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Getting Paid in Ukraine: Setting Up Wire Transfers as a Private Entrepreneur

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Lena E Community Manager Member Since: Apr 7, 2015
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Getting Paid in Ukraine: Setting Up Wire Transfers as a Private Entrepreneur

Written by Katerina Bozhkova 

 

THE BASICS

There is now an easier way to set up a wire transfer as a private entrepreneur (“PE”): Ukrainian freelancers can receive funds via wire transfer to a private entrepreneur bank account in a compliant way. The new currency controls say that Ukrainian freelancers registered as private entrepreneurs (PE) can use an invoice they complete themselves instead of a confirmation of services and another contract (on Upwork, the User Agreement), which was required in the past.

Setting up your withdrawal method on Upwork even before you have an available balance is important as it takes three days to activate a newly added bank account.

Adding and verifying wire transfer (PE bank account) on Upwork

It is essential that you enter your bank information 100% accurately to avoid fund routing problems. Once you add and save it, you cannot edit your bank account and SWIFT code. To update these numbers, or to use a different account, you must add a new account (then remove the old one if it is incorrect or you no longer need it). Contact your bank if you’re not sure you have the correct information or if you received an error when you tried to enter it in the Upwork system.

To add a wire transfer payment method:

  1. Gather your bank account details.
  2. Click the Settings icon and click Get Paid under User Settings.
  3. Click Add a payment method.
  4. Click the Set Up button for Wire Transfer (USD). Please note that a $30 fee applies to USD wire transfers.
  5. Enter your bank account details and click Add this account.
  6. Choose a payment schedule and click Next. For security reasons, your new payment method will become active in three days.

To edit your wire transfer information (except bank account numbers and codes):

  1. Click the Settings icon and click Get Paid under User Settings.
  2. Under Payment Methods, find the one you want to remove and click the Edit link.
  3. Edit your information and click Save Changes.

To remove your wire transfer payment method:

  1. Click the Settings icon and click Get Paid under User Settings.
  2. Under Payment Methods, find the one you want to remove and click the Edit link.
  3. Click Remove.


Bank Account Name Mismatch

If the name on your bank account and the name on your Upwork account don’t match, check these special cases when the mismatch can be approved manually by contacting customer support. You may be asked to go through an identity verification process.

  • Name variations – We’ll approve recognized name variations, like Oleksii/Alexey or J.J./John Jacob, within 48 hours. Some other name variations that can be manually approved:
    • Your name matches part of the name on the profile so that the middle names or extra names are not included in the bank name or vice versa.
    • The bank beneficiary name or profile name had initials that are similar to the full name. See name variation example above.
    • The bank beneficiary name is the owner or an officer of the company/agency.
    • There’s a joint bank account name, but only if we receive a bank statement that shows your name as one of the owners.


If you use an unrecognized name variation or nickname, ID verification may be required to prove that you’re the owner of the bank account. You’ll then need to edit your Upwork profile to match your legal name.

  • Company bank accounts – Your account will be reviewed and verified by an Upwork representative. Your withdrawal method can be approved if:
    • The bank beneficiary name matches your Upwork company name.
    • The bank beneficiary name doesn’t match your Upwork company name, but you are able to show that you own the company and the bank account belongs to the company or to you personally. In this case, you will be required to submit these documents:
      • Scanned bank statement that shows the company name
      • Article of incorporation that shows the company


In order to get paid, your tax information must be on file. Click here to complete it. Once that is complete, available funds will be disbursed according to your payment schedule and you may initiate manual withdrawals as needed.


Currency control procedure in Ukraine. How does it work now?

Previously, after receiving foreign currency in your name, any Ukrainian bank had to verify the agreement and certificate for services provided, which were two separate written documents. Funds were deposited to your account only upon completion of such “verification.” Obviously, that is not the most convenient procedure. That is why a group of activists comprised of freelancers and lawyers began looking for ways to modify the currency control procedure, at least for freelancers and those exporting services in IT.

The result of their joint efforts was a letter from the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) № 22-01012/46746 dated July 7, 2015.

Further efforts eventually led to the legislation that simplified the required documents on November 3, 2016, eliminating administrative obstacles for exporting IT services (law #4496, signed by the Ukrainian president) on both bank and tax levels.


What has this new law really changed?

1) Instead of an international business contract, you, as a Ukrainian freelancer / Private Entrepreneur, can use an invoice issued to a non-resident (i.e. foreign client), containing the main terms and conditions of your services (including the price), signed unilaterally (no signature of the payer is needed). This is sufficient documentation for the bank to credit funds from a foreign payer to the account of a Ukrainian resident.

Even though the law clarifies that you don’t need to submit the signed contract for being paid going forward, the contract with Upwork is still available and published on Upwork’s website (Upwork User Agreement). Your relations with Upwork are regulated by the Upwork User Agreement, which you entered into when you registered on the website. If you are asked to provide the agreement you have with Upwork, you can just print the User Agreement and note on the copy that you have entered into this agreement by registering on Upwork, and then sign it.

2) Documents issued in English (including the Invoice) do not need to be translated into Ukrainian. Nevertheless, the invoice form that we created for your convenience is available in both English and Ukrainian.

3) There is no currency control on settlements for exporting services anymore. Contrary to exporting services, if freelancers are exporting goods and work, the current law now only regulates and restricts the payment terms on those items; clients need to pay for delivered goods or work performed within 180 days upon their delivery. This timeframe may periodically be amended by the National Bank of Ukraine.

There is no currency control for payments on exporting services anymore. Previously the Confirmation of Services document (also called the Act of Acceptance) was required in addition to an invoice. This document determined the term of payment and proved that the currency regulation was met.

Where can I get a sample invoice template?

The invoice should reflect the “subject matter” as well as other important clauses to meet the requirements of a foreign economic agreement, explained further below. For your convenience, we have drafted an invoice template. Download the template here. Before the legislation of law #4496, key Ukrainian banks such as PrivatBank, OTP, FUIB, Raiffeisen Bank Aval, Ukrsibbank BNP Paribas Group, Alfabank had confirmed they were satisfied with the Invoice as a confirmation document for exporting IT services.

For your convenience, the informational document on receiving payments in Ukraine is available for download in both Ukrainian and Russian.

How can I complete the new invoice?

Every field of the invoice template is required, so you may not want to change anything, unless otherwise requested by the bank or instructed by your advisors. Sometimes, identical provisions may be viewed differently by different branch offices of the same bank. Thus, if in the process of checking the invoice you are requested to add or remove some non-essential things from the Invoice, it may be easier to make the change than to engage in a long and unsuccessful discussion.

To use the template, you will fill in the following details by yourself:

  • Invoice number – it is up to you to number it; for example, use the invoice date as the number and change it each time – 2312;
  • Date of invoice – this should be 1-3 days before the payment date;
  • Supplier – specify that you are an individual entrepreneur, write your last name, name and patronymic, registration address and tax identification number;
  • Customer, Payer (Invoice details) – contains valid payment details of Upwork Global Inc. and Upwork Escrow Inc. The system of settlements is built in such a way that the payer is Upwork Escrow Inc., releasing payment from your clients to you, and our template reflects that.
  • Subject matter – name the services you have provided (for example, software testing, design services, etc.);
  • Price – amount that you are charging for your services;
  • Supplier Bank information – enter your bank account details;


Due to implementation of IBAN in Ukraine, mandatory details are: name of Beneficiary, International Bank Account Number (IBAN), name of bank, SWIFT code of bank, details of correspondent bank.

  • Description – describe the services provided in detail (for example, testing of the alpha version of the Centaurus mobile application). The description of services should be in line with those types of activities declared by you as a private entrepreneur in the single tax system in the state registry;
  • Total to pay – total amount that you are receiving.

EXAMPLE (details marked in yellow should be filled by PE)


(click for larger version)


WHEN ARE BANKS OBLIGED TO APPLY THE SIMPLIFIED DOCUMENTING PROCEDURE?

The new law #4496 has been in action since January 3, 2017. This means as of this date the simplified documents are to be accepted and procedures to be applied by banks in Ukraine.


Do I need any other documents?

Upwork’s system allows you to specify the purpose of payment, i.e. the payment is against a specific invoice (don’t forget to include its number and date). Nonetheless, banks sometimes ask for a clarification letter to confirm that the funds they have received are a payment against a specific invoice. This letter is a must in some circumstances, such as if you forgot to include your invoice and bank account details in the purpose of payment.


Can a Limited Liability Company (LLC) follow the same procedure? Is the Act of Acceptance still an obligatory document?

The law #4496 regulates business activity related to exporting services for both Private Entrepreneurs and legal entities (LLCs). A Limited Liability Company may now issue an invoice to non-residents and it has the same legal force as an international business contract.

In addition, a Confirmation of Services Agreement (Act of Acceptance) is not required anymore. As mentioned above, banks do not control the terms of currency funds settlement with regards to the export of services. And more importantly, the term “primary document” has been changed in the Law of Accountancy, i.e. the wording and its meaning “the document, which confirms business operation performance” has been removed.


Accounting

When receiving payments for your completed freelance projects on Upwork, you’ll want to ensure that you comply with all accounting and tax requirements. Below is some general information received from initiative group members, but you should determine and confirm all requirements and options for your personal situation with your accountant or legal consultant, as no information in this article constitutes tax or legal advice.

If you are a Group 3 Single Tax Payer (Private Entrepreneur) and are paying a single tax of 5%, you generally must maintain a book of income record. Review the following example:

  • December 5, 2019: You receive funds of $1,000.00 USD to your PE account. The funds are accrued in a special “transitional” account on the same date and are managed by the bank.
  • In June 2019 the mandatory sale of currency was canceled. So, without any obstacles, on December, 05, 2019, all funds of $1,000.00 USD are transferred from “transitional” account to currency account of Private Entrepreneur.
  • December 06, 2019: You decide to sell 70% of amount from USD to UAH, which equals $700 USD at a currency sale rate of UAH 23.9 per $1 (inner-bank rate from 06/12/2019). As a result, you receive UAH 16,730 to your account.


How should a Private Entrepreneur record the above amounts in their income record book and tax declaration?

The Tax Code of Ukraine states that “income in foreign currency should be calculated in UAH at the official rate of the National Bank of Ukraine on the date of the incoming transfer” (Art. 292.5 of Tax Code of Ukraine). The following record should be put in ledger and this amount is recorded in the tax return:

December 05, 2019: Income is UAH 23 930,28.

  • UAH 23 930,28 = 1,000.00 USD ( 23,930282- conversion rate for UAH to USD on December 05, 2019, when the incoming USD transfer is accrued on the Private Entrepreneur account in USD.

In this case, the currency sale rate for 70% of the amount does not matter. The exchange rate difference is not taken into account for single taxpayers. If you sold your foreign currency at a higher rate than the one on the value date, the difference is not included in your income.

Tax reporting: Rules and risks

According to the Tax Code, a single taxpayer must keep all accounting source documents for more than three years and provide them during tax orders (inspections) if required. Invoices fall under the definition of accounting source documents because they contain information about provided services.

Currently this is clearly stated in the Ukrainian Accounting Law which was amended by the law #4496. You may keep these Invoices in electronic form in special e-programs that allow you to keep documents signed by e-signature without creating hard copies. The law #4496 now clearly states this option.

Other important details:

  • Your bank may charge a fee to receive international wire transfers. If your bank uses an intermediary and/or correspondent bank, it may charge an additional fee, either a flat fee or a currency spread. Fees vary widely by country, bank, and currency, so please contact your bank directly to find out how much it will cost.
  • Bank holidays in the U.S. or your country can delay your funds.
  • For wire withdrawals, you should use the Remittance Info field to provide necessary routing instructions to the receiving bank to prevent withdrawals from being kicked back to their account.
  • Custom remittance memos can be set on scheduled wire payments. The memo will remain the same for each payment until you edit it in your schedule.

 

Updated December 18, 2019

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