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Double Taxation Agreements


Double Taxation Agreements | Bestar
Double Taxation Agreements | Bestar

Double Taxation Agreements


Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs), also known as tax treaties, are agreements between two countries that seek to eliminate the double taxation of income. DTAs generally over-ride domestic law and provide certainty to investors on the taxing rights of the contracting parties.


Hong Kong has concluded 40 DTAs, including comprehensive DTAs with Belgium, Mainland China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Luxembourg. DTAs that cover airline and shipping income are in place with Sri Lanka and Singapore, and there is an agreement with Canada that covers airline income only.


DTAs typically include the following provisions:

  • Allocation of taxing rights: DTAs allocate taxing rights between the contracting parties for different categories of income. This helps to avoid double taxation, where the same income is taxed by both countries.

  • Withholding tax rates: DTAs often reduce or eliminate withholding taxes on certain types of income, such as dividends, interest, and royalties. This can make it more attractive for businesses and individuals to invest and trade across borders.

  • Mutual assistance: DTAs provide for mutual assistance between the tax authorities of the contracting parties. This includes exchanging information on taxpayers and enforcing each other's tax laws.

DTAs can be complex, and it is important to seek professional advice to understand how they apply to your specific circumstances.


Here are some of the benefits of DTAs for businesses and individuals:

  • Reduced tax liability: DTAs can help to reduce the overall tax liability of businesses and individuals that operate or invest in multiple jurisdictions.

  • Increased certainty: DTAs provide certainty about the tax rules that will apply to particular international transactions. This can help businesses and individuals to make informed decisions about their investments and activities.

  • Improved tax efficiency: DTAs can help businesses to structure their operations in a more tax-efficient manner.

  • Reduced risk of disputes: DTAs can help to reduce the risk of disputes between taxpayers and tax authorities.

Overall, DTAs play an important role in promoting international trade and investment.


Why Hong Kong


Hong Kong has double taxation agreements (DTAs) for a number of reasons, including:

  • To promote trade and investment: DTAs make it more attractive for businesses and individuals to invest and trade across borders by reducing their tax liability and providing certainty about the tax rules that will apply. This can help to boost Hong Kong's economy.

  • To prevent double taxation: DTAs help to avoid double taxation, where the same income is taxed by both Hong Kong and another country. This can be a significant burden for taxpayers, and DTAs help to reduce this burden.

  • To prevent tax evasion: DTAs provide for mutual assistance between the tax authorities of Hong Kong and other countries. This includes exchanging information on taxpayers and enforcing each other's tax laws. This can help to prevent tax evasion and protect Hong Kong's tax base.

  • To maintain Hong Kong's competitiveness: Many other countries have DTAs with each other, so it is important for Hong Kong to have DTAs as well in order to remain competitive.

DTAs are an important part of Hong Kong's tax system, and they play a significant role in promoting trade and investment, preventing double taxation and tax evasion, and maintaining Hong Kong's competitiveness.


Here are some specific examples of how Hong Kong's DTAs have benefited businesses and individuals:

  • A Hong Kong company that invests in a DTA partner country may be able to reduce the amount of withholding tax that it pays on dividends, interest, and royalties. This can make the investment more attractive and profitable.

  • An individual who lives in Hong Kong and works in a DTA partner country may be able to claim a foreign tax credit for the taxes that they pay in the other country. This can reduce their overall tax liability.

  • A Hong Kong company that has a subsidiary in a DTA partner country may be able to avoid double taxation on the profits of the subsidiary. This can make the group structure more tax-efficient.

Overall, Hong Kong's DTAs can provide significant benefits for businesses and individuals that operate or invest in multiple jurisdictions.


How Bestar can Help


Bestar is a professional services firm that specializes in international taxation and transfer pricing. We can help businesses and individuals in Hong Kong to take advantage of double taxation agreements (DTAs) in a number of ways, including:

  • Advising on the application of DTAs: Bestar can advise clients on how DTAs apply to their specific circumstances. This can help clients to structure their international transactions in a more tax-efficient manner and to avoid double taxation.

  • Preparing and filing tax returns: Bestar can help clients to prepare and file tax returns in Hong Kong and other jurisdictions, taking into account the provisions of DTAs.

  • Representing clients in tax disputes: Bestar can represent clients in tax disputes with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) and other tax authorities. This can include disputes arising from the application of DTAs.

Here are some specific examples of how Bestar can help clients to take advantage of Hong Kong's DTAs:

  • A Hong Kong company that is investing in a DTA partner country may be able to reduce the amount of withholding tax that it pays on dividends, interest, and royalties. Bestar can advise the company on how to structure the investment in a way that minimizes its tax liability and to ensure that it complies with the terms of the DTA.

  • An individual who lives in Hong Kong and works in a DTA partner country may be able to claim a foreign tax credit for the taxes that they pay in the other country. Bestar can help the individual to calculate the foreign tax credit and to file their tax return correctly.

  • A Hong Kong company that has a subsidiary in a DTA partner country may be able to avoid double taxation on the profits of the subsidiary. Bestar can advise the company on how to structure the group structure in a way that minimizes its tax liability and to ensure that it complies with the terms of the DTA.

Overall, Bestar can provide a valuable service to businesses and individuals in Hong Kong that are looking to take advantage of double taxation agreements. Contact us today!


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