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Loan platforms: losing the competitive battle for foreign investors

2020-04-06

As the Baltic loan platforms become more and more famous throughout Europe, Lithuanian loan platform operators complain that the country applies discriminatory taxation to foreign citizens investing in the platforms and therefore it is not convenient for foreigners to invest in our country's platforms. The authorities reject such allegations.

Representatives of loan platforms operating in Lithuania say that they enjoyed a more discriminatory tax system for foreigners investing through Lithuanian loan platforms to prosper more internationally and catch up with Estonians or Latvians.

Insights of injustice

Viktorija Cijunskyte, founder and head of the real estate loan platform PROFITUS, teaches that according to the Law on Personal Income Tax (PIT), crowdfunding platforms operating in Lithuania must deduct 15% of the PIT from interest received by non-residents, which worsens the competitive conditions.

"In Estonia, for example, investors from other countries are not subject to GPM, and platforms are not required to deduct this tax from interest earned by foreign nationals.

For this reason, Estonian crowdfunding platforms are much more attractive to foreign investors than those operating in Lithuania” says V. Cijunskyte.

Now the system works in such a way that non-residents of Lithuania (non-permanent residents of Lithuania) are taxed at the rate of 15% of income tax and later they still have to pay PIT in their country.

"It is true that a foreign resident whose country of residence has a Double Taxation Treaty with Lithuania may apply for a reduction in the withholding tax and the platform will apply a reduced PIT rate and deduct 0% in the case of Latvia and the United Arab Emirates. However, this is not convenient for the investor, in which case the non-resident has to provide proof of the country of residence and fill in the DAS-1 form. In addition, even the reduced PIT rate is not attractive to foreign citizens” says V. Cijunskyte.

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