Austria

YOTOT(MC): Austria Center Vienna (panorama)

Austria i/ˈɒstriə/ or /ˈɔːstriə/; German: Österreich [ˈøːstɐˌʁaɪç], officially the Republic of Austria German: Republik Österreich, is a landlocked country of roughly 8.47 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The territory of Austria covers 83,855 square kilometres 32,377 sq mi and has a temperate and alpine climate. Austrias terrain is highly mountainous due to the presence of the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 metres 1,640 ft, and its highest point is 3,798 metres 12,461 ft. The majority of the population speak local Austro-Bavarian dialects of German as their native language, and German in its standard form is the countrys official language. Other local official languages are Burgenland Croatian, Hungarian and Slovene. The origins of modern-day Austria date back to the time of the Habsburg dynasty when the vast majority of the country was a part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Austria became one of the great powers of Europe and, in response to the coronation of Napoleon I as the Emperor of the French, the Austrian Empire was officially proclaimed in 1804. In 1867, the Austrian Empire was reformed into Austria-Hungary.After the collapse of the Habsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918 at the end of World War I, Austria adopted and used the name the Republic of German Austria “Deutschösterreich”, later “Österreich” in an attempt for union with Germany, but was forbidden due to the Treaty of Saint Germain. The First Austrian Republic was established in 1919. In the 1938 Anschluss, Austria was occupied and annexed by Nazi Germany. This lasted until the end of World War II in 1945, after which Nazi Germany was occupied by the Allies and Austrias former democratic constitution was restored. In 1955, the Austrian State Treaty re-established Austria as a sovereign state, ending the occupation. In the same year, the Austrian Parliament created the Declaration of Neutrality which declared that the Second Austrian Republic would become permanently neutral.Today, Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy comprising nine federal states. The capital and largest city, with a population exceeding 1.7 million, is Vienna. Austria is one of the richest countries in the world, with a nominal per capita GDP of $48,350 2011 est.. The country has developed a high standard of living and in 2011 was ranked 19th in the world for its Human Development Index. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, joined the European Union in 1995, and is a founder of the OECD. Austria also signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, and adopted the European currency, the Euro, in 1999.

via Austria – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Austrians may use South African companies to trade in Africa and worldwide – to read more, follow the links above.

Can you claim VAT back on materials used for accommodation?

English: solar thermal thermosyphon water heat...

We have workers who are collected on Monday mornings and dropped off in Bonnievale on Friday afternoons. As we are a working farm and 30Km away from Bonnievale we have to supply accommodation for the workers whilst they are at work. This is normal.We have built a new workers cottage, re-conditioned one cottage and built a flushing toilet, shower and wash-up area. Installed solar heating and lighting, and cooking facilities.We have claimed VAT on the materials used and Sars say that as we are not charging rental and paying VAT over to them we cannot claim the VAT back on materials.My husbands auditor in Durban said we are entitled to claim the VAT back and my accountants in Dbn say we are not allowed to?What is our position?Sars have said if I give them the Act that covers the VAT that can be claimed then they will accept that. So I have to do their work.Please could you help us on this?

Response by Muneer Hassan CASA, project director, Saica StandardsI had a look at section 12cii and agree that this is an exempt supply hence no input tax can be claimed on direct attribution method.

via Moneywebtax – Can you claim VAT back on materials used for accommodation? – Integritax.

Hungary free trade

English: Hungarian speakers in Eastern Europe.

Hungary i/ˈhʌŋɡəri/ (HungarianMagyarország [ˈmɒɟɒrorsaːɡ]) is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in theCarpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The capital and largest city is Budapest. Hungary is a member of the European UnionNATO, theOECD, the Visegrád Group, and is a Schengen state. The official language is Hungarian, also known as Magyar, which is part of the Finno-Ugric group and is the most widely spoken non-Indo-European language in Europe.

Following a Celtic (after c. 450 BC) and a Roman (AD 9 – c. 430) period, the foundation of Hungary was laid in the late 9th century by theHungarian ruler Árpád, whose great-grandson Saint Stephen I was crowned with a crown sent by the pope from Rome in 1000 AD. TheKingdom of Hungary lasted for 946 years, and at various points was regarded as one of the cultural centres of the Western world. After about 150 years of partial Ottoman occupation (1541–1699), Hungary was integrated into the Habsburg Monarchy, and later constituted half of the Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy (1867–1918).

great power until the end of World War I, Hungary lost over 70 percent of its territory, along with one third of its ethnic population, and all its sea ports under the Treaty of Trianon, the terms of which have been considered excessively harsh by many in Hungary. The kingdom was succeeded by a Fascist regime, and then a Communist era (1947–1989) during which Hungary gained widespread international attention during the Revolution of 1956 and the seminal opening of its border with Austria in 1989, thus accelerating thecollapse of the Eastern Bloc. The present form of government is a parliamentary republic, which was established in 1989. Today, Hungary is a high-income economy and a regional leader in some respects.

Hungary is one of the thirty most popular tourist destinations of the world, attracting 8.6 million tourists a year (2007). The country is home to the largest thermal water cave system and the second largest thermal lake in the world (Lake Hévíz), the largest lake in Central Europe (Lake Balaton), and the largest natural grasslands in Europe (Hortobágy).

via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungary

Hungary has undergone major macroeconomic and structural adjustment in its transition to a market economy. Under extremely difficult economic and social circumstances, notably the collapse of trade with the former east-block countries and the consequent initial job losses, the Government has largely resisted protectionist pressures – even in the face of large twin fiscal and trade deficits in 1995 and high levels of government (internal and external) debt. Instead, Hungary has pursued new trade opportunities, especially with the European Union, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and partners in the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA). A new WTO Secretariat report on Hungary’s trade and investment policies states that Hungary’s preparations for accession to the EU will lead to more structural and institutional adjustment. Some of the reforms, particularly in the areas of intellectual property rights and competition policy, go beyond Hungary’s WTO obligations.

via http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tpr_e/tp77_e.htm

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Greece free trade zones

DSC04009-Greece Patmos Chora

Greece Listeni/ˈɡrs/ (Greek: Ελλάδα, ElladaIPA[eˈlaða] ( listen)), officially the Hellenic Republic (Ελληνική ΔημοκρατίαElliniki DimokratiaIPA: [eliniˈci ðimokraˈtia][10]), and historically Hellas (Ancient Greek: Ἑλλάς, HellasIPA: [hellás]), is a country in Southern Europe, politically also considered part of Western Europe.

Modern Greece traces its roots to the civilization of ancient Greece, generally considered the cradle of Western civilization. As such it is the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature and historiographypolitical science, major scientific and mathematical principles, and Western drama, including both tragedy and comedy. This legacy is partly reflected in the seventeen UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in Greece, ranking Greece 7th in Europe and 13th in the world. The modern Greek state was established in 1830, following the Greek War of Independence.

Greece has land borders with Albania, the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the east. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of mainland Greece, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the 11th longest coastline in the world at 13,676 km (8,498 mi) in length, featuring a vast number of islands (approximately 1,400, of which 227 are inhabited), including Crete, the Dodecanese, the Cyclades, and the Ionian Islands among others. Eighty percent of Greece consists of mountains, of which Mount Olympus is the highest at 2,917 m (9,570 ft).

developed country with an advanced, high-income economy and very high standards of living (including the 21st highest quality of life as of 2010), Greece has been a member of what is now the European Union since 1981 and the eurozone since 2001, NATO since 1952, and the European Space Agency since 2005. It is also a founding member of the United Nations, theOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation. Greece is the largest economy of the Balkans.

Athens is the capital and the largest city in the country (its urban area also including Piraeus).

via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greece

Greece has three free trade zones, located at the Piraeus, Thessaloniki, and Heraklion port areas. Goods of foreign origin may be brought into these zones without payment of customs duties or other taxes and remain free of all duties and taxes if subsequently trans-shipped or re-exported.

Documents relating to the receipt, storage, or transfer of goods within the zones are free from stamp taxes.

Handling operations are carried out according to EU regulations 2504/88 and 2562/90.

Transit goods may be held in the zones free of bond. The zones may be used for re-packing, sorting and re-labelling operations.

Assembly and manufacture of goods are carried out on a small scale in the Thessaloniki free zone.

Storage time is unlimited, as long as warehouse charges are promptly paid every six months.

via http://www.austrade.gov.au/Doing-business-in-Greece/default.aspx

Latvia for business – Freeport of Riga

English: Map showing the Baltic states with th...

Latvia i/ˈlætviə/ (Latvian: Latvija), officially the Republic of Latvia (Latvian: Latvijas Republika), is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia (border length 343 km), to the south by Lithuania (588 km), to the east by the Russian Federation (276 km), to the southeast by Belarus (141 km), and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden. With 2,067,887 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km2 (24,938 sq mi) it is one of the least populous and least densely populated countries of the European Union. The capital of Latvia is Riga. The official language is Latvian and the currency is called Lats (Ls). The country has a temperate seasonal climate.

The Latvians are a Baltic people, culturally related to the Lithuanians. Together with the Finno-Ugric Livs (or Livonians), the Latvians are the indigenous people of Latvia. Latvian is an Indo-European language and along with Lithuanian the only two surviving members of the Baltic branch. Indigenous minority languages are Latgalian and the nearly extinct Finno-Ugric Livonian language. In terms of geography, territory and population Latvia is the middle of three Baltic states: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Latvia and Estonia share a long common history: historical Livonia, times of German (Teutonic Order), Polish-Lithuanian, Swedish, Russian, Nazi German and Soviet rule, 13th century Christianization and 16th century Protestant Reformation. Both countries are home to a large number of ethnic Russians (26.9% in Latvia and 25.5% in Estonia) of whom some are non-citizens. Latvia is historically predominantly Protestant, except for the region of Latgalia in the southeast which is historically predominantly Roman Catholic.

Latvia is a unitary parliamentary republic and is divided into 118 administrative divisions of which 109 municipalities and 9 cities. There are five planning regions: Courland (Kurzeme), Latgalia (Latgale), Riga (Rīga), Vidzeme and Zemgale. The Republic of Latvia was founded on November 18, 1918. It was occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union between 1940–1941 and 1945–1991 and by Nazi Germany between 1941–1945. The peaceful “Singing Revolution” between 1987 and 1991 and “Baltic Chain” demonstration on August 23, 1989 led to the independence of the Baltic states. Latvia declared the restoration of its de facto independence on August 21, 1991.

Latvia is a member of the United Nations, European Union, Council of Europe, NATO, OSCE, IMF and WTO, and is part of the Schengen Area. It was a member of the League of Nations (1921–1946) and the Baltic Free Trade Area (1994–2004). Latvia is also a member of the Council of the Baltic Sea States and Nordic Investment Bank, and is together with Estonia and Lithuania involved in trilateral Baltic States cooperation and Nordic-Baltic cooperation.

After economic stagnation in the early 1990s, Latvia posted Europe-leading GDP growth figures during 1998–2006. In the global financial crisis of 2008–2010 Latvia was the hardest hit of the European Union member states, with a GDP decline of 26.54% in that period. Commentators noted signs of stabilisation in the Latvian economy by 2010, and the state of the economy continued to improve, as Latvia once again became one of the fastest growing economies of the EU in 2011. The United Nations lists Latvia as a country with a Human Development Index (HDI) of “Very High”.

via Latvia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In January 2012, 3.4 million tons of various cargoes were handled in the Freeport of Riga being the largest amount of cargoes handled during one month during the last 10 years. In January the Port of Riga in terms of cargo turnover was the largest port of the Baltic States, pulling ahead of Klaipeda, Tallinn and Ventspils. What is even more important – regarding strategically important types of cargoes – coal, containers and oil products, the results of the previous year were exceeded substantially.

via http://www.rop.lv/en/

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Business welcomes audit exemption plan

Annual balance sheet of a State-owned farm, dr...

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Ministers will on Thursday unveil plans to save more than 100,000 businesses at least £600m a year in accountancy and administration costs by relaxing the requirement to conduct a financial audit.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will launch a consultation on proposals to allow more small companies and subsidiaries to decide for themselves whether or not to have an audit.

Business groups welcomed the move, but warned ministers needed to deliver such steps regularly for companies to gain confidence in the government’s deregulation drive.

At present, European Union rules mean that to classify as “small” for accounting purposes, a company must comply with two out of three criteria: having no more than 50 employees, a balance sheet of no more than £3.26m and turnover of no more than £6.5m.

However, to obtain an audit exemption in the UK, small companies must fulfil both the balance sheet and turnover criteria. Under the new proposals, UK SMEs would be eligible for audit exemption by meeting any two of the three criteria, saving an estimated £206m a year. An average audit for a small company costs £9,500.

via Business welcomes audit exemption plan