Category: Losses that continue indefinitely

When an associated enterprise consistently realizes losses while the MNE group as a whole is profitable, the facts could trigger some special scrutiny of transfer pricing issues. Of course, associated enterprises, like independent enterprises, can sustain genuine losses, whether due to heavy start-up costs, unfavourable economic conditions, inefficiencies, or other legitimate business reasons. However, an independent enterprise would not be prepared to tolerate losses that continue indefinitely. An independent enterprise that experiences recurring losses will eventually cease to undertake business on such terms. In contrast, an associated enterprise that realizes losses may remain in business if the business is beneficial to the MNE group as a whole. See TPG2017, Para 1.129, 1.130 and 1.131.

France vs Ferragamo France, June 2022, Administrative Court of Appeal (CAA), Case No 20PA03601

France vs Ferragamo France, June 2022, Administrative Court of Appeal (CAA), Case No 20PA03601

Ferragamo France, which was set up in 1992 and is wholly owned by the Dutch company Ferragamo International BV, which in turn is owned by the Italian company Salvatore Ferragamo Spa, carries on the business of retailing shoes, leather goods and luxury accessories and distributes, in shops in France, products under the ‘Salvatore Ferragamo’ brand, which is owned by the Italian parent company. An assessment had been issued to Ferragamo France in which the French tax authorities asserted that the French subsidiary had not been sufficiently remunerated for additional expenses and contributions to the value of the Ferragamo trademark. The French subsidiary had been remunerated on a gross margin basis, but had incurred losses in previous years and had indirect cost exceeding those of the selected comparable companies. In 2017 the Administrative Court decided in favour of Ferragamo and dismissed the assessment issued by the ... Continue to full case
Czech Republic vs Aisan Industry Czech, s.r.o., April 2022, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 7 Afs 398/2019 - 49

Czech Republic vs Aisan Industry Czech, s.r.o., April 2022, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 7 Afs 398/2019 – 49

Aisan Industry Czech, s.r.o. is a subsidiary within the Japanese Aisan Industry Group which manufactures various engine components – fuel-pump modules, throttle bodies, carburetors for independent car manufactures such as Renault and Toyota. According to the original transfer pricing documentation the Czech company was classified as a limited risk contract manufacturer within the group, but yet it had suffered operating losses for several years. Following a tax audit an assessment was issued resulting in additional corporate income tax for FY 2011 in the amount of CZK 11 897 090, and on top of that a penalty in the amount of CZK 2 379 418. The assessment resulted from application of arm’s length provisions where the profitability of Aisan Industry Czech, s.r.o. had been determined on the basis of the profitability of comparable companies – TNMM method. An appeal was filed by Aisan Industry Czech, s.r.o ... Continue to full case
France vs ST Dupont , April 2022, CAA of Paris, No 19PA01644

France vs ST Dupont , April 2022, CAA of Paris, No 19PA01644

ST Dupont is a French luxury manufacturer of lighters, pens and leather goods. It is majority-owned by the Dutch company D&D International, which is wholly-owned by Broad Gain Investments Ltd, based in Hong Kong. ST Dupont is the sole shareholder of distribution subsidiaries located abroad, in particular ST Dupont Marketing, based in Hong Kong. Following an audit, an adjustment was issued where the tax administration considered that the prices at which ST Dupont sold its products to ST Dupont Marketing (Hong Kong) were lower than the arm’s length prices. “The investigation revealed that the administration found that ST Dupont was making significant and persistent losses, with an operating loss of between EUR 7,260,086 and EUR 32,408,032 for the financial years from 2003 to 2009. It also noted that its marketing subsidiary in Hong Kong, ST Dupont Marketing, in which it held the entire capital, was ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs Maersk Oil and Gas A/S, March 2022, Regional Court, Case No BS-41574/2018 and BS-41577/2018

Denmark vs Maersk Oil and Gas A/S, March 2022, Regional Court, Case No BS-41574/2018 and BS-41577/2018

A Danish parent in the Maersk group’s oil and gas segment, Maersk Oil and Gas A/S (Mogas), had operating losses for FY 1986 to 2010, although the combined segment was highly profitable. The reoccurring losses was explained by the tax authorities as being a result of the group’s transfer pricing setup. “Mogas and its subsidiaries and branches are covered by the definition of persons in Article 2(1) of the Tax Act, which concerns group companies and permanent establishments abroad, it being irrelevant whether the subsidiaries and branches form part of local joint ventures. Mogas bears the costs of exploration and studies into the possibility of obtaining mining licences. The expenditure is incurred in the course of the company’s business of exploring for oil and gas deposits. The company is entitled to deduct the costs in accordance with Section 8B(2) of the Danish Income Tax Act ... Continue to full case
Italy vs SKECHERS USA ITALIA SRL, January 2022, Supreme Court, Case No 02908/2022

Italy vs SKECHERS USA ITALIA SRL, January 2022, Supreme Court, Case No 02908/2022

Skechers USA ITALIA SRL – a company operating in the sector of the marketing of footwear and accessories – challenged a notice of assessment, relating to FY 2004, by which, at the outcome of a tax audit, its business income was adjusted as a result of the ascertained inconsistency of the transfer prices relating to purchases of goods from the parent company (and sole shareholder) resident in Switzerland. The tax authorities had contested the uneconomic nature of the taxpayer company’s operations, given the losses recognised in various financial years, attributing the uneconomic nature to the artificial manipulation of the transfer prices of the purchases of goods and recalculating, consequently, the negative income component constituted by the aforesaid costs pursuant to Article 110, paragraph 7 of the TUIR, with the consequent non-deductibility of the same to the extent exceeding the normal value of the price of ... Continue to full case
France vs (SAS) RKS, October 2021, Conseil d'Etat, Case No. 443130

France vs (SAS) RKS, October 2021, Conseil d’Etat, Case No. 443130

RKS, whose business consists of the manufacture of very large custom bearings for the civil and military industries, is controlled by the Swedish group SKF through (SAS) SKF Holding France. RKS was subject to a tax audit for FY 2009 and 2010, at the end of which the tax authorities adjusted the prices at which it had invoiced its products to the SKF group’s distribution companies abroad. According to the tax authorities, RKS was a simple manufacturing company that did not have control over strategic and operational risks, at therefore should not have losses resulting from such risks. In a 2018 judgment the Montreuil Administrative Court discharged the additional taxes. However, this decision was set aside by the Versailles Administrative Court of Appeal in a judgment of 22 June 2020 in which the appeal of the tax authorities was granted. This judgement was then appealed ... Continue to full case
France vs SARL Elie Saab France, June 2021, Conseil d'État, Case No 433985

France vs SARL Elie Saab France, June 2021, Conseil d’État, Case No 433985

The French tax authorities had issued an assessment to SARL Elie Saab France in which they asserted that the French subsidiary had not been sufficiently remunerated for additional expenses and contributions to the value of the SARL Elie Saab trademark. The Supreme Administrative Court upheld the decision of the tax authorities. “It is clear from the statements in the judgment under appeal that the company Elie Saab France is responsible for the management, manufacture and distribution for the Elie Saab group of the top-of-the-range daywear line, distributes “Elie Saab” brand accessories for all the group’s entities, as well as the distribution in France and for European customers of the haute couture line, and sells, in its Paris boutique and to boutiques distributing the brand worldwide, a line of evening wear and accessories developed by the group’s Lebanese subsidiary. In addition, Elie Saab France has a ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs Tetra Pak Processing Systems A/S, April 2021, Supreme Court, Case No BS-19502/2020-HJR

Denmark vs Tetra Pak Processing Systems A/S, April 2021, Supreme Court, Case No BS-19502/2020-HJR

The Danish tax authorities had issued a discretionary assessment of the taxable income of Tetra Pak Processing Systems A/S due to inadequate transfer pricing documentation and continuous losses. Judgement of the Supreme Court The Supreme Court found that the TP documentation provided by the company did not comply to the required standards. The TP documentation did state how prices between Tetra Pak and the sales companies had been determined and did not contain a comparability analysis, as required under the current § 3 B, para. 5 of the Tax Control Act and section 6 of the Danish administrative ordinance regarding transfer pricing documentation. Against this background, the Supreme Court found that the TP documentation was deficient to such an extent that it had to be equated with missing documentation. The Supreme Court agreed that Tetra Pak’s taxable income for FY 2005-2009 could be determined on ... Continue to full case
Norway vs "Distributor A AS", March 2021, Tax Board, Case No 01-NS 131/2017

Norway vs “Distributor A AS”, March 2021, Tax Board, Case No 01-NS 131/2017

A fully fledged Norwegian distributor in the H group was restructured and converted into a Limited risk distributor. The tax authorities issued an assessment where the income of the Norwegian distributor was adjusted to the median in a benchmark study prepared by the tax authorities, based on the “Transactional Net Margin Method” (TNMM method). Decision of the Tax Board In a majority decision, the Tax Board determined that the case should be send back to the tax administration for further processing. Excerpt “…The majority agrees with the tax office that deficits over time may give reason to investigate whether the intra-group prices are set on market terms. However, the case is not sufficiently informed for the tribunal to take a final position on this. In order to determine whether the income has been reduced as a result of incorrect pricing of intra-group transactions and debits, ... Continue to full case
Taiwan vs Weitian Technology Co. Ltd. December 2020, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 109 Pan Tzu No. 661

Taiwan vs Weitian Technology Co. Ltd. December 2020, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 109 Pan Tzu No. 661

Weitian Technology Co. Ltd (AKA ProLight Opto Technology Corp), a Taiwanese company active in the global LED industry, claimed that factors affecting market prices had not been fully considered while determining the prices of products sold to its subsidiary in Shanghai, and that this had caused major losses in the subsidiary. To account for these losses, at the end of 2015, a year end adjustment was made, which was reported as a tax deductible sales allowance in the tax returns. The tax authorities denied the deduction. An appeal was filed by the company with the Supreme Administrative Court in 2019. Judgement of the Supreme Administrative Court The court dismissed the appeal. Deductions for the year end adjustment could not be allowed in this case for the following reasons: A year end adjustment is a mechanism provided to MNEs to achieve an arm’s-length result when the ... Continue to full case
Romania vs "GAS distributor" SC A, December 2020, Court of Appeal, Case No 238/12.03.2020

Romania vs “GAS distributor” SC A, December 2020, Court of Appeal, Case No 238/12.03.2020

The disputed issue concerns the purchase prices of natural gas by SC A from an affiliated company SC B. By orders of the National Energy Regulatory Authority (NERA), the prices of supply of natural gas to domestic and non-domestic consumers were regulated and fixed, but not the price at which SC A purchased it from the SC B. The tax authority issued an assessment where the price of the controlled gas transaction was determined by reference to profit level indicators of comparable businesses. SC A brought the decision to the Romanian courts. Judgement of the Court of Appeal The appeal of SC A was dismissed and the assessment of the tax authorities upheld. Excerpt “In the present case, in order to adjust the expenses for the cost of the goods purchased from SC “B.” SRL, based on the level of the central market trend, the ... Continue to full case
France vs Ferragamo France, November 2020, Conseil d'Etat, Case No 425577

France vs Ferragamo France, November 2020, Conseil d’Etat, Case No 425577

Ferragamo France, which was set up in 1992 and is wholly owned by the Dutch company Ferragamo International BV, which in turn is owned by the Italian company Salvatore Ferragamo Spa, carries on the business of retailing shoes, leather goods and luxury accessories and distributes, in shops in France, products under the ‘Salvatore Ferragamo’ brand, which is owned by the Italian parent company. An assessment had been issued to Ferragamo France in which the French tax authorities asserted that the French subsidiary had not been sufficiently remunerated for additional expenses and contributions to the value of the Ferragamo trademark. The French subsidiary had been remunerated on a gross margin basis, but had incurred losses in previous years and had indirect cost exceeding those of the selected comparable companies. The Administrative Court decided in favour of Ferragamo and dismissed the assessment. According to the Court the ... Continue to full case
Romania vs "Electrolux" A. SA, November 2020, Supreme Court, Case No 6059/2020

Romania vs “Electrolux” A. SA, November 2020, Supreme Court, Case No 6059/2020

In this case, a Romanian manufacturer and distributor (A. SA) in the Electrolux group (C) had been loss making while the group as a whole had been profitable. The tax authorities issued an assessment, where the profit of A. SA had been determined based on a comparison to the profitability of independent traders in households appliances. When calculating the profit margin of A. SA certain adjustments was made to the costs – depreciations, extraordinary costs etc. When comparing A. SA’s net profit to financial results with those of the group to which it belongs, it emerged that, during the period under review, the applicant was loss-making while C. made a profit. With reference to paragraphs 1.70 and 1.71 of the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines, when an affiliated company consistently makes a loss while the group as a whole is profitable, the data may call for ... Continue to full case
Poland vs Cans Corp Sp z.o.o., August 2020, Administrative Court, I SA/Sz 115/20

Poland vs Cans Corp Sp z.o.o., August 2020, Administrative Court, I SA/Sz 115/20

At issue in this case was the remuneration of a Polish manufacturing subsidiary in an international group dealing in the production and sale of metal packaging for food products, including beverage cans, food cans, household cans and metal lids for jars etc. The Polish tax authorities had issued an tax assessment for FY 2009 – 2012 based on a TNMM benchmark study where financial results of comparable independent manufactures operating in the packaging industry showed that the the Polish manufacturing site had underestimated revenues obtained from the sale of goods to related entities The Court of first instance held in favor of the tax authorities. The case was then brought before the Administrative Court of Appeal. In the Court’s view, the authorities did not subject the case to thorough verification in accordance with the legal standards on which the decision was based – including, in ... Continue to full case
Greece vs "G Pharma Ltd", july 2020, Tax Court, Case No 1582/2020

Greece vs “G Pharma Ltd”, july 2020, Tax Court, Case No 1582/2020

“G Pharma Ltd” is a distributor of generic and specialised pharmaceutical products purchased exclusively from affiliated suppliers. It has no significant intangible assets nor does it assume any significant risks. However for 17 consecutive years it has had losses. Following an audit, the tax authorities issued an assessment, where the income of G Pharma Ltd was determined by application of the Transactional Net Margin Method (TNMM). According to the tax authorities a limited risk distributor such as G Pharma Ltd would be expected to be compensated with a small, guaranteed, positive profitability. G Pharma Ltd disagreed with the assessment and filed an appeal. Judgement of the Court The court dismissed the appeal of G Pharma Ltd and upheld the assessment issued by the tax authorities. Excerpts “First, the reasons for the rejection of the final comparable sample of two companies were set out in detail ... 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
France vs SAS RKS (AB SKF Sweden) , June 2020, CAA of VERSAILLES, Case No. 18VE02848

France vs SAS RKS (AB SKF Sweden) , June 2020, CAA of VERSAILLES, Case No. 18VE02848

SAS RKS, a French subsidiary of the Swedish SKF group, was engaged in manufacturing of bearings. RKS had, with the exception of 2008, had a negative results since 2005. Following an audit for FY 2009 and 2010, the French tax administration by application of the TNMM method, determined that SAS RKS should have a net profit margin of 2.33% in 2009 and 2.62% in 2010. The tax assessment was brought to the Montreuil Administrative Court, and in April 2018 a judgement in favor of the company was issued. This judgement was appealed by the tax authorities to the CAA. The CAA overturned the judgment of the Administrative Court and found in favor of the tax authorities. “The administration has qualified as hidden income the profits mentioned in the preceding paragraphs, transferred by the company RKF to the business units of the SKF group, established abroad ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs Icemachine Manufacturer A/S, June 2020, National Court, Case No SKM2020.224.VLR

Denmark vs Icemachine Manufacturer A/S, June 2020, National Court, Case No SKM2020.224.VLR

At issue was the question of whether the Danish tax authorities had been entitled to make a discretionary assessment of the taxable income of Icemachine Manufacturer A/S due to inadequate transfer pricing documentation and continuous losses. And if such a discretionary assessment was justified, the question of whether the company had lifted the burden of proof that the tax authorities’ estimates had been clearly unreasonable. The Court ruled that the transfer pricing documentation provided by the company was so inadequate that it did not provide the tax authorities with a sufficient basis for determining whether the arm’s length principle had been followed. The tax authorities had therefore been entitled to make a discretionary assessment of the taxable income. For that purpose the Court found that the tax authorities had been justified in using the TNM method with the Danish company as the tested party, since sufficiently reliable ... Continue to full case
Finland vs A Oy, April 2020, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. KHO:2020:34

Finland vs A Oy, April 2020, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. KHO:2020:34

A Oy had operated as the marketing and sales company of an international group in Finland. With the exception of 2008, the company’s operations had been unprofitable in 2003-2011, while at the same time the Group’s operations had been profitable overall. A Oy had purchased the products from the contract manufacturers belonging to the group. The method used in the Group’s transfer pricing documentation for product purchases had been characterized as a modified cost-plus / profit margin method (TNMM). The tested parties were contract manufacturers belonging to the group, for whom four comparable independent companies had been found in a search of the Amadeus database. According to the documentation, the EBITDA target margin for the Group’s contract manufacturers was set at two percent. When submitting A Oy’s tax return for 2010, the tax Office had considered, on the basis of the OECD’s 2010 Transfer Pricing ... Continue to full case
Czech Republic vs. Eli Lilly ČR, s.r.o., December 2019, District Court of Praque, No. 6 Afs 90/2016 - 62

Czech Republic vs. Eli Lilly ČR, s.r.o., December 2019, District Court of Praque, No. 6 Afs 90/2016 – 62

Eli Lilly ČR imports pharmaceutical products purchased from Eli Lilly Export S.A. (Swiss sales and marketing hub) into the Czech Republic and Slovakia and distributes them to local distributors. The arrangement between the local company and Eli Lilly Export S.A. is based on a Service Contract in which Eli Lilly ČR is named as the service provider to Eli Lilly Export S.A. (the principal). Eli Lilly ČR was selling the products at a lower price than the price it purchased them for from Eli Lilly Export S.A. According to the company this was due to local price controls of pharmaceuticals. Eli Lilly ČR was also paid for providing marketing services by the Swiss HQ, which ensured that Eli Lilly ČR was profitable, despite selling the products at a loss. Eli Lilly ČR reported the marketing services as a provision of services with the place of ... Continue to full case
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