Category: Non-Recognition and Recharacterisation

An intercompany transaction as accurately delineated may be disregarded, and if appropriate, replaced by an alternative transaction, where the arrangements made in relation to the transaction, viewed in their totality, differ from those which would have been adopted by independent enterprises behaving in a commercially rational manner in comparable circumstances, thereby preventing determination of a price that would be acceptable to both of the parties taking into account their respective perspectives and the options realistically available to each of them at the time of entering into the transaction. It is also relevant to consider whether the MNE group as a whole is left worse off on a pre-tax basis since this may be an indicator that the transaction viewed in its entirety lacks the commercial rationality.

Israel vs Medingo Ltd, May 2022, District Court, Case No 53528-01-16

Israel vs Medingo Ltd, May 2022, District Court, Case No 53528-01-16

In April 2010 Roche pharmaceutical group acquired the entire share capital of the Israeli company, Medingo Ltd, for USD 160 million. About six months after the acquisition, Medingo was entered into 3 inter-group service agreements: a R&D services agreement, pursuant to which Medingo was to provide R&D services in exchange for cost + 5%. All developments under the agreement would be owned by Roche. a services agreement according to which Medingo was to provided marketing, administration, consultation and support services in exchange for cost + 5%. a manufacturing agreement, under which Medingo was to provide manufacturing and packaging services in exchange for cost + 5. A license agreement was also entered, according to which Roche could now manufacture, use, sell, exploit, continue development and sublicense to related parties the Medingo IP in exchange for 2% of the relevant net revenues. Finally, in 2013, Medingo’s operation ... 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
Poland vs "X-TM" sp. z o.o., March 2022, Administrative Court, SA/PO 1058/21

Poland vs “X-TM” sp. z o.o., March 2022, Administrative Court, SA/PO 1058/21

On 30 November 2012, X sold its trademarks to subsidiary C which in turn sold the trademarks to subsidiary D. X and D then entered into a trademark license agreement according to which X would pay license fees to D. These license fees were deducted by X in its 2013 tax return. The tax authorities claimed that X had understated its taxabel income as the license fees paid by X to D for the use of trademarks were not related to obtaining or securing a source of revenue. The decision stated that in the light of the principles of logic and experience, the actions taken by the taxpayer made no sense and were not aimed at achieving the revenue in question, but instead at generating costs artificially – only for tax purposes. An appeal was filed by X. Judgement of the Administrative Court The court ... Continue to full case
Italy vs BenQ Italy SRL, March 2021, Corte di Cassazione, Sez. 5 Num. 1374 Anno 2022

Italy vs BenQ Italy SRL, March 2021, Corte di Cassazione, Sez. 5 Num. 1374 Anno 2022

BenQ Italy SRL is part of a multinational group headed by the Taiwanese company BenQ Corporation that sells and markets technology products, consumer electronics, computing and communications devices. BenQ Italy’s immediate parent company was a Dutch company, BenQ Europe PV. Following an audit the tax authorities issued a notice of assessment for FY 2003 in which the taxpayer was accused of having procured goods from companies operating in countries with privileged taxation through the fictitious interposition of a Dutch company (BenQ Europe BV), the parent company of the taxpayer, whose intervention in the distribution chain was deemed uneconomic. On the basis of these assumptions, the tax authorities found that the recharge of costs made by the interposed company, were non-deductible. The tax authorities also considered that, through the interposition of BenQ BV, the prices charged by the taxpayer were aimed at transferring most of the ... Continue to full case
Germany vs "HQ Lender GmbH", Januar 2022, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No IR 15/21

Germany vs “HQ Lender GmbH”, Januar 2022, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No IR 15/21

“HQ Lender GmbH” is the sole shareholder and at the same time the controlling company of A GmbH. The latter held 99.98% of the shares in B N.V., a corporation with its seat in Belgium. The remaining shares in B N.V. were held by HQ Lender GmbH itself. A GmbH maintained a clearing account for B N.V., which bore interest at 6% p.a. from 1 January 2004. No collateralisation was agreed in regards of the loan. In the year in dispute (2005), the interest rate on a working capital loan granted to the plaintiff by a bank was 3.14%. On 30 September 2005, A GmbH and B N.V. concluded a contract on a debt waiver against a debtor warrant (… €). The amount corresponded to the worthless part of the claims against B N.V. from the clearing account in the opinion of the parties to ... Continue to full case
Greece vs "GSS Ltd.", December 2021, Tax Court, Case No 4450/2021

Greece vs “GSS Ltd.”, December 2021, Tax Court, Case No 4450/2021

An assessment was issued for FY 2017, whereby additional income tax was imposed on “GSS Ltd” in the amount of 843.344,38 €, plus a fine of 421.672,19 €, i.e. a total amount of 1.265.016,57 €. Various adjustments had been made and among them interest rates on intra group loans, royalty payments, management fees, and losses related to disposal of shares. Not satisfied with the assessment, an appeal was filed by “GSS Ltd.” Judgement of the Tax Court The court dismissed the appeal of “GSS Ltd.” and upheld the assessment of the tax authorities Excerpts “Because only a few days after the entry of the holdings in its books, it sold them at a price below the nominal value of the companies’ shares, which lacks commercial substance and is not consistent with normal business behaviour. Since it is hereby held that, by means of the specific ... Continue to full case
Hungary vs G.K. Ktf, December 2021, Court of Appeals, Case No. Kfv.V.35.306/2021/9

Hungary vs G.K. Ktf, December 2021, Court of Appeals, Case No. Kfv.V.35.306/2021/9

G.K. Ktf was a subsidiary of a company registered in the United Kingdom. On 29 December 2010 G.K. Ktf entered into a loan agreement with a Dutch affiliate, G.B. BV, under which G.B. BV, as lender, granted a subordinated unsecured loan of HUF 3 billion to G.K. Ktf. Interest was set at a fixed annual rate of 11.32%, but interest was only payable when G.K. Ktf earned a ‘net income’ from its activities. The maturity date of the loan was 2060. The loan was used by G.K. Ktf to repay a debt under a loan agreement concluded with a Dutch bank in 2006. The bank loan was repaid in 2017/2018. The interest paid by G.K. Ktf under the contract was deducted as an expense of HUF 347,146,667 in 2011 and HUF 345,260,000 in 2012. But, in accordance with Dutch tax law – the so called ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs EAC Invest A/S, October 2021, High Court, Case No SKM2021.705.OLR

Denmark vs EAC Invest A/S, October 2021, High Court, Case No SKM2021.705.OLR

In 2019, the Danish parent company of the group, EAC Invest A/S, had been granted a ruling by the tax tribunal that, in the period 2008-2011, due to, inter alia, quite exceptional circumstances involving currency restrictions in Venezuela, the parent company should not be taxed on interest on a claim for unpaid royalties relating to trademarks covered by licensing agreements between the parent company and its then Venezuelan subsidiary, Plumrose Latinoamericana C.A. The Tax tribunal had also found that neither a payment of extraordinary dividends by the Venezuelan subsidiary to the Danish parent company in 2012 nor a restructuring of the group in 2013 could trigger a deferred taxation of royalties. The tax authorities appealed against the decisions to the High Court. Judgement of the High Court The High Court upheld the decisions of the tax tribunal with amended grounds and dismissed the claims of ... 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

Luxembourg vs “Lux PPL SARL”, July 2021, Administrative Tribunal, Case No 43264

Lux PPL SARL received a profit participating loan (PPL) from a related company in Jersey to finance its participation in an Irish company.  The participation in the Irish company was set up in the form of debt (85%) and equity (15%). The profit participating loan (PPL) carried a fixed interest of 25bps and a variable interest corresponding to 99% of the profits derived from the participation in the Irish company, net of any expenses, losses and a profit margin. After entering the arrangement, Lux PPL SARL filed a request for an binding ruling with the Luxembourg tax administration to verify that the interest  charge under the PPL would not qualify as a hidden profit distribution subject to the 15% dividend withholding tax. The tax administration issued the requested binding ruling on the condition that the ruling would be terminate if the total amount of the ... Continue to full case
Poland vs A S.A., June 2021, Provincial Administrative Court, Case No I SA/Gl 1649/20

Poland vs A S.A., June 2021, Provincial Administrative Court, Case No I SA/Gl 1649/20

The business activity of A S.A. was wholesale of pharmaceutical products to external pharmacies, hospitals, wholesalers (including: to affiliated wholesalers). The tax authority had noted that the company’s name had been changed in FY 2013, and a loss in the amount of PLN […] had been reported in the company’s tax return. An audit revealed that the Company had transferred significant assets (real estate) to a related entity on non-arm’s length terms. The same real estate was then going forward made available to the company on a fee basis under lease and tenancy agreements. The tax authority issued an assessment where a “restructuring fee” in the amount of PLN […] was added to the taxable income, reflecting the amount which would have been achieved if the transaction had been agreed between independent parties. According to the company the tax authority was not entitled at all ... Continue to full case
Germany vs Lender GmbH, May 2021, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No I R 62/17

Germany vs Lender GmbH, May 2021, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No I R 62/17

Lender GmbH acquired all shares in T GmbH from T in 2012 (year in dispute) for a purchase price of … €. To finance the purchase price of the shares, Lender GmbH took out a loan from its sole shareholder, D GmbH, a loan in the amount of … €, which bore interest at 8% p.a. (shareholder loan). The interest was not to be paid on an ongoing basis, but only on expiry of the loan agreement on 31.12.2021. No collateral was agreed. D GmbH, for its part, borrowed funds in the same amount and under identical terms and conditions from its shareholders, among others from its Dutch shareholder N U.A. In addition Lender GmbH received a bank loan in the amount of … €, which had an average interest rate of 4.78% p.a. and was fully secured. Finally Lender GmbH also received a vendor ... Continue to full case
Germany vs A... GmbH, March 2021, BUNDESVERFASSUNGSGERICHT, Case No 2 BvR 1161/19

Germany vs A… GmbH, March 2021, BUNDESVERFASSUNGSGERICHT, Case No 2 BvR 1161/19

A GmbH provided funding in the form of a clearing account to its Belgian subsidiary. The account was unsecured and carried an interest of 6% p.a. In 2005, A GmbH and the Belgian company agreed on a debt write-off which was deducted for tax purposes. The tax authorities issued an assessment where the write-off was denied as a tax deductible expense. According to the tax authorities, independent third parties would have agreed on some kind of security. The lack thereof was a violation of the arm’s length principle. A GmbH brought the assessment to court. The Federal Fiscal Court (I R 73/16) found the assessment of the tax authorities to be lawful. This decision was then appealed to the Constitutional Court by  A GmbH, alleging violation of the general principle of equality as well as a violation of its fundamental procedural right to the lawful ... Continue to full case
Canada vs Cameco Corp., February 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 39368.

Canada vs Cameco Corp., February 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 39368.

Cameco, together with its subsidiaries, is a large uranium producer and supplier of the services that convert one form of uranium into another form. Cameco had uranium mines in Saskatchewan and uranium refining and processing (conversion) facilities in Ontario. Cameco also had subsidiaries in the United States that owned uranium mines in the United States. The Canadian Revenue Agency found that transactions between Cameco Corp and the Swiss subsidiary constituted a sham arrangement resulting in improper profit shifting. Hence, a tax assessment was issued for FY 2003, 2005, and 2006. Cameco disagreed with the Agency and brought the case to the Canadian Tax Court. In 2018 the Tax Court ruled in favor of Cameco and dismissed the assessment. This decision was appealed by the tax authorities to the Federal Court of Appeal. The Federal Court of Appeal in 2020 dismissed the appeal and also ruled ... Continue to full case
Portugal vs "B Lender S.A", January 2021, Supremo Tribunal Administrativo, Case No JSTA000P26984

Portugal vs “B Lender S.A”, January 2021, Supremo Tribunal Administrativo, Case No JSTA000P26984

In 2005 “B Lender S.A” transferred a supplementary capital contributions to company C. The capital was to be paid back in 31 October 2009 and was provided interest-free. Tax Authorities adjusted the taxable income of “B Lender S.A” with an amount of EUR 1,586,272.23, of which EUR 1,575,958.86 was attributable to interest on capital transactions, which it reclassified as interest-bearing loan under the arm’s length provisions of article 58 of the CIRC. The assessment of additional income was upheld by a decision from the tax court. An appeal was then filed by “B Lender S.A.” Decision of Supreme Administrative Court The Supreme Administrative Court set aside the decision of the tax court and decided in favour of A “B Lender S.A.” Experts “The question translates, in short, into knowing whether the arm’s length principle requires or imposes that a transaction of performance of ancillary services, ... Continue to full case
Netherlands vs X B.V., December 2020, Supreme Court (Preliminary ruling by the Advocate General), Case No 20/02096 ECLI:NL:PHR:2020:1198

Netherlands vs X B.V., December 2020, Supreme Court (Preliminary ruling by the Advocate General), Case No 20/02096 ECLI:NL:PHR:2020:1198

This case concerns a private equity takeover structure with apparently an intended international mismatch, i.e. a deduction/no inclusion of the remuneration on the provision of funds. The case was (primarily) decided by the Court of Appeal on the basis of non-business loan case law. The facts are as follows: A private equity fund [A] raised LP equity capital from (institutional) investors in its subfund [B] and then channelled it into two (sub)funds configured in the Cayman Islands, Fund [C] and [D] Fund. Participating in those two Funds were LPs in which the limited partners were the external equity investors and the general partners were Jersey-based [A] entities and/or executives. The equity raised in [A] was used for leveraged, debt-financed acquisitions of European targets to be sold at a capital gain after five to seven years, after optimising their EBITDA. One of these European targets was ... Continue to full case
India vs. M/s Redington (India) Limited, December 2020, High Court of Madras, Case No. T.C.A.Nos.590 & 591 of 2019

India vs. M/s Redington (India) Limited, December 2020, High Court of Madras, Case No. T.C.A.Nos.590 & 591 of 2019

Redington India Limited (RIL) established a wholly-owned subsidiary Redington Gulf (RG) in the Jebel Ali Free Zone of the UAE in 2004. The subsidiary was responsible for the Redington group’s business in the Middle East and Africa. Four years later in July 2008, RIL set up a wholly-owned subsidiary company in Mauritius, RM. In turn, this company set up its wholly-owned subsidiary in the Cayman Islands (RC) – a step-down subsidiary of RIL. On 13 November 2008, RIL transferred its entire shareholding in RG to RC without consideration, and within a week after the transfer, a 27% shareholding in RC was sold by RG to a private equity fund Investcorp, headquartered in Cayman Islands for a price of Rs.325.78 Crores. RIL claimed that the transfer of its shares in RG to RC was a gift and therefore, exempt from capital gains taxation in India. It ... Continue to full case
Romania vs Lender A. SA, December 2020, Supreme Court, Case No 6512/2020

Romania vs Lender A. SA, December 2020, Supreme Court, Case No 6512/2020

In this case, A. S.A. had granted interest free loans to an affiliate company – Poiana Ciucas S.A. The tax authorities issued an assessment of non-realised income from loans granted. The tax authorities established that the average interest rates charged for comparable loans granted by credit institutions in Romania ranged from 5.45% to 19.39%. The court of first instance decided in favor of the tax authorities. An appeal against this decision was lodged by S S.A. According to S S.A. “The legal act concluded between the two companies should have been regarded as a contribution to the share capital of Poiana Ciucaș S.A. However, even if it were considered that a genuine loan contract (with 0% interest) had been concluded, it cannot be held that the company lacked the capacity to conclude such an act, since, even if the purpose of any company is to ... Continue to full case
Israel vs The Barzani Brothers (1974) Ltd., Oktober 2020, Jerusalem Court of Appeal, Case No 54727-02-17

Israel vs The Barzani Brothers (1974) Ltd., Oktober 2020, Jerusalem Court of Appeal, Case No 54727-02-17

The Barzani Brothers (1974) Ltd had provided interest-free financing to affiliated Romanian group companies in the form of “capital notes”. In Israel, financing qualifying as a “capital note” releases the lender from having to report interest income in its annual tax return in relation to the funding. Certain high risk long term funding arrangements may qualify as a “capital notes”. In regards to the intra-group funding provided by the Barzani Brothers Ltd, the Israel tax authorities did not recognize the qualification thereof as “capital notes”. Instead they found the funding provided to be ordinary loans. Labeling a loan agreement “capital note” does not turn the loan agreement into a capital note. On that basis an assessment of taxable interest income was issued to the company. The Court ruled in favor of the tax authorities and rejected the explanations of Barzani Brothers Ltd that the “loan-like ... Continue to full case
Italy vs Spazio Immobiliare 2000 s.r.l., September 2020, Supreme Court, Cases No 20823/2020

Italy vs Spazio Immobiliare 2000 s.r.l., September 2020, Supreme Court, Cases No 20823/2020

The facts underlying the notice of assessment are undisputed: a) Casa di Cura Santa Rita s.p.a. grants a free loan to Spazio Immobiliare 2000 s.r.l.; b) the latter company, substantially lacking its own means and wholly controlled by the former, uses the parent company’s loan in full to purchase certain assets; c) said assets are rented to the parent company against payment of a consideration, partly due also for the year 2004; d) payment of the consideration for the years of rental is deferred until 31/12/2005. In view of these facts, the tax authorities makes the following contentions: (a) the parent company did not directly purchase the goods and services from the subsidiary because it would not have been able to deduct the VAT due to the fact that it carried out almost all exempt transactions; (b) the subsidiary benefited from a VAT credit for ... Continue to full case
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