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Belarus: Edict Establishes Rules for Forex Companies

(June 15, 2015) A presidential edict was issued on June 4, 2015, that outlines policy for foreign exchange companies in Belarus. According to Edict No. 231, which will come into effect in about nine months, only legal persons registered in Belarus and listed as forex companies with capital of at least BYR2 billion (about US$129,000), as well as the National Forex Center, banks, and credit and finance organizations, can conduct operations with forex instruments in the country. All forex companies must register with the National Bank of Belarus. (Belarus Approved Rules for Forex Market Activity, National Legal Internet Portal for the Republic of Belarus (June 8, 2015); text in Russian, PRAVO.BY (June 6, 2015); Viktar Strachuk, Belarus: Tax Reduction for Forex Operations, TAX NEWS SERVICE (June 8, 2015), International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation online subscription database.)

All such operations must go through the National Forex Center, an institution to be established by the Council of Ministers, together with the National Bank. The National Forex Center will be a company with more than 50% of its shares held by the Republic of Belarus. (Belarus Approved Rules for Forex Market Activity, supra.)

The Edict also sets the tax rate for forex companies, from the present until March 1, 2019, at a level considerably lower than the general corporate income tax rate. That rate, generally 18%, will be 9% for these companies, and individuals who take part in agreements with forex companies are exempt from income tax on income from such agreements. (Strachuk, supra.)