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Regulation of foreign companies operating internet platforms

At the end of the year 2017, the National Council of the Slovak Republic approved an amendment to the Income Tax Act (hereinafter referred to as the "Amendment"), under which foreign companies operating on a sharing economy are required to pay part of their profits to the state budget of the Slovak Republic. The new obligation applies exclusively to foreign entities, the provisions in question are being targeted primarily on cross-border transactions with an impact in the Slovak Republic. The aim of this Amendment is to equalize market conditions for various providers of services, regardless of whether the services are brokered through a digital platform or operated by physical presence. The Amendment clarifies the definition of the performance of the activity and the permanent place, which are the basic conditions for the setup of a permanent operation for income tax purposes in the territory of the Slovak Republic. According to the Amendment, performance of the activity with a permanent place on the territory of the Slovak Republic can also be considered the performance of the activity brokered through the digital platform. For such activities brokered through the digital platform, the state will in particular consider brokering the arrangement of contracts between movable or immovable property holders or service providers (Uber, Airbnb, Booking.com) and beneficial owners. Relevant entities are required to register in the form of a permanent operation for income tax purposes in the territory of the Slovak Republic if they repeatedly provide services by means of transportation and accommodation. If the provider of such services does not register, the withholding tax regime will apply. This means that charges paid by a businessman to a foreign company for the use of its platform will be taxed by 19% or 35% withholding tax depending on the registered seat of the actual receiver of the payment (35% applies to receivers with headquarters outside the territory of the states with which the Slovak Republic has concluded an international treaty on the avoidance of double taxation). The obligation to pay the tax in question will be imposed on a particular driver (transport services) or a specific accommodation (accommodation services), who use the services of an unregistered foreign platform.

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