Category: Financial Transactions

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

Germany vs G GmbH, February 2019, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No IR 81/17

Germany vs G GmbH, February 2019, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No IR 81/17

A German company, G GmbH, owned 50% of A GmbH resident in Austria. The remaining 50% were held by non related shareholders, who at the same time acted as managing directors of A GmbH. G GmbH granted A GmbH a total of five loans with a duration of between nine and 362 days for a total amount of EUR …. The loans each bore interest at 5.5% pa. For security, different machines were assigned. In addition, by a contract dated 9 April 2003, G GmbH assumed a guarantee of EUR … for a loan from B Bank in Austria to A GmbH. On 22 January 2002 A GmbH made a partial payment in the amount of … EUR and on 16 June 2002 a further partial payment in the amount of … EUR back to G GmbH. Due to negative development in A GmbH, G ... Continue to full case
Germany vs G KG, February 2019, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No IR 51/17

Germany vs G KG, February 2019, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No IR 51/17

G KG, in which G GmbH a limited partner, was the sole shareholder of the Chinese A Ltd. In 2007 and 2008, a claim in the amount of EUR …, which still came from deliveries in the years 2004 and 2005, was open to this company. The claim was unsecured and interest-free. On December 20, 2007, the plaintiff waived EUR 1.00 against its debtor warrant against debtor warrants and, to this extent, booked these off in its trade balance. On 30 June 2008, the plaintiff wrote off the claim for continued worthlessness in its trade balance by EUR … and finally declared a debt waiver on 6 December 2008. The defendant and appellant (the Finanzamt – FA–) did not take into account the value adjustments in the context of the separate and uniform determination of the taxable amount and increased the profit due to the ... Continue to full case
Germany vs G GmbH, February 2019, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No I R 73/16

Germany vs G GmbH, February 2019, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No I R 73/16

A German GmbH managed an unsecured clearing account for a Belgian subsidiary. After financial difficulties in the Belgian subsidiary, the GmbH waived their claim from the clearing account and booked this in their balance sheet as a loss. However, the tax office neutralized the loss according to § 1 Abs. 1 AStG. Up until now, the Bundesfinanzhof has assumed for cases that are subject to a double taxation agreement (DTA), that Art. 9 para. 1 OECD was limited to so-called price corrections, while the non-recognition of a loan claim or a partial depreciation was excluded (so-called Blocking effect). The Bundesfinanzhof has now overturned the previous judgment of the FG. It is true that it was no longer possible to clarify in the appeal instance whether it was really a tax credit or the equity of the Belgian subsidiary. However, this could be left out, since the profit-reducing waiver by ... 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
New Zealand vs Frucor Suntory, November 2018, High Court, Case No NZHC 2860

New Zealand vs Frucor Suntory, November 2018, High Court, Case No NZHC 2860

This case concerns application of the general anti-avoidance rule in s BG 1 of the Income Tax Act 2004. The tax authorities issued an assessment where deductions of $10,827,606 and $11,665,323 were disallowed in the 2006 and 2007 income tax years respectively. In addition, penalties of $1,786,555 and $1,924,779 for those years were imposed. The claimed deductions arose in the context of an arrangement entered into by Frucor Holdings Ltd (FHNZ) involving, among other steps, its issue of a Convertible Note to Deutsche Bank, New Zealand Branch (DBNZ) and a forward purchase of the shares DBNZ could call for under the Note by FHNZ’s Singapore based parent Danone Asia Pte Ltd (DAP). The Note had a face value of $204,421,5654 and carried interest at a rate of 6.5 per cent per annum. Over its five-year life, FHNZ paid DBNZ approximately $66 million which FHNZ characterised ... 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 ... 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. claimed 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 assessment 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
Switzerland vs. A GmbH, 12 Sep. 2018,  Administrative Court, Case No. SB.2017.00100

Switzerland vs. A GmbH, 12 Sep. 2018, Administrative Court, Case No. SB.2017.00100

A GmbH, based in Zurich, was a subsidiary of the D group operating mainly in the field of consumer electronics worldwide, headquartered in country E. A GmbH was primarily responsible for acquiring exploitation rights to … and other related activities. The D Group also owned company F in Land H, which was responsible for the global treasury and cash pooling of the Group. On December 1 2008 A GmbH had entered into an agreement with Company F for the short-term deposit of excess capital and short-term borrowing. Under the terms of the agreement, if the balance was in A GmbH’s favor, A GmbH would be credited interest based on the one-month London Interbank Bid Rate (LIBID) minus 6.25 basis points, but not less than 0.05%. Following an audit in relation to the tax periods of 1.4.2009-31.3.2010 and 1.4.2010-31.3.2011, the tax authorities took the view that ... 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 ... 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
Argentina vs YPF S.A., May 2018, Supreme Court, Case No TF 29.205-1

Argentina vs YPF S.A., May 2018, Supreme Court, Case No TF 29.205-1

The Tax authorities considered that the financial loans made by YPF S.A. to the controlled companies YPF Gas S.A.; Maleic S.A. and Operadora de Estaciones de Servicio constituted a “disposition of income in favor of third parties”, since in the first two cases (loans granted to YPF Gas S.A. and Maleic S.A.) the agreed interest was lower than that provided for in the aforementioned regulations, while in the last case (operation carried out with OPESSA) no interest payment had even been stipulated. Likewise, it estimated that the transfer prices corresponding to gas oil, propane butane exports made to Repsol YPF Trading and Transport S.A. were below the first quartile. Consequently, it made an adjustment to the taxable income. Furthermore, a fine equivalent to 70% of the allegedly omitted tax was issued. At issue before the Supreme Court was only the fine which was set aside ... Continue to full case
Korea vs Korean Finance PE, February 2018, Supreme Court, Case No 2015Du2710

Korea vs Korean Finance PE, February 2018, Supreme Court, Case No 2015Du2710

In cases where a domestic corporation that operates a financial business (including a domestic place of business of a foreign corporation) borrowed money from a foreign controlling shareholder and such borrowed amount exceeds six times the amount invested in shares or equity interests by the foreign controlling shareholder, a certain amount of the interest paid in relation to the exceeding amount shall be excluded from deductible expenses of the domestic corporation and subsequently deemed to have been disposed of as a dividend of the domestic corporation pursuant to Article 67 of the Corporate Tax Act. In that sense, the interest paid in relation to the exceeding amount borrowed is regarded as a domestic source income of a foreign corporation, which is a foreign controlling shareholder. The Convention between the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Singapore for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the ... 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
Germany vs Cash Pool GmbH, January 2018, BFH Case No. I R 74-15

Germany vs Cash Pool GmbH, January 2018, BFH Case No. I R 74-15

The German court concludes that a Cash Pool agreement must be clear and unambiguous both in substance and amount. If only a minimum and maximum interest rate has been agreed the arm’s length standard is not met. Click here for English translation Click here for translation BUNDESFINANZHOF Urteil vom 17-1-2018 I R 74-15 ... Continue to full case