In July 2016 the SRS published a ruling on how income received by someone sitting on a company’s management board is taxed under section 8(2.9) of the Personal Income Tax (PIT) Act. This article explores the approach the SRS takes in analysing the taxpayer’s issue.
X Ltd has two officers: the chairman of the board and a board member who is also the company’s CEO. The chairman receives no remuneration for his work, but the board member is remunerated by three companies: X Ltd, U Ltd (X’s parent company), and C Ltd.
X Ltd asked the SRS to issue a ruling on whether X qualifies for the exception available under section 8(2.10)(1) of the PIT Act (i.e. the right to exempt a board member’s income from wage tax).
Provisions of the PIT Act
Section 8(2.9) of the PIT Act states that a company’s board member is considered to have received taxable income equal to the statutory minimum monthly wage (€370 in 2016) for the current month in which the company has no employee or board member receiving remuneration that equals or exceeds the minimum wage, if the company’s revenue for that month exceeds five minimum monthly wages (€1,850 in 2016).
Section 8(2.10) of the PIT Act states that section 8(2.9) does not apply where a board member in a company meeting the criteria listed in section 8(2.9) receives board remuneration in another company for the current month that equals or exceeds five minimum monthly wages, and if the two companies are members of the same group within the meaning of the Corporate Income Tax Act.
The SRS analysis and findings
The SRS measured X’s revenue for the first five months of 2016: it exceeded €30,000 in total and was €1,850 or more for each of the months. The SRS found that the board member’s monthly gross remuneration was €145.11 from X Ltd, €1,425.03 from U Ltd, and €435.32 from C Ltd.
The SRS examined whether X, U and C qualify as members of the group under section 12(7) of the Corporate Income Tax Act. The SRS found that X and U are related companies within the meaning of the Act, but X and C are not.
The SRS found that X may escape section 8(2.9) of the PIT Act only if the board member of U and C (group entities) is a board member also in X, with his total board remuneration for one month exceeding five minimum monthly wages.
However, C does not qualify as a member of the group, and so the board member’s remuneration from C was ignored for the purpose of applying the provision of law in question.
The SRS found that X cannot take the exception available under section 8(2.10)(1) of the PIT Act because the board member’s remuneration from X and U combined is less than €1,850 (145.11 + 1,425.03 = 1,570.14).
The SRS also mentioned that the National Social Insurance Act (Section 1(2)(m)) treats a company’s board member as an employee if the company’s revenue for the current month of the tax year exceeds the minimum monthly wage prescribed by the Cabinet of Ministers multiplied by a coefficient of 5 and if the company has no employee or all its employees pay social insurance contributions on an income that is below the minimum wage in that month.