Israel continues to solidify its leading positions in the IT market by using tax policy. On January 1, 2017, Amendment 73 to the Law for the Encouragement of Capital Investments of 1959 entered into force. The main goal of the Amendment is to clarify, extend and improve the Israeli tax breaks for IT companies operating in Israel. Let’s review some of the most important of these Israeli IT tax breaks.
Israeli IT Tax Breaks: Preferred Technological Taxable Income Tax Rates
Starting year 2017, Israel will have three levels of taxation of what is termed as “preferred technological taxable income” (PTTI) of certain companies, referred to as “preferred enterprises” (PE). The tax rates will be as follows: 12% default rate, $7.5% development area A (special Israeli designation for certain areas) and just 6% in the case of a special preferred technological enterprise (SPTE). All of these rates compare favorably to the standard business tax rate in Israel of 24% (which was also lowered as of January 1, 2017 from 25%).
There is an important exception – R&D centers will not be entitled to a reduced corporate tax rate if the controlling shareholders or the beneficiaries are Israeli residents. Control here can be direct or indirect and it is defined as an entitlement to 25% or more of the income or profits of the R&D center.
Israeli IT Tax Breaks: IT Company Owners Dividend Tax Rates
The owners of IT companies get another tax break in the form of dividend withholding rates. Generally, the tax withholding rate for dividends paid to an owner of an IT company will be 20% (subject to any applicable tax treaty). However, the rate goes down to a mere 4% if the dividend is distributed to at least a 90% foreign resident corporate shareholder.
Again, these rate are below the general tax withholding rate of 30-33% for dividends paid out to shareholders who own at least 10% of the company.
Israeli IT Tax Breaks: Certain Capital Gains
The Israeli IT tax breaks also expand to capital gains in certain limited situations. Israeli IT companies that sell IP to a related foreign company will qualify for a reduced 6% capital gains tax rate, but only if the Israeli company developed or acquired the IP from a foreign company after January 1, 2017. Such sales are subject to the approval of the National Authority for Technological Innovation.
A Combined Effort of US and Israeli Lawyers Needed to Properly Plan A US Company’s Expansion to Israel
All of the tax law changes that I mentioned above are described here in a very general manner. There are very specific qualifications that need to be satisfied by a company in order to qualify for the Israeli IT Tax Breaks. This is why a US company will need to contact a specialized Israeli tax attorney to properly plan the expansion of its IT business to Israel.
At the same time, however, the work of the Israeli tax attorney should be coordinated with proper US tax planning, because US companies are taxed on their worldwide income and may potentially even be taxed on the income of their foreign subsidiaries. Therefore, the tax planning efforts of an Israeli tax attorney should be combined with those of a US tax attorney in order to produce a tax plan that will function properly in both jurisdictions at the same time.
Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With Your Business Tax Planning
If you wish to expand your business overseas, you need to contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional US business tax planning. Additionally, we can also help you with your US annual compliance with respect to your foreign assets and foreign income.