Corporate tax in Libya

Summary  
Corporate Income Tax Rate (%) 20 (a)
Capital Gains Tax Rate (%) 20 (a)(b)
Branch Tax Rate (%) 20 (a)
Withholding Tax (%)
Dividends
0 (c)
Interest 0
Royalties 0
Branch Remittance Tax 0
Net Operating Losses (Years)  
Carryback 0
Carryforward 5 (d)
      a) Corporate income tax is imposed at a flat rate of 20%. In addition, Jihad Tax at a rate of 4% is imposed on the profits of Libyan companies and branches. Oil companies are subject to a composite rate of 65%, which includes income tax, Jihad Tax and a surtax.

 

b) Capital gains are treated as trading income.

c) Tax on dividends has been reinstated, but regulations relating to rates and rules of collection have not yet been issued.

d) Oil companies may carry forward losses 10 years.

Taxes on corporate income and gains

Corporate income tax. Libyan companies and foreign branches are subject to tax on their worldwide income. A national company or foreign branch is considered to be resident in Libya if it is regis­tered with the Ministry of Economy. A foreign company that does not register but engages in activities in Libya is deemed to imme­diately have de facto permanent establishment status in Libya and is subject to tax on its income.

Tax rates. Corporate income tax is imposed at a flat rate of 20% of profits.

In addition, Jihad Tax is payable at a rate of 4% of profits.

Oil companies are subject to a composite rate of 65%, which includes income tax, Jihad Tax and a surtax.

Companies established under Law 9/2010 (Investment Law) or Law 7/2003 (Tourism Law) are exempt from corporate taxes for up to 5 years and a possible additional 3 years or 10 years, respec­tively, as well as from stamp duty and import duties.

Capital gains. Capital gains are included in ordinary income and are taxed at the regular corporate income tax rate.

Administration. The financial year is the calendar year, but, on ap plication, the Tax Department may allow a different financial year.

An annual tax return must be filed within one month after ap – proval of the company or branch accounts or four months after the year-end, whichever is earlier. Consequently, for companies using the calendar year as their financial year, tax returns must be filed by 30 April.

Tax is payable in four quarterly installments beginning with the first quarterly due date after the issuance of an assessment. The quarterly due dates are 10 March, 10 June, 10 September and 10 December.

Dividends. Tax on dividends has been reinstated, but regulations relating to rates and rules of collection have not yet been issued.

Royalties. Subject to the provisions of double tax treaties, royal­ties are treated as trading income.

Foreign tax relief. Libya does not grant any relief for foreign taxes unless a double tax treaty applies.

Determination of trading income

General. Taxable income is based on financial statements pre­pared in accordance with generally accepted accounting princi­ples (GAAP), subject to certain adjustments. A detailed body of Libyan GAAP does not exist.

Business expenses are generally deductible if incurred for busi­ness purposes unless specifically disallowed by the tax law.

Basis of assessment. The Commercial Code (Law 23/2010) re­quires that a report be issued on the accounts. Tax Law 2010 states that this will be relied on, and tax will be assessed on declared profits. Tax audits of accounts will be discretionary.

Notwithstanding the Commercial Code and Tax Law, in practice, tax continues to be assessed on private Libyan and foreign compa­nies (joint stock companies and branches) based on a percentage of turnover. This is known as the “deemed profit” basis of assess­ment. Consequently, tax is payable even if losses are declared.

The percentage of deemed profit based on turnover varies accord­ing to the type of business activity. These percentages include the following:

  • Civil works and contracting: 10% to 15%
  • Oil service: 15% to 25%
  • Design and consulting engineers: 25% to 40%

Each case is reviewed individually and a percentage is determined within the above broad ranges. After the preliminary final assess­ments are issued, taxpayers have a period of 45 days in which to negotiate an agreed settlement or to appeal. Thereafter, appeals may be made to the First and Second Appeal Committees, the Court of Appeal and finally the Supreme Court.

The deemed profit percentage applied to any year is higher than the profit percentage declared in the annual tax return.

The deemed profit basis of assessment does not apply to Libyan public companies, which are assessed on an actual basis.

Inventories. Inventories are valued at cost.
Provisions. General provisions are not allowed.

Tax depreciation. Depreciation must be computed using the straight-line method. The following are some of the standard de preciation rates allowed in Libya.

Asset Rate (%)
Furniture and tools 10 to 20
Buildings 20
Passenger cars 20
Computer hardware 25
Computer software 50

Head office overhead charges are limited to 5% of expenses.

Relief for losses. In general, losses may be carried forward five years. However, oil companies may carry forward losses 10 years. Losses may not be carried back.

Groups of companies. Libyan law does not provide for the fiscal integration of related parties.

Other significant taxes

The following table summarizes other significant taxes.

Nature of tax Rate (%)
Social security contributions; on
employee’s annual salary; paid by
Employer 11.25
Employee 3.75
Stamp duty; the Stamp Duty Law contains
45 schedules; the most relevant items for
companies and branches are the duties
to register contracts and subcontracts;
customers do not pay invoices unless
contracts are registered and duty paid;
duty for registration is based on the
contract value
Contracts 1
Subcontracts 0.1
Import duties
Basic rate 5
Vehicles and plant 10
Luxury items 15

Foreign-exchange controls


The Libyan currency is the dinar (LYD).

By concession, Libyan branches of foreign companies may be paid directly offshore (up to 100%).

Libyan joint stock companies with a foreign shareholding (which may be up to 49%, effective from mid-2012; previously, up to 65%) may be paid in foreign currency, but the payments must be made into accounts held at Libyan banks.

As a result, no issue exists with respect to the remittance of profits.

Tax treaties

Libya has entered into a multilateral tax treaty with the other Mahgreb Union countries (Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia). It has also entered into double tax treaties with Egypt, France, India, Malta, Pakistan, Singapore, the Slovak Republic and the United Kingdom.

Libya has signed double tax treaties with many other Asian and European countries, but these treaties have not yet been ratified.

Libya has entered into a treaty of “Friendship and Co-Operation” with Italy.