A Before and After Impact Comparison of Applying Statute for Industrial Innovation Article 23-1 Draft on Venture Capital Limited Partnerships

A Before and After Impact Comparison of Applying Statute for Industrial Innovation Article 23-1 Draft on Venture Capital Limited Partnerships

I. Background

  Because the business models adopted by Industries, such as venture capital, film, stage performance and others, are intended to be temporary entities, and the existing business laws are not applicable for such industries,[1] the Legislature Yuan passed the “Limited Partnership Act” in June 2015,[2] for the purpose of encouraging capital injection into these industries. However, since the Act was passed, there are currently only nine limited partnerships listed on the Ministry of Economic Affairs' limited partnership information website. Among them, “Da-Zuo Limited Partnership (Germany) Taiwan Branch” and “Stober Antriebstechnik Limited Partnership (Germany) Taiwan Branch”, are branch companies established by foreign businesses, the remaining seven companies are audio video production and information service businesses. It is a pity that no venture capital company is adopting this format.[3]

  In fact, several foreign countries have set up supporting measures for their taxation systems targeting those business structures, such as limited partnerships. For example, the pass-through taxation method (or referred to as single entity taxation) is adopted by the United States, while Transparenzprinzip is used by Germany. These two taxation methods may have different names, but their core ideas are to pass the profits of a limited partnership to the earnings of partners.[4] However, following the adoption of the Limited Partnership Act in Taiwan, the Ministry of Finance issued an interpretation letter stating that because the current legal system confers an independent legal entity status to the business structure of a limited partnership, it should be treated as a profit-seeking business and taxed with Profit-Seeking Enterprise Income Tax.[5] Therefore, to actualize the legislative objective of encouraging innovative businesses organized under tenets of the Limited Partnership Act, the Executive Yuan presented a draft amendment for Article 23-1 of the Statute for Industrial Innovation (hereinafter referred to as the Draft), introducing the "Pass Through Taxation Principle" as adopted by several foreign countries. That is, a Limited Partnership will not be levied with the Profit-Seeking Enterprise Income Tax, but each partner will file income tax reports based on after-profit-gains from the partnership that are passed through to each partner. It is expected that the venture capital industry will now be encouraged to adopt the limited partnership structure, and thus increase investment capital in new ventures.

II. The Pass Through Taxation Method is Applicable to Newly Established Venture Capital Limited Partnerships

1. The Requirements and Effects

  (1) The Requirements

  According to the provisions of Article 23-1 Paragraph 3 of the Draft, to be eligible for Pass Through Taxation, newly established venture capital limited partnerships must meet the following requirements: 

1. The venture capital limited partnerships are established between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2019.

2. Investment threshold of the total agreed capital contribution, total received capital contribution, and accumulated total capital contribution, within five years of the establishment of venture capital limited partnerships:

 

Total Agreed Capital Contribution in the Limited Partnership Agreement

Total Received Capital Contribution

Accumulated Investment Amount for Start-up Companies

The Year of Establishment

3 hundred million

The Second Year

The Third Year

1 hundred million

The Fourth Year

2 hundred million

Reaching 30 percent of the total received capital contribution of the year or 3 hundred million NT dollars.

The Fifth Year

3 hundred million

3. The total amount, that an overseas company applies in capital and investments in actual business operations in Taiwan, reaches 50% of its total received capital contribution of that year.

4. In compliance with government policies.

5. Reviewed and approved by the central competent authority each year.

  (2) The Effects

  The effects of applying the provisions of Article 23-1 Paragraph 3 of the Draft are as follows:

1. Venture capital limited partnerships are exempt from the Profit-Seeking Enterprise Income Tax.

2. Taxation method for partners in a limited partnership after obtaining profit gains:
(1) Pursuant to the Income Tax Act, Individual partners and for-profit business partners are taxed on their proportionally-calculated, distributed earnings.
(2) Individual partners and foreign for-profit business partners are exempt from income tax on the stock earnings distributed by a limited partnership.

2. Benefit Analysis Before and After Applying Pass Through Taxation Method

  A domestic individual A, a domestic profit-making business B, and a foreign profit-making business C jointly form a venture capital limited partnership, One. The earnings distribution of the company One is 10%, 80% and 10% for A, B, and C partners, respectively. The calculated earnings of company One are one million (where eight hundred thousand are stock earnings, and two hundred thousand are non-stock earnings). How much income tax should be paid by the company One, and partners A, B, and C?

  (1) Pursuant to the Income Tax Act, before the amended draft:

1. One Venture Capital Limited Partnership
Should pay Profit-Seeking Enterprise Income Tax = (NT$1,000,000 (earning) - NT$500,000[6])x12% (tax rate[7])=NT$60,000

2. Domestic Individual A
Should file a comprehensive income report with business profit income =(NT$1,000,000-NT$60,000) x 10% (company One draft a voucher for net amount for A) + NT$60,000÷2×10% (deductible tax rate)= NT$97,000
Tax payable on profit earnings=NT$91,500×5%(tax rate)=NT$4,850
Actual income tax paid=NT$4,850 - NT$60,000÷2×10% (deductible tax rate) =NT$1,485

3. Domestic For-Profit Business B
Pursuant to the provisions of Article 42 of the Income Tax Act, the net dividend or net income received by a profit-seeking company is not included in the income tax calculation.

4. Foreign For-Profit Business C
Tax paid at its earning source=(NT$1,000,000 - NT$60,000) ×10% (earning distribution rate) ×20% (tax rate at earning source)=NT$18,800

  (2) Applying Pass Through Taxation Method After Enacting the Amendment

1. One Venture Capital Limited Partnership
No income tax.

2. Domestic Individual A
Should pay tax=NT$800,000 (non-stock distributed earnings)×10% (earning distribution rate)×5% (comprehensive income tax rate)=NT$1,000

3. Domestic For-Profit Business B
Pursuant to the provisions of Article 42 of the Income Tax Act, the net dividend or net income received by a profit-seeking company is not included in the income tax calculation.

4. Foreign For-Profit Business C
Tax paid at its earning source=NT$800,000 (non-stock distributed earnings)×10%(earning distribution rate)×20% (tax rate at earning source)=NT$4,000

  The aforementioned example shows that under the situation, where the earning distribution is the same and tax rate for the same taxation subject is the same, the newly-established venture capital limited partnerships and their shareholders enjoy a more favorable tax benefit with the adoption of pass through taxation method:

 

Before the Amendment

After the Amendment

Venture Capital Limited Partnership

NT$60,000

Excluded in calculation

Shareholders

Domestic Individual

NT$1,850

NT$1,000

Domestic For-Profit Business

Excluded in calculation

Excluded in calculation

Foreign For-Profit Business

NT$18,800

NT$4,000

Sub-total

NT$80,650

NT$5,000

III. Conclusion

  Compared to the corporate taxation, the application of the pass through taxation method allows for a significant reduction in tax burden. While developing Taiwan’s pass through tax scheme, the government referenced corporate taxation under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code (IRC), where companies that meet the conditions of Chapter S can adopt the “pass through” method, that is, pass the earnings to the owner, with the income of shareholders being the objects of taxation;[8] and studied the "Transparenzprinzip" adopted by the German taxation board for partnership style for-profit businesses. Following these legislative examples, where profits are identified as belonging to organization members,[9] the government legislation includes the adoption of the pass through taxation scheme for venture capital limited partnerships in the amended draft of Article 23-1 of the Statute for Industrial Innovation, so that the legislation is up to international standards and norms, while making an important breakthrough in the current income tax system. This is truly worthy of praise.


[1] The Legislative Yuan Gazette, Vol. 104, No. 51, page 325. URL:http://misq.ly.gov.tw/MISQ//IQuery/misq5000Action.action

[2] A View on the Limited Partnership in Taiwan, Cross-Strait Law Review, No. 54, Liao, Da-Ying, Page 42.

[3] Ministry of Economic Affairs - Limited Partnership Registration Information URL: http://gcis.nat.gov.tw/lmpub/lms/dir.jsp?showgcislocation=true&agencycode=allbf

[4] Same as annotate 2, pages 51-52.

[5] Reference Letter of Interpretation dated December 18, 2015, Tai-Cai-Shui Zi No. 10400636640, the Ministry of Finance

[6] First half of Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Income Basic Tax Act

[7] Second half of Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Income Basic Tax Act

[8] A Study on the Limited Partnership Act,  Master’s degree thesis, College of Law, Soochow University, Wu, Tsung-Yeh, pages 95-96.

[9] Reference annotate 2, pages 52.

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※A Before and After Impact Comparison of Applying Statute for Industrial Innovation Article 23-1 Draft on Venture Capital Limited Partnerships,STLI, https://stli.iii.org.tw/en/article-detail.aspx?no=105&tp=2&i=168&d=8026 (Date:2020/10/25)
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The ministry will devote NT$16 billion over the next five years to building an AI innovation ecosystem in R.O.C. According to MOST, the plan will promote five strategies:   1. Creating an AI platform to provide R&D services   MOST will devote NT$5 billion over the next four years to build a platform, integrating the resources, providing a shared high-speed computing environment and nurturing emerging AI industries and applications.   2. Establishing an AI innovative research center   MOST will four artificial intelligence innovation research centers across R.O.C. as part of government efforts to enhance the nation’s competitiveness in AI technology. The centers will support the development of new AI in the realms of financial technology, smart manufacturing, smart healthcare and intelligent transportation systems.   3. Setting up AI robot maker spaces   An NT$2 billion, four-year project assisting industry to develop the hardware-software integration of robots and innovative applications was announced by the Ministry of Science and Technology.   4. Subsidizing a semiconductor “moonshot” program to explore ambitious and groundbreaking smart technologies   This program will invest NT$4 billion from 2018 through 2021 into developing semiconductors and chip systems for edge devices as well as integrating the academic sector’s R&D capabilities and resources. the project encompasses cognitive computing and AI processor chips; next-generation memory designs; process technologies and materials for key components of sensing devices; unmanned vehicles, AR and VR; IoT systems and security.   5. Organizing Formosa Grand Challenge competitions   The program is held in competitions to engage young people in the development of AI applications.   The government hopes to extend R.O.C.’s industrial advantages and bolster the country’s international competitiveness, giving R.O.C. the confidence to usher in the era of AI applications. All of these efforts will weave people, technologies, facilities, and businesses into a broader AI innovation ecosystem. 6. INTELLIGENT TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM PLANS   Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) launched plans to develop intelligent transportation systems at March 7th in 2017. MOTC integrates transportation and information and communications technology through these plans to improve the convenience and reduce the congestion of the transportation. These plans combine traffic management systems for highways, freeways and urban roads, a multi-lane free-flow electronic toll collection system, bus information system that provides timely integrated traffic information services, and public transportation fare card readers to reduce transport accidence losses, inconvenience of rural area, congestion of main traffic arteries and improve accessibility of public transportation.   There are six plans are included: 1. Intelligent transportation safety plan; 2. Relieve congestion on major traffic arteries; 3. Make transportation more convenient in Eastern Taiwan and remote areas; 4. Integrate and share transportation resources; 5. Develop “internet-of-vehicles” technology applications; and 6. Fundamental R&D for smart transportation technology.   These plans promote research and development of smart vehicles and safety intersections, develop timely bus and traffic information tracking system, build a safe system of shared, safe and green-energy smart system, and subsidize the large vehicles to install the vision enhancement cameras to improve the safety of transportation. These plans also use eTag readers, vehicle sensors and info communication technologies to gather the traffic information and provide timely traffic guidance, reduce the congestion of the traffic flow. These plans try to use demand-responsive transit system with some measures such as combine public transportation and taxi, to improve the flexibility of the public traffic service and help the basic transportation needs of residents in eastern Taiwan and rural areas to be fulfilled. A mobile transport service interface and a platform that integrating booking and payment processes are also expected to be established to provide door-to-door transportation services and to integrate transportation resources. And develop demonstration projects of speed coordination of passenger coach fleets, vehicle-road interaction technology, and self-driving car to investigate and verify the issues in technological, operational, industrial, legal environments of internet-of-vehicles applications in our country. Last but not least, research and development on signal control systems that can be used in both two and four-wheeled vehicles, and deploy an internet-of-vehicles prototype platform and develop drones traffic applications.   These plans are expected to reduce 25% traffic congestion, 20% of motor vehicle incidence, leverage 10% using rate of public transportation, raise 20% public transportation service accessibility of rural area and create NT$30 billion production value. After accomplishing these targets, the government can establish a comprehensive transportation system and guide industry development of relating technology areas.   Through the aforementioned initiatives, programs, and plans, the government wants to construct the robust legal framework and policy environment for digital innovation development, and facilitate the quality of citizens in our society.

Review of Taiwan's Existing Regulations on the Access to Bioloical Resources

The activities of accessing to Taiwan's biological resources can be governed within certain extent described as follows. 1 、 Certain Biological Resources Controlled by Regulations Taiwan's existing regulation empowers the government to control the access to biological resources within certain areas or specific species. The National Park Law, the Forestry Act, and the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act indicate that the management authority can control the access of animals and plants inside the National Park, the National Park Control Area, the recreational area, the historical monuments, special scenic area, or ecological protection area; forbid the logging of plants and resources within the necessary control area for logging and preserved forestry, or control the biological resources inside the natural preserved area. In terms of the scope of controlled resources, according to the guidance of the Wildlife Conservation Act and the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act, governmental management authority is entitled to forbid the public to access the general and protected wild animals and the plant and biological resources that are classified as natural monuments. To analyse the regulation from another viewpoint, any access to resources in areas and of species other than the listed, such as wild plants or microorganism, is not regulated. Therefore, in terms of scope, Taiwan's management of the access to biological resources has not covered the whole scope. 2 、 Access Permit and Entrance Permit Taiwan's current management of biological resources adopts two kinds of schemes: access permit scheme and entrance permit in specific areas. The permit allows management authority to have the power to grant and reject the collection, hunting, or other activities to access resources by people. This scheme is similar to the international standard. The current management system for the access to biological resources promoted by many countries and international organizations does not usually cover the guidance of entrance in specific areas. This is resulting from that the scope of the regulation about access applies for the whole nation. However, since Taiwan has not developed regulations specifically for the access of bio-research resources, the import/export regulations in the existing Wildlife Conservation Act, National Park Law, Forestry Act, and Cultural Heritage Preservation Act may provide certain help if these regulations be properly connected with the principle of access and benefit sharing model, so that they will help to urge people to share the research interests. 3 、 Special Treatments for Academic Research Purpose and Aborigines Comparing to the access for the purpose of business operation, Taiwan's regulations favour the research and development that contains collection and hunting for the purpose of academic researches. The regulation gives permits to the access to biological resources for the activities with nature of academic researches. For instance, the Wildlife Conservation Act, National Park Law, and theCultural Heritage Preservation Act allow the access of regulated biological resources, if the academic research unit obtains the permit, or simply inform the management authority. In addition, the access by the aborigines is also protected by the Forestry Act, Cultural Heritage Preservation Act, and the Aboriginal Basic Act. The aborigines have the right to freely access to biological resources such as plants, animals and fungi. 4 、 The Application of Prior Informed Consent (PIC) In topics of the access to and benefit sharing of biological resources, the PIC between parties of interests has been the focus of international regulation. Similarly, when Taiwan was establishing theAboriginal Basic Act, this regulation was included to protect the aborigines' rights to be consulted, to agree, to participate and to share the interests. This conforms to the objective of access and benefit sharing system. 5 、 To Research and Propose the Draft of Genetic Resources Act The existing Wildlife Conservation Act, National Park Law, Forestry Act,Cultural Heritage Preservation Act, Aboriginal Basic Act provide the regulation guidance to the management of the access to biological resources within certain scope. Comparing to the international system of access and benefit sharing, Taiwan's regulation covers only part of the international guidance. For instance, Taiwan has no regulation for the management of wild plants and micro-organism, so there is no regulation to confine the access to wild plants and microorganism. To enlarge the scope of management in terms of the access to Taiwan's biological resources, the government authority has authorize the related scholars to prepare the draft of Genetic Resources Act. The aim of the Genetic Resources Act is to establish the guidance of the access of genetic resources and the sharing of interests in order to preserve the genetic resources. The draft regulates that the bio-prospecting activity should be classified into business and academic, with the premise of not interfering the traditional usages. After classification, application of the permit should be conducted via either general or express process. During the permit application, the prospector, the management authority, and the owner of the prospected land should conclude an agreement jointly. In the event that the prospector wishes to apply for intellectual property rights, the prospector should disclose the origin of the genetic resources and provide the legally effective documents of obtaining these resources. In addition, a Biodiversity Fund should be established to manage the profits derived from genetic resources. The import/export of genetic resources should also be regulated. Violators should be fined.

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