

 

 

NEWSLETTER NR. 49 (EN)

 

 

TRANSLATIONS OF

 

THAI PERSONAL INCOME TAX FORMS

 

August 2011

 

 

All rights reserved © Lorenz & Partners 2011

 

Although Lorenz & Partners always pays great attention on updating information provided in newsletters and brochures we cannot take responsibility for the completeness, correctness or quality of the information pro-vided. None of the information contained in this newsletter is meant to replace a personal consultation with a qualified lawyer. Liability claims regarding damage caused by the use or disuse of any information provided, in-cluding any kind of information which is incomplete or incorrect, will therefore be rejected, if not generated de-liberately or grossly negligent.

 

 

  1. INTRODUCTION

 

As filling in and understanding personal income tax forms can already be difficult in a language with which you are well acquainted this is much more the case in a language you are not familiar with. In Thai it becomes even more complicated due to the different letters. Normally expatriates get the form filled in by Thai staff. However, considering the liability you take by signing the form reveals

 

 

how important it is to know what you are about to confirm with your own name.

 

We want to help you getting a better un-derstanding of Thai personal income tax forms, the so called “Phor. Ngor. Dor.90”. Due to this reason, we have included hereto a translated version of the form.

 

In case of any further question which may arise about this subject please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

 

Arbitration and Recognition of

 

Foreign Arbitral Awards in Vietnam

 

 

 

November 2011

 

 

 

Lorenz & Partners 2011

  

Although Lorenz & Partners always pays great attention on updating information provided in newsletters and brochures we cannot take responsibility for the completeness, correctness or quality of the information pro-vided. None of the information contained in this newsletter is meant to replace a personal consultation with a qualified lawyer. Liability claims regarding damage caused by the use or disuse of any information provided, in-cluding any kind of information which is incomplete or incorrect, will therefore be rejected, if not generated de-liberately or grossly negligent.

 

 

 

  1. Introduction

 

Effective dispute settlement is one of the key concerns for any investor. This is par-ticularly the case when the investor is work-ing within a new and unfamiliar legal sys-tem. Many foreign investors therefore see arbitration as an ideal solution to these con-cerns as it allows them to have some control over the format, timetable and governing law of the dispute resolution process.

 

Like many other countries Vietnam initially viewed arbitration as a threat to its judicial sovereignty. Nevertheless, in the course of the recent tremendous economic develop-ment the Vietnamese Government has made considerable progress with regard to the recognition and enforcement of arbitral procedures and awards.

 

This newsletter will provide a short sum-mary of the current arbitration situation in Vietnam.

 

  1. Arbitration in Vietnam
  2. Convention on the Settlement of In-vestment Disputes between States and Nationals of other States

Vietnam is not yet a party to the Conven-tion on the Settlement of Investment Dis-putes between States and Nationals of other States (commonly referred to as ICSID, In-ternational Centre for Settlement of Invest-ment Disputes)

 

However, several of Vietnam’s bilateral in-vestment treaties refer to the ICSID and thus grant specific foreign investors the

 

 

right to bring proceedings against the Viet-namese Government. Examples of such bi-lateral investment treaties include those be-tween Vietnam and: Switzerland, Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, the USA, Japan, and Korea.

 

  1. Law on Commercial Arbitration

As a step towards integrating Vietnam’s dis-pute resolution system into the global play-ground, the National Assembly passed the Law on Commercial Arbitration (“LOCA”) which came onto effect on 1 January 2011. This was followed by Decree 63/2011/ND-CP which came into effect in September 2011.

 

The LOCA regulates the applicability of commercial arbitration, arbitration forms, arbitration institutions and arbitrators, arbi-tration orders and procedures, the rights, obligations and responsibilities of parties to arbitration proceedings, court jurisdiction over arbitration activities, foreign arbitration organizations in Vietnam and the enforce-ment of arbitral awards.

 

According to LOCA, arbitration can only be used to resolve commercial disputes. A “commercial dispute” is one where at least one party is a commercial individual or en-tity.

 

(1) Arbitration Agreements

 

A commercial dispute will be settled by arbi-tration if the parties to the dispute have agreed to do so in writing either before or after the dispute arose (the “Arbitration Agreement”). The Arbitration Agreement can be contained in one clause within a lar-

 

 

ger contract or it can be a separate docu-ment.

 

The “in writing” requirement can be satis-fied via e-mails, telex and facsimiles if the intention of the parties to conclude an Arbi-tration Agreement is clearly shown.

 

In regards to choice of law, Vietnamese law will always apply to disputes between Viet-namese parties. If a foreign party is involved then a foreign law may be chosen so long as the application of such foreign law is “con-sistent with the fundamental principles of the law of Vietnam”. Unfortunately there is currently little guidance as to how such con-sistency or inconsistency can be determined.

 

The parties can also decide within the Agreement which language the arbitration shall be conducted in. If no such provision is included in the Agreement then Vietnam-ese shall be used even if one or more for-eign parties are involved.

 

Finally, there are six circumstances where an Arbitration Agreement will be declared in-valid:

 

An ad-hoc arbitration tribunal is one which is created by the parties usually, but not al-ways, after a dispute has arisen. This format gives the parties the freedom to choose (e.g. ICC, UNITRAL) or even draft their own rules of procedure and to choose their own arbitrators.

 

An Arbitration centre tribunal is one which is convened by one of Vietnam’s Arbitration Centres. There are several such centres in Vietnam, however the most popular is the Vietnam I nternational Arbitration C entre (“VIAC”). LOCA also allows foreign arbi-tration organizations to operate in Vietnam in the form of a branch or representative of-fice.

 

Please note that under Vietnam law the clause within the Arbitration Agreement which states the location of the arbitration must be very specific. For example “arbitra-tion shall take place at VIAC” has previously been rejected by the Vietnamese Courts as too vague. At the very least the full name and location (i.e. branch) of the preferred centre must be stated. If the clause is deemed to be too vague then the plaintiff

 

 

The dispute is not a commercial dis-will have the right to unilaterally choose the

 

 

pute;

 

One of the parties to the Agreement did not have civil capacity;

 

One of the parties to the Agreement did not have sufficient authority;

 

The Agreement is not in the correct format;

 

One of the parties was deceived, threatened or coerced into signing the Agreement; or

 

The Agreement breaches the law on prohibited conduct.

 

Ad-hoc arbitration and Arbitration Cen-tres

 

The LOCA provides for 02 different forms of arbitration tribunals, first an ad-hoc arbi-tration tribunal and second an Arbitration Centre tribunal.

 

arbitration venue.

 

(3) Arbitrators

 

Both Vietnamese and foreign individuals may act as arbitrators in Vietnam. These ar-bitrators can be employed by one of the aforementioned arbitration centres or they may be employed directly by the parties as part of an ad hoc tribunal. Qualification re-quirements include a university degree and five years work experience in the relevant field of expertise.

 

 

  

 

  1. Proceedings

To initiate arbitration proceedings a state-ment of claim must be submitted to the ap-pointed arbitration centre, or in case of an ad hoc arbitration, directly to the respon-dent.

 

Complaints with regard to the jurisdiction of the arbitration tribunal or the validity of the Arbitration Agreement must be made prior to the consideration of the contents of the dispute. The arbitration tribunal will de-cide upon such matters in the presence of the parties unless requested otherwise. These decisions can be appealed to the local court.

 

Counter-claims concerning issues relevant to the statement of claim are possible. Such counter-claims must be made prior to the hearing which is scheduled to resolve the dispute.

 

The burden of proof lies with the claiming party and the principle of party presentation applies. The arbitrators may directly collect evidence and convene witnesses either upon their own initiative or at the request of one or more of the parties. Legal representation is possible but not mandatory.

 

Arbitrators are empowered to issue inter-locutory injunctions with regards to the preservation of evidence, assets and bank accounts. For enforcement purposes these injunctions are treated the same as court or-ders.

 

  1. Setting Aside Arbitration Awards

The decision of the arbitration tribunal is fi-nal unless set aside by the court. Any party has the right to apply for the arbitral award to be set aside. Such application should be made to the provincial court in the place where the arbitral award was issued. Within 30 days of the receipt of the application the court must establish a trial council consist-ing of three judges to consider its merits. An

 

arbitral award will only be set aside if one of the following grounds applies;

 

There was no or an invalid Arbitration Agreement;

 

The arbitration tribunal or the arbitra-tion proceedings were inconsistent with the Arbitration Agreement;

 

The dispute or parts thereof was/were beyond the jurisdiction of the arbitra-tion tribunal;

 

During the proceedings an arbitrator breached his obligations (bribery, breach of impartiality and objectivity etc.); or

 

The arbitral award is contrary to the in-terest of the Socialist Republic of Viet-nam.

 

A further appeal can be made to the Peo-ple’s Supreme Court. Finally the local in-spectorate and the General People’s inspec-torate have the right to protest against the award.

 

III.  Recognition  of  Foreign  Arbitral

Awards

 

 

  1. New York Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards

Vietnam acceded to the New York Conven-tion on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards in 1995. Thus foreign arbitral awards which are rendered by a recognized international arbitration in-stitution should be respected by Vietnamese courts without a review of the case’s merits. However, this commitment only applies to awards which are made within the territory of another contracting State and only to those awards which are commercial in na-ture.

 

With regard to arbitral awards from non-contracting States, Vietnam will only recog-nise and enforce such awards to the extent

 

  

 

that the State in question grants reciprocity to Vietnam based awards.

 

Furthermore, Vietnam will only enforce ar-bitral awards where to do so would not con-flict with the Constitution and the laws of Vietnam. In practice the only true way to satisfy this requirement is to consider the merits of the case in question. Thus in most instances a party who wishes to enforce a foreign arbitral award in Vietnam will find that they will have to go through the proc-ess of having the case re-considered by ei-ther a local court or arbitration tribunal.

 

2.Civil Procedures Code

The Civil Procedures Code governs, amongst many other things, the relevant procedures for the recognition and enforce-ment of foreign arbitral awards in Vietnam.

 

(1). Petition Procedures

 

In order to enforce a foreign arbitral award in Vietnam it must be recognized and ap-proved by the local court. Therefore a peti-tion must be filed either directly by the party seeking enforcement or by his/its represen-tatives.

 

(2) Competent Authority

 

Petitions have to be filed with the Ministry of Justice and must contain:

 

the name and address of the person or organization seeking enforcement;

 

the name and address of the person or entity against whom/which enforce-ment is sought or the location and specification of the assets in Vietnam which are related to the enforcement;

 

brief outline of the case;

 

a copy of the relevant Arbitration Agreement;

 

a copy of the arbitral award; and

 

further documents as specified in the international treaty on the basis of

 

which the enforcement is sought (if ap-plicable).

 

(3) Competent Court

 

Within 07 days from the receipt of a valid petition, the Ministry of Justice will forward the file to the competent provincial court.

 

The place of jurisdiction is either the legal residence of the person against whom en-forcement is sought or, in case of an organi-zation, the corporate domicile or the locality of the property affected by the award.

 

The relevant court has 03 working days to check the file and notify the person or entity against whom/which enforcement is sought as well as the inspectorate. Within 02 months, provided that no further clarifica-tion is required, the court will decide on the commencement of a court meeting, which shall then be held within 20 days.

 

(4). Evaluation

 

The court’s jurisdiction in this regard ex-tends to verifying that the arbitral award complies with Vietnamese law and the ap-plicable international treaties. Specifically the court will check whether the award comes within the list of cases where an arbi-tral award must be denied recognition and enforceability.

 

Specifically, arbitral awards must be denied recognition and enforceability if:

 

one of the parties was legally incapa-ble when the Arbitration Agreement was signed;

 

the Arbitration Agreement is invalid under Vietnamese law;

 

the person or entity against whom/which enforcement is sought was not granted the right to be suffi-ciently heard during the arbitration proceedings;

 

 

the award concerns a subject or parts thereof that was/were not cov-ered by the Arbitration Agreement;

 

the foreign arbitration panel or pro-cedure was inconsistent with the Ar-bitration Agreement or the applica-ble law;

 

the arbitral award is not yet finally binding;

 

the arbitral award has been revoked or suspended;

 

the recognition and enforcement would be contrary to the basic prin-ciples of Vietnamese law.

 

While at first this list appears reasonable, problems emerge upon closer inspection. The majority of the reasons for denying en-forcement are extremely subjective, For ex-ample how the court measures whether a party was “sufficiently heard” or had legal capacity to sign a contract which could have been executed years ago. Further to date there has been no clear guidance as to what is meant by “the basic principles of Viet-namese law.”

 

(5) Appeals and Protests

 

Concerned parties or their legal representa-tives have the right to appeal the court’s de-cision regarding enforceability. Such appeals must be made within 15 days of the courts decision or, in case if the decision is made in the parties’ absence within 15 days from the receipt of such decision.

 

Further the inspectorate of the same juris-diction or the People’s General Inspectorate is also entitled to protest against the court’s decision.

 

The appeal and/or protest is heard by the People’s Supreme Court who will make a fi-nal decision as to the recognition and en-forceability of the award in question.

 

(6) Enforceability

 

Once recognized and declared enforceable, the foreign arbitral award is treated the same as a judgement or decision of a Vietnamese court.

 

  1. Summary

In the past 20 years Vietnam has made con-siderable progress with regard to arbitration and the recognition of foreign arbitral awards.

 

While some issues do remain, (see III.2.4) the new LCA clearly demonstrates Viet-nam’s intention to bring the local arbitration system in line with international norms. Thus it is reasonable to expect that these is-sues will be resolved in the near future.

 

 

 

 

Newsletter No 66 (EN)

 

 

Summary on Thai Unemployment Fund

 

 

July 2006

 

All rights reserved © Lorenz & Partners 2006

 

Newsletter No 66 (EN)

 

Summary on Thai Unemployment Fund

 

Unemployment Fund is one of the benefits according to Thai Social Security Act B.E.2533(A.D.1990) which will be awarded in case an employee has paid for the social security fund for more than 6 months within a period of 15 months before being un-employed.

 

  1. Conditions:

Any unemployed person with the age of over 15 years

 

Must register as an unemployed at the Public Employment Service Office.

 

The registered unemployed person must be present at the officer at the Public Em-ployment Service Office at least once a month in order to report his status.

 

The cause of termination of employment shall not be in the following cases:

 

Being dishonest to the duty.

Willfully committing a crime against the employer.

Deliberately causing the Company to suffer damage.

Severe violating working rules or regulation or lawful order.

Deserting duty for an uninterrupted period of 7 days without appropriate reason.

Negligence, resulting to the employer suffering serious damage.

Sentenced to imprisonment under a judgment on imprisonment.

 

Not being a person who can claim for award in case of retirement.

 

Not being a person in article 39 of Social Security Act (In case of employee with the age of over 60 years and voluntarily being member of the social security fund)

 

  1. Benefit

Employer’s termination the employment agreement

 

– getting 50% of employee’s salary for a maximum of 180 days.

.

Termination of the employment by consent of the employee

 

– getting 30% of employee’s salary for a maximum of 90 days.

 

For both cases, the reimbursement pay will be calculated from salary for a maximum of THB 15,000 per month (i.e. get maximum THB. 7,500 per month)

 

Incase the employee has already claimed for the unemployment fund within the same calendar year, the payment shall be made for not exceeding 180 days.

 

V:\AA Sample Forms and Publications\AA Newsletters\Full_Versions\N066_EN_TH_SummaryonThaiUnemploymentFund_07 2006.doc

 

Newsletter No 66 (EN)

 

Summary on Thai Unemployment Fund

 

The employee has a right to receive the benefit starting from the eighth day after un-employed date.

 

Incase the employee uses his right not to exceed 90 days or 180 days within the calen-dar year. If the employee returns to be employed and unemployed again in the same year and satisfy all conditions, the beneficiarys right will start in next calendar year.

 

Procedure

Register at the Public Employment Service Office to be an unemployed person within 30 days after resignation or termination of the employment agreement.

Fill in the unemployed person registration form together with the following evi-dences:

ID Card

1 photograph of 1inch

Fill in the reimbursement form for the unemployment case together with follow-ing evidences:

Reference of the resignation or a copy of resignation notice form (Sor Por Sor 6-09) or employer termination’s document or order

Copy of first page bank accounting book

 

Ceasing of paying reimbursement

The Social Security Office will stop the payment in the following cases

 

The beneficiary is return to be employed.

The beneficiary refuses to work or joining internship without appropriate reason. The payment will be ceased from the date of refusing.

The beneficiary does not show himself at the Public Employment Service Office without the appropriate reason. The payment will be ceased in the month of not showing himself.

 

 

 

Newsletter No. 68 (EN)

 

 

 

 

Latest Developments in the Acquisition

 

of Land by Foreigners and Foreign Companies in Thailand

 

June 2006

 

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