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Tax Obligations Detailed

Discover employer and employee tax responsibilities in Bhutan

Employer tax responsibilities

Employers have several tax responsibilities that they must fulfill. One of these is the Tax Deducted at Source (TDS), a mechanism for collecting income tax at the source of income. Employers are responsible for deducting TDS from employee salaries and depositing it with the government. The rates for TDS vary depending on the nature of income and the taxpayer's residency status.

Provident Fund Contributions

Employers are also required to contribute to the Provident Fund for their employees. The contribution rate is typically 10% of the employee's basic salary. These contributions provide retirement savings and other benefits to employees.

Corporate Income Tax

Businesses are subject to Corporate Income Tax (CIT) on their taxable profits. The standard CIT rate is 30%. CIT returns must be filed annually, and tax payments must be made on a quarterly basis.

Other Employer Tax Obligations

Employers may also be required to collect and remit Sales Tax on the sale of goods and services. Additionally, they may be liable to pay a Skills Development Levy, which is used to fund vocational training programs.

Employers should note that tax laws and regulations are subject to change. It's always advisable for employers to consult with a tax advisor or accountant to ensure compliance with the latest tax requirements.

Employee tax deductions

In Bhutan, a progressive personal income tax system is employed. This means that the tax rate increases as the taxable amount increases. For the most current tax rates and brackets, it's recommended to consult the official website of the Department of Revenue and Customs, Royal Government of Bhutan.

Employers are responsible for deducting personal income tax from their employees' salaries based on the prescribed tax brackets. This is known as deduction at source.

Social Security Contributions

Employees are required to contribute a portion of their earnings towards Bhutan's social security system. The employee's contribution rate is 5% of their basic monthly earnings.

Provident Fund

If your employer participates in the Provident Fund, a portion of your salary may be deducted as your contribution to this retirement savings plan. Contribution rates to the Provident Fund are determined by agreement between the employee and employer.

Other Potential Deductions

Some employers may offer group insurance schemes and deduct premiums from employees' salaries. If applicable, union dues may also be deducted from your salary.


VAT is a consumption tax applied at each stage of a product or service's production and distribution chain. Businesses pay VAT on their purchases (input tax) and collect VAT on their sales (output tax). The net difference is remitted to the government. VAT applies to the supply of most services, with some exceptions like healthcare and education. Service providers must charge VAT on their taxable services and can claim back VAT paid on their business expenses.

VAT Implications for Services in Bhutan (Hypothetical)

If Bhutan were to implement a VAT, here's how it might impact services:

Registration and Compliance

Businesses providing taxable services exceeding a certain annual turnover threshold would likely be required to register for VAT. VAT registered businesses would need to maintain proper records of sales invoices, purchase invoices, and VAT returns. Businesses would need to file VAT returns periodically and remit the net VAT payable.

Pricing and Costs

VAT would likely increase costs for consumers of taxable services as businesses pass on the tax burden. Service providers would need to factor in VAT when pricing their services to remain competitive. Businesses could claim input tax credits on VAT paid for business-related expenses, potentially offsetting some of the VAT costs.

Specific Service Sectors

Services like accounting, legal, consulting, and design would likely be subject to VAT. Hotels, restaurants, and tour operators could see a VAT impact, potentially affecting tourism prices. Phone, internet, and software services could become subject to VAT.

Potential Advantages of a VAT System

VAT can be a significant source of tax revenue for the government. VAT can broaden the tax base by taxing consumption, making it potentially fairer than other indirect taxes. Properly implemented VAT systems can improve transparency and reduce tax evasion.

Important Considerations

Implementing a VAT system in Bhutan would require careful analysis and design. The government would need to determine an appropriate VAT rate. Some services might be exempt or zero-rated under a Bhutanese VAT system to ease the burden on specific sectors or consumers. Extensive public education campaigns would be necessary to ensure VAT understanding and compliance. The tax authorities would need sufficient resources and capacity to effectively administer the VAT system.

Tax incentives

The Fiscal Incentives Act of 2021 is the main source of tax incentives in Bhutan. This act provides several key incentives.

Direct Tax Incentives

  • Tax Exemption for Small and Micro Businesses: Small and micro businesses based in rural areas may be eligible for full income tax exemption until December 31, 2024.
  • Concessionary Tax Rates: Businesses in certain high-priority sectors, both newly established and existing, may benefit from reduced income tax rates (5% for new, 15% for existing) for up to 5 years.
  • Reinvestment Allowance: Manufacturing and service industries can claim a 25% reinvestment allowance on capital expenditure.
  • Environmental Upgrade Incentives: Businesses can receive tax rebates of up to 15% on expenses incurred for adopting environmentally friendly technology.

Indirect Tax Incentives

  • Sales Tax and Customs Duty Exemptions: Businesses may receive exemptions from sales tax and customs duties on the import of plant, machinery, raw materials, and primary packaging materials.
  • Interest Income Exemption: Financial institutions can enjoy tax exemption on interest income from preferential lending until December 31, 2026.

Other Incentives

  • Border Town Incentives: Businesses in select border towns may qualify for a 10% income tax concession.
  • Employment Incentives: Businesses can claim a 100% additional deduction for employment of additional Bhutanese nationals for three years (up to December 31, 2026).

Eligibility and Application

  • Priority Sectors: Incentives are often focused on sectors like cottage and small industries, manufacturing, IT/ITES, education, waste management, and similar areas.
  • Approval Process: To qualify for incentives under the Fiscal Incentives Act, businesses must obtain a certificate of approval from relevant authorities, often the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Important Considerations

  • Compliance and Reporting: Companies benefiting from tax incentives must comply with reporting and record-keeping requirements.
  • Potential Recapture: If businesses fail to meet the conditions of an incentive, they may be subject to recapture of tax benefits.
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