Ukraine has revealed updated draft plans of a proposal to tax non-resident digital businesses from the start of 2022. The original proposal was to introduce the rules on January 1, 2021, but details in the updated bill show that this plan has now been postponed by 12 months.
The details of Ukraine's plan to tax non-resident digital businesses are available here. The key focus of the bill is two-fold: one, to raise additional revenue for the Ukraine exchequer and, two, level the playing field between domestic and international digital service suppliers.
Regarding revenue-raising, the bill makes mention of the revenue-raising successes of similar rules in place across the globe, for example, in the European Union (EU) and Australia, and in neighbouring jurisdictions such as Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus.
In relation to Russia, the bill states that "according to official budget data" such digital businesses paid 9.4 billion rubles (circa USD$148.3m, EUR€134.5m, GBP£113m) in tax in 2017; 12 billion (circa USD$189.4m, EUR€171.6m, GBP£144.5m) in 2018, and another 12 billion in the first quarter of 2019. The larger Q1 2019 number was due to the extension of the scope to include B2B sales. According to the information contained in the Ukraine bill, 70% of the tax intake came from the largest digital companies. Note that the current VAT rate in Ukraine is 20%.
Ukraine’s bill describes potentially affected non-resident digital businesses as “a business entity with no permanent establishment and:
Foreign digital service suppliers that meet the descriptions above should also note that the current bill includes a sales threshold above which registration obligations kick in. The proposed threshold is UAH 1,000,000 (circa USD35,500, EUR30,000, GBP27,400). UAH is the local Ukraine currency, the Hryvnia.
As with many similar rules around the globe, the affected digital services come with a broad definition. In Ukraine’s bill, the definition refers to services “provided through a worldwide public information system that is logically linked by a global address space and based on an Internet protocol defined by international standards (hereinafter referred to as “the Internet”), automated, using information technology and preferably without human intervention.”
Such services include, but are not limited to:
The bill also refers to services that are not covered and these include (again, this list is not exhaustive):
Another common characteristic of rules on the cross-border supply of digital services is the evidence required to be collected to determine the location of the end customer. Again, Ukraine’s bill follows a similar approach to other rules in place.
In Ukraine, the location of the customer will be determined by the collection of pieces of evidence such as:
It is not clear from the bill as to how many pieces of evidence need to match to confirm the end customer’s location.
We will, of course, keep you up to date on developments in Ukraine.
Acknowledgement: Thanks to Alexander Minin and Inna Taptunova, of WTS Consulting LLC | Kyiv, for their help in researching this article.
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