Category: Intangibles – Goodwill Know-how Patents

In transfer pricing the word “intangible” is intended to address something which is not a physical asset or financial asset, which is capable of being owned or controlled for use in commercial activities, and whose use or transfer would be compensated had it occurred in a transaction between independent parties in comparable circumstances.

In discussions of transfer pricing various categories of intangibles are described and labels applied. Distinctions are sometimes made between trade intangibles and marketing intangibles, between “soft” intangibles and “hard” intangibles, between routine and non-routine intangibles, and between other classes and categories of intangibles.

Examples of intangibles are: Patents, Know-how and trade secrets, trademarks, trade names and brands, rights under contracts and government licences, licences and similar limited rights in intangibles, goodwill and ongoing concern value.

France vs SA SACLA, December 2021, CAA of Lyon, Case No. 19MA04336

France vs SA SACLA, December 2021, CAA of Lyon, Case No. 19MA04336

SA SACLA, which trades in protective clothing and footwear, as well as small equipment, was the subject of an tax audit covering the FY 2007, 2008 and 2009. In a proposed assessment issued in December 2011, the tax authorities increased its taxable income, on the basis of Article 57 of the General Tax Code, by considering that SACLA, by selling, a set of brands held by it for EUR 90,000 to a Luxembourg company, Involvex, which benefited from a preferential tax regime, had carried out an indirect transfer of profits in the context of a reduction in the selling price. In a ruling of February 2020, the Lyon Administrative Court of Appeal, after dismissing the plea of irregularity in the judgment, decided that an expert would carry out an valuation to determine whether the sale price of the trademarks corresponded to their value. The valuation ... Continue to full case
Israel vs Sephira & Offek Ltd and Israel Daniel Amram, August 2021, Jerusalem District Court, Case No 2995-03-17

Israel vs Sephira & Offek Ltd and Israel Daniel Amram, August 2021, Jerusalem District Court, Case No 2995-03-17

While living in France, Israel Daniel Amram (IDA) devised an idea for the development of a unique and efficient computerized interface that would link insurance companies and physicians and facilitate financial accounting between medical service providers and patients. IDA registered the trademark “SEPHIRA” and formed a company in France under the name SAS SEPHIRA . IDA then moved to Israel and formed Sephira & Offek Ltd. Going forward the company in Israel would provid R&D services to SAS SEPHIRA in France. All of the taxable profits in Israel was labled as “R&D income” which is taxed at a lower rate in Israel. Later IDA’s rights in the trademark was sold to Sephira & Offek Ltd in return for €8.4m. Due to IDA’s status as a “new Immigrant” in Israel profits from the sale was tax exempt. Following the acquisition of the trademark, Sephira & Offek ... Continue to full case
Belgium vs "Uniclick B.V.", June 2021, Court of Appeal, Case No 2016/AR/455

Belgium vs “Uniclick B.V.”, June 2021, Court of Appeal, Case No 2016/AR/455

“Uniclick B.V.” had performed all the important DEMPE functions with regard to intangible assets as well as managing all risks related to development activities without being remunerated for this. Royalty-income related to the activities had instead been received by a foreign group company incorporated in Ireland and with its place of management in Luxembourg. In 2012, the administration sent notices of amendment to the tax return to the respondent for assessment years 2006 and 2010. The tax administration stated that “Uniclick B.V.”, through its director B.T. and employees M.C. and S.M., invented and developed the Uniclic technology in 1996 and continued to exploit it, and that the subsequent transfer of rights to the Uniclic invention to U.B. BV was simulated. The administration added the profits foregone annually by the “Uniclick B.V.”, i.e. the royalties received by F. from third party licensees less the costs borne ... Continue to full case
Italy vs Vibac S.p.A., January 2021, Corte di Cassazione, Case No 1232/2021

Italy vs Vibac S.p.A., January 2021, Corte di Cassazione, Case No 1232/2021

Transactions had taken place between Vibac S.p.A. and related foreign group companies related to use of trademarks and royalty/license payments. It was up to the Vibac S.p.A. to demonstrate that the remuneration received from related companies for use of the trademark of the products had been at arm’s length. According to the company the royalty had been set at a low price to ensure that the foreign subsidiaries were more competitive. An upward adjustment was issued by the tax authorities rejecting the taxpayer’s argument that the below market royalty was explained by the need to enable its foreign subsidiary to penetrate more effectively the US market. The tax authorities argued that such a strategy could only be justifiable in a limited period. The tax authorities determined the arm’s length royalty payment by application of the Resale Price Method (RPM). However, due to the uniqueness of ... Continue to full case
Colombia vs. Taxpayer, November 2020, The Constitutional Court, Sentencia No. C-486/20

Colombia vs. Taxpayer, November 2020, The Constitutional Court, Sentencia No. C-486/20

A Colombian taxpayer had filed an unconstitutionality complaint against Article 70 (partial) of Law 1819 of 2016, “Whereby a structural tax reform is adopted, mechanisms for the fight against tax evasion and avoidance are strengthened, and other provisions are enacted.” The Constitutional Court ruled that the Colombian GAAR legislation was not unconstitutional. Click here for English translation Click here for other translation (1) Corte Constitucional - Sentencia C-480 del 19 de noviembre de 2020 ... Continue to full case
Ireland vs Perrigo, November 2020, High Court, Case No[2020] IEHC 552 (Juridical Review)

Ireland vs Perrigo, November 2020, High Court, Case No[2020] IEHC 552 (Juridical Review)

Perrigo has lost is request for overturning a €1.64 billion tax assessment in a judicial review by the Irish High Court. The contention of the Irish Revenue is that a transaction (involving the disposal of intellectual property rights) which has been treated as part of the trade of Perrigo in its corporation tax returns should properly have been treated as a capital transaction. When treated as a capital transaction an effective tax rate of 33% is applied rather than the usual 12.5% rate. The Irish Revenue’s qualification of the transfer in question as an capital transaction results in additional taxes in the amount of €1,636,047,645. The transaction involved the sale to Biogen, in 2013, of Perrigo’s remaining 50% interest in the intellectual property relating to a pharmaceutical product sold under the brand name Tysabri which is used to treat multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease. “Perrigo explains ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs. Software A/S, September 2020, Tax Court, Case no SKM2020.387.LSR

Denmark vs. Software A/S, September 2020, Tax Court, Case no SKM2020.387.LSR

Software A/S was a fully fledged Danish distributor of software an related services up until 2010 where the company was converted into a commissionaire dealing on behalf of a newly established sales and marketing hub in Switzerland. Following an audit, the Danish tax authorities issued a assessment where additional taxable income from the transfer of intangibles to Switzerland in 2010 had been determined by application of the DCF valuation model. As no transfer pricing documentation had been prepared on the transfer, the assessment was issued on a discretionary basis. Software A/S filed a complaint to the Danish Tax Court. The Tax Court found that the tax authorities did not have the authority to make a discretionary assessment. It was emphasized that the company in its transfer pricing documentation had described the relevant circumstances for the restructuring. Furthermore, the company had analyzed functions and risks and ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs. Adecco A/S, June 2020, Supreme Court, Case No SKM2020.303.HR

Denmark vs. Adecco A/S, June 2020, Supreme Court, Case No SKM2020.303.HR

The question in this case was whether royalty payments from a loss making Danish subsidiary Adecco A/S (H1 A/S in the decision) to its Swiss parent company Adecco SA (G1 SA in the decision – an international provider of temporary and permanent employment services active throughout the entire range of sectors in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia – for use of trademarks and trade names, knowhow, international network intangibles, and business concept were deductible expenses for tax purposes or not. In  2013, the Danish tax authorities (SKAT) had amended Adecco A/S’s taxable income for the years 2006-2009 by a total of DKK 82 million. Adecco A/S submitted that the company’s royalty payments were operating expenses deductible under section 6 (a) of the State Tax Act and that it was entitled to tax deductions for royalty payments of 1.5% of the company’s turnover ... Continue to full case
Sweden vs Flir Commercial Systems AB, March 2020, Stockholm Administrative Court, Case No 28256-18

Sweden vs Flir Commercial Systems AB, March 2020, Stockholm Administrative Court, Case No 28256-18

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. The Administrative Court concluded that the Swedish Tax Agency was correct in not allowing relief for the fictitious Belgian tax. A double taxation agreement applies between Sweden and Belgium. In the opinion of the Administrative Court, the agreement prevents Belgium from taxing the assets. Consequently, any fictitious tax cannot be deducted. The Administrative Court also considers that the Swedish Tax Agency was correct in imposing a tax surcharge and that there is no ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs Pharma Distributor A A/S, March 2020, National Court, Case No SKM2020.105.OLR

Denmark vs Pharma Distributor A A/S, March 2020, National Court, Case No SKM2020.105.OLR

Results in a Danish company engaged in distribution of pharmaceuticals were significantly below the arm’s length range of net profit according to the benchmark study, but by disregarding annual goodwill amortization of DKK 57.1 million, the results were within the arm’s length range. The goodwill being amortized in Pharma Distributor A A/S had been determined under a prior acquisition of the company, and later – due to a merger with the acquiring danish company – booked in Pharma Distributor A A/S. The main question in the case was whether Pharma Distributor A A/S were entitled to disregard the goodwill amortization in the comparability analysis. The national tax court had ruled in favor of the company, but the national court reached the opposite result. Thus, the National Court found that the goodwill in question had to be regarded as an operating asset, and therefore the depreciation ... Continue to full case
Japan vs. "Metal Plating Corp", February 2020, Tokyo District Court, Case No 535 of Heisei 27 (2008)

Japan vs. “Metal Plating Corp”, February 2020, Tokyo District Court, Case No 535 of Heisei 27 (2008)

“Metal Plating Corp” is engaged in manufacturing and selling plating chemicals and had entered into a series of controlled transactions with foreign group companies granting licenses to use intangibles (know-how related to technology and sales) – and provided technical support services by sending over technical experts. The company had used a CUP method to price these transactions based on “internal comparables”. The tax authorities found that the amount of the consideration paid to “Metal Plating Corp” for the licenses and services had not been at arm’s length and issued an assessment where the residual profit split method was applied to determine the taxable profit for the fiscal years FY 2007-2012. “Metal Plating Corp” on its side held that it was inappropriate to use a residual profit split method and that there were errors in the calculations performed by the tax authorities. Judgement of the Court ... Continue to full case
France vs SA Sacla, February 2020, CAA de Lyon, Case No. 17LY04170

France vs SA Sacla, February 2020, CAA de Lyon, Case No. 17LY04170

SA Sacla, a French company trading in protective clothing and footwear, as well as small equipment, was audited for fiscal years 2007, 2008 and 2009. The French tax administration issued an assessment, considering that SA Sacla by selling brands owned by it for an amount of 90,000 euros to a Luxembourg company, Involvex, had indirectly transfered profits abroad. Due to inconclusive results of various valuations presented by the tax authorities and the taxpayer, an expert opinion was ordered by the Court on the question of whether the price of the brands sold by SA Sacla to the company Involvex had been at arm’s length. DECIDES: Article 1: Before ruling on the request of SA SACLA, an expert will carry out an assessment in order to determine whether the selling price of the brands sold by SA SACLA corresponds to their value, taking into account the ... Continue to full case

Altera asking the US Supreme Court for a judicial review of the 2019 Decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals concerning the validity of IRS regs. on CCAs

Altera has asked the US Supreme Court for a judicial review of the Decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit over the validity of Internal Revenue Service regulations  that requires related companies to share the cost of stock-based employee compensation when shifting their intangible assets abroad applying US Cost Sharing regulations. In the decision a divided panel in the Court of Appeal upheld the regulation as “permissible” and therefore entitled to deference under Chevron, U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984). In the Petition Altera presents three questions: 1. Whether the Treasury Department’s regulation is arbitrary and capricious and thus invalid under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 551 et seq. 2. Whether, under SEC v. Chenery Corp., 332 U.S. 194 (1947), the regulation may be upheld on a rationale the agency never advanced during rulemaking ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs Engine branch, January 2020, Tax Tribunal, Case No SKM2020.30.LSR

Denmark vs Engine branch, January 2020, Tax Tribunal, Case No SKM2020.30.LSR

The main activity in a Danish branch of a German group was development, licensing and services related to engines that were being produced by external licensees. Under a restructuring of the group, it was decided that royalty income for a particular engine type previously received by the Danish branch should be transferred to the German company. The Danish branch received a compensation corresponding to the net earnings for a two-year notice period. The tax administration increased the taxable income of the branch claiming that the branch had made valuable contributions to the development of the type of engine in question and thereby obtained co-ownership. The Tax Tribunal found that valuable intangible assets had been transferred, The decision was based on prior contractual arrangements and conduct of the parties.  Click here for English translation Click here for other translation SKM 2020-30 ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs Adecco A/S, Oct 2019, High Court, Case No SKM2019.537.OLR

Denmark vs Adecco A/S, Oct 2019, High Court, Case No SKM2019.537.OLR

The question in this case was whether royalty payments from a loss making Danish subsidiary Adecco A/S (H1 A/S in the decision) to its Swiss parent company Adecco SA (G1 SA in the decision – an international provider of temporary and permanent employment services active throughout the entire range of sectors in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia – for use of trademarks and trade names, knowhow, international network intangibles, and business concept were deductible expenses for tax purposes or not. In  2013, the Danish tax authorities (SKAT) had amended Adecco A/S’s taxable income for the years 2006-2009 by a total of DKK 82 million. “Section 2 of the Tax Assessment Act. Paragraph 1 states that, when calculating the taxable income, group affiliates must apply prices and terms for commercial or economic transactions in accordance with what could have been agreed if the transactions ... Continue to full case
Israel vs Broadcom, Aug 2019, Israeli Supreme Court, Case No 2454/19

Israel vs Broadcom, Aug 2019, Israeli Supreme Court, Case No 2454/19

In 2012 Broadcom Corporation acquired all the shares of Broadlight Inc, another US corporation which owned a subsidiary in Israel, for around $200 million. Three months later, the subsidiary in Israel sold its IP to a group company for $59.5m and then an agreement was entered according to which the subsidiary going forward would supply R&D, marketing and support services to the other group companies for a cost plus fee. Based on these facts the Israeli tax authorities issued an assessment equivalent to $168.5m. The tax authorities found that the full value of the company in Israel had been transferred. The tax assessment was brought to court where Broadcom claimed that the tax authorities had re-characterised the transaction and that the onus of proof was on the tax authorities to justify the value of $168.5m. The District Court held that all the values in the ... Continue to full case
US vs Amazon, August 2019, US Court of Appeal Ninth Circut, Case No. 17-72922

US vs Amazon, August 2019, US Court of Appeal Ninth Circut, Case No. 17-72922

In the course of restructuring its European businesses in a way that would shift a substantial amount of income from U.S.-based entities to the European subsidiaries, appellee Amazon.com, Inc. entered into a cost sharing arrangement in which a holding company for the European subsidiaries made a “buy-in” payment for Amazon’s assets that met the regulatory definition of an “intangible.” See 26 U.S.C. § 482. Tax regulations required that the buy-in payment reflect the fair market value of Amazon’s pre-existing intangibles. After the Commissioner of Internal Revenue concluded that the buy-in payment had not been determined at arm’s length in accordance with the transfer pricing regulations, the Internal Revenue Service performed its own calculation, and Amazon filed a petition in the Tax Court challenging that valuation. At issue is the correct method for valuing the preexisting intangibles under the then-applicable transfer pricing regulations. The Commissioner sought ... Continue to full case
Uruguay vs Philips Uruguay S.A., July 2019, Tribunal de lo Contencioso Administrativo, Case No 456/2019

Uruguay vs Philips Uruguay S.A., July 2019, Tribunal de lo Contencioso Administrativo, Case No 456/2019

In 2013, Philips Uruguay S.A. agreed to sell of its business division related to the marketing of audio and video products to another entity within the group, Woox Innovations Sucursal Uruguay. The related parties had agreed on a price of USD 2,546,409. Philips Uruguay, had not include the transaction in its transfer pricing documentation as – according to the company – the transfer pricing regime in Uruguay was only applicable to transactions involving different jurisdictions (transactions with foreign entities) – unless the domestic transactions were between local entities taxed under different local tax regimes. The tax administration disagreed that purely domestic transactions were not subject for to transfer pricing rules in Uruguay. They also disagreed with the arm’s length nature of the agreed price of USD 2.546.409 and instead estimated an arm’s length value of USD 5,063,294. Consequently, an assessment was issued resulting in an ... Continue to full case
Netherlands vs Crop Tax Advisors, June 2019, Court of the Northern Netherlands, Case No 200.192.332/01

Netherlands vs Crop Tax Advisors, June 2019, Court of the Northern Netherlands, Case No 200.192.332/01

The question at issue was whether a tax adviser at Crop BV had acted in accordance with the requirements of a reasonably competent and reasonably acting adviser when advising on the so-called royalty routing and its implementation and when giving advice on trading. Click here for translation NL royalty routing1 ... Continue to full case
Perrigo facing billion dollar tax assessments in both Ireland and the US

Perrigo facing billion dollar tax assessments in both Ireland and the US

In July 2013 the Irish pharma company Elan was acquired by the US based Perrigo group for $8.6 billion (£5.6 billion). Ireland’s corporation tax rate was one of the main attractions for Perrigo and the deal was said to give Perrigo substantial tax savings due to a corporate tax inversion. The Irish 12.5 % corporate tax rate compared US rate of 30 % was further augmented by the trading losses built up over a number of years by Elan in its business as a drug development group. That meant that even with a $3.25 billion transaction like Elan’s sale of the rights to the multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri the company would still not have to pay any tax. The low-tax scenario envisioned by Perrigo did not last for long. First Perrigo was issued a $1.9 billion tax bill (excluding interest and penalties) by the Irish tax ... Continue to full case
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