Thinking beyond borders
Extended business travelers may be subject to Moroccan tax on their salary earned for work provided in Morocco.
The Moroccan tax code does not make any distinction between Moroccan and foreign employees in relation to the taxation of employment income. General tax provisions would apply for the taxation of employment income earned by foreign employees in Morocco. An individual is considered a Moroccan resident for tax purposes if:
Personal income tax applies to individuals as follows:
There is no minimum threshold/number of days worked in Morocco before taxation may be applied. However, the provisions of an international tax treaty may provide for an exemption from tax in Morocco on salary income, provided the employee respects the threshold number of days spent outside of Morocco during the relevant period as required by the particular treaty.
As a general rule, all types of remuneration and benefits received by an employee for services rendered would constitute taxable income. Non-residents will also be subject to income tax on any other Moroccan-sourced income.
The net taxable salary income is taxed at progressive rates of 0, 10, 20, 30, 34 and 38 percent.
Employers employing Moroccan individuals subject to Moroccan social security have to register with Moroccan social security, Caisse National de Sécurité Sociale (CNSS), and comply with associated registration of employees to CNSS and withholding of contributions and filing requirements.
CNSS applies to payments of wages by employers. Both the employer and employee are subject to CNSS contributions on the employees’ wages. The rate of employee contributions can be as much as 6.74 percent, and 21.09 percent for employers. Some contributions are capped while others are not. CNSS contributions are withheld and paid by the employer on a monthly basis. Morocco has signed social security agreements with other countries, mainly: France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Tunisia, Canada and Portugal.
Taxpayers with employment income paid by a non-resident employer, for which the right to tax is conferred on Morocco, must file annual income tax returns. The tax year in Morocco for individuals is the calendar year. The annual income tax return must be filed before 1 March following the close of the tax year. The income tax is computed by the tax administration and is payable on receipt of an assessment. The payment deadline is two months following the issue date of the tax assessment. In general, these assessments are received by taxpayers around the month of March.
Tax on employment income must be withheld by employers domiciled or established in Morocco. Each month, the Moroccan employer has to withhold, and pay to the Treasury, income tax on every payment made to their employees. The tax payment to the Treasury must be done before the end of the following month.
Employers domiciled or established in Morocco also have to file an annual declaration of wages before the end of February of each calendar year. Where no exemption is applicable, employers are required to withhold employee social security contributions on a monthly basis and remit them, along with employer contributions, to CNSS.
An employer that wants to hire a foreign employee should obtain an authorization from the Ministry of Employment of Morocco. This authorization is granted under the form of approval by the Ministry on the work contract for foreigners (Contrat de travail d’étranger).
Morocco has entered into a number of double taxation treaties with other countries to prevent double taxation and allow cooperation between Morocco and overseas tax authorities in enforcing their respective tax laws. As a general principle, the provisions of double tax treaties will override domestic rules.
There is the potential that a permanent establishment could be created as a result of extended business travel, but this would be dependent on the type of services performed and the level of authority the employee has.
Morocco has value-added tax (VAT). VAT is levied on industrial, commercial, hand-made or professional transactions carried out in Morocco, as well as on import transactions. The standard VAT rate is 20 percent.
A transfer pricing implication could arise to the extent that the employee is being paid by an entity in one jurisdiction but performing services for the benefit of the entity in another jurisdiction, in other words, a cross-border benefit is being provided. This would also be dependent on the nature and complexity of the services performed.
Morocco has data privacy laws.
Exchange controls are in place over Moroccan currency. However, foreign nationals resident in Morocco are entitled to transfer cash saved from their Moroccan wages.
Non-deductible costs for assignees include contributions to non-mandatory social security regimes and to foreign pension plans, unless the contribution is made exclusively to foreign pension funds. In this case, contributors may deduct contributions paid by them from their gross income. The amount deducted may not, however, exceed the amount deducted by the local personnel of the company for which they are working.
As businesses become global, few organizations seem to understand the risks that business travel may bring.