A company incorporated in Malta is considered as both domiciled and resident in Malta and is consequently taxable on a worldwide basis. A non-Maltese incorporated company that is resident in Malta through management and control is subject to Maltese tax on income arising in Malta and on income received in/remitted to Malta.
Companies are subject to income tax at a flat rate of 35%. There is no corporate tax structure separate from income tax.
Petroleum profits tax
Petroleum profits tax is levied as income tax with similar deductions being allowed in respect of incurred expenditure. In the case of a Production Sharing Contract signed after 1 January 1996, any petroleum profits are taxed at the standard corporate tax rate of 35%. However, all other petroleum profits are subject to a 50% tax rate.
Insurance profits tax
Insurance profits tax is levied as income tax and subject to the normal standard tax rate of 35% as other corporate profits; however, the manner in which such profits are ascertained is subject to a number of detailed rules that take into account the special nature of the insurance industry. In the case of non-resident companies, the computation is applied with reference only to business carried on in or from Malta.
Shipping profits tax
A tonnage tax system is applicable under Maltese law. Such regime covers profits from shipping activities as defined under the applicable regulations that are derived by qualifying Maltese-flagged and European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA) vessels as well as non-EU/EEA vessels satisfying certain additional rules. Furthermore, qualifying ship management activities are also entitled to the tonnage tax system.
Recent amendments to the Maltese tonnage tax regulations allow the exemption of certain shipping income from being charged under income tax. These amendments provide that, subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions, which conditions are modelled on the EU Community Guidelines on state aid to maritime transport, and the full payment of all relevant tonnage taxes by a shipping organisation, a shipping organisation shall not be charged further income tax on the income derived from shipping activities. Income derived from ship management activities may also qualify for the tonnage tax exemption. Furthermore, any further tax derived from income or profit gained from the sale or other transfer of a tonnage tax ship, which ship had been acquired and sold whilst under the tonnage tax system, or from the disposal of any rights to acquire a ship, which when delivered or completed would qualify as a tonnage tax ship, would be exempt.