Companies operating under a special tax regime are exempted from CIT, sales tax, customs duties, and some municipal taxes. These special tax regimes are the following:
- Free trade zones (FTZs).
- Industrial processing zone (Zona Industrial de Procesamiento or ZIP).
- Temporary import regime (Régimen de Importación Temporal or RIT).
- Tourism incentive law.
- Law promoting the generation of electric energy with renewable resources (Ley de Promoción a la Generación de Energía Eléctrica con Recursos Renovables), which provides tax exemptions for ten years for projects generating 50MW and over.
- In the regulations for the FTZs there is a consideration for international service companies (e.g. business processing operations [BPOs], call centres and contact centres, shared service centres) that will have the same tax exoneration provided by this regime.
- The Call Centre and BPO Promotion Law, which provides a tax holiday on import of tools, parts, accessories, furniture and office equipment, and all goods involved with the company’s active business as well as an income tax holiday on revenue from all the business activities carried out within the FTZs.
Companies must comply with some governmental requirements to operate under one of the above-mentioned special regimes.
Companies under special tax regimes are allowed to sell their partial or total production in the local market; income from local sales will be subject to the regular corporate tax regulations.
The Organic Work Regions and Economic Development Law (Ley Orgánica de las Zonas de Empleo y Desarrollo Económico) allows the beneficiaries of this law to use reduced rates for income tax, sales tax, property tax, real estate tax, and flat tax.
There is a reform to the tariff and customs legislation that grants tax exonerations in general; the government established in the Decree No. 278-2013 a list of the valid tariff and customs tax exonerations decrees that continue to have the corresponding benefits (contact your local PwC practice for more information).
There is also a reform to the income tax legislation that grants tax exonerations in general; the government established in the Decree No. 278-2013 a list of the valid income tax exonerations decrees that continue to have the corresponding benefits (contact your local PwC practice for more information).
Effective 1 January 2014, the term of tax exoneration is limited to 12 years to those companies under special tax regimes with no specific term for their tax benefits specified in their corresponding resolution issued by the government.
Effective 5 June 2014, the Law for the Promotion and Protection of Investment (Ley para la Promoción y Protección de las Inversiones) was amended, establishing a 15-year term for tax stability agreements, except for Public and Private Alliances projects. At the same time, it repeals the special income tax discounts granted by this law.
Special benefits exist for industries that import semi-manufactured materials for assembly in Honduras and export finished products. Benefits consist of duty-free imports of raw materials for subsequent export as manufactured products. Machinery for these industries may also be imported duty-free.
Zone for Employment and Economic Development (Zonas de empleo y desarrollo económico or ZEDE)
A ZEDE is a country area subject to a special regime that allows it to be autonomously managed and manage its own fiscal policy, security, investment promotion, conflict resolution, and service delivery.
Any natural or legal person, without discrimination of any kind, can be part of the ZEDE. Only immovable property within the scope of their competence is subject to a special regime of incorporation into law.
- International Financial Centres.
- International Logistics Centres.
- International Business Courts.
- Autonomous Cities.
- Special Economic Zones.
- Areas subject to a special legal system.
- Special Investment Districts.
- Renewable Energy Districts.
- Special Agro industrial Areas.
- Special Tourist Areas.
- Social Mining Areas.
- Social Forest Areas.
- Any combination of these.
- They have legal personality.
- They are subject to a special tax regime.
- They can contract obligations as long as they do not require the guarantee or the joint guarantee of the government.
- They can celebrate contracts until the fulfilment of their objectives during several governments.
- They enjoy functional and administrative autonomy that must include the functions, powers, and obligations that the Constitution and the laws confer on the municipalities.
- They have domestic courts that are part of the judiciary but operate autonomously and independently and under the Common Law.
- ZEDEs have an independent financial regime, are authorised to use their financial income exclusively for their own purposes, and they transfer resources to the authorities of the rest of the country.
- They are required to achieve fiscal balance, avoid deficits, and keep the budget in line with the growth rate of their gross domestic product.
- They must have an independent tax system and should be guided by a low tax policy.
- There will be no exchange control policies within the ZEDE.
- The payment methods circulating within them must be freely convertible.
Taxes in a ZEDE:
- Income tax for natural persons that may not exceed 12%.
- Income tax for legal persons that may not exceed 16%.
- Value-added tax (VAT) that may not exceed 5%.
- Property tax on land with no use, whose percentage will be fixed by ZEDE.
- Real estate tax, whose percentage will be fixed by ZEDE.
Foreign tax credit
There are no provisions for foreign tax credits in Honduras.