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Australia Corporate - Withholding taxes

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WHT rates are shown in the following table.

Recipient WHT (%)
Dividends (1) Interest (2) Royalties (3)
Resident corporations or individuals (35) 0 0 0
Non-resident corporations or individuals:      
Non-treaty 30 10 30
Treaty:      
Argentina 10/15 (4) 12 10/15 (4)
Austria (5) 15 10 10
Belgium 15 10 10
Canada 5/15 (6) 10 10
Chile (7) 5/15 (7) 5/10/15 (7) 5/10 (7)
China, People’s Republic of (8) 15 10 10
Czech Republic 5/15 (9) 10 10
Denmark 15 10 10
East Timor (Timor Sea Treaty) (10) 15 10 10
Fiji 20 10 15
Finland 0/5/15 (11) 0/10 (11) 5 (11)
France 0/5/15 (12) 0/10 (12) 5 (12)
Germany (34) 5/15 (34) 0/10 (34) 5
Hungary 15 10 10
India 15 15 10/15 (13)
Indonesia 15 10 10/15 (14)
Ireland, Republic of 15 10 10
Italy 15 10 10
Japan 0/5/10/15 (15) 0/10 (15) 5 (15)
Kiribati 20 10 15
Korea, Republic of 15 15 15
Malaysia 0/15 (16) 15 15
Malta 15 (17) 15 10
Mexico 0/15 (18) 10/15 (18) 10
Netherlands 15 10 10
New Zealand 0/5/15 (19) 0/10 (19) 5
Norway 0/5/15 (20) 0/10 (20) 5
Papua New Guinea 15/20 (21) 10 10
Philippines 15/25 (22) 10/15 (22) 15/25 (22)
Poland 15 10 10
Romania 5/15 (23) 10 10
Russian Federation 5/15 (24) 10 10
Singapore 0/15 10 10
Slovak Republic 15 10 10
South Africa 5/15 (25) 0/10 (25) 5
Spain 15 10 10
Sri Lanka 15 10 10
Sweden 15 10 10
Switzerland (26) 0/5/15 (26) 0/10 (26) 5/10 (26)
Taipei/Taiwan 10/15 (27) 10 12.5
Thailand 15/20 (28) 10/25 (28) 15
Turkey (29) 5/15 (29) 0/10 (29) 10
United Kingdom (30) 0/5/15 (31) 0/10 (31) 5
United States 0/5/15/30 (32) 0/10/15 (32) 5 (32)
Vietnam 10/15 (33) 10 10

Notes

  1. Dividends paid to non-residents are exempt from dividend WHT except when paid out of profits of a company that have not borne Australian tax (i.e. unfranked dividends). Dividends include those stock dividends that are taxable. The rates shown apply to dividends on both portfolio investments and substantial holdings other than dividends paid in connection with an Australian PE of the non-resident. Unfranked dividends paid to non-residents are exempt from dividend WHT to the extent that the dividends are declared by the company to be conduit foreign income. There is also a deduction in certain cases to compensate for the company tax on inter-entity distributions where these are on-paid by holding companies to a 100% parent that is a non-resident (see Dividend income in the Income determination section). Dividends paid to a non-resident in connection with an Australian PE are taxable to the non-resident on a net assessment basis (i.e. the dividend and associated deductions will need to be included in the determination of the non-resident's taxable income, the dividend is not subject to dividend WHT), and a franking tax offset is allowable to the non-resident company for franked dividends received.
  2. Australia's interest WHT rate is limited to 10% of gross interest, although the treaty may allow for a higher maximum limit. An exemption from Australian WHT can be obtained for interest on certain public issues or widely held issues of debentures. Provisions exist to ensure that discounts and other pecuniary benefits derived by non-residents on various forms of financings are subject to interest WHT. Interest paid to non-residents by offshore banking units is exempt from interest WHT where offshore borrowings are used in offshore banking activities (including lending to non-residents). An offshore borrowing is defined as a borrowing from (i) an unrelated non-resident in any currency or (ii) a resident or a related person in a currency other than Australian currency. The interest WHT rates listed above for residents in a treaty country are those that generally apply. It is common for Australia’s tax treaties to include a reduced limit for interest derived by certain government entities and/or financial institutions. One should refer to the relevant treaty for these limits.
  3. Royalties paid to non-residents (except in respect of a PE in Australia of a resident of a treaty country) are subject to 30% WHT (on the gross amount of the royalty), unless a DTA provides for a lesser rate. Tax is generally limited to the indicated percentage of the gross royalty.
  4. For Australian-sourced dividends that are franked under Australia's dividend imputation provisions and paid to a person who directly holds at least 10% of the voting power of the company, the limit is 10% (although note that Australia does not impose WHT on franked dividends). For Argentinean-sourced dividends paid to a person who holds at least 25% of the capital in the company, the limit is 10%. A 15% limit applies to other dividends. Source-country tax is limited to 10% of the gross amount of royalties in relation to copyright of literary, dramatic, musical, or other artistic work; the use of industrial or scientific equipment; the supply of scientific, technical, or industrial knowledge; assistance ancillary to the above; or certain forbearances in respect of the above. Source-country tax is limited to 10% of the net amount of royalties for certain technical assistance. In all other cases, it is limited to 15% of the gross amount of royalties.
  5. The government announced on 4 February 2010 that negotiations to update Australia's tax treaty with Austria would take place in March 2010. No further announcements have been made in relation to the progress of treaty negotiations.
  6. A 5% dividend WHT rate applies to franked dividends paid by an Australian resident company and, in the case of dividends paid by a Canadian resident company (other than a non-resident owned investment corporation), to a company that directly holds at least 10% of the voting power in the dividend company (although note that Australia does not impose WHT on franked dividends). Otherwise, the maximum WHT rate on dividends is 15%.
  7. A 5% dividend WHT rate applies to dividends paid to a company that directly holds at least 10% of the voting power in the company paying the dividends. Otherwise, the maximum WHT rate on dividends is 15%. In respect of interest, a 5% WHT rate applies to interest derived by a financial institution that is unrelated to and dealing wholly independently with the payer. Where the 5% rate does not apply, a 15% WHT rate applies to interest arising in Chile, and a 10% WHT rate applies to interest in all other cases. A 5% royalty WHT rate applies to royalties for the use of, or right to use, any industrial, commercial, or scientific equipment, and a 10% royalty WHT rate applies in all other cases.
  8. Except Hong Kong and Macau.
  9. The treaty between Australia and the Czech Republic allows Australia to impose a 5% WHT on the franked part of a dividend in certain circumstances (although note that Australia does not impose WHT on franked dividends). In the Czech Republic, a rate of 15% applies to the gross amount of dividends if the dividends are paid to a company that directly holds at least 20% of the capital of the company paying the dividend.
  10. East Timor does not have a comprehensive DTA with Australia. However, the Timor Sea Treaty governs the taxation rights between the two countries for petroleum-related activities conducted in the Joint Petroleum Development Area of the Timor Sea by any person or entity, irrespective of the residency status of that person or entity. Where the Timor Sea Treaty applies to third-country resident payees, only 10% of the total gross interest, dividend, or royalty payment is subject to Australian WHT, as follows:
    • Interest: 10% of total gross interest paid is subject to WHT at a rate of 10%.
    • Dividends: 10% of total gross unfranked dividends paid are subject to WHT at a rate of 15%, or at the relevant DTA rate of the recipient.
    • Royalties: 10% of total gross royalties paid is subject to WHT at a rate of 10%, or at the relevant DTA rate of the recipient. However, the other 90% of each such amount is subject to East Timorese WHT at the same rates.
  11. A zero WHT rate applies to inter-corporate dividends where the recipient directly holds 80% or more of the voting power of the company paying the dividend. A 5% rate limit applies on all other inter-corporate dividends where the recipient directly holds 10% or more of the voting power of the company paying the dividend. A 15% rate applies to all other dividends. A rate limit of 10% applies to interest, except no tax is chargeable in the source country on interest derived by a financial institution resident in the other country or a government or political or administrative subdivision or local authority or central bank of the other country. Amounts derived from equipment leasing (including certain container leasing) are excluded from the royalty definition and treated either as international transport operations or business profits.
  12. The source country exempts inter-corporate non-portfolio (i.e. minimum 10% shareholding) dividends paid out of profits that have borne the normal rate of company tax. There is a 5% rate limit for all other non-portfolio dividends. A rate limit of 15% applies for all other dividends. A rate limit of 10% applies to interest, except no tax is chargeable in the source country on interest derived by a financial institution resident in the other country or a government or political or administrative subdivision or local authority or central bank of the other country. Amounts derived from equipment leasing (including certain container leasing) are excluded from the royalty definition and treated either as international transport operations or business profits.
  13. The source-country limit under the Indian agreement is 10% for royalties paid in respect of the use of or rights to use industrial, commercial, or scientific equipment or for the provision of consulting services related to such equipment. In other cases, the limit is 15%.
  14. The source-country limit under the Indonesian agreement is 10% for royalties paid in respect of the use of or the right to use any industrial, commercial, or scientific equipment or for the supply of scientific, technical, industrial, or commercial knowledge or information, and it is 15% in other cases.
  15. The source country exempts inter-corporate dividends where the recipient directly holds 80% or more of the voting power of the company paying the dividend and certain limitation of benefit thresholds are met. A 5% rate limit applies on all other inter-corporate dividends where the recipient directly holds 10% or more of the voting power of the company paying the dividend. A rate limit of 10% otherwise applies for dividends. However, where the dividends are paid by a company that is a resident of Japan, which is entitled to a deduction for the dividends in Japan, the rate limit is 15% where more than 50% of the assets of the paying company consist, directly or indirectly, of real property situated in Japan and 10% in all other cases. Special rules apply to distributions to Japanese residents by real estate investment trusts (REITs). A rate limit of 10% applies to interest, except no tax is chargeable in the source country on interest derived by a financial institution resident in the other country or a government or political subdivision or local authority or central bank or other specified entity of the other country. Amounts derived from equipment leasing (including certain container leasing) are excluded from the royalty definition and treated either as international transport operations or business profits.
  16. A zero dividend WHT rate applies to franked dividends paid by an Australian resident company to an entity that directly holds at least 10% of the voting power in the dividend paying company’; otherwise, a 15% WHT rate applies. In relation to dividends paid by a company resident of Malaysia, no WHT applies.
  17. Source-country tax in Malta is limited to the tax chargeable on the profits out of which the dividends are paid.
  18. A zero dividend WHT rate applies to franked dividends paid (in Mexico, those dividends that have been paid from the net profit account) to a company that directly holds at least 10% of the voting power in the dividend paying company. In all other cases, a 15% WHT rate will apply to dividends. Source-country tax is limited to 10% when interest is paid to a bank or an insurance company, derived from bonds and securities that are regularly and substantially traded on a recognised securities market, paid by banks (except where the prior two criteria apply), or paid by the purchaser to the seller of machinery and equipment in connection with a sale on credit. It is 15% in all other cases.
  19. A zero WHT rate applies in certain cases to inter-corporate dividends where the recipient directly holds at least 80% of the voting power in the dividend paying company. A rate of 5% applies on all other inter-corporate dividends where the recipient directly holds 10% or more of the voting power of the company paying the dividend. A general limit of 15% applies for all other dividends. Source-country tax on interest is limited to 10%. However, no tax is chargeable in the source country on interest derived by a government or a political subdivision or local authority of the other country (including a government investment fund or a bank performing central banking functions) or on interest derived by a financial institution that is unrelated to and dealing wholly independently of the payer (excluding interest paid as part of a back-to-back loan arrangement and, for New Zealand payers, where that person has not paid approved issuer levy).
  20. A zero WHT rate applies in certain cases to inter-corporate dividends where the recipient directly holds at least 80% of the voting power in the dividend paying company for the 12-month period prior to payment. A rate of 5% applies to all other inter-corporate dividends where the recipient directly holds 10% or more of the voting power of the company paying the dividend. A general limit of 15% applies to all other dividends. A general rate limit of 10% applies to interest. However, no tax is chargeable in the source country on interest derived by a government of the other country (including its money institutions or a bank performing central banking functions) from the investment of official reserve assets and on interest derived by a financial institution resident in the other country (excluding interest paid as part of a back-to-back loan arrangement).
  21. For Australian-source dividends, the limit is 15%. Where dividends are sourced in Papua New Guinea, the limit is 20%.
  22. Source-country tax is limited to 15% where relief by way of rebate or credit is given to the beneficial owner of the dividend. In any other case, source-country tax is limited to 25%. Source-country tax generally is limited to 15% of gross royalties if paid by an approved Philippines enterprise. In all other cases, the rate is limited to 25% of the gross royalties.
  23. Source-country tax (Australia) is limited to 5% where a dividend is paid to a Romanian resident company that directly holds at least 10% of the capital of the Australian company paying the dividend to the extent that the dividend is fully franked. Source-country tax (Romania) is limited to 5% where a dividend is paid to an Australian resident company that directly holds at least 10% of the capital of the Romanian company paying the dividend if the dividend is paid out of profits that have been subject to Romanian profits tax. In other cases, it is limited to 15%.
  24. Source-country tax generally is limited to 15%. However, a rate of 5% applies where the dividends have been fully taxed at the corporate level, the recipient is a company that has a minimum direct holding in the paying company, and the recipient has invested a minimum of AUD 700,000 or the Russian ruble equivalent in the paying company. Where the dividends are paid by a company that is a resident in Russia, the dividends are exempt from Australian tax.
  25. A 5% rate limit applies on all inter-corporate dividends where the recipient directly holds 10% or more of the voting power of the company paying the dividend. A rate limit of 15% otherwise applies for dividends. A general rate limit of 10% applies to interest. However, no tax is chargeable in the source country on interest derived by a government of the other country (including a bank performing central banking functions) and on interest derived by a financial institution resident in the other country (excluding interest paid as part of a back-to-back loan arrangement).
  26. The DTA applies a 5% WHT rate to dividends paid to companies that hold directly 10% or more of the voting power of the paying company. Dividends paid to publicly listed companies, or subsidiaries thereof, or to unlisted companies in certain circumstances, that hold 80% or more of the voting power of the paying company will be exempt from dividend WHT. Dividends paid to government or a political subdivision or local authority (including a government investment fund), a central bank, complying Australian superannuation funds, and tax exempt Swiss pension schemes will also be exempt from dividend WHT. In all other cases, a 15% WHT rate will apply. A general rate limit of 10% applies to interest. However, interest paid to bodies exercising governmental functions, banks performing central banking functions, banks that are unrelated to and dealing independently with the payer, complying Australian superannuation funds, and tax exempt Swiss pension schemes are exempt from interest WHT. The DTA applies a 5% WHT on royalties.
  27. Source-country tax (Taiwan) is limited to 10% of the gross amount of the dividends paid to a company that holds at least 25% of the capital of the company paying the dividends. A rate of 15% applies in all other cases. To the extent that dividends are franked because they are paid out of profits that have borne Australian tax, they are exempt from dividend WHT (See Note 1 above). The treaty allows Australia to impose a 10% WHT on the franked part of a dividend.
  28. The source-country limit on dividends where the recipient has a minimum 25% direct holding in the paying company is 15% if the paying company engages in an industrial undertaking; 20% in other cases. The source-country limit on interest is 10% when interest is paid to a financial institution.
  29. A 5% WHT rate applies to inter-corporate dividends where the recipient directly owns 10% of the voting power of an Australian resident company or directly owns 25% of the capital of a Turkish resident company where the profits out of which the dividend is paid has been subject to the full rate of corporation tax in Turkey. In all other cases, a 15% WHT rate will apply. The DTA applies a general limit of 10% WHT on interest. However, interest derived from the investment of official reserve assets by the either the Australian or Turkish government, the Australian or Turkish central bank, or a bank performing central banking functions in either Australia or Turkey shall be exempt from interest WHT.
  30. On 28 October 2008, it was announced that the Australian and the United Kingdom governments would commence negotiations on a revised tax treaty. No further announcements have been made in relation to the progress of treaty negotiations.
  31. Source-country tax on dividends is generally limited to 15%. However, an exemption applies for dividends paid to a listed company that satisfies certain public listing requirements and controls 80% or more of the voting power in the company paying the dividend, and a 5% limit applies to dividends paid to other companies with voting power of 10% or greater in the dividend paying company. Source-country tax on interest is generally limited to 10%. However, generally zero interest WHT is payable where interest is paid to a financial institution or a government body exercising governmental functions.
  32. Source-country tax on dividends is generally limited to 15%. No source country tax is chargeable on dividends to a beneficially entitled company that satisfies certain public listing requirements and holds 80% or more of the voting power in the company paying the dividend. A 5% limit applies to dividends paid to other companies with voting power of 10% or greater in the dividend paying company. No limit applies to US tax on dividends paid on certain substantial holdings of Australian residents in US REITs. In practical terms, US tax on these dividends is increased from 15% to the current US domestic law rate of 30%. The 15% rate applies to REIT investments made by certain listed Australian property trusts subject to the underlying ownership requirements not exceeding certain levels. Investments in REITs by listed Australian property trusts acquired before 26 March 2001 are protected from the increased rate. Source-country tax on interest generally is limited to 10%. However, generally zero interest WHT is payable where interest is paid to a financial institution or a government body exercising governmental functions. Rules consistent with US tax treaty policy and practice will allow interest to be taxed at a higher 15% rate (the rate that generally applies to dividends) and for tax to be charged on intra-entity interest payments between a branch and its head office. Amounts derived from equipment leasing (including container leasing) are excluded from the royalty definition.
  33. Source-country tax is limited to 15% (Australia) and 10% (Vietnam).
  34. Germany and Australia signed a new tax treaty, which took effect in relation to WHTs from 1 January 2017. Source-country tax on dividends will be generally limited to 15%, subject to an exemption for dividends paid to a beneficially entitled company that satisfies certain public listing requirements and holds 80% or more of the voting power in the company paying the dividend and a 5% limit that will apply to dividends paid to companies with voting power of 10% or greater in the dividend paying company. Source-country tax on interest is generally limited to 10%. However, zero interest WHT will be payable where interest is paid to a financial institution or a government body exercising governmental functions.
  35. Where the recipient does not quote a Tax File Number (or Australian Business Number), the payer is obligated to withhold tax at the rate of 47% from 1 July 2017 (previously 49%) under the Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) withholding regime. No withholding is required in relation to franked dividends.

Other payments

A PAYG withholding regime applies to require the deduction and remittance of taxes on behalf of foreign resident individuals and entities that are in receipt of the following types of payments:

Type of payment Rate of withholding (%)
Payments for promoting or organising casino gaming junket arrangements 3
Payments for performing artists and sportspersons, including payments to support staff such as art directors, bodyguards, coaches, hairdressers, and personal trainers:  
if recipient is a company 30
if recipient is an individual the applicable non-resident marginal tax rate
Payments under contracts entered into for the construction, installation, and upgrading of buildings, plant, and fixtures, and for associated activities 5

Managed investment trust (MIT) distributions

For MIT fund payments to a non-resident investor, a WHT regime applies, with divergent outcomes, depending upon whether or not the recipient of such fund payments is resident of a country identified as being one with which Australia has an effective exchange of information (EEOI) arrangement and which is regulated as such for purposes of these rules. For a resident of a regulated EEOI country, a final WHT at a 15% rate applies for distributions. For residents of non-EEOI regulated countries, a final WHT at a 30% rate applies.

There are also proposals to limit access to tax concessions for foreign investors by increasing the MIT withholding rate on income attributable to a trading business or amounts from certain cross-staple arrangements to a rate equal to the top corporate tax rate (currently 30%), rather than 15%. This is proposed to apply to a fund payment made by an MIT on or after 1 July 2019, subject to transitional relief for certain pre-existing arrangements held immediately before 27 March 2018.

Distributions from an MIT that holds only certified 'clean buildings' is eligible for a reduced rate of WHT of 10% where the recipient of the fund payment is a resident of a regulated EEOI country.

EEOI countries that have been identified by regulation are Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, the Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, the Cook Islands, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Macau, Mauritius, Monaco, the Netherlands Antilles, San Marino, St. Christopher and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Turks and Caicos Islands, as well as countries with which Australia has concluded DTAs, other than Austria, Chile, Greece, the Philippines, Switzerland, and Turkey. Australia has entered into EEOI agreements with Andorra, Bahrain,Brunei (not yet in force), Chile, Costa Rica, Dominica, Grenada, Guatemala (not yet in force), Liberia, Liechtenstein, the Marshall Islands, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Switzerland, Turkey, Uruguay, and Vanuatu; however, these countries have not yet been identified in regulations to be EEOI countries.

Australia has an attribution tax regime that certain MITs (known as attribution managed investment trusts or AMITs) can choose to adopt to apply. The allocation of trust components to the members of an AMIT will be based on an ‘attribution’ rather than based on present entitlement to distributable income. Members of an AMIT will be taxed on the parts of the AMIT's trust components that are attributed to them as if they derived those amounts in their own right and in the same circumstances as the AMIT.


Last Reviewed - 29 June 2018

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