High-Tech Park in Belarus
The Hich-Tech Park is a tax and legal regime in Belarus that contributes to the favourable development of the IT business. This is the Belarusian analogue of Silicon Valley in the United States. The Belarusian HTP operates according to the principle of extraterritoriality. The number of HTP residents is growing steadily. The park was created primarily for software outsourcing companies and was focused on them, but as it developed, the ranks of residents were completed with a large number of hardware companies. 758 companies were registered with the HTP until January 2020, the total number of employees exceeded 58 thousand people. Thanks to the activities of the HTP, the country is holding back the problematic process of the outflow of highly qualified specialists.
What is the High-Tech Park?
HTP is a special tax and legal regime. The mission of the Park is to create optimal conditions for the development of the high-tech industry, as well as to concentrate opportunities to improve the efficiency of the national economy.
The success of the project is rooted in the past. Belarus was the assembly shop of the Soviet Union, driven by highly qualified personnel. This contributed to the development of science and a strong school for training specialists. The high level of Belarusian technical education and cooperation with international educational centers make it possible to create projects that are unique in their complexity. There are about 80 laboratories in Belarusian universities. Courses are held for children, for retraining adults and for deepening the skills of IT specialists.
Over 65 countries of the world are HTP regular customers.
Thus, the country's engineering potential serves as the engine of the economy, and favourable tax and legal conditions contribute to its development.
Location of the High-Tech Park
The park is located in the northeastern part of Minsk and occupies about 55.8 hectares of land. It is planned that one day the Park should become a high-tech city.
It is noteworthy that the legal regime of the Park extends to the entire territory of Belarus, therefore, an IT company can be registered in any region of the country and at the same time fall under the jurisdiction of the HTP.
Park management structure
The activities are managed by the administration of the Park. The administration is a republican legal entity in the form of an governmental institution. It is headed by a director appointed by the President.
The general coordination of the HTP work and management of its activities are entrusted to the Supervisory Board, which employees are approved by the President.
Legal regime of the High-Tech Park
The trend of liberalization and improvement of the investment climate is becoming more and more popular in Belarus. It is implemented, in particular, by the introduction of special legal regimes aimed at the development of certain industries and more effective employment in the country.
For the HTP, such a regime has been established based on the principle of the activity being carried out. The preferences will be valid until January 1, 2049.
The Park Administration can submit draft laws and regulations on HTP activities for the government's consideration. The Supervisory Board can change the criteria for admitting resident candidates, as well as the criteria for evaluating their business plans.
The legal aspects of the activities of the members of the Park are simplified. This applies to keeping records, foreign exchange transactions, opening accounts. In order to attract specialists from abroad, visa exemptions are provided for employees; permits are not needed to hire foreigners.
How to become a resident of the High-Tech Park?
IT companies benefit from being members of the Park. Let's consider what stages the company will have to go through to get into its list.
First of all, an application for registration as a resident is required. The next step is to submit an application with an attached list of required documents to the HTP Administration. At the stage of considering the application, the Administration examines the submitted documents and sends its opinion to the Supervisory Board. When the Supervisory Board makes a positive decision, the stage of registration and receipt of a certificate of registration of a resident begins. Refusal to register can be appealed in a court.
• application (form is established);
• copies of charter documents and certificate of state registration;
• business project (the form is established);
Requirements for residents
The opportunity to become a resident of the Park is provided exclusively for legal entities and individual entrepreneurs located in Belarus. The duration of the activity, the subject, the amount of the funds and other factors do not matter. In addition, the activities carried out must be included in the list established by law.
Types of activities permitted for the residents
The activities carried out by the residents of the Park must be related to the field of information technology. A complete list can be found in Presidential Decree №12. The list is open.
Organizations, as a rule, choose from the HTP list one or several types of activities.
Within a month from the date of filing in an application, a decision on registration is made. The Administration office can refuse if the scientific and technical expertise of the submitted documents gives a negative result, or if the Supervisory Board considers the business project not important for the development of the sphere.
If the decision is positive, the Administration enters information about the organization in the register of residents and issues a certificate of registration to the applicant. In addition, the Administration shall notify the governmental institutions in writing within five days.
The date of registration is considered to be the date of the decision by the Supervisory Board.
Benefits of HTP membership
The park offers favourable conditions for the development of business and human potential. The HTP demonstrates how tax cuts lead to higher wages and an increase in the tax base. The extraterritorial principle of registration, according to which the location of a resident does not have to be within the territory of the HTP, allows regional companies to join the high-tech race. Also, membership in the HTP opens wide educational opportunities. Company employees undergo training and certification in training centers of international IT giants.
That is interesting that five of the ten largest world corporations are customers of the Park, and applications developed at the HTP are used by over a billion users.
Tax benefits for residents of the High-Tech Park
- VAT benefits;
- income tax benefits;
- benefit for the Federal Social Welfare Fund;
- tax relief on real estate;
- land tax relief;
- benefit on offshore tax;
- benefits for local taxes and fees (for the city of Minsk).
Customs benefits for residents of the High-Tech Park
Membership in the HTP exempts from import customs duties and VAT when importing equipment for the implementation of investment projects within the framework of activities from the HTP list. There is a list of such equipment. In order to be exempted from duties, you need to obtain an opinion from the Park Administration on the purpose of the imported property.
The organization will be able to use such property for other purposes and even transfer it to others. But for this you have to pay all customs fees.
Other preferences for residents of the High-Tech Park
Other benefits are also provided. In particular, a simplified procedure for maintaining primary accounting documentation is provided for members. In order to open accounts in foreign banks, the permission of the National Bank is not required, currency transactions can be carried out in a notification manner, and in addition, an exemption from the sale of currency is provided. Foreign economic transactions are allowed to be executed in non-documentary form. Foreign trade operations are not a subject to the legislation on the procedure for conducting and controlling the WTO.
There are also preferences in the employment in order to attract foreign specialists
Legislative regulation of the High-Tech Park
The main document of the IT industry - Decree №12 was signed by the President in 2005. The resolutions of the Council of Ministers and other legal acts were made as well. As the sphere develops, the decree is amended.
Photo: park.by, usiminsk.by