The Latest News on Finance Bill, International Trade and Expat Dual Nationality
French Finance Bill for 2020 enacted – individual income tax
Chief executives and directors of large French companies located in France are considered to be resident there for tax purposes
On 19 December 2019, the French Finance Bill for 2020 was adopted by the parliament. On 29 December 2019, it was gazetted into an act. The following individual income tax measures are in force in France, French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe and La Réunion as from 1 January 2020 (unless otherwise stated).
- A new residence rule for directors of large companies is introduced. Chief executives and directors of large French companies (i.e. companies with annual domestic turnover exceeding EUR 250 million, including turnover of related companies) located in France, French Guiana, Martinique, La Réunion or Guadeloupe are considered to be resident there for tax purposes. However, this presumption can be reversed if they can prove that they do not carry on their main activities in France or in any of the French overseas departments. This presumption applies with effect from 2019 for individual income tax purposes and from 2020 for wealth, gift and/or inheritance tax purposes.
- As from 1 January 2019, individual income tax is withheld on a monthly basis at the time of the payment of the income. Specific income thresholds applicable in French overseas departments have been modified in order to incorporate the reduction of progressive income tax rates as from 2020. The 43% maximum tax rate is applicable to monthly income above EUR 52,825 in Guadeloupe, La Réunion and Martinique, and to income above EUR 55,815 in French Guiana.
Port of Rotterdam feels pinch of slowing international trade
Economic growth in the EU declined somewhat, particularly as a consequence of reduced industrial production in Germany
The capacity in the Dutch port of Rotterdam in 2019 remained unchanged, as the slowdown in international trade stopped many shipments from Asia in the last months of the year.
According to port authorities, this for the most part affected containers, where growth in Europe’s largest seaport was minor in the second half of the year.
“Economic growth in the EU declined somewhat, particularly as a consequence of reduced industrial production in Germany”, the port said.
“Moreover, as a consequence of declining production and decreased growth in world trade, shipments from Asia were cancelled in November and December.”
The volume of cargo carried by trucks on ferries increased slightly, despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
But the port noticed considerable peaks in the so-called twist / descent segment ahead of Brexit’s possible dates last year as a sign of periodic stockpiling.
The Port of Rotterdam handles about 40 million tons of goods to and from the UK every year and has repeatedly warned of failures if Britain does not agree to a new streamlined trade relationship with the European Union.
UK Visa and Immigration rules destroying links with Africa
Ethiopian Prime Minister Advisor Arkebe Oqubay called the current British visa and immigration system “draconian”
African UK visa applicants are twice as likely to be denied a UK visa than anywhere else in the world. There are assertion of discrimination against those from Africa. There is also inconsistent decision making. This is a lottery regarding whether you will receive a visa. This is detrimental to the British reputation and relations with African countries.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Advisor Arkebe Oqubay says that ер strict British visa rules are ruining relations with African countries. Mr. Oqubay called the current British visa and immigration system “draconian” arguing that an increasing number of African scholars, businessmen, and students are facing visa barriers.
UK global talent visa
In an attempt to attract the most talented workers in the world, Boris Johnson announced that the UK will present a talented global visa, the opening of which is scheduled for February 20. Nevertheless, a number of business leaders expressed concern about the visa system, which allows entry to the UK only to the most highly qualified people, fearing a shortage of personnel in low-skilled jobs.
Links with outside Europe countries
Oqubay believes that Britain is doing a disservice to itself, destroying opportunities for establishing business, diplomatic and trade relations with countries outside the European realm.
Highlighting the recent UK-Africa Investment Summit held in London in January, Mr. Oqubay said: “Africa is now home to eight of the world’s 15 fastest-growing economies, but despite this, anyone wishing to visit Britain from Africa faces a cumbersome and convoluted visa process that many applicants find humiliating and discriminatory.”
Dutch expat dual nationality ruling could kickstart reforms
An important lawsuit focused on Dutch dual citizenship laws could be a breakthrough for people hoping to change the current limiting Dutch approach to having more than one passport.
The Netherlands Supreme Administrative Court held that the Dutch citizenship law, which states that persons with dual Dutch citizenship will lose their Dutch passports if they have been resident outside the European Union for at least 10 years, may be contrary to European law.
The Council of State, which oversees the last year decision of the European Court of Justice , says that the automatic loss of Dutch citizenship should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
The European Court did not decide that the Dutch process is illegal, but said that it should be proportionate, means compelling individual circumstances must be taken into consideration, given that the loss of Dutch citizenship also entails the loss of EU citizenship. The case concerned six people who had lost Dutch citizenship due to a 10-year rule.
Although the actual case itself is not very important for foreign citizens who are forced to renounce their original citizenship in order to become Dutch, it can now give an impetus to government reform, said immigration lawyer Jeremy Bierbach.
‘This automatic loss of Dutch nationality for dual nationals has already been deeply unpopular in the Dutch expat community,’ he said.
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