Category: Business Restructuring

In the context of transfer pricing, business restructuring is defined as the cross-border redeployment by a multinational enterprise of functions, assets and/or risks. A business restructuring may involve cross-border transfers of valuable intangibles. It may also or alternatively involve the termination or substantial renegotiation of existing arrangements. Business restructurings can also consist of the rationalisation, specialisation or de-specialisation of operations including the downsizing or closing of operations.

  • Conversion of full-fledged distributors into limited-risk distributors or commissionnaires for a foreign associated enterprise that may operate as a principal,
  • Conversion of full-fledged manufacturers into contract-manufacturers or toll-manufacturers for a foreign associated enterprise that may operate as a principal,
  • Transfers of intangible property rights to a central entity (e.g. a so-called “IP company”) within the group.
France vs Bupa Insurance, December 2022, Conseil d'État, Case No 450796 (ECLI:FR:CECHR:2022:450796.20221221)

France vs Bupa Insurance, December 2022, Conseil d’État, Case No 450796 (ECLI:FR:CECHR:2022:450796.20221221)

In 2009 a British company – Bupa Insurance Limited – absorbed the Danish company International Health Insurance, whose shares it had acquired in 2005 and which had had a French branch since 1993. Following an audit for FY 2009 and 2010, the tax authorities considered that the French branch had passed on to Bupa Insurance Limited, free of charge, the customers associated with its insurance business in France, and considered this transaction to be an indirect transfer of profits within the meaning of Article 57 of the General Tax Code. The Administrative Court of Appeal set aside the assessment and an appeal was then filed with the Conseil d’État by the tax authorities. Judgement of the Supreme Administrative Court The Supreme Administrative Court upheld the decision from the CAA and dismissed the appeal of the tax authorities. Excerpts “3. It is clear from the statements ... Continue to full case
Israel vs CA Software Israel Ltd, October 2022, Tel Aviv District Court, Case No 61226-06-17

Israel vs CA Software Israel Ltd, October 2022, Tel Aviv District Court, Case No 61226-06-17

The shares in Memco Software Ltd (now CA Software Israel Ltd) was acquired by CA Inc. in the late 90’s for 400 millions. Later in 2010 all the intangibles developed by the company (software and know-how etc.) was transferred to a CA group company at a price of 111 millions. Following an audit the tax authorities issued an assessment where the value of the intangibles was instead determined to be 667 million and the additional gain was added to the taxable income. Furthermore, since payment of the determined arm’s length value had not been received by CA Software Israel Ltd, interest of 2,2585% was calculated on the amount owed and added to the taxable income in the years following the transfer. An appeal was filed by CA Software Israel Ltd. Judgement of the Court The court upheld the tax assessment and the value determined by ... Continue to full case
Netherlands vs "Agri B.V.", September 2022, Court of Appeal, Case No AWB-16_5664 (ECLI:NL:RBNHO:2022:9062)

Netherlands vs “Agri B.V.”, September 2022, Court of Appeal, Case No AWB-16_5664 (ECLI:NL:RBNHO:2022:9062)

“Agri B.V.” is a Dutch subsidiary in an international group processing agricultural products. Following a restructuring in 2009 “Agri B.V.” had declared a profit of € 35 million, including € 2 million in exit profits. In an assessment issued by the tax authorities this amount had been adjusted to more than € 350 million. Judgement of the Court of Appeal The Court of appeal decided predominantly in favour of the tax authorities. An expert was appointed to determine the value of what had been transferred, and based on the valuation report produced by the expert the court set the taxable profit for 2009/2010 to €117 million. Excerpt “The Functional Analysis of [company 9] submitted, the Asset Sale and Purchase Agreements, the Manufacturing Services Agreements and the Consulting services and assistance in conducting business activities agreements show that there was a transfer of more than just ... Continue to full case
France vs SA Tropicana Europe Hermes, August 2022, CAA of DOUAI, Case No. 20DA01106

France vs SA Tropicana Europe Hermes, August 2022, CAA of DOUAI, Case No. 20DA01106

SA Tropicana Europe Hermes is a French permanent establishment of SA Tropicana Europe, located in Belgium. The French PE carried out the business of bottling fruit juice-based drinks. In 2009, a new distribution contract was concluded with the Swiss company FLTCE, which was accompanied by a restructuring of its business. Before 1 July 2009, Tropicana was engaged in the manufacture of fresh fruit juices in cardboard packs and purchased fresh fruit juices which it pasteurised. As of 1 July 2009, its activity was reduced to that of a contract manufacturer on behalf of FLTCE, which became the owner of the technology and intellectual property rights as well as the stocks. The re-organisation led to a significant reduction in the company’s turnover and profits. Tropicana Europe was subject to two audits, at the end of which the tax authorities notified it of tax reassessments in respect ... Continue to full case
Malaysia vs Keysight Technologies Malaysia, May 2022, High Court, Case No WA-144-03-2020

Malaysia vs Keysight Technologies Malaysia, May 2022, High Court, Case No WA-144-03-2020

Keysight Technologies Malaysia Sdn Bhd (KTM) was incorporated in 1998 and active as a full-fledged manufacturer of various microwave devices and test instruments in which capacity it had also developed valuable intangibles. In 2008, KTM was converted into a contract manufacturer under an agreement with Agilent Technologies International s.a.r.l. and at the same time KLM purportedly transferred its intangibles to Agilent Technologies. KTM received an amount of RM 821 million which it reported as non-taxable gains form sale of intangibles in its tax return. Following an audit the tax authorities issued a notice of assessment for FY 2008 where the sum of RM 821 million had been considered revenue in nature and thus taxable under Section 4(f) of the ITA. This resulted in a claim of RM 311 million together with a 45% penalty. According to the tax authorities the transfer of technical knowhow was ... Continue to full case
France vs SAS Oakley Holding, May 2022, CAA of Lyon, No 19LY03100

France vs SAS Oakley Holding, May 2022, CAA of Lyon, No 19LY03100

SNC Oakley Europe, a subsidiary of SAS Oakley Holding, which belonged to the American group Oakley Inc. until its takeover in 2007 by the Italian group Luxottica, carried on the business of distributing clothing, footwear, eyewear and accessories of the Oakley brand on European territory. Following the takeover SNC Oakley Europe in 2008 transferred its distribution activity on the French market to another French company, Luxottica France, and its distribution activity on the European market to companies incorporated in Ireland, Luxottica Trading and Finance and Oakley Icon, and deducted restructuring costs in an amount of EUR 15,544,267. The tax authorities qualified these costs as an advantage granted without consideration to its sister companies, constituting, on the one hand, an abnormal management act and, on the other hand, an indirect transfer of profits within the meaning of Article 57 of the General Tax Code on the ... Continue to full case
Israel vs Medingo Ltd, May 2022, District Court, Case No 53528-01-16

Israel vs Medingo Ltd, May 2022, District Court, Case No 53528-01-16

In April 2010 Roche pharmaceutical group acquired the entire share capital of the Israeli company, Medingo Ltd, for USD 160 million. About six months after the acquisition, Medingo was entered into 3 inter-group service agreements: a R&D services agreement, pursuant to which Medingo was to provide R&D services in exchange for cost + 5%. All developments under the agreement would be owned by Roche. a services agreement according to which Medingo was to provided marketing, administration, consultation and support services in exchange for cost + 5%. a manufacturing agreement, under which Medingo was to provide manufacturing and packaging services in exchange for cost + 5. A license agreement was also entered, according to which Roche could now manufacture, use, sell, exploit, continue development and sublicense to related parties the Medingo IP in exchange for 2% of the relevant net revenues. Finally, in 2013, Medingo’s operation ... Continue to full case
Sweden vs Swedish Match Intellectual Property AB, May 2022, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No Mål: 5264--5267-20, 5269-20

Sweden vs Swedish Match Intellectual Property AB, May 2022, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No Mål: 5264–5267-20, 5269-20

At issue was whether the acquisition value of an inventory acquired from a related company should be adjusted on the basis of Swedish arm’s length provisions or alternatively tax avoidance provisions According to the arm’s length rule in Chapter 18, Section 11 of the Income Tax Act, the acquisition value is to be adjusted to a reasonable extent if the taxpayer or someone closely related to the taxpayer has taken steps to enable the taxpayer to obtain a higher acquisition value than appears reasonable and it can be assumed that this has been done in order to obtain an unjustified tax advantage for one of the taxpayer or someone closely related to the taxpayer. Company (A) acquired a trademark from another company (B) in the same group for a price corresponding to its market value and used the acquisition value as the basis for depreciation ... Continue to full case
Poland vs D. Sp. z oo, April 2022, Administrative Court, Case No I SA/Bd 128/22

Poland vs D. Sp. z oo, April 2022, Administrative Court, Case No I SA/Bd 128/22

D. Sp. z oo had deducted interest expenses on intra-group loans and expenses related to intra-group services in its taxable income for FY 2015. The loans and services had been provided by a related party in Delaware, USA. Following a inspection, the tax authority issued an assessment where deductions for these costs had been denied resulting in additional taxable income. In regards to the interest expenses the authority held that the circumstances of the transactions indicated that they were made primarily in order to achieve a tax advantage contrary to the object and purpose of the Tax Act (reduction of the tax base by creating a tax cost in the form of interest on loans to finance the purchase of own assets), and the modus operandi of the participating entities was artificial, since under normal trading conditions economic operators, guided primarily by economic objectives and ... Continue to full case
Norway vs Fortis Petroleum Norway AS, March 2022, Court of Appeal, Case No LB-2021-26379

Norway vs Fortis Petroleum Norway AS, March 2022, Court of Appeal, Case No LB-2021-26379

In 2009-2011 Fortis Petroleum Norway AS (FPN) bought seismic data related to oil exploration in the North Sea from a related party, Petroleum GeoServices AS (PGS), for NKR 95.000.000. FBN paid the amount by way of a convertible intra-group loan from PGS in the same amount. FPN also purchased administrative services from another related party, Consema, and later paid a substantial termination fee when the service contract was terminated. The acquisition costs, interest on the loan, costs for services and termination fees had all been deducted in the taxable income of the company for the years in question. Central to this case is the exploration refund scheme on the Norwegian shelf. This essentially means that exploration companies can demand cash payment of the tax value of exploration costs, cf. the Petroleum Tax Act § 3 letter c) fifth paragraph. If the taxpayer does not have ... Continue to full case
US vs TBL LICENSING LLC, January 2022, U.S. Tax Court, Case No. 158 T.C. No 1 (Docket No. 21146-15)

US vs TBL LICENSING LLC, January 2022, U.S. Tax Court, Case No. 158 T.C. No 1 (Docket No. 21146-15)

A restructuring that followed the acquisition of Timberland by VF Enterprises in 2011 resulted in an intra-group transfer of ownership to valuable intangibles to a Swiss corporation, TBL Investment Holdings. The IRS was of the opinion that gains from the transfer was taxable. Judgement of the US Tax Court The tax court upheld the assessment of the tax authorities. Excerpt: “we have concluded that petitioner’s constructive distribution to VF Enterprises of the TBL GmbH stock that petitioner constructively received in exchange for its intangible property was a “disposition” within the meaning of section 367(d)(2)(A)(ii)(II). We also conclude, for the reasons explained in this part IV, that no provision of the regulations allows petitioner to avoid the recognition of gain under that statutory provision.” “Because we do not “agree[] to reduce the adjustment to income for the trademarks based on a 20-year useful life limitation, pursuant ... Continue to full case
Sweden vs Flir Commercial Systems AB, January 2022, Administrative Court of Appeal, Case No 2434–2436-20

Sweden vs Flir Commercial Systems AB, January 2022, Administrative Court of Appeal, Case No 2434–2436-20

In 2012, Flir Commercial Systems AB sold intangible assets from a branch in Belgium and subsequently claimed a tax relief of more than SEK 2 billion in fictitious Belgian tax due to the sale. The Swedish Tax Agency decided not to allow relief for the Belgian “tax”, and issued a tax assessment where the relief of approximately SEK 2 billion was denied and a surcharge of approximately SEK 800 million was added. An appeal was filed with the Administrative Court, In March 2020 the Administrative Court concluded that the Swedish Tax Agency was correct in not allowing relief for the fictitious Belgian tax. In the opinion of the Administrative Court, the Double tax agreement prevents Belgium from taxing increases in the value of the assets from the time where the assets were owned in Sweden. Consequently, any fictitious tax cannot be credited in the Swedish ... Continue to full case
Poland vs R. Sp. z o. o., January 2022, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No II FSK 990/19

Poland vs R. Sp. z o. o., January 2022, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No II FSK 990/19

R. Sp. z o.o. had requested a binding ruling/interpretation regarding tax deduction for the price paid to a related entity under restructuring. The request was denied by the tax authorities, as the question – according to the authorities – could only be answered under an Advance Pricing Agreement. R. Sp. z.o.o brought the issue before the Administrative Court, where a decision in favour of R. Sp. z.o.o. was issued. An appeal was then filed by the tax authorities. Judgement of the Supreme Administrative Court The Court dismissed the appeal of the tax authorities. The tax authorities could not refuse to issue a binding ruling/interpretation on whether or not a price paid to a related party under restructuring was tax deductible. According to the Court such a question could not only be dispelled by the issuance of an Advance Pricing Agreement. Click here for English Translation ... Continue to full case
France vs SAS Microchip Technology Rousset, December 2021, CAA of MARSEILLE, Case No. 19MA04336

France vs SAS Microchip Technology Rousset, December 2021, CAA of MARSEILLE, Case No. 19MA04336

SAS Microchip Technology Rousset (former SAS Atmel Rousset) is a French subsidiary of the American Atmel group, which designs, manufactures, develops and sells a wide range of semiconductor integrated circuits. It was subject to an audit covering the FY 2010 and 2011 and as a result of this audit, the tax authorities imposed additional corporate income tax and an additional assessments for VAT. The administration also subjected SAS Atmel Rousset to withholding tax due to income deemed to be distributed to one of the Atmel group companies. The authorities invoked the provisions of Article 57 of the General Tax Code as the new legal basis for the additional corporate tax contributions and the social contribution on corporate tax, resulting from the reintegration of the capital loss arising from the sale of SAS Fabco shares and the assumption of responsibility for SAS Fabco’s social plan, instead ... Continue to full case
Switzerland vs A AG, September 2021, Administrative Court, Case No SB.2020.00011/12 and SB.2020.00014/15

Switzerland vs A AG, September 2021, Administrative Court, Case No SB.2020.00011/12 and SB.2020.00014/15

A AG, which was founded in 2000 by researchers from the University of Applied Sciences D, has as its object the development and distribution of …, in particular in the areas of ….. It had its registered office in Zurich until the transfer of its registered office to Zug in 2021. By contract dated 16 June 2011, it was taken over by Group E, Country Q, or by an acquisition company founded by it for this purpose, for a share purchase price of EUR …. On the same day, it concluded two contracts with E-Schweiz AG, which was in the process of being founded (entered in the Commercial Register on 7 September 2011), in which it undertook to provide general and administrative services on the one hand and research and development on the other. As of 30 September 2011, A AG sold all ”Intellectual Property ... Continue to full case
Poland vs A S.A., June 2021, Provincial Administrative Court, Case No I SA/Gl 1649/20

Poland vs A S.A., June 2021, Provincial Administrative Court, Case No I SA/Gl 1649/20

The business activity of A S.A. was wholesale of pharmaceutical products to external pharmacies, hospitals, wholesalers (including: to affiliated wholesalers). The tax authority had noted that the company’s name had been changed in FY 2013, and a loss in the amount of PLN […] had been reported in the company’s tax return. An audit revealed that the Company had transferred significant assets (real estate) to a related entity on non-arm’s length terms. The same real estate was then going forward made available to the company on a fee basis under lease and tenancy agreements. The tax authority issued an assessment where a “restructuring fee” in the amount of PLN […] was added to the taxable income, reflecting the amount which would have been achieved if the transaction had been agreed between independent parties. According to the company the tax authority was not entitled at all ... Continue to full case
Norway vs "Distributor A AS", March 2021, Tax Board, Case No 01-NS 131/2017

Norway vs “Distributor A AS”, March 2021, Tax Board, Case No 01-NS 131/2017

A fully fledged Norwegian distributor in the H group was restructured and converted into a Limited risk distributor. The tax authorities issued an assessment where the income of the Norwegian distributor was adjusted to the median in a benchmark study prepared by the tax authorities, based on the “Transactional Net Margin Method” (TNMM method). Decision of the Tax Board In a majority decision, the Tax Board determined that the case should be send back to the tax administration for further processing. Excerpt “…The majority agrees with the tax office that deficits over time may give reason to investigate whether the intra-group prices are set on market terms. However, the case is not sufficiently informed for the tribunal to take a final position on this. In order to determine whether the income has been reduced as a result of incorrect pricing of intra-group transactions and debits, ... Continue to full case
Portugal vs "B Restructuring LDA", February 2021, CAAD, Case No 255/2020-T

Portugal vs “B Restructuring LDA”, February 2021, CAAD, Case No 255/2020-T

B Restructuring LDA was a distributor within the E group. During FY 2014-2016 a number of manufacturing entities within the group terminated distribution agreements with B Restructuring LDA and subsequently entered into new Distribution Agreements, under similar terms, with another company of the group C. These events were directed by the Group’s parent company, E. The tax authorities was of the opinion, that if these transaction had been carried out in a free market, B would have received compensation for the loss of intangible assets – the customer portfolio and the business and market knowledge (know-how) inherent to the functions performed by B. In other words, these assets had been transferred from B to C. The tax authorities performed a valuation of the intangibles and issued an assessment of additional taxable income resulting from the transaction. E Group disagreed with the assessment as, according to ... Continue to full case
India vs. M/s Redington (India) Limited, December 2020, High Court of Madras, Case No. T.C.A.Nos.590 & 591 of 2019

India vs. M/s Redington (India) Limited, December 2020, High Court of Madras, Case No. T.C.A.Nos.590 & 591 of 2019

Redington India Limited (RIL) established a wholly-owned subsidiary Redington Gulf (RG) in the Jebel Ali Free Zone of the UAE in 2004. The subsidiary was responsible for the Redington group’s business in the Middle East and Africa. Four years later in July 2008, RIL set up a wholly-owned subsidiary company in Mauritius, RM. In turn, this company set up its wholly-owned subsidiary in the Cayman Islands (RC) – a step-down subsidiary of RIL. On 13 November 2008, RIL transferred its entire shareholding in RG to RC without consideration, and within a week after the transfer, a 27% shareholding in RC was sold by RG to a private equity fund Investcorp, headquartered in Cayman Islands for a price of Rs.325.78 Crores. RIL claimed that the transfer of its shares in RG to RC was a gift and therefore, exempt from capital gains taxation in India. It ... Continue to full case
Austria vs S GmbH, November 2020, Verwaltungsgerichtshof, Case No Ra 2019/15/0162-3

Austria vs S GmbH, November 2020, Verwaltungsgerichtshof, Case No Ra 2019/15/0162-3

S GmbH was an Austrian trading company of a group. In the course of business restructuring, the real estate division of the Austrian-based company was initially separated from the “trading operations/brands” division on the demerger date of 31 March 2007. The trademark rights remained with the previous trading company, which was the parent company of the group, now M GmbH. On 25 September 2007, M GmbH transferred all trademark rights to a permanent establishment in Malta, which was set up in the same year, to which it also moved its place of management on 15 January 2008. Licence agreements were concluded between S GmbH and M GmbH, which entitle S GmbH to use the trademarks of M GmbH for advertising and marketing measures in connection with its business operations in return for a (turnover-dependent) licence fee. The tax authorities (re)assessed the corporate income tax for ... Continue to full case
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