Depreciation expenses of fixed assets that are owned by the company and within the limit of the depreciation expense calculated according to the straight-line method are deductible for the purpose of determination of taxable income at a maximum depreciation rate fixed by decree (decree 2008-492).
Buildings may be depreciated according to the accounting legislation. However, the tax deductible depreciation expense must not exceed the depreciation expense calculated at a maximum depreciation rate of 5%, according to the straight-line method. Extra depreciation expenses are to be added back to the taxable base subject to CIT.
Equipment and machinery may be depreciated according to the accounting legislation. However, the tax deductible depreciation expense must not exceed the depreciation expense calculated at a maximum depreciation rate of 15%, according to the straight-line method. Extra depreciation expenses are to be added back to the taxable base subject to CIT.
The equipment and machinery depreciation rates may be increased by 50% for companies operating in the manufacturing sector (and other than companies with seasonal activity), if the equipment is used at least 16 hours a day, or doubled if used 24 hours a day, but the tax deductible depreciation expense must not exceed the depreciation expense calculated at a maximum depreciation rate of 15%, according to the straight-line method, multiplied by 1.5 or by 2, depending on whether the equipment will be used 16 or 24 hours a day.
The tax incentives law provided for an additional deduction from taxable income/revenue at the rate of 30% with respect to amortisation of machinery, material, and equipment (except of tourism cars other than those constituting the main object of the company) acquired or manufactured by companies (other than those operating in the financial, energy except renewable energies, mines, real estate, on-time consumption, trade sectors, and telecom operators) during extension or renewal operations as defined by the investment law. Such deduction applies during the first year from the date of acquisition, manufacturing, or start of use.
Depreciation expenses of assets exploited under leasing contracts are also deductible for the purpose of determination of taxable income. In fact, even if assets exploited under leasing contracts are not owned by the company, they are booked as assets in the balance sheet and depreciated accordingly over a minimum period fixed by decree, as follows:
|Asset exploited under leasing contracts||Minimum period (years)|
|Machinery and equipment||4|
Depreciation of low-value fixed assets not exceeding TND 500 are fully deductible from the taxable income of the year of their acquisition.
Goodwill (fonds de commerce) amortisation expenses are not tax deductible for the purpose of the determination of taxable income.
The maximum amortisation expense allowed for deduction is equal to 100% of the start-up expenses.
Interest expenses (commissions, bank charges, interest loans, etc.) relating to loans contracted by the company and necessary for its proper functioning are tax deductible.
Interest expenses on shareholders current account are tax deductible within the limit of the maximum rate of 8%, provided that the capital is fully paid and the amount to be remunerated shall not exceed 50% of the capital; the rate of 8% is not applied to banks.
Provisions for bad debts are tax deductible within the limit of 50% of the taxable result (after deduction of non-taxable revenues and add-back of non-deductible charges).
The deduction of bad debts is subject to the presentation of a detailed statement of the concerned creditors while filing the annual CIT return, as well as court cases against the creditors in order to claim payment.
Provisions for bad debts that are initially constituted tax-free and become groundless during an exercise (e.g. by the covering of the debt totally or partially) are taxable.
Charitable contributions are either deductible:
- totally, in cases where they are granted notably to the state, local authorities, and state-owned companies, and to disability promotion organisations
- totally, with regard to the acquiring or constructing cost granted to spouses, ascendants, and descendants of martyrs of the army, internal security forces, and customs authorities
- totally, in cases where they are granted to associations working for the support of people without family support, and that realise their activities in accordance with the legislation in force, or
- within 0.2% of the revenue, in other cases.
The deduction of charitable contributions is subject to the presentation of a detailed statement of the beneficiaries while filing the annual CIT return of the year during which these charitable contributions were granted.
Fines and penalties
Transactions, fines, and any other penalties for violating legal provisions are not tax deductible. However, contractual penalties (e.g. for late payment) remain tax deductible.
All taxes due by the company are considered as tax-deductible charges, except CIT and CSS.
Note that when the tax due by non-resident, non-PEs on royalties is borne by a Tunisian-established company (the debtor), then the correspondent charge is not tax deductible.
Net operating losses
Under the Tunisian tax legislation, tax losses are divided into two categories: operating losses and deferred depreciation.
Operating losses are to be carried forward for five years, starting from the year following the one during which they were booked.
Deferred depreciation is to be carried forward indefinitely, starting from the year following the one during which they were booked.
With regard to the Tunisian tax legislation, operating losses cannot be carried back.
Payments to foreign affiliates
See Transfer pricing in the Group taxation section.