Tax code

A revamped Macao SAR tax code and new financial diversification measures

During the third quarter of 2021, the Macau SAR was inundated with news about the much-vaunted “financial diversification” of the Special Administrative Region (SAR) with a number of government initiatives in the works.

In October, the Executive Council (EC), an advisory body to the Chief Executive, announced that it had completed and ultimately delivered the draft of what was to be the future Macau SAR Tax Code (MTC) in the Legislative Assembly (LA). This came after bills submitted for public consultation in 2011 and 2016 never made it to LA.

More than just a compilation of separate tax laws passed in the 1970s and currently still in effect, the MTC’s goal is to revamp and update the local tax system, finally introducing concepts already commonly used in many other jurisdictions such as those of ‘tax resident’ and ‘tax residency’. Drawn up as a real general tax code, its recognized objectives are “to better respect the international tax obligations of the SAR” and to “better attract foreign investment”.

Another notable initiative was the launch of the Central Securities Depository (CSD), which is nearing completion of its final design and testing phase according to the Macau Monetary Authority (AMCM).

Designed in collaboration with the state-owned China Central Depository & Clearing Co, Ltd, the CSD will provide securities account opening services and centralized securities depository services and is considered a key financial infrastructure to strengthen the integration of the Macao SAR’s financial market with those abroad.

On December 6, 2021, the AMCM also announced the launch of a new fast interbank transfer trial service for small amounts, called “easy transfer”, supported by a “fast payment service” (FPS) platform. This service will be available for local bank accounts in Patacas (MOP). After registering for the service with their bank and receiving an “FPS ID”, users can transfer small amounts to other bank accounts in real time and around the clock using only their mobile phone.

The transfer is made by entering the telephone number of the intended beneficiary, who must also be registered as a user of the platform. The FPS interbank platform will also accept phone numbers from mainland China and Hong Kong and transfers made using the service will be completed within 30 seconds, according to the AMCM.

Joao Nuno Riquito

Managing Partner, Riquito Advogados

Email: [email protected]

Francisco Trigueiros da Cunha

Registered Lawyer, Riquito Advogados

Email: [email protected]