Category: Financial Transactions

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

India vs TMW, August 2019, Income Tax Tribunal, Case No ITA No 879

India vs TMW, August 2019, Income Tax Tribunal, Case No ITA No 879

The facts in brief are that TMW ASPF CYPRUS (hereinafter referred to as ‘assessee’) is a private limited company incorporated in Cyprus and is engaged in the business of making investments in the real estate sector. The company in the year 2008 had made investments in independent third-party companies in India (hereinafter collectively known as ‘investee companies’) engaged in real estate development vide fully convertible debentures (FCCDs). It was these investments that made the investee companies an associated enterprise of the assessee as per TP provisions. The assessee had also entered agreements, according to which the assessee was entitled to a coupon rate of 4%. Further, after the conversion of the FCCDs into equity shares, the promoter of Indian Companies would buy back at an agreed option price. The option price would be such that the investor gets the original investment paid on subscription to ... Continue to full case
Luxembourg vs Lender Societe, July 2019, Cour Administratif, Case No 42083

Luxembourg vs Lender Societe, July 2019, Cour Administratif, Case No 42083

Lender Societe had acquired real estate in 2008 for EUR 26 million. The acquisition had been financed by a bank loan of EUR 20 million and a shareholder loan of EUR 6 million. The interest rate on the shareholder loan was set at 12%. The Tax Authorities found that the “excessive” part of the interest paid on the shareholder loan was as a hidden distribution of profit subject to dividend withholding tax. The hidden profit distribution was calculated as the difference between an arm’s length interest rate set at approximately 3% and the interest rate according to the loan agreement of 12%. Lender Societe disagreed with the assessment and brought the case before the Tribunal Administratif. The Tribunal agreed with the Tax Authorities and qualified the excessive interest payments as a hidden profit distribution subject to a 15% dividend withholding tax. The decision of the Tax Tribunal is affirmed by the ... Continue to full case
Netherlands vs Lender BV, June 2019, Tax Court, Case No 17/871

Netherlands vs Lender BV, June 2019, Tax Court, Case No 17/871

A Dutch company, Lender BV, provided loans to an affiliated Russian company on which interest was paid. The Dispute was (1) whether the full amount of interest should be included in the taxable income in the Netherlands, or if part of the “interest payment” was subject to the participation exemption or (2) whether the Netherlands was required to provide relief from double taxation for the Russian dividend tax and, if so, to what amount. The Tax court found it to be a loan and the payments therefor qualified as interest and not dividend. The participation exemption does not apply to interest. In addition, the court ruled that the Russian thin-capitalization rules did not have an effect on the Netherlands through Article 9 of the Convention for the avoidance of double taxation between the Netherlands and Russia. Application of the participation exemption was not an issue. In the opinion ... Continue to full case
UK vs Oxford Instruments Ltd, April 2019, First-tier Tribunal, Case No. [2019] UKFTT 254 (TC)

UK vs Oxford Instruments Ltd, April 2019, First-tier Tribunal, Case No. [2019] UKFTT 254 (TC)

At issue in this case was UK loan relationship rules – whether a note issued as part of a structure for refinancing the US sub-group without generating net taxable interest income in the UK had an unallowable purpose and the extent of deductions referable to the unallowable purpose considered. The Court ruled in favor of the tax administration: “Did the $140m Promissory Note secure a tax advantage? 110.     In my view, the $140m Promissory Note secured a tax advantage for OIOH 2008 Ltd in that all of the interest arising in respect of the note (apart from 25% of the interest on $94m of the principal amount of the note) was set off against the taxable income of OIOH 2008 Ltd.  Those interest deductions were accordingly a “relief from tax” falling within Section 1139(2)(a) of the CTA 2010. 111.     I consider that that would be the case ... Continue to full case
UN Manual on Transfer Pricing - draft update on Financial Transactions and Profit Splits

UN Manual on Transfer Pricing – draft update on Financial Transactions and Profit Splits

A new version of the UN Practical Manual on Transfer Pricing for Developing Countries is due by 2021. According to the mandate the new manual will make further improvements in usability and practical relevance, updates and improvements to existing text, including on Country Practices (Part D) and will have new content, in particular, on financial transactions; profit splits, centralized procurement functions and comparability issues. A draft paper was published 8 April 2019 containing further guidance on: • Financial Transactions (Attachment A); • Profit Splits (Attachment B); and • Establishing Transfer Pricing Capability, Risk Assessment and Transfer Pricing Audits (Attachment C). 2019 Update-UN-Practical-Manual-on-Transfer-Pricing Share: ... Continue to full case
US vs SIH Partners LLLP, May 2019, US Third Circuit of Appeal, Case No 18-1862

US vs SIH Partners LLLP, May 2019, US Third Circuit of Appeal, Case No 18-1862

The Third Circuit of Appeal upheld the tax courts prior decision i a $377 million dispute involving the affiliate of a US based commodities trader. The Court found that SIH Partners LLLP, an affiliate of Pennsylvania-based commodities trader Susquehanna International Group LLP, owed taxes on approximately $377 million in additional income. The extra earnings stemmed from a $1.5 billion loan from Bank of America brokerage Merrill Lynch, which was guaranteed by SIH’s subsidiaries in Ireland and the Cayman Islands. The Tax Court’s ruling was based on regulations under Section 956 of the Internal Revenue Code, which states that U.S. shareholders must include their controlled foreign corporations’ applicable earnings, up to the amount of such a loan, in their own income when the foreign units invest in U.S. property. US vs SIH Partners LLLP181862p Share: ... Continue to full case
Commission opens in-depth investigation into tax treatment of Huhtamäki in Luxembourg

Commission opens in-depth investigation into tax treatment of Huhtamäki in Luxembourg

The European Commission has now opened an in-depth investigation to examine whether tax rulings granted by Luxembourg to Finnish food and drink packaging company Huhtamäki may have given the company an unfair advantage over its competitors, in breach of EU State Aid rules. Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner in charge of competition policy, said: “Member States should not allow companies to set up arrangements that unduly reduce their taxable profits and give them an unfair advantage over their competitors. The Commission will carefully investigate Huhtamäki’s tax treatment in Luxembourg to assess whether it is in line with EU State aid rules.” The Commission’s formal investigation concerns three tax rulings issued by Luxembourg to the Luxembourg-based company Huhtalux S.à.r.l. in 2009, 2012 and 2013. The 2009 tax ruling was disclosed as part of the “Luxleaks” investigation led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in 2014. Huhtalux is ... Continue to full case
India vs Aegis Ltd, January 2018, High Court of Bombay, Case No 1248 of 2016

India vs Aegis Ltd, January 2018, High Court of Bombay, Case No 1248 of 2016

Aegis Ltd had advanced money to an assosiated enterprice (AE)  and recived preference shares carrying no dividend in return. The Indian Transfer Pricing Officer (TPO) held that the “acqusition of preference shares” were in fact equivalent to an interest free loan advanced by Aegis Ltd to the assosiated enterprice and accordingly re-characterised the transaction and issued an assessment for 2009 and 2010 where interest was charged on notional basis. Aegis Ltd disagreed with the assessment of the TPO and brought the case before the Tax Tribunal. The Tribunal did not accept the conclusions of the TPO. “The TPO cannot disregard the apparent transaction and substitute the same without any material of exceptional circumstances pointing out that the assessee had tried to conceal the real transaction or that the transaction in question was sham. The Tribunal observed that the TPO cannot question the commercial expediency of the ... Continue to full case
Netherlands vs X B.V., November 2018, Supreme Court, Case No 17/03918

Netherlands vs X B.V., November 2018, Supreme Court, Case No 17/03918

Company X B.V. held all the shares in the Irish company A. The Tax Agency in the Netherlands claimed that the Irish company A qualified as a “low-taxed investment participation”. The court agreed, as company A was not subject to a taxation of 10 per cent or more in Ireland. The Tax Agency also claimed that X B.V.’s profit should include a hidden dividend due to company A’s providing an interest-free loan to another associated Irish company E. The court agreed. Irish company E had benefited from the interest-free loan and this benefit should be regarded as a dividend distribution. It was then claimed by company X B.V, that the tax treaty between the Netherlands and Ireland did not permit including hidden dividends in X’s profit. The Supreme Court disagreed and found that the hidden dividend falls within the scope of the term “dividends” in ... Continue to full case
Netherlands vs NL PE, October 2018, Amsterdam Court of Appeal, case no. 17/00407 to 17/00410

Netherlands vs NL PE, October 2018, Amsterdam Court of Appeal, case no. 17/00407 to 17/00410

The issue in this case was attribution of profits to a permanent establishment in the Netherlands. Click here for translation ECLI_NL_GHAMS_2018_2438, Gerechtshof Amsterdam, 17_00407 tm 17_00410N Share: ... Continue to full case
Luxembourg vs Lender Societe, November 2018, Tribunal Administratif, Case No 40348

Luxembourg vs Lender Societe, November 2018, Tribunal Administratif, Case No 40348

Lender Societe had acquired real estate in 2008 for EUR 26 million. The acquisition had been financed by a bank loan of EUR 20 million and a shareholder loan of EUR 6 million. The interest rate on the shareholder loan was set at 12%. The Tax Authorities found that the “excessive” part of the interest paid on the shareholder loan was as a hidden distribution of profit subject to dividend withholding tax. The hidden profit distribution was calculated as the difference between an arm’s length interest rate set at approximately 3% and the interest rate according to the loan agreement of 12%. Lender Societe disagreed with the assessment and brought the case before the Tribunal Administratif. The Tribunal agreed with the Tax Authorities and qualified the excessive interest payments as a hidden profit distribution subject to a 15% dividend withholding tax. Click here for translation Luxembourg vs Societe 071018 tribunal administratif ... Continue to full case
UK vs  Union Castle Ltd, October 2018, UK Upper Tribunal, Case No  0316 (TCC)

UK vs Union Castle Ltd, October 2018, UK Upper Tribunal, Case No 0316 (TCC)

Union Castle Ltd. calimed a tax deduction of £ 39 million related to losses on derivative contracts. After acquiring derivative contracts, Union Castle issued bonus A shares to it’s parent company, Caledonia, which carried a dividend equal to 95% of the cash-flows arising on the close-out of the contracts. Therefore Union Castle had written off 39 million of the value of the contracts in it’s accounts. The tax authorities disagreed that a tax loss had been suffered and issued an assesment disallowing the loss. The Tribunal found in favor of the tax authorities. Capital transactions are subject of the UK transfer pricing rules. Issuing of shares meets the requirements of “making or imposing conditions in commercial and financial relations” as required by Article 9 of the OECD Model Convention. OECD TPG apply to debt financing. Share transactions, which have an effect on income taxation, must ... Continue to full case
Canada vs Loblaw Financial Holdings Inc., September 2018, Tax Court of Canada, Case No 2018 TCC 182

Canada vs Loblaw Financial Holdings Inc., September 2018, Tax Court of Canada, Case No 2018 TCC 182

In this case the Tax Court found that Canadian grocery chain Loblaw using an offshore banking affiliate in a low tax jurisdiction – Barbados – to manage groups investments did not constituted tax avoidance. However, the court’s interpretation of a technical provision in the Canadian legislation had the consequence that Loblaw would nonetheless have to pay $368 million in taxes and penalties. It has later been stated that Loblaw will appeal the decision of the Tax Court. Canada-vs-Loblaw-2018-TCC-182 Share: ... Continue to full case
Luxembourg vs PPL-Co, July 2017, Cour Administrative, Case No 38357C

Luxembourg vs PPL-Co, July 2017, Cour Administrative, Case No 38357C

The Administrative Court re-characterised a profit-participating loan into equity for tax purposes. The court provided the following reasoning: “Compared with the criteria specified above for a requalification as a disguised contribution of capital, it should firstly be noted that the sums made available to the two subsidiaries were allocated to investments in properties intended in principle to represent investments in the medium or long term as assets of the invested assets and in the absence of a clause providing for a repayment plan or a fixed maturity, the sums were intended to remain at the disposal of the subsidiaries for a period otherwise limited. In addition, this availability of funds did not give rise to any fixed consideration from the two subsidiaries, but only to a share of the appellant in the capital gains generated by hotel disposals, this interest amounting to three quarters of ... Continue to full case
Netherlands vs B.V, July 2018, Hoge Raad Case No  17/04930 17/05713 17/05714

Netherlands vs B.V, July 2018, Hoge Raad Case No 17/04930 17/05713 17/05714

It follows from various Supreme Court judgments in the Netherlands that a loan is commercially irrational if no interest can be determined under which an independent third party would have been willing to grant the same loan. The consequence of a loan beeing deemed commercially irrational is that a loss is not deductible. This case addresses the implications of the Umbrella Judgement, in particular the question of how that judgment relates to case laws on unsecured loans and guarantees. The Advocate General concludes that the Umbrella Judgment is not applicable in this case and that the tax authorities has failed to demonstrate that an independent third party would not have been willing to enter a similar loan agreement. Click here for translation Nederland July 2018 ECLI NL PHR 2018 737 Share: ... Continue to full case
UK vs CJ Wildbird Foods Limited, June 2018, First-tier Tribunal, case no. UKFTT0341 (TC06556)

UK vs CJ Wildbird Foods Limited, June 2018, First-tier Tribunal, case no. UKFTT0341 (TC06556)

In the transfer pricing case of C J Wildbird Foods Limited the issue was whether a related party loan should be treated as such for tax purposes. There was a loan agreement between the parties and the agreement specified that there was an obligation to repay the loan and interest. However, no interest had actually been paid and a tax deduction had also been claimed by the tax payer on the basis that the debt was unlikely to be repaid. The tax authorities argued that the loan did not have the characteristics of a loan. The borrower was loss making  and did not have the financial capacity to pay any interest. The tribunal found that there was a legal obligation to repay the loan and interest. Whether the loan or interest was actually repaid was irrelevant. “The modern business world has many famous examples of ... Continue to full case
US vs Reserve Mechanical Corp, June 2018, US Tax Court, Case No. T.C. Memo 2018-86

US vs Reserve Mechanical Corp, June 2018, US Tax Court, Case No. T.C. Memo 2018-86

The issues were whether transactions executed by the company constituted insurance contracts for Federal income tax purposes and therefore, whether Reserve Mechanical Corp was exempt from tax as an “insurance company”. For that purpose the relevant factors for a captive insurance to exist was described by the court. According to the court in determining whether an entity is a bona fide insurance company a number of factors must be considered, including: (1) whether it was created for legitimate nontax reasons; (2) whether there was a circular flow of funds; (3) whether the entity faced actual and insurable risk; (4) whether the policies were arm’s-length contracts; (5) whether the entity charged actuarially determined premiums; (6) whether comparable coverage was more expensive or even available; (7) whether it was subject to regulatory control and met minimum statutory requirements; (8) whether it was adequately capitalized; and (9) whether ... Continue to full case
South Africa vs. Crookes Brothers Ltd, May 2018, High Court, Case No 14179/2017 ZAGPHC 311

South Africa vs. Crookes Brothers Ltd, May 2018, High Court, Case No 14179/2017 ZAGPHC 311

A South African parent company, Crookes Brothers Ltd, owned 99% of the shares in a subsidiary in Mozambique, MML. Crookes Brothers and MML entred into a loan agreement. According to the agreements MML would not be obliged to repay the loan in full within 30 years. Furthermore, repayment of the loan would not take place if the market value of the assets of MML were less than the market value of its liabilities as of the date of the payment, and no interest would accrue or be payable. According to clause 7 of the loan agreement, in the event of liquidation or bankruptcy of MML, the loan would immediately become due and payable to Crookes Brothers. At the time of submitting the 2015 income tax return, Crookes Brothers made an adjustment to its taxable income in terms of section 31(2) and (3) on the basis that an arms-length interest rate should apply. Later, Crookes ... Continue to full case
South Africa vs Crookes Brothers LTD, May 2018, High Court, Case no 14179/2017

South Africa vs Crookes Brothers LTD, May 2018, High Court, Case no 14179/2017

Agricultural group Crookes Brothers Ltd issued loans to its Mozambican subsidiary and in accordance with the terms of the loan, the group made transfer pricing adjustments to its taxable income. Later on, Crookes Brothers Ltd requested the tax administration to issue a reduced assessments, claiming that the adjustments were made in error. They argued, that the terms of the loan were aligned with the requirements of section 31(7) of the Income Tax Act No. 58 of 1962 (the Act), which would exempt the loan from application of transfer pricing rules. To support the claim, Crookes Brothers Ltd provided the tax administration with the loan agreements. The tax administrations  concluded that the terms of the loan agreements were not aligned with the requirements of section 31(7) of the Income Tax Act No. 58 of 1962 (the Act). The loan agreement had a clause that accelerated the debt in ... Continue to full case
Norway vs. Exxonmobil Production Norway Inc., January 2018, Lagsmanret no LB-2016-160306

Norway vs. Exxonmobil Production Norway Inc., January 2018, Lagsmanret no LB-2016-160306

An assessment was issued by the Norwegian tax authorities for years 2009 2010 and 2011 concerning the interest on a loan between Exxonmobil Production Norway Inc. (EPNI) as the lender and Exxon Mobile Delaware Holdings Inc. (EMDHI) as the borrower. Both EPNI and EMDHI are subsidiaries in the Exxon Group, where the parent company is domiciled in the United States. The loan agreement between EPNI and EMDHI was entered into in 2009. The loan had a drawing facility of NOK 20 billion. The agreed maturity was 2019, and the interest rate was fixed at 3 months NIBOR plus a margin of 30 basis points. The agreement also contained provisions on quarterly interest rate regulation and a interest adjustment clause allowing the lender to adjust the interest rate on changes in the borrower’s creditworthiness. The dispute concerns the margin of 30 basis points and the importance ... Continue to full case
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