By Tony Dong and Alice Zhang, King & Wood’s Tax Department
It is common for multinational companies to deploy offshore holding structures or set up special purpose vehicles ("SPVs") in tax havens to make investments, enter into cross border transactions or to list their IPOs. There are various reasons for companies to utilize offshore SPVs, and tax optimization is clearly one of the top considerations. For example, a company may take advantage of preferential tax treaty provisions or align profits to a low-tax jurisdiction or tax haven. However, in recent years, governments around the world have been tightening their tax administration of cross-border tax avoidance arrangements with TPG’s recent tax dispute in Australia is the latest example. The Chinese government has been actively involved in the game, and the State Administration of Taxation ("SAT") has issued a series of regulations in 2009 to strengthen tax scrutiny on non-residents.