Category: Royalty and License Payments

Royalty is defined as payments for the use of or right to use intangible property.
Royalties or license fees are paid for use of patent, copyright, design or model, secret formula or process, trademark, trade name or for information concerning industrial, commercial or scientific experience (know-how) etc. Transfer pricing issues often relates to profit shifting, ownership and value of intangibles, and benefit tests.

US vs Coca Cola, November 2020, US Tax Court, 155 T.C. No. 10

US vs Coca Cola, November 2020, US Tax Court, 155 T.C. No. 10

Coca Cola, a U.S. corporation, was the legal owner of the intellectual property (IP) necessary to manufacture, distribute, and sell some of the best-known beverage brands in the world. This IP included trade- marks, product names, logos, patents, secret formulas, and proprietary manufacturing processes. Coca Cola licensed foreign manufacturing affiliates, called “supply points,” to use this IP to produce concentrate that they sold to unrelated bottlers, who produced finished beverages for sale  to distributors and retailers throughout the world. Coca Cola’s contracts with its supply points gave them limited rights to use the IP in performing their manufacturing and distribution functions but gave the supply points no ownership interest in that IP. During 2007-2009 the supply points compensated Coca Cola for use of its IP under a formulary apportionment method to which Coca Cola and IRS had agreed in 1996 when settling Coca Cola’s tax ... Continue to full case
European Commission vs. Ireland and Apple, July 2020, General Court of the European Union, Case No. T-778/16 and T-892/16

European Commission vs. Ireland and Apple, July 2020, General Court of the European Union, Case No. T-778/16 and T-892/16

In a decision of 30 August 2016 the European Commission concluded that Ireland’s tax benefits to Apple were illegal under EU State aid rules, because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. The decision of the Commission concerned two tax rulings issued by Ireland to Apple, which determined the taxable profit of two Irish Apple subsidiaries, Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe, between 1991 and 2015. As a result of the rulings, in 2011, for example, Apple’s Irish subsidiary recorded European profits of US$ 22 billion (c.a. €16 billion) but under the terms of the tax ruling only around €50 million were considered taxable in Ireland. Ireland appealed the Commission’s decision to the European Court of Justice. The Judgement of the European Court of Justice The General Court annuls the Commission’s decision that Ireland granted illegal State aid to Apple ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs. Adecco A/S, June 2020, Supreme Court, Case no BS-42036/2019-HJR

Denmark vs. Adecco A/S, June 2020, Supreme Court, Case no BS-42036/2019-HJR

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
Indonesia vs PK manufacturing Ltd, March 2020 Supreme Court, Case No. 366/B/PK/Pjk/2020

Indonesia vs PK manufacturing Ltd, March 2020 Supreme Court, Case No. 366/B/PK/Pjk/2020

PK manufacturing Ltd was a contract manufacturer of cabins for excavators for the Japanese parent and paid royalties for use of IP owned by the parent. Following an audit, the tax authorities issued an assessment where deductions for royalty payments were disallowed due to lack of documentation for ownership to Intellectual Property by the Japanese parent. Furthermore, the tax authorities did not see any economic benefit for the contract manufacturer in paying the royalties, as it had been continuously loss making. The Company disagreed and brought the case to court. The Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the tax authorities. Existence and ownership to the Intellectual Property in question had not been sufficiently documented by the Japanese parent company. The Supreme Court dismissed the request for review filed by PK Co. Ltd. Click here for translation putusan_366_b_pk_pjk_2020_20200908cl ... 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
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 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
Zimbabwe vs Delta Beverages LTD, Court Case No HH664-19

Zimbabwe vs Delta Beverages LTD, Court Case No HH664-19

Delta Beverages LTD had been issued a tax assessment where various fees for service, technology license of trademarks, technology and know-how had been disallowed by the tax authorities (Zimra) of Zimbabwe. Among the issues contented by the tax authorities were technical service fees calculated as 1.5 %  of turnover. “The sole witness confirmed the advice proffered to the holding company’s board of directors in the minutes of 17 May 2002 that such an approach was common place across the world. This was confirmed by the approvals granted by exchange control authority to these charges. It was further confirmed by the very detailed 19 page Internal Comparable Analysis Report dated 5 October 2010 conducted by a reputable international firm of chartered  accountants, which was commissioned by the Dutch Company to assess internal compliance with the arm’s length principles in its transfer pricing policy for trademark royalties ... Continue to full case
European Commission vs. The Netherlands and Starbucks, September 2019, General Court of the European Union, Case No. T-760/15

European Commission vs. The Netherlands and Starbucks, September 2019, General Court of the European Union, Case No. T-760/15

In 2008, the Netherlands tax authorities concluded an advance pricing arrangement (APA) with Starbucks Manufacturing EMEA BV (Starbucks BV), part of the Starbucks group, which, inter alia, roasts coffees. The objective of that arrangement was to determine Starbucks BV’s remuneration for its production and distribution activities within the group. Thereafter, Starbucks BV’s remuneration served to determine annually its taxable profit on the basis of Netherlands corporate income tax. In addition, the APA endorsed the amount of the royalty paid by Starbucks BV to Alki, another entity of the same group, for the use of Starbucks’ roasting IP. More specifically, the APA provided that the amount of the royalty to be paid to Alki corresponded to Starbucks BV’s residual profit. The amount was determined by deducting Starbucks BV’s remuneration, calculated in accordance with the APA, from Starbucks BV’s operating profit. In 2015, the Commission found that ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs MAN Energy Solutions, September 2019, Supreme Court, Case No BS-4280-2019-HJR

Denmark vs MAN Energy Solutions, September 2019, Supreme Court, Case No BS-4280-2019-HJR

A Danish subsidiary in the German MAN group was the owner of certain intangible assets. The German parent, acting as an intermediate for the Danish subsidiary, licensed rights in those intangibles to other parties. In 2002-2005, the Danish subsidiary received royalty payments corresponding to the prices agreed between the German parent company and independent parties for use of the intangibles. The group had requested an adjustment of the royalty payments to the Danish subsidiary due to withholding taxes paid on inter-company license fees received by the German Parent. This was rejected by the Danish tax authorities. The Supreme Court found no basis for an adjustment for withholding taxes as the agreed prices between the German parent and the Danish Subsidiary matched the market price paid by independent parties. Click here for translation Denmark vs MAN Energy Solutions, September 2019, Supreme Court, Case No BS-4280-2019-HJR ... 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
Netherlands vs Tax advisor, June 2019, Court of Northern Netherlands, Case No. 200.193.965/01

Netherlands vs Tax advisor, June 2019, Court of Northern Netherlands, Case No. 200.193.965/01

The question at issue was whether a tax adviser 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 routing2 ... 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
India vs Netafim Irrigation India Pvt. Ltd., May 2019, Tax Appellate Tribunal, Case No. ITA no.3668

India vs Netafim Irrigation India Pvt. Ltd., May 2019, Tax Appellate Tribunal, Case No. ITA no.3668

In dispute was royalty payments from an Indian subsidiary to it’s Israeli Parent company, Netafim, Israel. Following an audit the tax authorities set the royalty to nil. The Court dismissed the Revenue’s tax assessment. “Therefore, even assuming that CUP method has been applied by the Transfer Pricing Officer, it is apparent that he has not undertaken the exercise provided under rule 10B(i)(a) for determining the arm’s length price. Therefore, the contention of the learned Departmental Representative that the arm’s length price of royalty has been determined at nil by applying CUP method is totally unacceptable. Further, in case of Denso India Ltd. (supra), cited by the learned Departmental Representative, the Hon’ble Jurisdictional High Court has approved the decision of the Transfer Pricing Officer in applying TNMM for benchmarking the arm’s length price of royalty paid. In case of CLSA India Ltd. (supra) and Frigo Glass ... Continue to full case
The Kering Group - owner of Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent and Pomellato - has settled an Italian Tax Case for an Amount of 1.250 Billion Euro

The Kering Group – owner of Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent and Pomellato – has settled an Italian Tax Case for an Amount of 1.250 Billion Euro

The Kering group – owner of Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent and Pomellato –  has settled a case with the Italian tax agency for an amount of euro 1.250 billion in taxes and penalties relating to fiscal years 2011-2017. The case was started by the Italian tax police in 2017 and resulted in a recommendation to charge the president and chief executive officer of the Italian company Guccio Gucci S.p.A. with the crimes of tax evasion and failure to file Italian income tax return. Guccio Gucci S.p.A., the Italian operating company of the group and owner of the GUCCI brand, had licensed the brand to a Swiss affiliate company, Luxury Goods International S.A., together with the rights to exploit and manage the brand for the purpose of the global marketing, commercialization and sale of GUCCI products in Italy and worldwide. However, most of the marketing ... Continue to full case
Italy vs Christian Fishbacher S.p.A, May 2019, Corte di Cassazione No 9615 Anno 2019

Italy vs Christian Fishbacher S.p.A, May 2019, Corte di Cassazione No 9615 Anno 2019

According to the Tax Authorities, the content of Christian Fishbacher S.p.A’s contract with the Swiss parent of the Group, granting limited right of use of the trademark, did not justify a royalty of 3.5%, to which an additional 1.6% was added as a contribution to the investments for the promotion and development of the brand. The appellate judge held that exceeding the values taken as “normal” by the circular 32 of 09/22/1980 not it were justified in the light of the concrete elements of the case is that correctly the Office had re-determined the value of the services within 2%, following the aforementioned Circular, which incorporated the indications of the report drawn up by the OECD in 1979. The circular identifies three levels for assessing the normal value of royalties: the first, not suspected, up to 2%; the second from 2% to 5%, determined on ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs H Group, April 2019, Tax Tribunal, Case No. SKM2019.207

Denmark vs H Group, April 2019, Tax Tribunal, Case No. SKM2019.207

Intangibles had been transferred from a Danish subsidiary to a US parent under a written agreement. According to the agreement the Danish subsidiary – which had developed and used it’s own intangibles – would now have to pay royalties for the use of trademarks, know-how and patents owned by the US parent. The tax authorities had issued an assesment on the grounds that the majority of the Danish company’s intangibles had been transferred to the US parent. In the assesment the value of the intangibles had been calculated based on the price paid when the US group acquired the shares in the Danish company. H Group argued that the transferred intangibles no longer carried any value and that the Danish company now used intangibles owned by the US group. The Tax Tribunal found that tax authorities had been entitled to make an assessment as the transaction ... Continue to full case

Finland vs Borealis OY, March 2019, Administrative Court, Decisions not yet published

On 19 March 2019, the Helsinki Administrative Court issued two decisions in a tax dispute between the Finnish tax authorities and Borealis Polymers Oy and Borealis Technology Oy. The decisions have not been published. Borealis Polymers Oy and Borealis Technology Oy are subsidiaries of Borealis AG. The Austrian Group is a leading provider of polyolefin compounds for the global wire and cable industry, plastic materials for the automotive industry and for used in consumer products. The group also produces a wide range of base chemicals such as melamine, phenol, acetone, ethylene and propylene, as well as fertilizers and technical nitrogen products. The decisions cover fiscal years 2008, 2009 and 2010 and – according to Borealis’ public statement – relates to re-characterisation of intra group licence agreements. Additional information is providedIn Borealis’ Annual report for 2018: Borealis Technology OY, Finland, for 2008 and 2010: The reassessment ... Continue to full case
Indonesia vs PK manufacturing Ltd, January 2019 Court of Appeal, Case No. PUT-115599.15/2014/PP/M.XIIIB Tahun 2019

Indonesia vs PK manufacturing Ltd, January 2019 Court of Appeal, Case No. PUT-115599.15/2014/PP/M.XIIIB Tahun 2019

PK manufacturing Ltd was a contract manufacturer of cabins for excavators for the Japanese parent and paid royalties for use of IP owned by the parent. Following an audit, the tax authorities issued an assessment where deductions for royalty payments were disallowed due to lack of documentation for ownership to Intellectual Property by the Japanese parent. Furthermore, the tax authorities did not see any economic benefit for the contract manufacturer in paying the royalties, as it had been continuously loss making. The Company disagreed and brought the case to court. The Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the tax authorities. Existence and ownership to the Intellectual Property in question had not been sufficiently documented by the Japanese parent company. Part 1 – Click here for translation Part 2 – Click here for translation Putusan Nomor ... Continue to full case
Switzerland vs R&D Pharma, December 2018, Tribunal fédéral suisse, 2C_11/2018

Switzerland vs R&D Pharma, December 2018, Tribunal fédéral suisse, 2C_11/2018

The Swiss company X SA (hereinafter: the Company or the Appellant), is part of the multinational pharmaceutical group X, whose parent holding is X BV (hereinafter referred to as the parent company) in Netherlands, which company owns ten subsidiaries, including the Company and company X France SAS (hereinafter: the French company). According to the appendices to the accounts, the parent company did not employ any employees in 2006 or in 2007, on the basis of a full-time employment contract. In 2010 and 2011, an average of three employees worked for this company. By agreement of July 5, 2006, the French company undertook to carry out all the works and studies requested by the parent company for a fee calculated on the basis of their cost, plus a margin of 15%. The French company had to communicate to the parent company any discoveries or results relating ... Continue to full case
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