The Decree №8 signed by Belarussian President is designed to transform the republic into an “IT-country” and a “harbor” for the global digital business.
It has entered into force on 28th of March. The set of norms in the decree includes new tax regulations and an official acknowledgement of cryptocurrencies and their legal status.
According to this decree, Belarus will not tax mining, trading of cryptocurrencies, and sale of digital tokens. Activities related to mining, creation, acquisition and sale of digital tokens will remain tax-free until 2023.
The High-Tech Park (HTP) will become the heart of these innovations. The list of of its residents’ opportunities and competences is expanded: among their new possible research fields there are information and communication technologies, e-sports, AI, cryptocurrencies and mining.
According to official data, with the adoption of the decree more and more companies are applying for residency.
Without taxes and borders
Various tax incentives were introduced. Until January 1, 2023, HTP residents’ mining operations and any other operations with tokens including their exchange are exempted from taxes and VAT. Moreover, foreign organizations’ turnover from mining and cryptocurrencies will not be taxed even if these organizations do not have permanent representative offices in Belarus. Mining and cryptocurrencies are now legal and tax-free.
Belarus is striving for complete internationality: HTP residents can now operate with e-money and open accounts in foreign banks without limitations. It not required to obtain a special permit to hire foreigner experts anymore: foreign HTP residents and guests can receive a temporary residence permit under the simplified procedure.
In addition, the decree introduces the opportunity to invest according to British laws. “HTP residents are directly entitled to have agreements that are actively used in international business, such as… agreements for a convertible loan, agreements providing for responsibility for the luring of employees, non-compete agreements with employees with payment of compensation to them, for the period of non-compete obligations”, an anonymous source said to Russian media Interfax.
In order to combat money laundering, cyber attacks and all types of crime associated with digital world, a special council was created. The Council for the Development of the Digital Economy will coordinate the implementation of the state policy and the development of information and communication technologies.
Besides that, the authorities of Belarus are planning to create a ministry of digital economy until the end of 2018.
President of “IT-country”
A year ago Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announced the formation of an “IT-country” in Belarus.
According to Lukashenko, it is necessary to find sufficient application in Belarus for numerous new technologies. Among them he mentioned augmented reality, AI, blockchain and digital currencies.
“Belarus should be a real center of gravity for talented people, successful companies and international corporations. Our country has all chances to become at least a regional leader in the most advanced areas.”
– Alexander Lukashenko
The whole 2017 year was dedicated to create the decree “On development of the digital economy”. It was mostly designed by representatives of IT-business and international law experts, and, as the Belarusian government stated, all their proposals were eventually adopted.
The president, however, urged businesses not to forget about the national interest while chasing after profit. “Let’s together to be responsible for this piece of land. – he said, I will guarantee you stability, non-interference. But nobody disturbes the order”.