Certain tax incentives are provided to investors if they are located in prescribed areas, such as science parks, economic processing zones, free-trade-zones, etc. Other tax credits are granted to qualifying companies that invest in specific businesses or industries promoted by the government, such as biotech.
Research and development (R&D) tax incentives
Under the Statute for Industrial Innovation (SII), R&D credits are available for up to 15% of qualified R&D expenses incurred, with the maximum amount of tax credit capped at 30% of the tax payable for the year in which the expenses were incurred, including the 10% profit retention tax.
Effective from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2019, amendments to the SII provide another alternative for companies to claim an R&D credit of 10% of qualifying R&D expenses against income tax payable within a period of three years, starting from the current year. In addition, to facilitate the circulation and application of innovative R&D results, and to promote industrialisation of innovative technologies, where individuals/companies derive income from transfer or license of their self-developed intellectual property (IP), the amendments also allow the individuals/companies to either deduct qualifying R&D expenses of up to 200% (capped at corresponding income received) within the current year or claim R&D tax credits against income tax payable.
Moreover, according to the Statute for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), enterprises qualifying as SMEs may elect one of the following methods to calculate R&D credits, subject to the 30% cap mentioned above:
- 15% of qualified R&D expenses for the current year, with credits limited to the same year, or
- 10% of qualified R&D expenses for the current year, which can be carried forward for two ensuing years if the 30% cap mentioned above is exceeded.
According to Regulation Governing R&D Investment Tax Credit (ITC) Available to Profit-seeking Enterprises, a single annual application for R&D ITC should be made with the central competent authorities within four months prior to the CIT return filing due date. Information relating to R&D ITC should be provided with the CIT return.
Tax concessions on merger
A number of tax incentives are available under the Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Act to encourage M&A activities in Taiwan. Certain taxes, including business tax, deed tax, LVIT, securities transaction tax, and stamp tax, may be exempted or deferred in case of acquisitions, mergers, or corporate divisions (including spin-offs) that meet certain conditions.
After the merger, spin-off, or acquisition, any tax concession previously enjoyed by the merged entities will continue to be applicable to the surviving or newly-created company. However, it is required to manufacture the same products or provide the same services that were originally approved for tax concessions by the merged entities in order to continue the concessions obtained previously.
The unexpired and unutilised net operating losses of the participating entities prior to the merger or spin-off may be carried over to the surviving or newly-created entity according to the percentage of shareholding in the surviving or newly-created company held by all shareholders of the participating entities.
Income tax exemption is available if the shares acquired by a company as a result of transfer of its entire or substantial portion of business or assets to another company, or due to spin-off, is greater than 80% of the consideration of the entire transaction, and all the shares so acquired have been transferred to the shareholders of the transferor.
According to the Statute for the Establishment and Management of Free-trade-zones, foreign companies or their branch offices in Taiwan that apply for establishment in the free-trade-zone or delegate companies already established in the free-trade-zone to store and/or perform simple processing in the free-trade-zone and sell goods to customers within and outside of Taiwan shall be exempted from CIT. However, in the event that the annual domestic sales exceed 10% of the total annual domestic and foreign sales, the portion in excess shall not be exempted from CIT.
Foreign tax credit
Taiwan uses the credit method to avoid double taxation of income. Foreign taxes paid on foreign-sourced income may be credited against a company’s total Taiwan income tax liability. However, the credit is limited to the incremental taxes derived from the foreign-sourced income.