Category: Financial Transactions

In transfer pricing financing transactions includes inter-company loans, treasury activity (eg. cash pooling), and guarantees within MNEs.

Italy vs BenQ Italy SRL, March 2021, Corte di Cassazione, Sez. 5 Num. 1374 Anno 2022

Italy vs BenQ Italy SRL, March 2021, Corte di Cassazione, Sez. 5 Num. 1374 Anno 2022

BenQ Italy SRL is part of a multinational group headed by the Taiwanese company BenQ Corporation that sells and markets technology products, consumer electronics, computing and communications devices. BenQ Italy’s immediate parent company was a Dutch company, BenQ Europe PV. Following an audit the tax authorities issued a notice of assessment for FY 2003 in which the taxpayer was accused of having procured goods from companies operating in countries with privileged taxation through the fictitious interposition of a Dutch company (BenQ Europe BV), the parent company of the taxpayer, whose intervention in the distribution chain was deemed uneconomic. On the basis of these assumptions, the tax authorities found that the recharge of costs made by the interposed company, were non-deductible. The tax authorities also considered that, through the interposition of BenQ BV, the prices charged by the taxpayer were aimed at transferring most of the ... Continue to full case
Australia vs Singapore Telecom Australia Investments Pty Ltd, December 2021, Federal Court of Australia, Case No FCA 1597

Australia vs Singapore Telecom Australia Investments Pty Ltd, December 2021, Federal Court of Australia, Case No FCA 1597

Singapore Telecom Australia Investments Pty Ltd entered into a loan note issuance agreement (the LNIA) with a company (the subscriber) that was resident in Singapore. Singapore Telecom Australia and the subscriber were ultimately 100% owned by the same company. The loan notes issued totalled approximately $5.2 billion to the subscriber. The terms of the LNIA was amendet on three occasions – the first amendment and the second amendment were expressed to have effect as from the date when the LNIA was originally entered into. The interest rate under the LNIA as amended by the third amendment was 13.2575% Following an audit the tax authorities issued an amended assessment under the transfer pricing provisions and denied interest deductions totalling approximately $894 million in respect of four years of income. According to the tax authorities the conditions agreed between the parties differed from the arm’s length principle ... Continue to full case
France vs SAP France, December 2021, CAA de VERSAILLES, Case No. 20VE01009

France vs SAP France, December 2021, CAA de VERSAILLES, Case No. 20VE01009

SAP AG (now SAP SE) is a German multinational software corporation that develops enterprise software to manage business operations and customer relations. The company is especially known for its ERP software. SA SAP France, a 98% subsidiary of SA SAP France Holding, itself wholly owned by the German group, had deposited funds under a Cash Management Agreement as sight deposits carrying an interest of 0%. Following an audit for the financial years 2012 and 2013, two assessment proposals were issued in December 2015 and November 2016, relating in particular to the 0% interest rate charged on the cash deposits. The tax authorities had added interest to SA SAP France’s taxable income calculated by reference to the rate of remuneration on sight deposits. SA SAP France contested the adjustments and furthermore requested the benefit of the reduced rate of corporation tax on income from industrial property, ... Continue to full case
The European Commission vs. Fiat Chrysler Finance Europe, December 2021, European Court of Justice Case, AG Opinion, No C-885/19 P (ECLI:EU:C:2021:1028)

The European Commission vs. Fiat Chrysler Finance Europe, December 2021, European Court of Justice Case, AG Opinion, No C-885/19 P (ECLI:EU:C:2021:1028)

In 2012, the Luxembourg tax authorities issued a tax ruling in favour of Fiat Chrysler Finance Europe (‘FFT’), an undertaking in the Fiat group that provided treasury and financing services to the group companies established in Europe. The tax ruling at issue endorsed a method for determining FFT’s remuneration for these services, which enabled FFT to determine its taxable profit on a yearly basis for corporate income tax in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. In 2015, the Commission concluded that the tax ruling constituted State aid under Article 107 TFEU and that it was operating aid that was incompatible with the internal market. The Commission found that the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was required to recover the unlawful and incompatible aid from FFT. FFT brought an action before the General Court for annulment of the Commission’s decision. In it’s Judgement of September 2019 Union , ... Continue to full case
Finland vs D Oy, December 2021, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. KHO:2021:179

Finland vs D Oy, December 2021, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. KHO:2021:179

At issue was whether interest expenses incurred as a result of intra-group liabilities related to the acquisition of shares were tax deductible. In August 2010, the Swedish companies H AB and B AB had agreed, among other things, to sell E Oy’s shares to B AB and to allow B AB to transfer its rights and obligations to purchase the said shares directly or indirectly to its own subsidiary. B AB’s subsidiary had established D Oy in August 2010. In September 2010, before the completion of the acquisition, B AB had transferred its rights and obligations to purchase E Oy’s shares to D Oy. Ownership of E Oy’s shares had been transferred to D Oy at the end of September 2010. D Oy had financed the acquisition of E Oy’s shares mainly with a debt it had taken from B AB, from which D Oy ... Continue to full case
Finland vs G Oy, December 2021, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. KHO:2021:178

Finland vs G Oy, December 2021, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. KHO:2021:178

At issue was whether interest expenses incurred as a result of intra-group liabilities related to the acquisition of shares were tax deductible. In 2005, CA / S, indirectly owned by private equity investors A and B, had purchased a listed share in DA / S. DA / S’s subsidiary EA / S had established H AB in July 2008. On 25 August 2008, EA / S had transferred approximately 83.8 per cent of F Oy’s shares in kind to H AB and sold the remaining approximately 16.2 per cent at the remaining purchase price. On August 26, 2008, EA / S had subscribed for new shares in G Oy and paid the share subscription price in kind, transferring 56 percent of H AB’s shares. On August 27, 2008, G Oy had purchased the remaining 44 percent of H AB’s shares. EA / S had granted ... Continue to full case
Canada vs Loblaw Financial Holdings Inc., December 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 2021 SCC 51

Canada vs Loblaw Financial Holdings Inc., December 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 2021 SCC 51

In 1992, Loblaw Financial Holdings Inc. (“Loblaw Financial”), a Canadian corporation, incorporated a subsidiary in Barbados. The Central Bank of Barbados issued a licence for the subsidiary to operate as an offshore bank named Glenhuron Bank Ltd. (“Glenhuron”). Between 1992 and 2000, important capital investments in Glenhuron were made by Loblaw Financial and affiliated companies (“Loblaw Group”). In 2013, Glenhuron was dissolved, and its assets were liquidated. For the 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2010 taxation years, Loblaw Financial did not include income earned by Glenhuron in its Canadian tax returns as foreign accrual property income (“FAPI”). Under the FAPI regime in the Income Tax Act (“ITA”), Canadian taxpayers must include income earned by their controlled foreign affiliates (“CFAs”) in their Canadian annual tax returns on an accrual basis if this income qualifies as FAPI. However, financial institutions that meet specific requirements benefit ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs Takeda A/S and NTC Parent S.a.r.l., November 2021, High Court, Cases B-2942-12 and B-171-13

Denmark vs Takeda A/S and NTC Parent S.a.r.l., November 2021, High Court, Cases B-2942-12 and B-171-13

The issue in these two cases is whether withholding tax was payable on interest paid to foreign group companies considered “beneficial owners” via conduit companies covered by the EU Interest/Royalties Directive and DTA’s exempting the payments from withholding taxes. The first case concerned interest accruals totalling approximately DKK 1,476 million made by a Danish company in the period 2007-2009 in favour of its parent company in Sweden in connection with an intra-group loan. The Danish Tax Authorities (SKAT) subsequently ruled that the recipients of the interest were subject to the tax liability in Section 2(1)(d) of the Corporation Tax Act and that the Danish company was therefore obliged to withhold and pay withholding tax on a total of approximately DKK 369 million. The Danish company brought the case before the courts, claiming principally that it was not obliged to withhold the amount collected by SKAT, ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs EAC Invest A/S, October 2021, High Court, Case No SKM2021.705.OLR

Denmark vs EAC Invest A/S, October 2021, High Court, Case No SKM2021.705.OLR

In 2019, the Danish parent company of the group, EAC Invest A/S, had been granted a ruling by the tax tribunal that, in the period 2008-2011, due to, inter alia, quite exceptional circumstances involving currency restrictions in Venezuela, the parent company should not be taxed on interest on a claim for unpaid royalties relating to trademarks covered by licensing agreements between the parent company and its then Venezuelan subsidiary, Plumrose Latinoamericana C.A. The Tax tribunal had also found that neither a payment of extraordinary dividends by the Venezuelan subsidiary to the Danish parent company in 2012 nor a restructuring of the group in 2013 could trigger a deferred taxation of royalties. The tax authorities appealed against the decisions to the High Court. Judgement of the High Court The High Court upheld the decisions of the tax tribunal with amended grounds and dismissed the claims of ... Continue to full case
Italy vs Pompea S.p.A., October 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 27636/2021

Italy vs Pompea S.p.A., October 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 27636/2021

This case deals with a non-interest bearing intragroup loan granted by Pompea S.p.A. to a foreign subsidiary and deductibility of interest expenses incurred by Pompea S.p.A. to obtain the funding needed to grant this loan to the subsidiary. The company was of the opinion that interest free inter-company loans were not covered by the Italien arm’s length provision at the time where the loan in question was established. The Italien tax authorities claimed that the arrangement was covered by the transfer pricing regulations art. 110 paragraph 7, and that an arm’s length interest had to be paid on the loan. They also found that interest on the bank loan was not deductible. Judgement of the Supreme Court The Court found that non-interest-bearing loan, was covered by the rules laid down in Article 110(7) of the TUIR (the Italien arm’s length provisions). Furthermore, the court found that the OECD ... Continue to full case
Greece vs Cypriot company Ltd., September 2021, Tax Court, Case No 2940

Greece vs Cypriot company Ltd., September 2021, Tax Court, Case No 2940

This case deals with arm’s length pricing of various inter-company loans which had been granted – free of interest – by Cypriot company Ltd. to an affiliate group company. Following an audit of Cypriot company Ltd, an upwards adjustment of the taxable income was issued. The adjustment was based on a comparison of the terms of the controlled transaction and the terms prevailing in transactions between independent parties. The lack of interest on the funds provided (deposit of a remittance minus acceptance of a remittance) was not considered in accordance with the arm’s length principle. Cypriot company Ltd disagreed with the assessment and filed an appeal with the tax court. Judgement of the Tax Court The Tax Court dismissed the appeal of Cypriot company Ltd. in regards of the arm’s length pricing of the loans. Excerpt “It is evident from the above that the bond ... Continue to full case
Albania vs Energji Ashta sh.p.k., September 2021, High Court, Case No. 00-2021-1426

Albania vs Energji Ashta sh.p.k., September 2021, High Court, Case No. 00-2021-1426

At issue was whether a payments for an intra group loan guarantee was deductible. In 2008 an agreement was concluded between Verbund AG and the former Albanian Ministry of Economy, Trade and Energy, with the object of construction, operation, maintenance and transfer of the project of a new hydropower plant in Ashta. Based on this agreement, the local company Energji Ashta received a loan in the amount of 140 million euros from two Austrian banks. Having no assets to guarantee the loan, the foreign banks have accepted guarantees for the fulfillment of obligations by Energji Ashta from two group companies EVN AG and Verbund AG. The guarantee for Energji Ashta was made against a commission of 2% of the disbursed amount. Following a tax audit Energji Ashta was informed that the commission paid to EVN AG and Verbund AG would not be allowed as a ... Continue to full case
Spain vs SGL Carbon Holding, September 2021, Tribunal Supremo, Case No 1151/2021 ECLI:EN:TS:2021:3572

Spain vs SGL Carbon Holding, September 2021, Tribunal Supremo, Case No 1151/2021 ECLI:EN:TS:2021:3572

A Spanish subsidiary – SGL Carbon Holding SL – had significant financial expenses derived from an intra-group loan granted by the parent company for the acquisition of shares in companies of the same group. The taxpayer argued that the intra-group acquisition and debt helped to redistribute the funds of the Group and that Spanish subsidiary was less leveraged than the Group as a whole. The Spanish tax authorities found the transactions lacked any business rationale other than tax avoidance and therefor disallowed the interest deductions. The Court of appeal upheld the decision of the tax authorities. The court found that the transaction lacked any business rationale and was “fraud of law” only intended to avoid taxation. The Court also denied the company access to MAP on the grounds that Spanish legislation determines: The decision was appealed by SGL Carbon to the Supreme Court. Judgement of ... Continue to full case
India vs Times Infotainment Media Ltd, August 2021, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal - Mumbai, TIA No 298/Mum/2014

India vs Times Infotainment Media Ltd, August 2021, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal – Mumbai, TIA No 298/Mum/2014

Times Infotainment Media Ltd (TIML India), is in the entertainment business, including running an FM Broadcasting channel in India. It successfully participated in the auction of the radio business of Virgin radio in March 2008 in the United Kingdom. To complete the acquisition, it acquired two SPV companies, namely TML Golden Square Limited and TIML Global Limited. TIML India wholly held TIML Global which in turn wholly held TIML Golden. TIML India received funding from its parent Bennet Coleman & Co. Limited and remitted money primarily as an interest-free loan to TIML Global on 27 June 2008. TIML Global, on behalf of TIL Golden, paid UKP 53.51 million for the acquisition of Virgin Radio Shares. The acquisition of shares in Virgin Radios by TIML Golden was completed on 30 June 2008. TIML India booked the transaction in its accounts as a loan to TIML Global ... Continue to full case
Brazil vs Natura Cosmeticos S/A, August 2021, CARF, Case No. 16327.000738/2004-66

Brazil vs Natura Cosmeticos S/A, August 2021, CARF, Case No. 16327.000738/2004-66

Natura Cosmeticos S/A had been issued a tax assessment for FY 1999 to 2001. In the assessment interest income from loans granted to foreign group entities had been added to the taxable income of the company. NATURA COSMETICOS S/A stated that the transfer pricing rule provided for in paragraph 1 of article 22 of Law 9,430/96 did not apply. The rule determines that “in the case of a loan with a related person, the lending legal entity, domiciled in Brazil, must recognize, as financial income corresponding to the operation, at least the amount calculated in accordance with the provisions of this article”. Article 22 provides that interest paid to a related person, when arising from a contract not registered with the Central Bank, will only be deductible for purposes of determining taxable income “up to the amount that does not exceed the amount calculated based ... Continue to full case
France Genefinance (Interga), July 2021, Conseil d'Etat, Case No. 434268

France Genefinance (Interga), July 2021, Conseil d’Etat, Case No. 434268

Genefinance – previously Interga – carried out a credit risk guarantee activity for the benefit of certain foreign branches and subsidiaries of the Société Générale group to which it belonged. Following an audit, the tax authorities considered the amount of premiums paid by foreign entities in 2008 and 2009 to be insufficient in relation to the guarantees granted and considered that the advantage thus granted characterised a transfer of profits within the meaning of Article 57 of the General Tax Code. The tax authorities noted that Interga, which had previously been profitable, in 2008 and 2009 had recorded significant losses, as the amount of guarantee premiums received was not sufficient to cover the expenses resulting from the guarantee calls. It found that the amount of the guarantees paid to the client entities corresponded to the difference between the cost of the risk for each of ... Continue to full case
Netherlands vs Hunkemöller B.V., July 2021, Supreme Court, Case No ECLI:NL:2021:1152

Netherlands vs Hunkemöller B.V., July 2021, Supreme Court, Case No ECLI:NL:2021:1152

In 2011 a Dutch group “Hunkemöller BV” acquired “Target BV” for EUR 135 million. The acquisition was financed by four French affiliates “FCPRs” in the Dutch Group – EUR 60,345,000 in the form of convertible instruments (intercompany debt) and the remainder in the form of equity. The convertible instruments carried an interest rates of 13 percent. The four French FCPRs were considered transparent for French tax purposes, but non-transparent for Dutch tax purposes. Hence the interest payments were deducted from the taxable income reported by the Group in the Netherlands, but the interest income was not taxed in France – the structure thus resulted in a tax mismatch. The Dutch tax authorities argued that the interest payments should not be deductible as the setup of the financing structure constituted abuse of law; the financing structure was set up in this particular manner to get around ... Continue to full case

Luxembourg vs “Lux PPL SARL”, July 2021, Administrative Tribunal, Case No 43264

Lux PPL SARL received a profit participating loan (PPL) from a related company in Jersey to finance its participation in an Irish company.  The participation in the Irish company was set up in the form of debt (85%) and equity (15%). The profit participating loan (PPL) carried a fixed interest of 25bps and a variable interest corresponding to 99% of the profits derived from the participation in the Irish company, net of any expenses, losses and a profit margin. After entering the arrangement, Lux PPL SARL filed a request for an binding ruling with the Luxembourg tax administration to verify that the interest  charge under the PPL would not qualify as a hidden profit distribution subject to the 15% dividend withholding tax. The tax administration issued the requested binding ruling on the condition that the ruling would be terminate if the total amount of the ... Continue to full case
Netherlands vs X B.V., July 2021, Supreme Court, Case No ECLI:NL:2021:1102

Netherlands vs X B.V., July 2021, Supreme Court, Case No ECLI:NL:2021:1102

X B.V., a private limited company established in the Netherlands, is part of a globally operating group (hereafter: the Group). In the years under review, the head office, which was also the top holding company, was located in the USA. Until 1 February 2008, the X B.V. was, together with BV 1 and BV 2, included in a fiscal unity for corporate income tax with the Interested Party as the parent company. As of 1 February 2008, a number of companies were added to the fiscal unity, including BV 3 and BV 4. X B.V. is considered transparent for tax purposes according to US standards. Its parent company is a company domiciled in the USA, as further described in 2.1.8 below. In 2006, BV 1 borrowed € 195,000,000 under a Euro Credit Facility (ECF), a head office guaranteed credit facility with a syndicate of sixteen ... Continue to full case
Peru vs. Borrower Branch, June 2021, Tax Court, Case No 05569-1-2021

Peru vs. Borrower Branch, June 2021, Tax Court, Case No 05569-1-2021

A foreign group had transferred funds to a branch in Peru and claimed that the transfer was a capital contribution – and not a loan. Following an audit the tax authorities issued an assessment, where the funds were considered a loan and withholding taxes on the determined interest payments was lifted. An appeal was filed by the group. Judgement of the Tax Court The Tax Court set aside the assessment and decided in favour of the group. Excerpts ” In this regard, the table presented shows that four of the elements considered by the law were taken into account, which were duly substantiated. Thus, with regard to the amounts of the transfers at the beginning and end of the year, it can be seen that these were between $570 million and $780 million, while the comparable operations presented amounts of between $100 million and $1 ... Continue to full case