Category: Legality – Legitimacy – Constitutional

US vs Altera Corp, June 7, 2019, US Court of Appeal, Nos 16-70496 and 16-70497

US vs Altera Corp, June 7, 2019, US Court of Appeal, Nos 16-70496 and 16-70497

The US Court of Appeal had reversed a decision from the Tax Court that 26 C.F.R. § 1.482-7A(d)(2), under which related entities must share the cost of employee stock compensation in order for their cost-sharing arrangements to be classified as qualified cost-sharing arrangements and thus avoid an IRS adjustment, was invalid under the Administrative Procedure Act. The Court of Appeal ruled that the Commissioner of Internal Revenue had not gone beyond the authority delegated under 26 U.S.C. § 482, and that the Commissioner’s rule-making authority complied with the Administrative Procedure Act. The Opinion was shortly after (August 7, 2018) withdrawn by the Court of Appeal. A final Decision was issued June 7, 2019, reaching the conclusion that 26 C.F.R. § 1.482-7A(d)(2), under which related entities must share the cost of employee stock compensation in order for their cost-sharing arrangements to be classified as qualified cost-sharing ... Continue to full case
Malawi vs Eastern Produce Malawi Ltd, July 2018, Malawi High Court, JRN 43 af 2016

Malawi vs Eastern Produce Malawi Ltd, July 2018, Malawi High Court, JRN 43 af 2016

Eastern Produce Ltd is part of Camellia Plc Group, and is is engaged in the growing, production and processing of tea in Malawi. The Malawi tax administration conducted a tax audit and found that transfer prices for intergroup service transactions had not been at arm’s length. However, in the notifications to Eastern Produce Ltd. no reference was made to the local arm’s length regulations – only the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines. Eastern Produce Limited complained to the High Court and argued that: “The decision and proceeding by MRA to use OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) guidelines whilst performing transfer pricing analysis and as a basis for effecting amendments to tax assessments was illegal. CONSIDERATIONS OF THE COURT, EXCERPS “With regard to transfer pricing in 2014, the law was contained in Section 127A. Section 127A provides as follows: “where a person who is not resident in Malawi carries ... Continue to full case
US vs Altera Corp, July 2018, US Court of Appeal, Nos 16-704996

US vs Altera Corp, July 2018, US Court of Appeal, Nos 16-704996

The US Court of Appeal reversed a decision from the Tax Court that 26 C.F.R. § 1.482-7A(d)(2), under which related entities must share the cost of employee stock compensation in order for their cost-sharing arrangements to be classified as qualified cost-sharing arrangements and thus avoid an IRS adjustment, was invalid under the Administrative Procedure Act. The Court of Appeal ruled that the Commissioner of Internal Revenue had not gone beyond the authority delegated under 26 U.S.C. § 482, and that the Commissioner’s rule-making authority complied with the Administrative Procedure Act. The Opinion was shortly after (August 7, 2018) withdrawn by the Court of Appeal – see below. A new Decision was issued June 7, 2019 US-vs-Altera-16-70496 The Annulment issued August 7, 2018: US-vs-Altera-16-70496-Withdrawn Share: ... Continue to full case
Germany vs Hornbach-Baumarkt, May 2018, European Court of Justice, C-382/16

Germany vs Hornbach-Baumarkt, May 2018, European Court of Justice, C-382/16

In the Hornbach-Baumarkt case, a German parent company guaranteed loans of two related companies for no remuneration. The German tax authorities made an assessment of the amount of income allocated to the parent company as a result of the guarantee, based on the fact that unrelated third parties, under the same or similar circumstances, would have agreed on a remuneration for the guarantees. Hornbach-Baumarkt argued that German legislation was in conflict with the EU freedom of establishment and lead to an unequal treatment of domestic and foreign transactions since, in a case involving german domestic transactions, no corrections to the income would have been made for guarantees granted to subsidiaries. The company further argued that the legislation is disproportionate to achieving the objectives as it provides no opportunity for the company to present commercial justification for the non-arm’s-length transaction. The German Court requested a preliminary ... Continue to full case
Canada vs Cameco Corp, Aug 2017, Federal Court, Case No T-856-15

Canada vs Cameco Corp, Aug 2017, Federal Court, Case No T-856-15

In relation to ongoing audits regarding transfer payments, the tax authorities asked the Court to order approximately 25 personnel from Cameco Corporation and its wholly owned subsidiaries to be made available for interview regarding Cameco’s 2010, 2011, and 2012 income tax years. It was confirmed in Court that Cameco has complied with all audit requests related to the relevant years except the refused request for oral interviews. Cameco has agreed to written questioning by the Minister, but not oral interviews. The Court dismissed the application. “A compliance order…can only be issued if the Minister proves that Cameco did not comply with section 231.1 of the ITA. Cameco has provided the Minister with every opportunity to inspect, audit and examine their books, records and documents and to inspect their property. The Minister confirmed that Cameco has allowed such access, save the requested oral interviews. Cameco has ... Continue to full case
Canada vs. Burlington Resources Finance Company, Aug 2017, case NO. TCC 144

Canada vs. Burlington Resources Finance Company, Aug 2017, case NO. TCC 144

This case i about the legal requirement to submit evidence. The revenue service argues that the disputed questions are relevant to the matters in issue and that Burlington Resources Finance Company has either improperly refused to answer, or not fully answered, the questions. Burlington Resources Finance Company argues that all proper questions have been fully answered and that answers to improper questions have been correctly refused. The underlying tax assessment relates to disallowence of tax deductions for guarantee fees paid by Burlington Resources Finance Company Canada (“Burlington”) to it’s US parent, Burlington Resources Inc. (“BRI”), a resident U.S. corporation. Burlington’s business involved obtaining financing to fund the operations of affiliated Canadian companies. Specifically, Burlington was involved in borrowing funds from public markets and “on-loaning” those funds to its affiliated Canadian entities, which were conducting businesses related to crude oil and natural gas assets. BRI unconditionally ... Continue to full case
US vs EATON-CORPORATION, July 2017, US Tax Court, TC memo 2017-147

US vs EATON-CORPORATION, July 2017, US Tax Court, TC memo 2017-147

The IRS decided to cancel two advance pricing agreements (APAs) with Eaton Corporation. The US Tax Court ruled that this decision was an abuse of discretion. US vs EATON CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES, July 26 2017, United States Tax Court, TC memo 2017-147 Share: ... Continue to full case
US vs Microsoft, May 2017, US District Court

US vs Microsoft, May 2017, US District Court

In an ongoing transfer pricing battle between Microsoft and the IRS related to Microsofts’ use of a IP subsidiary in Puerto Rico to shift income and reduce taxes, the District Court of Washington has now ordered Microsoft to provide a number of documents as requested by the IRS. US vs Microsoft May 2017 US District Court In a prior decision from November 2015 the District Court ruled, that the IRS’ use of an external representative was not in conflict with US regulations. Microsoft argued that the IRS’ use of an outside law firm, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, to assist in the audit was an improper delegation of its authority to examine taxpayer books. The Court ruled that the government had a legitimate purpose in continuing to pursue the audit, and that the use of Quinn Emanuel was not a breach of IRS authority that ... Continue to full case
Canada vs Sifto Canada Corp, March 2017, Tax Court, Case No TCC 37

Canada vs Sifto Canada Corp, March 2017, Tax Court, Case No TCC 37

The issue before the court was whether the Canadian revenue service had the ability to issue the second reassessments given the Canadian and US competent authorities subsequently agreed on a MAP settlement. The Tax Court found that a settlement agreed to via the competent authority precluded a subsequent tax-reassessment that attempted to further increase the taxpayer’s income. Canada vs Sifto Canada Corp, 2017 Case No TCC 37 Share: ... Continue to full case
Spain vs McDonald's, March 2017, Spanish Tribunal Supremo, Case no 961-2017

Spain vs McDonald’s, March 2017, Spanish Tribunal Supremo, Case no 961-2017

This case is about adjustments made to a series of loans granted by GOLDEN ARCHES OF SPAIN SA (GAOS) to RMSA, throughout the period 2000/2004 for amounts ranging between 10,000,000 and 86,650,000 €, at a interest rate that between 3,450% and 6,020%. The tax administration argues that GAOS “has no structure or means to grant the loan and monitor compliance with its conditions … it does not have its own funds to lend, it receives them from other companies in the group”. In fact, the Administration refers to a loan received by GAOS from the parent company at a rate of 0%, which is paid in advance to receive another with an interest rate of 3.3%. The Administration indicates that “nobody, under normal market conditions, cancels a loan to constitute another one under clearly worse conditions”. The Court concludes as follows:: “As regards the OECD ... Continue to full case
Spain vs. ZERAIM IBÉRICA, SA, Oct. 2016, Spanish Supreme Court, Case no 4675-2016

Spain vs. ZERAIM IBÉRICA, SA, Oct. 2016, Spanish Supreme Court, Case no 4675-2016

In this case ZERAIM IBÉRICA SA argues that the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines has not been applied propperly, as secret comparables have been used in determining the arm’s length price of controlled transactions between the Spanish company and its Dutch parent company. The court concludes that the “..Guidelines are considered to be merely recommendations to States, which are given an interpretative value.” The appeal filed by the company is dismissed by the court. Share: ... Continue to full case
Italy vs Tanti Investimentos S.A, Supreme Court, June 2016, No. 13387

Italy vs Tanti Investimentos S.A, Supreme Court, June 2016, No. 13387

The Italien Supreme Court held that intra-group interest-free loans violates article 110(7); the Italien arm’s length provisions. Share: ... Continue to full case
Sweden vs. taxpayer april 2016, Swedish Supreme Administrative Court, HFD 2016 ref. 23

Sweden vs. taxpayer april 2016, Swedish Supreme Administrative Court, HFD 2016 ref. 23

The Swedish Supreme Administrative Court makes it clear that OECD materials  can be used for interpreting Swedish domestic legislation in cases where the domestic legislation is based on OECD guidance and principles. It is also concluded, that the fact that an agreement is given a certain legal term does not mean that the Court i bound by that classification. It is the true meaning of the agreement – based on the facts and circumstances – that matters. Share: ... Continue to full case
Germany vs. Corp. October 2015, Supreme Tax Court decision I R 20/15

Germany vs. Corp. October 2015, Supreme Tax Court decision I R 20/15

The Supreme Tax Court has requested the Constitutional Court to rule on the conformity of the interest limitation with the constitutional requirement to tax like circumstances alike. The interest limitation disallows net interest expense in excess of 30% of EBITDA. However, the rule does not apply to companies with a total net annual interest cost of no more than €3 m or to those that are not part of a group. There are also a number of other exemptions, but the overall effect is to render the actual impact somewhat arbitrary. In particular, the asserted purpose of the rule – prevention of profit shifts abroad through deliberate under-capitalisation of the German operation – seemed somewhat illusory to the Supreme Tax Court in the light of the relatively high threshold and of the indiscriminate application to cases without foreign connotations. The court also pointed out that ... Continue to full case
Norway vs. Total E&P Norge AS, October 2015, Supreme Court  2014/498, ref no. HR-2015-00699-A

Norway vs. Total E&P Norge AS, October 2015, Supreme Court 2014/498, ref no. HR-2015-00699-A

Total E&P Norge AS (Total) is engaged in petroleum exploration and production activities on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Income from such activities is subject to a special petroleum tax, in addition to the normal corporate tax, resulting in a total nominal tax rate of 78%. In 2002-2007, Total sold gas to the controlled trading companies, and the trading companies resold the gas to third parties on the open market. The Supreme Court concluded that Total did not have a right to full access to the comparables. Although section 3-13 (4) of the Tax Assessment Act states that information subject to confidentiality may be given to third parties with the effect that such third parties are subject to the same duty of confidentiality, this rule could not, according to the Supreme Court, be applied in the present case. This was because the very point of the ... Continue to full case
Switzerland vs. Corp, Jan. 2015, Case No. 2C_1082-2013, 2C_1083-2013

Switzerland vs. Corp, Jan. 2015, Case No. 2C_1082-2013, 2C_1083-2013

In this case, the Swiss Court elaborates on application of the arm’s length principel, transfer pricing methods, OECD TPG, and the burden of proof in Switzerland. Excerp in English (unofficial translation) “5.1. The question of whether there is a disproportion between the service provided by the company and the compensation it provides is determined by comparison with what has been agreed between independent persons (“Drittvergleich”): the question is whether the benefit would have been granted, to the same extent, to a third party outside the company, or to check whether the “arm’s length” was respected. This method makes it possible to identify the market value of the property transferred or the service rendered, with which the counter-benefit actually required must be compared. 5.2. Where there is a free market, the prices charged therein are decisive and allow an effective comparison with those applied in the ... Continue to full case
Finland vs. Corp, July 2014, Supreme Administrative Court HFD 2014:119

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 the IFRS financial statements were treated as equity. The loan was guaranteed. The fixed annual interest rate on the loan was 30 percent. The loan could be paid only on demand by A Ab. The Finnish tax authorities argued that the legal form of the inter-company loan agreed between related parties should be disregarded, and the loan reclassified as equity. Interest on the loan would therefore not be deductible for A Ab ... Continue to full case
South Africa vs MTN International Ltd (Mauritius), Marts 2014, Supreme Court of Appeal, Case No. 275/2013 [2014] ZASCA 8

South Africa vs MTN International Ltd (Mauritius), Marts 2014, Supreme Court of Appeal, Case No. 275/2013 [2014] ZASCA 8

The issue before the Supreme Court of Appeal was whether a tax assessment issued by the Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service (SARS), in terms of the Income Tax Act 58 of 1962, for the year 2006 were to be set aside. MTN International Ltd had claimed interest deductions on loans it had incurred as expenditure against its gross income for the year of assessment. On 31 March 2011, which was the last day before the original assessment by SARS was due to prescribe, SARS issued a revised assessment, disallowing deduction of the interest expenditure. The tax assessment resulted in an income tax liability of R 73.476.101 of MTN International Ltd. When issuing the tax assessment the officer at SARS manually fixed the ‘due date’ as 30 March 2011, being one day prior to the day on which the assessment was actually issued. MTN ... Continue to full case
France vs. SOCIETE SOUTIRAN ET COMPAGNIE, March 2011, Supreme Tax Court, Case nr. 342099

France vs. SOCIETE SOUTIRAN ET COMPAGNIE, March 2011, Supreme Tax Court, Case nr. 342099

The French Supreme Tax Court has ruled on 2 March 2011 that the transfer pricing legislation is in conformity with the French Constitution. “The plea of SOCIÉTÉ SOUTIRAN ET COMPAGNIE, that the article 57 of code general of the taxes infringing the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution must be regarded as not serious” Click here for translation 20110302 Conseil d_+ëtat N-¦ 342099 Share: ... Continue to full case
Kenya vs Unilever Kenya Ltd, October 2005, High Court of Kenya, Case no. 753 of 2003

Kenya vs Unilever Kenya Ltd, October 2005, High Court of Kenya, Case no. 753 of 2003

Unilever Kenya Limited (UKL) is engaged in the manufacture and sale of various household goods including foods, detergents and personal care items. UKL is a part of the world-wide Unilever group of companies. Unilever plc., a company incorporated in the United Kingdom has a very substantial shareholding in the UKL. UKL and Unilever Uganda Limited (UUL) are related companies. In august 1995 UKL and UUL entered into a contract whereby UKL was to manufacture on behalf of UUL and to supply to UUL such products as UUL required in accordance with orders issued by UUL. UKL supplied such products to UUL during the years 1995 and 1996.  UKL manufactured and sold goods to the Kenyan domestic market and export market, to customers not related to UKL. The prices charged by UKL for identical goods in domestic export sales were different from those charged by it for local ... Continue to full case
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