Overseas aspect of Corporate Tax in terms of Charge of Controlled Foreign Companies (CFC) and Permanent Establishment (PE) or Subsidiary Abroad for Companies having Formation of UK


This blog will discuss the charge of CFC including the profits’ apportionment or division, creditable tax and procedure of clearance. It will further take into account the Permanent Establishment (PE), its main principles, election to exempt the PE losses and profits abroad, incorporation of PE abroad and European Union companies.

Charge of Controlled Foreign Companies (CFC)

Profits’ Apportionment or Division

The companies of UK that are the owners of at least 25% of a controlled foreign company will be liable to tax on their share of the profits of the CFC that represent its chargeable profits.

A reg UK ltd company is held responsible for the self-assessment of the corporation tax because of the chargeable profits of CFC. The chargeable profits of the CFC are liable to tax at the corporation tax UK’s main rate.

Tax that is Creditable

The payable UK tax may be decremented by an amount of creditable tax where the apportionment of CFC profits is done which is aggregate of:

  • An income tax subtracted on source on the income that is acquired by the controlled foreign company.
  • Availability of any DTR present if the chargeable profits of the CFC were liable to tax of UK corporation under the rules in normal manner, that is, the payable UK corporation tax’s lower and payment of foreign corporation tax in actuality.
  • Corporation tax that is to be paid by reg UK ltd company in UK on any income of CFC is liable to tax in this country.

Procedure of Clearance

A procedure of clearance exists in which the HMRC has the duty to make the confirmation of the rules that will be applicable according to the circumstances of the company.

Permanent Establishment (PE) or Subsidiary Abroad

A company having formation of UK planning on how to set up a business UK that has a foreign branch, has to make a choice between a subsidiary and a permanent establishment (PE).

Main Principles for CFC and Personal Establishments

The case in which a foreign country possesses taxation of the company at a lower rate than the rate in UK, then it can prove advantageous for the company in UK to operate its activities abroad with the help of a subsidiary that does not reside in the UK if the anticipation of profits is done or with the help of a PE in the case of probability of losses to occur, under the condition that the rules of CFC are not applicable.

The rule in general is that the profits of a foreign PE are taken into account as the profit’s parts of the UK company and as a normal practice, are a part of the calculation of profits of trade. However, in the case that the overseas PE’s operational amount is a distinct trade that is completely operated abroad, then the assessment of profits is carried out in the form of a foreign income.

As far as the losses of a PE abroad are considered, as a normal practice, they are carried out against the income of the trade of UK company and as a usual practice, the reliefs for loss are available. The sustaining of losses can be done in the form of group relief to the extent they cannot be relieved against the overseas country’s profits. As a substitute manner, an overseas loss of trade of income can be carried forward in order to set it against the upcoming profits of the same trade.

The profits in the case of a non-resident subsidiary situated abroad, are not subject to the payment of UK tax, such as in the dividends form. However, any relief cannot be acquired against the profits of the UK parent for any losses abroad of a subsidiary that does not reside in the UK unless in the case of circumstances that are quite restricted.

Elections for the Exemption of Foreign Personal Establishment Losses and Profits

The making of an irrevocable election can be done in order to exempt every loss and profit of all the PEs abroad from the corporation tax of UK.

It is possible in an open ltd company in UK an election conducts in order to exclude the losses and profits of all its overseas PEs from the tax of corporation of UK. It should be noted here that the election can result in the disallowance of relief of loss for foreign PEs against profits of UK and that the election must be applicable to all of the PEs of the company in UK. As an example, consider that, it may not be possible to exempt a loss that makes the PE from the election. It is also meant by the election that no claim for the capital allowances can be made by the parent company in the UK keeping in consideration the preceding or present or upcoming expense of capital by exempt foreign PEs.

The election starts from the beginning of the accounting period. This accounting period is the one that starts after the making of election. The election is of irreversible nature and hence it is important to take into consideration, the effect of election being made for all the upcoming periods of accounting, specifically to consider if any of the PEs has the probability of making a loss.

The accountability of relief of double taxation should also be done in making the decision that if the election should be made. If it is meant by the operation of DTR that there is no or little payable UK corporation tax on the profits abroad, then it is a better choice to don’t go for the election. This leads to the conclusion that the relief for loss is available for the upcoming periods of accounting.

Incorporation of a Personal Establishment (PE) Abroad

The Decision of Incorporation

When a chance of a loss in the early years of overseas operation can be foreseen, it is then better to make the trade via a foreign Personal establishment (PE) while the losses occur. Then, as a usual manner, these are themselves netted off against the profits of the company in UK. And if the PE starts giving profit, then it should be considered whether the election should be made to exempt the losses and profits of all branches or the PE should be transmitted into a subsidiary that is not UK based, so that the accumulation of the profits can be done at overseas tax rate that is potentially lower.

It is meant by both of these ways that in the case of overseas profits, the payment of corporation tax of United Kingdom will not have to be made under the condition that a controlled foreign company does not replace a subsidiary. However, it is also meant by both of them that any upcoming losses abroad cannot be dismissed against profits of UK and the availability of capital allowances cannot be found.

It is important to be understood here that the elections made in order to exempt the PEs losses and profits is irreversible and is applicable to all the PEs whose operation is conducted by the open ltd company in UK. Hence, it is probably a better option to make the incorporation of personal establishments that are profitable and keep the maintenance of a combination of subsidiaries and PEs that may prove more flexible.

In the case if the decision is made for the conversion of an overseas PE into a subsidiary that is not UK resident, then there exist important implications of tax both in the UK and the foreign country.

Non-UK Company’s Issuance of Shares or Loan Stock

It is not legal for a company residing in UK to allow or cause a non-UK resident company which is under its control to issue or create any loan stock or shares. It is also not legal for a company residing in the UK to transfer any loan stock or shares of a company that is not residing in the UK which is under its control, to any person or allow it to be transferred to another person. However, there are certain scenarios that are not included in these regulations, such as where the transaction is between the groups or complete consideration is provided.

In the case of a transaction valued at about more than 100 million Euros, the report of the transaction should be provided to the HMRC within the duration of six months. Some specific exclusions exist such as the case of transaction being carried out in the course of a trade that is ordinary.

Gains Postponed

The conversion consists of the assets being disposed of that gives birth to a loss or a chargeable gain to the company in UK. A postponement of a chargeable gain can be done in the case where:

  • The transfer’s consideration is securities, completely or partly, i.e., shares and loan stock.
  • The transferring of trade of PE abroad is carried out and shifted to the company that does not reside in the UK including all the assets utilized for that trade (cash is not included).
  • A relief is claimed.
  • The company that transfers is an owner of minimum 25% of the share capital that is not a resident of the United Kingdom.

The net gains that occur on the transfer are fully postponed where only the securities are under consideration. In the case where a portion of the consideration is in any other form than securities, such as cash, then that part of the total gains is immediately liable to tax.

The postponing is of indefinite nature. The gain is only rendered chargeable when the company that makes the transfer makes the disposal of securities at any instant that are acquired upon the transfer or the company that is not resident in the UK within the transfer’s six years makes the disposal of any of the assets on which an occurrence of gain was observed when the transfer was made.

The concept of global group is applicable to some specific transfer of assets within the group and also where one company makes the disposal of its complete business or business in parts to some other company under the shelter of amalgamation or the reconstruction scheme. Such transfer of assets is on the basis of no loss or no gain under the condition that the assets that are transferred do not resultantly cause a potential leakage of the corporation tax of UK.

Companies in European Union

Suppose that one company is situated in one EU state while another company is situated in another EU state. In case of a trade in UK that has to be transferred between these companies, the transfer is made at a cost providing no loss or no gain, provided that all the conditions mentioned below are fulfilled:

  • The company that acquires the trade would make the payment of corporation tax of UK in the case of any gains that take place due to the later disposals of the assets that are transferred.
  • The reason for the transfer is purely bona fide commercial. An acquiring of advance clearance in the case of this condition being fulfilled can be done.
  • The transfer made is completely on the exchange of securities or shares.
  • Both the parties make a claim for this treatment that is considered special.

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