Corporate - Significant developments

Last reviewed - 31 December 2022

Issuance of withholding tax (WHT) certificates from an electronic platform

The Finance Law 2022 provides that WHT certificates will be issued through an electronic platform that will be implemented by the Ministry of Finance. The scope, terms, and deadlines for the application of this provision will be set by an order of the Minister of Finance.

Regarding the WHT imputation, the Finance Law provides that WHT that should be issued within the electronic platform that has been issued manually, paid by any taxpayer or on one's behalf for a fiscal year, is not deductible from the corporate income tax (CIT) due. WHT on value-added tax (VAT) is deductible only if it is covered by a certificate issued on the platform (subject to the terms and deadlines that will be set by the order of the Minister of Finance).

A tax fine equal to 30% of the amount of the WHT, with a minimum of 50 Tunisian dinars (TND) per certificate, is applicable for any person who submits a WHT certificate issued manually without going through the electronic platform set up by the Ministry of Finance.

Introduction of a new category of tax audit, namely the 'spot tax audit'

The Finance Law 2022 introduced a new category of tax audit, namely the 'spot tax audit'. This tax audit relates to the situation of the taxpayer for a period not exceeding one year. This tax audit cannot be carried out more than once a year, except at the request of the taxpayer. The prior notification of the 'spot tax audit' should indicate, in particular, its nature and, if necessary, the operations or data concerned by the tax audit.

The 'spot tax audit' is subject to all the rules and procedures relating to the in-depth tax audit of the fiscal situation, subject to particular provisions.

Modification of customs duties due on products

The Finance Law 2022 has increased customs duties from 0%, 15%, or 30% to 43% for some products (cements, paints, perfumes and toilet waters, beauty or make-up products, soaps, etc.) and from 0%, 15%, 30%, or 36% to 50% for others (cheeses, honey, vegetables and fruits, coffee, sausages, bakery and pastry products, etc.).

In addition, the Finance Law 2022 has decreased customs duties on solar panels from 20% to 10% and provided a decrease of customs duties on some vehicles with a hybrid thermal and electric engine.

Increase of the fixed registration fee due on acts

The Finance Law 2022 increased the fixed registration fee from TND 25 to TND 30 per page and per copy on acts and transfers as provided for by Article 23 of the Registration and Stamp Duties Code.

Legal revaluation regime

The Finance Law 2022 has extended the legal revaluation regime to buildings and lands for legal companies subject to CIT. Hence, all companies (in all sectors of activities) can revaluate immovable properties (buildings and lands) (as defined by accounting legislation) that are in their balance sheet according to their real value without exceeding the value calculated through the revaluation of the purchase or cost price in application of the revaluation indices fixed by presidential decree.

This revaluation applies to buildings and lands that are in the companies’ balance sheets for the financial year ended 31 December 2021 and subsequent years.

For the other fixed assets, the revaluation instituted by the Finance Law 2019 remains limited to companies, subject to CIT, operating only in the industry sector.

The revaluation gain is not subject to CIT, provided that it is booked in a special equity account (special revaluation reserve) that is undistributable and unusable by any means except in case of sale of the re-valuated assets. Also, the revaluation loss is not tax deductible from the taxable income.

The revaluation of buildings and lands does not give the right to additional depreciation. The latter continue to be applied on the basis of the cost price or the historical acquisition cost and at the rates applicable before the revaluation, knowing that lands are not depreciable from a tax point of view.

In case of sale (after ten years), the capital gain is not subject to CIT within the limit of the capital gain derived from the revaluation of the property sold. Also, the sale loss of revalued assets is not deductible from taxable income up to the revaluation gain.

The benefit of this revaluation regime is subject to the condition of non-transfer of the revalued buildings and lands for a minimum period of ten years from 1 January of the year following that of the revaluation.

Encouragement of companies to finance the research and development (R&D) expenses

The Finance Law 2022 provides an additional deduction of 50% of R&D expenses incurred by companies under agreements concluded with public scientific research establishments, public education and research establishments, or other public establishments authorised for research under the laws and regulations in force.

The following conditions apply:

  • The company's contribution to the total R&D expenses covered by the agreement is not less than 10% of the total amount of these expenses.
  • The additional deduction does not exceed TND 200,000 per year.

Considering that the additional deduction represents a fictitious charge, which does not correspond to any current expense, it should be recorded in an extra-accounting manner through a deduction from the accounting result.

Royalty on sales of computer applications and services rendered via the Internet (the equivalent of a digital services tax [DST])

The Finance Law 2020 provides that sales of computer applications and services performed via the Internet by companies non-resident, non-established in Tunisia are subject to a royalty calculated at the rate of 3% on the revenue (excluding taxes) realised by persons and companies tax resident in Tunisia.

The said non-resident companies should declare the aforementioned turnover quarterly. The procedures for declaration and payment will be fixed by government decree (not yet published).