As tax information begins to flow efficiently between tax authorities and with government in various jurisdictions, it is essential for businesses involving in cross border transactions to set up their structures with a proper business purpose together with the correct commercial substance.
Labuan IBFC, with a number of unique features and attractive tax system, is highly suitable and has the ideal business environment for trading companies to navigate the new tax landscape.
The most popular and commonly used vehicle for carrying out trading activities in Labuan is a company limited by shares. All Labuan companies are governed by the Labuan Companies Act 1990 and this Act requires the engagement of services of a Labuan IBFC registered trust company to act as its incorporation agent.
Kensington Trust Labuan Limited is a licensed trust company in Labuan and may assist you with the establishment and administration of your company.
EXAMPLE OF TYPICAL TRADING STRUCTURE
PURPOSE / COMMERCIAL SUBSTANCE
“Labuan business activity” under the Labuan Business Activity Tax Act 1990 (“LBATA”) means business activities carried out by a Labuan entity in, from or through Labuan in business currency other than Malaysian currency carried out with non-resident or with another Labuan entity.
With on-going mechanisms in place to exchange tax information, it is important to set up the trading company with a proper business purpose and together with the correct commercial substance.
The establishment of the company or arrangement of transaction structure is not aimed solely at utilizing tax treaty. It is also not to be set up as a “Conduit company” for purpose of avoiding tax or transferring profits.
Examples of commercial substance:
- Maintain physical business office in Labuan
- Board meetings held in Labuan from time to time where key business decisions are being made
- Principal bank account maintained in Labuan
- Accounting, secretarial and other compliance activities of the Labuan Company are carried out in the island
- Operational substance – Employees, directors or management team performing various trade functions eg. Procurement, supply chain, finance, accounting and other activities relating to trade, are being performed out from the Labuan office
- Labuan company to incur relevant costs eg. payroll, rental etc.
TAXATION OF LABUAN TRADING COMPANY
Labuan trading activity company can elect annually to pay:-
- 3% of net profits as per audited accounts; OR
Labuan entities that carry on non-Labuan business activity are subject to the provisions of the Malaysian Income Tax Act, 1967 (ITA).
WHY LABUAN IBFC FOR INTERNATIONAL TRADING BUSINESS?
- Tax system is simple, clear and straightforward.
- Possible to establish tax residency in Malaysia by demonstrating that its ‘highest level of control’ is exercised in Malaysia, Labuan in particular in this case.
- Access to Double Tax Agreements between Malaysia and over 70 countries.
- Labuan is a sophisticated financial centre where it is possible to create substance in real terms. A Labuan trading company has the ability to maintain local office, employ local staff and access to local support services at a relatively low cost.
- Strategically situated in the Asia Pacific region and sharing a common time zone with many large Asian cities.
- No withholding tax on payments made to non-residents.
- No import duty / sales tax / capital gain tax.
- No stamp duty on instruments relating to offshore business activities including share transfer.
- No foreign exchange controls.
- 50% tax abatement for expatriate professionals and managers employed under Labuan companies.
- 100% exemption for director’s fees received by non-citizen directors of Labuan companies.