Tax Regime for Microenterprises

tax-regime-microenterprises-lawyers

Regulation NAC-DGERCGC20-00000011 issued by the Internal Revenue Service and published on February 21, 2020 in the Supplement to the Official Registry 148, establishes the rules for applying the Tax Regime for Microenterprises created by the Law of Simplification and Tax Progressivity.

Microenterprises are those individuals or entities whose annual income is equal to or less than US $ 300,000.00 and, that have 1 to 9 workers.

The Internal Revenue Service is able to include or exclude from the especial regime, taxpayers who meet the conditions to qualify as microenterprises. For this purpose, the Tax Authority is able to update the taxpayer tax ID without prior notice and, it must publish a microenterprises registry on its web page (https://www.sri.gob.ec/web/guest/catastros).

Taxpayers who consider that they should not have been included in the microenterprises tax regimen may request their exclusion until April 7, 2020.

Taxpayers included in the Tax Regime for Microenterprises must comply with the following:

  1. Issue invoices in accordance with current regulations.
  2. Request proof of sale to support the acquisition of goods or provision of services.
  3. Keep accounting books or a record of income and expenses as appropriate.
  4. File tax returns when appropriate. In the case of VAT and excise tax (ICE), the tax returns must be filed semiannually in the months of July and January of each year.
  5. Submit the annexes of information when appropriate, and
  6. Fulfill the other formal duties indicated in the Tax Code.

Taxpayers registered in the microenterprise’s registry must apply the regime from February 2020. Therefore, they will not act as withholding agents for income tax or value added tax since said month.

Do you want to receive our newsletters with information like the one you just read?
Click here and subscribe.

DISCLAIMER: The previous text has been prepared for informational purposes. CorralRosales is not responsible for any loss or damage caused as a result of having acted or stopped acting based on the information contained in this document. Any additional determined situation requires the specific opinion and concept of the firm.

CORRALROSALES

Commercial Companies of Benefit and Collective Interest

commercial-companies-corporative-milton-carrera

The Superintendence of Companies, Securities and Insurance through resolution number SCVS-INC-DNCDN-2019-0021 published in the Official Registry number 107 of December 24, 2019 issued the instructions for the operation of the Commercial Companies of Benefit and Collective Interest. Below, we summarize its most relevant aspects:

  1. Any national company under control and supervision of the Superintendence of Companies, Securities and Insurance may voluntarily adopt the status of a Benefit and Collective Interest Company, without this implying a change in the type of partnership or the creation of a new partnership.
  2. To adopt the characterof a Benefit and Collective Interest Company , and thus develop its operational activities for the benefit of the interests of its partners or shareholders and is required to create a positive material impact, in the interest of the partnership and the environment at the same time. Companies must thus approve it through the general meeting of partners or shareholders with a majority representing at least two thirds of the subscribed or paid share capital, as applicable. The corporate bylaws must be amended, incorporating specific activities into the corporate purpose, through which these companies will fulfill the obligation to generate a positive social or environmental impact. Once the amendment of the bylaws is registered in the Mercantile Registry, the Benefit and Collective Interest Company will have the obligation to send said documentation to the Superintendence of Companies, Securities and Insurance for the corresponding update in the institutional database. Additionally, if the company considers it convenient, it may formalize the corporate action to change the company name and fulfill the other requirements established in the law, adding the expression “Company of Benefit and Collective Interest”, or the acronym B.I.C. to its denomination.
  3. In the companies in which the status of Benefit and Collective Interest Company is adopted, the dissenting or non-concurrent partners or shareholders of the general meeting that made said decision will have the right to separate from it, in the terms of article 333 of the Law of Companies (reimbursement of the value of its shares in accordance with the respective prepared balance sheet)
  4. The obligation to create a positive material impact on society and the environment may cover one or more of the following areas: a) governance, b) working capital, c) community, d) customers, and e) environment. Consequently, the administrators of a Benefit and Collective Interest Company must ensure compliance with the activities set forth in the statute, in one or more of these areas, in order to achieve the specific objectives incorporated in its social purpose.
  5. The area of ​​impact on governance is related to the corporate governance of companies. For such purposes, the administrators of a Benefit and Collective Interest Company may consider, among others, the following aspects:
    • The interests of the company and its partners or shareholders;The short, medium and long term consequences of decisions related to the operational activity of the company they represent;
    • The preservation and protection of the reputation and good name of the company;
    • The need to treat, in a fair and equitable manner, all partners or shareholders; and,
    • The expansion in the diversity of the administrative and supervisory composition of the company.
  6. The area of ​​impact on working capital will allow the administrators of the Benefit and Collective Interest Companies to consider the interests of their workers, considering among others the following aspects:
    • The establishment of reasonable compensation and analysis of wage gaps to establish fair standards in the collection of compensation;
    • The establishment of grants to train and professionally develop their working capital;
    • Promote the participation of workers in society, either through the acquisition of shares or shares, or by intervening in the company’s administrative bodies;
    • Determine flexibility alternatives for workers’ working hours, teleworking, or others, without affecting their remuneration;
    • Disseminate the company’s financial statements among its workers.
  7. The community impact area will allow administrators to consider, among others, the following aspects:
    • The need to foster social relations with the company’s creditors, suppliers and customers;
    • The impact of social operations on the community;
    • The effect of the operations of the company and its subsidiaries, if any, on the local, regional, national and even international economy;
    • The incentive of volunteer activities and the creation of alliances with foundations that support social work in the interest of the community as part of its social responsibility policy;
    • The main focus on contracting  services or acquiring goods of local origin or belonging to enterprises developed by women or ethnic minorities.
  8. The area of ​​impact on customers will allow administrators to address a social or environmental problem through, among other things, the following:
    • Provision of electricity or products that provide electricity, drinking water, affordable housing and other infrastructure;
    • Products or services that allow people to focus on income-generating activities such as computer, finance, mobile technology or services that optimize / increase business activities;
    • Products or services that improve the delivery of health services, health outcomes and healthy living, such as medicines and preventive health services;
    • Products and services that have an educational focus, such as schools, textbooks, media and independent arts, or preserve local culture, in the case of artisanal trade;
  9. The area of ​​impact on the environment will allow the administrators of a Benefit and Collective Interest Company, among other aspects, to consider the following:
    • Respect for the rights of nature enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic;
    • The impact of its operations on the environment;
    • The monitoring of gas emissions that cause a greenhouse effect;
    • The promotion of recycling or waste reuse programs;
    • The increase in the use of renewable energy sources and the implementation of energy efficiency measures.
  10. Annually, the legal representative of the Benefit and Collective Interest Company must prepare a management impact report choosing the most appropriate standards. It should give an account of the activities carried out to fulfill the obligation to create a positive material impact on society and the environment, the report must have a certification issued by an independent entity specialized in the fields that apply, and it will be presented to the general meeting for the purpose of acknowledgement and approval.
  11. The status of a Benefit and Collective Interest Company can be terminated by a modification of its bylaws, undoing the changes made to acquire said status. The corresponding resolution will be adopted by the general meeting of partners or shareholders with a majority representing at least two thirds of the subscribed or paid share capital, as applicable.
  12. If in the exercise of its control and surveillance authority, the Superintendence of Companies, Securities and Insurance verifies that the Company of Benefit and Collective Interest has not fulfilled its obligation to create a positive material impact on society and the environment in accordance with the provisions of its corporate purpose, or that its administrators have failed to comply with their obligation to prepare the management impact report, or who have breached the rules of this instruction, the Superintendence of Companies will proceed to notify the company of the violations in which it has incurred, so that within six months the company can rectify these breaches or modify its bylaws undoing the changes made to acquire the quality of a Benefit and Collective Interest Company.

If after this period, the company has not taken care of the notified breaches or modified its bylaws, it may be declared dissolved.

Milton Carrera
Senior Associate at CorralRosales
mcarrera@corralrosales.com

The Role of INEN in the Administrative Process for Regulatory Infringement

INEN-regulatory-miguel-maigualema-corralrosales

The Ecuadorian Standardization Service (INEN) is part of the Ecuadorian Quality System and plays an important role in regulation, standardization and metrology. It also participates in administrative proceedings carried out by the Sub-Secretary of Quality for infringements.

INEN is responsible for conducting inspections to verify compliance with technical standards before and during an administrative proceeding. The first inspection, which can be ex officio or by complaint, is intended to determine the conformity or not of a product with the corresponding technical standards. If the result is “non-compliant”, the Sub-Secretary of Quality will bring a sanctioning administrative proceeding.

As an example, in the controls carried out in compliance with the Ecuadorian Technical Regulation RTE INEN 284 “Quantity of product in prepackaged / pre-encased”, a term of 30 days is granted for the company to amend or justify the nonconformities detected in the first inspection. At the end of the 30-day term, INEN carries out the second technical inspection and if the non-conformity still exists, the Sub-Secretary of Quality can apply the sanctions provided in the Law of the Ecuadorian Quality System.

The 30-day term granted to execute corrective actions is sufficient in the case of national products, but it is not sufficient for foreign products. This situation has caused several companies to be sanctioned without considering the time, costs, and other eventualities that importing products entails.

When applying sanctions, the Sub-Secretary of Quality takes into account the reoccurrence of such nonconformities, so it is very important that companies make the necessary changes and file the required technical justifications, as well as their legal arguments before the second verification.

As derived from the preceding paragraphs, the function of INEN is to ensure compliance with mandatory technical standards whose main objective is to protect consumers.

INEN is part of several international organizations and applies international standards or parameters in the controls it performs; an aspect that has contributed to the acquisition of new skills, the application of new guidelines, and the accumulation of experience in the execution of its work. This office has put emphasis on the above-mentioned quality controls, especially regarding the net content of a product. To do so, it has adopted a monthly schedule to perform random inspections and verifications for each type of product.

Miguel Maigualema
Asociado en CorralRosales
miguel@corralrosales.com

Ecuadorian IP Office Overturns Problematic Lower Instance Decision on Recognition of English Language Terms

animal-planet-propiedad-intelectual-idioma-ian-wall-abogados-ecuador

The territory of the Republic of Ecuador is predominantly Spanish speaking. Amerindian languages are also widely spoken, particularly provincially, but their use is gradually diminishing. Despite the dominance of Spanish in Ecuador, the English language is everywhere, and its influence could be said to be growing. This poses certain interesting questions from a trademark law perspective, since the general approach of the Ecuadorian IP Office is to consider terms in foreign languages as “fantasy terms”. That is, foreign language terms will not be considered as being understood by the general public, except in the case of the most commonly known words.

The stated position is more complex in practice when one considers that due to the continued encroachment of the English language throughout the American Hispanic region, generally accepted as even more marked than in the case of the Iberian-Hispanic world, the list of well-known English words is growing and therefore not a fixed concept. In addition, what is or is not a “well-known English word” is largely subjective, with such an assessment often being reduced simply to the personal experiences of the examiner in question. It should also be pointed out that levels of English competence vary greatly among Ecuadoreans, producing somewhat of a lottery in the application of this doctrine.

An interesting case arose a several years back in relation to DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS, LLC’s enforcement of its ANIMAL PLANET mark for its well-known television series and documentaries about wild animals and domestic pets. Specifically, CENTRO DE RADIO Y TELEVISION CRATEL C.A., the company behind a national television channel in Ecuador, applied to register MUNDO ANIMAL in Classes 35, 38 and 41 (‘mundo’ means ‘world or ‘earth’). DISCOVERY opposed the applications on the basis of their Ecuadorian registrations for ANIMAL PLANET in Classes 38 and 41.

The oppositions were initially refused, following which all cases were appealed. Upon appeal before the IP Committee in Class 35, the authorities referred to studies as to the penetration of the English language in various countries around the world, saying that it would be incorrect to state that English had penetrated Ecuadorian culture. From there the reasoning was somewhat confused, but it was understood that the authorities considered the terms ‘animal’ and ‘planet’ as not easily understood by the general Ecuadorian public. This was quite an astonishing finding given that the the word ‘animal’ is the same in Spanish as in English, and that the Spanish for ‘planet’ is ‘planeta’. Clearly, this was the wrong starting point for deciding the cases.

It should be pointed out though that above Committee level decision contained a dissenting judgement from one of the Committee members, setting out in no uncertain terms that ANIMAL PLANET would be easily understood by Spanish speakers. The Committee is made up of three members, therefore the opposition was still rejected by 2 to 1. Nevertheless, dissenting judgements are rarely seen within such decisions, and needless to say the dissenting voice was encouraging for DISCOVERY, who decided to further appeal.

A reconsideration motion was filed against the mentioned decision, which is a request for the relevant authority to review its prior finding. Within such action, in contrast to the previous instance the authorities acknowledged that the meaning behind the mark ANIMAL PLANET would be easily understood by general Ecuadorian public, given the Spanish translation of the same is essentially identical except for the addition of the extra letter ‘a’ within the Spanish word ‘planeta’. The Office then went to conclude that the terms MUNDO and PLANET relate to an identical concept, and therefore that there was a risk that consumers would be confused. This reasoning was then followed within the related matters in Classes 38 and 41.

While the Ecuadorian trademark authorities’ acceptance that the meaning of ANIMAL PLANET can be deciphered by the average Ecuadorian consumer represents a welcome return to common sense, the Office’s position as a whole is interesting since the respective marks are being used on television programmes for content relating to animals. That is, in terms of inherent distinctiveness, the marks are towards the lower end of the spectrum. In addition, ‘mundo’ is not in fact a translation of ‘planet’, but rather means ‘world’ or ‘earth’. Therefore, the decision highlights that even in the case of non-literal translations, a conceptual link can still be inferred and be sufficient for a finding of confusing similarity. CorralRosales agrees with the decision, since it reflects the reality in that translations themselves are not always literal or direct.

A similar article was published in WTR on January 16th. Click to read it.

Ian Wall
Associate at CorralRosales
ian@corralrosales.com

Temporary Tax

temporary-tax

Regulation NAC-DGERCGC 20-00000004 issued by the Internal Revenue Service and published on January 29, 2020 in the Supplement of the Official Registry 131 establishes the procedure for filing the tax return and paying the temporary tax.

The Regulation establishes that the temporary tax that must be paid on an annual basis on the fiscal years 2020, 2021 and 2022.

The taxable base is equal to the income obtained on the fiscal year 2018 -as registered in the income tax return or as established by the Tax Administration within an assessment procedure- less the exempt income and income not subject to income tax. To this amount the taxpayer should add or deduct, as appropriate, the adjustments for deferred taxes registered in the same fiscal year.

The following rates must be applied to the taxable base:

Taxable income from 

Taxable income until

Tax rate
US$1.000.000,00 US$5.000.000,00 0,10%
US$5.000.001,00 US$10.000.000,00 0,15%
US$10.000.001,00 Forward 0,20%

The value of annual each contribution cannot exceed 25% of the income tax generated in the fiscal year 2018.

Those taxpayers who did not generate income tax in the fiscal year 2018 are not required to file and pay the temporary tax return. The advanced income tax shall not be considered if the amount was higher than the income tax generated.

If the amount of the taxable income or the amount of the income tax declared in the income tax return filed for the fiscal year 2018 changes, a substitute tax return must be submitted.

If the entity is liquidated before the date on which the temporary tax return must be filed, the tax must be paid in advance with respect to the fiscal year in which the liquidation takes place. Entities liquidated until December 31, 2019 are not required to pay the temporary tax.

CORRALROSALES

Do you want to receive our newsletters with information like the one you just read?
Click here and subscribe.