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Category: Delineation – Substance over Form

Delineation – determening the actual substance of deals – is the framework for analysing controlled transactions. Guidance for identifying the commercial or financial relations is provided in TPG Ch I:

  1. Identify the assets used and the significant risks associated with the transaction.
  2. Identify the contractual arrangements , including contractual assumption of risks;
  3. Identify the parties performing functions, using assets, and managing risks in a functional analysis.
  4. Confirm the consistency between contractual arrangements and the conduct of the parties, and determine whether the party assuming risks also controls risks and has financial capacity.
  5. Delineate the actual controlled transaction.
  6. Determine arm’s length prices for these transactions consistent with each party’s contributions of functions performed, assets used, and risks assumed, unless non-recognition guidance applies.

South Africa vs Sasol Oil, November 2018, Supreme Court of Appeal, Case No 923/2017

The South African Supreme Court of Appeal, by a majority of the court, upheld an appeal against the decision of the Tax Court, in which it was held that contracts between companies in the Sasol Group of companies, for the supply of crude oil by a company in the Isle of Man to a group company in London, and the on sale of the same crude oil to Sasol Oil (Pty) Ltd in South Africa, […]

Canada vs Cameco Corp., October 2018, Tax Court of Canada, Case No 2018 TCC 195

Canadian mining company, Cameco Corp., sells uranium to a wholly owned trading hub, Cameco Europe Ltd., registred in low tax jurisdiction, Switzerland, which then re-sells the uranium to independent buyers. The parties had entered into a series of controlled transactions related to this activity and as a result the Swiss trading hub, Cameco Europe Ltd., was highly profitable. Following an audit, the Canadian tax authorities issued a transfer pricing tax assessment covering years 2003, 2005, 2006, […]

India vs. Vodafone India Services Pvt Ltd, Jan 2018, ITA No.565 Ahd 2017

The 2018 Vodafone case from India – whether termination of option rights under an agreement can be treated as a “deemed international transaction” under section 92B(2) of the Income Tax Act. Vodafone India Services had a call option to buy shares in SMMS Investment Pvt Ltd — which held 5.11% equity capital of the Vodafone India through a web of holdings for 2.78 crore if the fair market value of these shares was less than […]


The issues in this case was: Whether the price of purchase of right to dividends were deductible. Whether the purchase and sale of right to dividends was trading transaction in course of Appellant’s trade. Whether the purchase price expenditure incurred wholly and exclusively for purposes of the trade. Whether HMRC were permitted to argue point in relation to section 730 ICTA that was not raised in closure notice and which they stated they were not pursuing Whether the price […]

US vs. Exelon Corp, September 2016, US Tax Court

The case was about a sale and lease back arrangement characterizised as a loan by the US tax authorities referring to “substance over form”. The Court agreed with the tax authorities. “We have held that all of the test transactions failed the substance over form inquiry because petitioner did not acquire the benefits and burdens of ownership in the assets involved in the test transactions. We have also concluded that the test transactions are more similar to […]

India vs. Li & Fung (Trading) Ltd. March 2016, ITTA

Li & Fung (Trading) Ltd., Hong Kong, entered into contracts with its global third party customers for provision of sourcing services with respect to products to be sourced by such global customers directly from third party vendors in India. For the sourcing services, the Hong Kong company received a 5% commission of the FOB value of goods sourced. The company in India was providing sourcing support services to the Hong Kong group company, and remunerated at cost plus 5 percent […]

Finland vs. Corp, July 2014, Supreme Administrative Court HFD 2014:119

A Ab had in 2009 from its majority shareholder B, based in Luxembourg, received a EUR 15 million inter-company loan. A Ab had in 2009 deducted 1,337,500 euros in interest on the loan. The loan had been granted on the basis that the banks financing A’s operations had demanded that the company acquire additional financing, which in the payment scheme would be a subordinated claim in relation to bank loans, and by its nature a so-called IFRS hybrid, which […]

France vs SARL Garnier Choiseul Holding, 17 July 2013, CE No 352989

This case is about the importance of proving that the transaction has a real economic purpose, and that it does not artificially seek to achieve tax benefits. The courts also consider the spirit of the law, for example, the purpose of the tax exemptions relating to parent-subsidiary distributions is to involve the parent company in the business of the subsidiary. Click here for translation Share:

Norway vs. Telecomputing, June 2010, Supreme Court case nr. HR-2010-1072-A

This case was about the qualification of capital transfers to a US subsidiary – whether the capital should be qualified as a loan (as done by the company) or as a equity contribution (as agrued by the tax administration). The Supreme Court concluded that the capital transfers to the subsidiary as a whole should be classified as loans. The form chosen by the company (loan) had an independent commercial rationale and Section 13-1 of the […]

New Zealand vs Australian-owned banks – ANZ, ASB, BNZ and Westpac

In 2009, New Zealand’s tax authorities made an out of court tax settlement of $2.2 billion. Australian-owned banks – ANZ, ASB, BNZ, and Westpac – agreed to recognise a extra tax bill of $2.2 billion between them, they avoided via deliberately complicated structured financial transactions. The Four banks entered the settlement after two of them had been to court and lost. Westpac Banking Corporation v Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Feb 2009 BNZ Investments Ltd v […]

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