28 November 2013

Malta Holding Companies Review 2013/14

Tax-News.com 19/11/2013: Malta, like Cyprus, has been obliged to dismantle its old 'offshore' companies regime as a trade-off for joining the European Union. EU membership has, however, brought about certain benefits for Maltese companies trading across borders, and, coupled with investment-friendly government policies and some interesting tax planning opportunities, Malta remains one of the most favourable places in the EU in which to locate an international holding company.

Politically stable with a parliamentary democracy based on the British model, the Maltese Islands are situated in the Mediterranean Sea, about 100 km from Sicily and 290 km from North Africa, with a total population of just over 400,000. After almost 150 years as a British colony, the Maltese islands declared independence in 1964 and ten years afterwards Malta became a republic within the British Commonwealth. As a result of Malta's close links with Britain, English is one of the country's official languages alongside Maltese, although Italian is widely spoken. Valletta, the administrative capital, is also the chief business centre.

In recent decades, the Maltese economy has been heavily dependent on tourism, which accounts for about one third of gross domestic product. However, in the past 10 to 20 years the government has worked hard to encourage the development of both financial services and manufacturing, and various incentive schemes have been put in place to encourage foreign investment. This strategy now appears to be paying dividends, and, while not quite in the 'premier league' of IOFCs, Malta has established itself as a major...read on.