Virtual Zone Company status is a special status assigned to companies in accordance with Georgian legislation. The status offers significant tax benefits to foreign investors. In this article, we will be discussing what exactly do businesses need to obtain the status and what are the key tax benefits.
We provide accounting services to entities from all industries, including those having the Virtual Zone Entity status.
What is Virtual Zone Entity status?
Companies holding this status are entitled to significant tax benefits. Namely, such entities are free from:
To illustrate how exactly do the tax benefits work, let us discuss an example: ordinary corporate income tax rate (“CIT”) in Georgia represents 15%. Besides, upon dividend distribution, there is additional 5% dividend tax. If, for instance, company distributes EUR 1,000 as a dividend to a shareholder, the company would have to pay CIT and dividend tax in aggregate EUR 238.4 (1,000/0.85/0.95-1,000), however, if company has Virtual Zone Entity status, it will only have to pay EUR 52.6 dividend tax (1,000/0.95-1,000). In other words, on every EUR 1,000 dividend company saves EUR 185.8 in taxes (238.4-52.6), which means that on EUR 1,000,000 it would save 185,800 EUR in taxes.
Which companies are entitled to Virtual Zone Entity status?
Only IT companies are entitled to this status. These are companies representing information technology systems study, support, development, design, and implementation, which leads to creation of software products.
We should also note that tax relief applies only to exports. Providing services to local companies or individuals is not exempt from taxation and will be taxed.
Frequently asked questions
Our client companies frequently ask the following questions:
Whom should I approach to obtain Virtual Zone Entity status?
Status can be obtained by filling in the electronic declaration form on the webpage of Financial Analytical Service of Georgia: www.fas.ge
Our company provides all relevant legal, accounting, and bookkeeping services necessary to obtain and maintain the status.
What is the approximate time needed to obtain the status?
The response will be received no later than 10 business days after filling in the above discussed declaration and additional 2 business days are needed for the electronic certificate to be generated on the specially designated state portal (www.newzone.mof.ge).
Our company will provide all accounting services related to the status and will file respective tax declarations on your company’s behalf.
What else is needed to obtain the Virtual Zone Entity status?
In the legislation application guidance, it reads that to be entitled for tax benefits, it is necessary that company operates from Georgia, which, in practice, means that the product or service must be created in Georgia and company must also be using local work, including relevant profile work. For instance, if company has only hired accountant and administrator in Georgia, they cannot be regarded as relevant profile work. It is necessary to also hire local IT employees, such as developers.
What happens if company provides services both through exports as well as on Georgian territory?
Tax benefits only apply to portion of profits that are earned through exports. Therefore, the company should identify such portion, meaning that entity should calculate the share of tax-free profit from the aggregate profits. In case expenses cannot easily be allocated between exports and local revenues, legislation allows to allocate them in direct proportion to revenues. For example, if company earned a profit of EUR 400 thousand and generated aggregated revenues of EUR 2 million, of which EUR 1.5 million was from exports and EUR 0.5 million was generated locally, it can be deemed that tax-exempt profit comprises 75% (1.5/2), or EUR 300 thousand (400*75%), which can be distributed without paying corporate income tax, while the remaining EUR 100 thousand is subject to taxation.
Which is better for my company – Virtual Zone Entity status or International Company status?
Short answer is – International Company status is better.
International Company status is another status offered by Georgian legislation to IT companies. In case of International Company status, tax relief applies not only to corporate income tax, but also to personal income tax. However, obtaining International Company status is more complicated. More details on International Company status can be found in a separate article in our blog.
Our company provides all legal, accounting, and bookkeeping services necessary to obtain and maintain both statuses.