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Assume a limited company registered in Hong Kong.

The director of the company is an Spanish national who does not live in Hong Kong and does not have the status of resident in Hong Kong. Also, is rarely physically in Hong Kong. He does not stay long enough in any country as to receive the status of resident in that country. It means he is hopping through multiple countries but never gets a residence permit and never gets tax liable in any of those countries. Also, is very rarely in Spain and specifically does not work in Spain.

Now, the company gives the director a salary as director of the company. As per Hong Kong regulations, this salary is subject to income/personal tax in Hong Kong, no matter where the director is resident. So the director must pay income tax, at least in Hong Kong.

Question here is, In addition to Hong Kong, would the director be tax liable in Spain?

There is an agreement between both countries which is available here: http://www.hacienda.gob.es/Documentacion/Publico/NormativaDoctrina/Tributaria/CDI/BOEIN_Hong-Kong.pdf I was going through it, but I cannot really figure out the answer to that question because the text uses many legal terms and I am not familiar with it.

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Can you even figure out where in that agreement, or in Hong Kong law, says the income is subject to taxation in Hong Kong?

I think this case should be solved by a professional tax advisory, but here are my two cents:

  • Article 14 looks pretty consistent with article 9 of the personal income tax law of Spain.

  • I seem to read in Article 15 the exact opposite of what you wrote "So the director must pay income tax, at least in Hong Kong.", meaning the director would be required to pay income tax in Spain, even if s/he lived for more than 183 days out of Spain.

Hope that helped.

DISCLAIMER: This is not your tax advisory, it's a vague (yet informed) entry level reference in order to guide you. Here's no responsibility for any damages caused. If on doubt, always choose to go to the tax advisory office or to the revenue service office, depending on the cases.

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