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《律商中国法律透视》
《律商中国法律透视》2010-11
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  融资性售后回租新政破冰融资租赁业?


   首页 > 中国法律透视 > 专栏
融资性售后回租新政破冰融资租赁业?
(English Version)   

 

俞卫锋 陆易  通力律师事务所

自2009年增值税转型以来, 融资租赁行业受到了严重冲击。一直不断的业内呼声得最终得到了主管部门的回应。国家税务总局于2010年9月8日颁布了第 13 号公告,明确了融资性售后回租业务中承租方出售资产时一些税务问题。给寒冬中的融资租赁业务中带来了丝丝暖意。

公告要点

1. 融资性售后回租业务中承租方出售资产时,资产所有权以及与资产所有权有关的全部报酬和风险并未完全转移,不属于增值税和营业税征收范围。

2. 售后回租中承租人出售资产的行为应视同为融资行为,承租人不确认销售收入,不缴纳企业所得税,但应按承租人出售前原账面价值作为计税基础计提折旧。同时,承租人支付的属于融资利息的部分可在企业所得税前扣除。

3. 该公告规定其自2010年10月1日起实施,但对于此前因与13公告规定不一致的税收处理而已缴纳的税款可以申请退税。

我们的分析

1. 应当注意13号公告的适用范围

13号公告中所述的融资性售后回租业务是指承租方以融资为目的将资产出售给经批准从事融资租赁业务的企业后,又将该项资产从该融资租赁企业租回的行为。这里需要注意出租人的资质问题,即必须是经批准从事融资租赁业务的企业。如缺乏适格出租人,售后回租交易原则上是不能适用该文件的。

2. 避免后流转税改革时代融资性售后回租业务的税负增加

13号公告公布以前,融资性售后回租业务相关税收规定不明确,往往被分解为销售和租赁两项业务来做税务处理,但流转税改革给承租人带来了额外的税务负担。以旧设备的售后回租业务为例,在流转税改革前,根据《关于增值税、营业税若干政策规定的通知》(财税字(94)026号), 单位和个体经营者销售自己使用过的属于货物的固定资产,暂免征收增值税。承租人可以根据该文在售后回租业务的出售阶段避免缴纳增值税。但2009年增值税转型以后,上述暂免征收增值税的规定实际上已经停止执行,部分地区的税务机关根据《关于全国实施增值税转型改革若干问题的通知》(财税[2008]170号)开始要求承租人缴纳增值税。这无疑额外增加了融资租赁业务的整体税务负担。

基于“实质课税”原则,13号公告确认了融资性售后回租业务中承租方出售阶段“资产所有权有关的全部报酬和风险并未完全转移”。由于在该阶段不存在税收意义上的资产销售行为,从而承租方在出售阶段不应被征收增值税或营业税。

3. 融资性售后回租业务可能是融资租赁的首选模式

2009年流转税改革以来,融资租赁公司一直被无法开具增值税发票导致承租人无法抵扣增值税进项的问题所困扰。13号公告就该问题为部分融资租赁项目提供了一种解决方案,即承租人出售设备给融资租赁公司阶段,资产所有权有关的报酬和风险并未完全转移,故不需缴纳增值税或营业税。由于在第一步承租人已经取得了增值税抵扣凭证,因而在租赁设备时承租人无需取得融资租赁公司开具的增值税发票,从而也就解决了无法抵扣增值税进项的问题。我们理解,仅从增值税的角度而言,售后回租可能是目前融资租赁的首选模式。

4. 尚待明确的问题

13号公告确立了对售后回租业务实行实质性课税的原则,为融资租赁业解困,但仍然有一些不够明确的地方, 例如: Ø 根据13号公告,出租人可以将融资利息直接在财务费用中列支。但并未明确说明该项利息的性质及其具体范围。 Ø 13号公告对于出租人的营业税问题缺乏明确的规定。在融资租赁项下,出租人以其向承租者收取的全部价款和价外费用(包括残值)减除出租方承担的出租货物的实际成本后的余额为营业额。在“资产所有权有关的全部报酬和风险并未完全转移”的情况下,如何确认“出租方承担的出租货物的实际成本”就成为一个亟待解决的问题。

结语

目前中国内地融资租赁行业与国际同行仍然有一定差距。而税收作为融资租赁的重要影响因素之一,无疑对行业的发展起着至关重要的作用,然而2009年流转税改革以来,融资租赁行业受到了意想不到的冲击。可喜的是,目前国家税务总局已经开始着手实际解决相关问题,我们期待在之后的税改中,能切实解决融资租赁行业的税务困境。


New Policy of "Financial Sale-and-Lease-back": An Icebreaker for Financial Leasing Business?

David Yu & Clare Lu  Llinks Law Offices

Since the value added tax ("VAT") reform in 2009, the financial leasing industry has been severely struck. The industry's appeal has finally obtained response from the competent authority. The State Administration of Taxation ("SAT") on September 8, 2010 issued Announcement No. 13, clarifying the tax treatment on a lessee's sale of a target asset in a finance-driven sale-and-lease-back transaction. Such announcement brought some "warmth" to the "severe winter" from which the financial leasing business had been suffering.

Salient Points

1. When a lessee sells a target asset as part of a financial sale-and-lease-back transaction, such sale should fall outside the scope of business tax ("BT") or VAT, as it does not involve transfer of ownership or all the risks and benefits related to ownership of the asset.

2. A lessee's sale during a financial sale-and-lease-back transaction should be treated as a financing mechanism. The lessee is not required to recognize any sales income or to pay the enterprise income tax ("EIT"). Rather, the asset should be depreciated based on the lessees' book value recorded before the sale. Meanwhile, the interest expenses paid by the lessee for financing should be deductible for EIT purposes.

3. Announcement No. 13 became effective on October 1, 2010. Lessees may seek tax refunds for VAT or BT paid on a basis different from that provided by Announcement No. 13.

Our Observation

1. Applicability of Announcement No. 13

Under Announcement No. 13, a "financial sale-and-lease-back" refers to a transaction where, for financing purposes, a lessee sells its assets to an approved financial leasing company and then leases the assets back under a financial leasing arrangement. The eligibility of the lessor is a point worth noting; only approved financial leasing enterprises are eligible. Therefore, in principle sale-and-lease-back transactions without eligible lessors shall not be subject to Announcement No. 13.

2. To avoid additional tax burden for financial sale-and-lease-back after the turnover tax reform

Before the promulgation of Announcement No. 13, the tax implications of a financial sale-and-lease-back transaction were unclear, and such transaction was often treated as separate sales and leases for tax purposes and thus subject to different tax treatments. However, the turnover tax reform brought additional tax burden for lessees. One example is the sale-and-lease-back of old equipment. According to the Circular on Several Policies of Value-added Tax and Business Tax (Caishuizi (94) No. 026), units and individuals selling their used fixed assets as goods are temporarily exempted from VAT. Under this circular, a lessee will not incur VAT for the sale during a sale-and-lease-back transaction. However, after the 2009 VAT reform, the abovementioned policy has been practically abolished. Based on the Circular on Certain Issues Concerning National Implementation of the VAT Reform (Caishui 2008 No. 170), the tax authorities in certain regions began to require that lessees pay VAT. This is undoubtedly an additional tax burden to the financial leasing business. Under the principle of "tax by substance", Announcement No. 13 confirms that at the point of the lessee's sale, "not all the benefits and risks in connection with ownership of assets are fully transferred". Therefore, it should not be subject to VAT or BT because no de facto sale of assets took place from a tax perspective.

3. Financial sale-and-lease-back could be a preferred model of financial leasing

After the VAT reform in 2009, financial leasing companies have been haunted by the fact that they cannot issue VAT invoices and therefore lessees cannot credit against input VAT. Announcement No. 13 provides a solution for part of financial leasing projects: lessees are not liable to VAT or BT at the stage of the sales of equipment to financial leasing company, whereby not all benefits and risks attached to ownership of assets are fully transferred. As lessees would have already obtained certificates to substantiate its VAT credit, it is not necessary for lessors to obtain another certificate issued by financial leasing companies. Hence, the difficulty for lessees to credit against input VAT is practically solved. We understand that, for merely VAT saving purposes, the sale-and-lease-back structure could be a preferred model under a financial leasing arrangement.

4. Issues to be clarified

Announcement No. 13 applies substantive tax principles to the sale-and-lease-back transaction, assisting in the development of financial leasing. Such policy deserves applause but some aspects still call for further clarification:

• According to Announcement No. 13, lessors may deduct financing interests as financial expenses. But there are no specific provisions on the nature of financing interests and its specific scope.


• Announcement No. 13 lacks clear instructions on the BT treatment of lessors. Under financial leasings, the balance after the actual costs borne by lessors for the leased goods is subtracted from all the prices and additional expenses (including the scrap value) collected from lessees are regarded as turnovers. In circumstances where there lacks a "transfer of the ownership or the risks and benefits related to ownership of the assets", how "actual costs borne by lessors for the leasing goods" are identified is still an issue to be resolved.

Conclusion

At present, there remain some gaps between the development of the financial leasing industry in China and its international counterparts. Tax, as one of the key elements of consideration for financial leasing transactions, undoubtedly plays a vital role in the development of the financial leasing industry. Since the VAT reform in 2009, the financial leasing industry has been unexpectedly impacted. Nevertheless, SAT has begun to solve relevant problems in financial leasing transactions, as mentioned above. We hope further tax reform may effectively resolve the difficulties currently faced by the financial leasing industry.

 
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