The newly introduced tax law heralds a number of major changes for public limited companies and establishments with capital broken down into shares with respect to the previously imposed coupon tax.
The 4 % coupon tax has been abolished since 1 January 2011, which means that any profits made from then on can be distributed on a tax-free basis.
This exemption does not apply to any old reserves as of 31 December 2010, however, i.e. coupon tax will still be payable for accumulated profits not distributed by this date.
Such old reserves must be declared separately in the accounts, and losses from 2011 and subsequent fiscal years cannot be offset against the old reserves.Furthermore, precedence must be given to withdrawing dividend payouts from the old reserves from 2011 onwards, until such time as these are exhausted.
The taxpayer may apply for a reduced rate of 2 % to be levied on the old reserves, however, even if no distribution is made.This merely requires a resolution to this effect by the general meeting of shareholders and an application submitted to the tax administration.
When old reserves are settled in this manner, they are treated in the same way as future profits.It is no longer necessary to declare the old reserves separately and they may be set off against future losses.
If, on the other hand, no application for settlement of old reserves is submitted, the coupon tax for dividend payouts from the old reserves will continue to amount to 4 % from 2013 onwards.