Tax

The past year has again been a challenging time. The strength of Japan’s economy remains uncertain, due to developments in overseas economic activity and prices; developments in the situation surrounding Ukraine and in commodity prices; and the course of COVID-19 at home and abroad and its impact. The EBC is grateful for the Japanese Government’s efforts to continue to propose new and enhanced tax incentives for revitalisation and transformation of the Japanese economy.

Notwithstanding the economic shocks due to external factors, the pace of technological change and digital transformation continues to accelerate. The EBC congratulates the establishment of the Digital Agency in September 2021 which is tasked with formulating a digital strategy and making policy recommendations to other ministries and agencies. The 2022 tax reform proposals boosted and extended existing measures to encourage innovation and investment in new technology through tax credits and allowances. The EBC welcomes these efforts and calls for further focus in these areas to ensure that Japan maintains its global competitiveness.

The EBC also welcomes the Japanese Government’s efforts to improve working conditions for employees and raise wages by enhancing tax credits for salary increases. The Government’s goal to distribute wealth and resources among all of society and stimulate Japan’s economy has had a positive impact.

The Japanese Government has made ambitious pledges regarding climate change and creating a sustainable society, which are supported by tax reform proposals encouraging companies to reduce carbon emissions. The EBC considers that many opportunities remain to expand the scope and scale of tax incentives in this area which should have further positive impact on Japan’s attractiveness to foreign investors and individuals.

Japan is an active member of the OCED and should be proud of its role in the continuing global debate on tax avoidance and changes to the international tax system, particularly its restraint on unilateral taxing of the digital economy. Following years of intensive negotiations to update and fundamentally reform international tax rules, the OECD has released Pillar Two model rules for the domestic implementation of 15% global minimum tax which are shortly expected to be introduced into Japan’s tax laws. The EBC urges the Japanese Government to keep the rules as simple and practical as possible and consider the introduction of safe harbors. To date, bilateral trade and investment between Europe and Japan benefit significantly from tax certainty, the minimisation of administrative burdens for taxpayers and the mutual elimination of double taxation. The EBC encourages the Japanese Government to continue its efforts in this area. However, Japan’s tax treaties with many Member States (i.e. Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia) still lack exemptions in respect of areas beyond the scope of the multilateral instrument, such as elimination of withholding tax on dividends, royalties and interest. Further, no tax treaties have yet been agreed with Greece (under negotiation), Cyprus or Malta.

In summary, while the EBC appreciates the tax reforms undertaken so far by the Japanese Government, more work is needed to encourage and support inward investment if Japan is to become a competitive hub location for international business.

Key issues and recommendations

Upcoming committee meeting schedule

Please contact the EBC ( ebc@ebc-jp.com ) to confirm the meeting location prior to attending

2022
DATETIMELOCATION
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