The Malta Gaming Authority Publishes a White Paper Proposing Major Reforms to Malta’s Gaming Legal Framework. On the 12th of July 2017 Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has published White Paper proposing reforms to Malta’s Gaming Legal Framework.
 

Proposal’s main objective

 
According to article published on Malta Gaming Authority website “the main objective behind this proposal, is to repeal existing legislation and replace it with a singular primary Act of Parliament entitled the Gaming Act, together with subsidiary legislation covering the main areas of regulation as well as a series of directives and guidelines issued by the Malta Gaming Authority as the single regulator of this sector. The proposed regulatory framework shall decrease unnecessary regulatory burdens, strength the supervision of the regulator, propose better consumer protection standards, responsible gaming measures and a risk-based approach. It also establishes objective-orientated standards to encourage innovation and development.
 

Key highlights included

 

    Main highlights of the changes envisaged include:

  • “Replacing the current multi-licence system with a system two different types of licences covering different types of activities across multiple distribution channels: Business-to-Consumer (B2C) licence and Business-to-Business (B2B) licence;
  • Moving towards an objective-based rather than excessively prescriptive regulatory approach, to allow for innovation whilst ensuring that the regulatory objectives are attained;
  • Broadening the regulatory scope to increase MGA oversight and allow for intervention where necessary and in a proportionate manner;
  • Widening the MGA’s powers under the compliance and enforcement functions to better achieve the regulatory objectives, in line with concurrent developments on anti-money laundering and funding of terrorism obligations;
  • Segmenting the Key Official role into various key functions within a licensed activity, requiring approval, for direct scrutiny and targeted supervisory controls, thereby raising the bar for persons of responsibility within a gaming operation;
  • Strengthening the player protection framework by formalising the mediatory role of the MGA’s Player Support Unit, enshrining segregation of player funds at law and moving towards a unified self-exclusion database across both remote and land-based delivery channels;
  • Introducing new and more effective processes for criminal and administrative justice, including the allocation of appeals from decisions of the Authority to the Administrative Review Tribunal and the introduction of a distinction between administrative and criminal offences;
  • Introducing the concept of administration to protect an operation in distress and, if necessary, to assist the winding down of an operation, thereby protecting jobs and player funds;
  • Moving towards automated reporting, facilitating adherence to regulatory obligations and strengthening the Authority’s oversight;
  • Bolstering the Authority’s role in the fight against manipulation of sports competitions by introducing new obligations on operators to monitor sports betting and report suspicious bets, in line with the efforts being made by the National Anti-Corruption Task Force in which the Authority also participates actively;
  • Streamlining taxation into one flow with two main layers;
  • Exempting B2B licensees from gaming tax, thus increasing Malta’s competitiveness as a hub for these services providers.”

 
Source

On the 7th of June 2017 Cyprus signed the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (“MLI”). The MLI will implement tax treaty measures in order to reduce opportunities for tax avoidance by multinational companies.
 

Article 6 and 7 as the main impact on Cyprus Companies

The main impact on Cyprus companies will be Article 6 and 7 which relate to treaty abuse. As a result, Cyprus will implement in its double tax treaties principle purpose test (PPT) and a limitation of benefit clause (LoB). Consequently, it is essential that Cyprus companies owners examine the impact of these changes and ensure that they have sufficient substance in Cyprus. Failure to do so could lead to significant tax implications.

On the 3rd of May 2017 Cyprus signed double tax treaty with Barbados.
 

Nil withholding tax on dividends, interest and royalty payments

 
The treaty is based on the OECD Model Convention and provides nil withholding tax on dividends, interest and royalty payments. The treaty will enter into force after formal ratification and with respect to taxes will have effect on or after 1st January following the date the treaty enters into force.

The Cyprus Tax Authority decided to change the current tax regime in relation to profit margins and loans between related parties.
 

Whom does the change apply to?

From the 1st of July 2017 all loans between Cyprus Tax Resident Companies and their related parties shall be supported by transfer pricing studies prepared by an independent expert and based on OECD principals. The new rule will affect financial transactions between related companies with regards to tax assessment and tax ruling.

In June 2016, the UK HM Treasury concluded the consultations on the proposal to change the limited partnership legislation for private investment funds. The new regime is fully operational and ready to be applied.

 

The intention of the changes was to amend the Limited Partnership Act 1907 (the “1907Act”) and to facilitate and streamline the approach of current legislation to private funds, and to transform the limited partnership into more appealing structure for asset managers. (more…)

The scheme covers income tax, VAT, special defence contribution, immovable property tax, capital gains tax, stamp duties, special contribution for employees, pensioners and self-employed persons, and inheritance tax.

The repayment scheme introduced allows 54 monthly instalments for tax obligations below €100,000, and 60 monthly instalments where the obligations exceed €100,000. The tax commissioner has been provided with the discretion to rule on discounts on interest and penalties on a case-by-case level.

Interested parties must submit an application within 3 months of the date on which the new law becomes effective. The date of implementation has not yet been determined. Official announcement will follow.

German credit rating agency Creditreform Rating AG, one of the leading rating agencies in Europe, assigned an A+ long-term sovereign rating to Malta. Creditreform described its future outlook as stable.

 

Malta’s potential growth is among the highest of all Euro area members

In its report, Creditreform claims that the positive sovereign rating was based on “Malta’s high level of creditworthiness mainly based on its strong macroeconomic performance and strong fiscal sustainability.”

The report also pointed out, that Malta’s potential growth is among the highest of all Euro area members. Additionally, such dynamic growth is supporting Malta’s income convergence towards the EU-28 average.

According to this report, a favourable growth prospect for the Maltese economy is forecasted in the coming years. This is mainly due to moderate growth in investment and growth in private consumption reflecting further improvements in labour market conditions and wage growth.
 
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