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.

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 Share: ... 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 Share: ... 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 yet 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 ... 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
Italy vs Dolce & Gabbana, December 2018, Supreme Court, Case no 33234/2018

Italy vs Dolce & Gabbana, December 2018, Supreme Court, Case no 33234/2018

In this case the Italian fashion group, Dolce & Gabbana, had moved ownership of valuable intangibles to a subsidiary established for that purpose in Luxembourg. The Italian Revenue Agency found the arrangement to be wholly artificial and set up only to avoid Italien taxes and to benefit from the privileged tax treatment in Luxembourg. The Revenue Agency argued that all decision related to the intangibles was in fact taken at the Italian headquarters of Dolce & Gabbana in Milan, and not in Luxembourg, where there were no administrative structure and only one employee with mere secretarial duties. Dolce & Gobbana disargeed with these findings and brought the case to court. In the first and second instance the courts ruled in favor of the Italian Revenue Agency, but the Italian Supreme Court ruled in favor of Dolce & Gabbana. According to the Supreme Court, the fact ... Continue to full case
Finland vs A Group, December 2018, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. KHO:2018:173

Finland vs A Group, December 2018, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. KHO:2018:173

During fiscal years 2006–2008, A-Group had been manufacturing and selling products in the construction industry – insulation and other building components. License fees received by the parent company A OY from the manufacturing companies had been determined by application of the CUP method. The remuneration of the sales companies in the group had been determined by application of the resale price method. The Finnish tax administration, tax tribunal and administrative court all found that the comparable license agreements chosen with regard to determining the intercompany license fees had such differences regarding products, contract terms and market areas that they were incomparable. With regard to the sale of the finished products, they found that the resale price method had not been applied on a sufficiently reliable basis. By reference to the 2010 version of the OECD’s Transfer Pricing Guidelines, they considered the best method for determining ... Continue to full case
Australia vs Satyam Computer Services Limited, October 2018, Federal Court of Australia, Case No FCAFC 172

Australia vs Satyam Computer Services Limited, October 2018, Federal Court of Australia, Case No FCAFC 172

The question in this case was whether payments received by Satyam Computer Services Limited (now Tech Mahindra Ltd) from its Australian clients – that were royalties for the purposes of Article 12 of the tax treaty with India, but not otherwise royalties under Australian tax law – were deemed to be Australian source income by reason of Article 23 of the tax treaty and ss 4 and 5 of the International Tax Agreements Act 1953 and therefore included in the company’s assessable income for Australian tax purposes. The answer provided by the Federal Court was: Yes. Click here for translation 2018FCAFC0172 Share: ... Continue to full case
Ghana vs Beiersdorf Gh. Ltd, August 2018, High Court, Case No CM/TAX/0001/2018

Ghana vs Beiersdorf Gh. Ltd, August 2018, High Court, Case No CM/TAX/0001/2018

Beiersdorf Gh. Ltd. imports and distributes Nivea skin care products from the parent company based in Germany, Beiersdorf AG). The tax authorities, CGRA, had issued an assessment where deductions for royalty payments to the German parent had been denied (non recognition – not legitimate business cost). Furthermore, alledged product discounts paid to third party vendors  had been characterized as sales commissions subject to withholding tax of 10%. Beiersdorf contended the assessment and filed an appeal. The appeal was based on three main grounds: The finding of CGRA that royalty payments made by the Appellant to Beiersdorf AG (BDF) pursuant to an agreement between Appellant and BDF for the use of the Nivea brand should not be allowed as a legitimate business cost because of the failure of the Appellant to comply with prior registration of the Royalty Agreement with the Ghana Investment Promotion Center is wrong ... Continue to full case
Germany vs Cyprus Ltd, June 2018, BFH judgment Case No IR 94/15

Germany vs Cyprus Ltd, June 2018, BFH judgment Case No IR 94/15

The Bundesfinanzhof confirmed prior case law according to which the provisions on hidden deposits and hidden profit distributions must be observed in the context of the additional taxation. On the question of economic activity of the controlled foreign company, the Bundesfinanzhof refers to the ruling of the European Court of Justice concerning Cadbury-Schweppes from 2006. According to paragraphs §§ 7 to 14 in the Außensteuergesetz (AStG) profits from controlled foreign companies without business activity can be taxed in Germany. In the case at hand the subsidiary was located in a rented office in Cyprus and employed a resident managing director. Her job was to handle correspondence with clients, to carry out and supervise payment transactions, manage business records and keep records. She was also entrusted with obtaining book licenses to order these sub-licenses for the benefit of three of Russia’s and Ukraine’s affiliates, which distributed ... Continue to full case
Nokia paid 202 million euro to settle a long running dispute with the tax authorities in India

Nokia paid 202 million euro to settle a long running dispute with the tax authorities in India

Under the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP), Finland and India have settled a long running tax dispute involving Nokia. The tax authorities in India issued a tax assessment to Nokia for violating withholding tax regulations in India while making royalty payments to its parent company in Finland. An additional assessment was then issued by the tax authorities in India to the parent company in Finland for the same transaction as – according to the tax authorities – the company had a permanent establishment in India. According to the MAP settlement Nokia will pay 102 million euro in addition to the 100 million euro already paid in India during 2013-2015. Share: ... Continue to full case
US vs Coca Cola, Dec. 2017, US Tax Court, 149 T.C. No. 21

US vs Coca Cola, Dec. 2017, US Tax Court, 149 T.C. No. 21

Coca Cola collects royalties from foreign branches and subsidiaries for use of formulas, brand and other intellectual property. Years ago an agreement was entered by Coca Cola and the IRS on these royalty payments to settle an audit of years 1987 to 1995. According to the agreement Coca-Cola licensees in other countries would pay the US parent company royalties using a 10-50-50 formula where 10% of the gross sales revenue is treated as a normal return to the licensee and the rest of the revenue is split evenly between the licensee and the US parent, with the part going to the US parent paid in the form of a royalty. The agreement expired in 1995, but Coca-Cola continued to use the model for transfer pricing in the following years. Coca-Cola and the Mexican tax authorities had agreed on the same formula and Coca-Cola continued to ... Continue to full case
Tokyo District Court, judgment of November 24 2017

Tokyo District Court, judgment of November 24 2017

A Japanese company had entered into a series of controlled transactions with foreing group companies granting services and licences to use intangibles – know-how related to manufacturing and sales, training, and provided support by sending over technical experts. The company had used a CUP method to price these transactions based on select “internal comparables”. Tax authorities disagreed with the company and found that the residual profit split method should be applied to price the transactions. The court found the transactions should be aggregated and that the price should be determined for the full packaged deal – not separately for each transaction. The foreign related-party transactions were compared – as a whole – to the comparable transactions selected by the company and the court found that the product lines, how to use them and frequency of dispatching employees to support the foreing group company were not ... Continue to full case
India vs Google, Oct. 2017, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal

India vs Google, Oct. 2017, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal

Google Ireland licenses Google AdWords technology to its subsidiary in India and several other countries across the world. The Tax Tribunal in India found that despite the duty of Google India to withhold tax at the time of payment to Google Ireland, no tax was withheld. This was considered tax evasion, and Google was ordered to pay USD 224 million. The case has now been appealed by Google to the Supreme Court of India. India-vs-Google-28-oct-2017-TAX-APPELLATE-TRIBUNAL Share: ... Continue to full case
European Commission vs. Amazon and Luxembourg, October 2017, State Aid - Comissions decision, SA.38944 

European Commission vs. Amazon and Luxembourg, October 2017, State Aid – Comissions decision, SA.38944 

Luxembourg gave illegal tax benefits to Amazon worth around €250 million The European Commission has concluded that Luxembourg granted undue tax benefits to Amazon of around €250 million.  Following an in-depth investigation launched in October 2014, the Commission has concluded that a tax ruling issued by Luxembourg in 2003, and prolonged in 2011, lowered the tax paid by Amazon in Luxembourg without any valid justification. The tax ruling enabled Amazon to shift the vast majority of its profits from an Amazon group company that is subject to tax in Luxembourg (Amazon EU) to a company which is not subject to tax (Amazon Europe Holding Technologies). In particular, the tax ruling endorsed the payment of a royalty from Amazon EU to Amazon Europe Holding Technologies, which significantly reduced Amazon EU’s taxable profits. The Commission’s investigation showed that the level of the royalty payments, endorsed by the ... Continue to full case

France vs IKEA, May 2017, CAA of Versailles, No 15VE00571

The French tax authorities had issued an assessment for the fiscal years 2002, 2003 and 2004 related to royalty fees paid by IKEA France to foreign group companies. It was claimed that the royalty fees paid were exessive. The Court reject the position of the authorities. It had not been proven that the fees paid by IKEA France to foreign IKEA companies were excessive based on the arm’s length principle and on Article 57 of the CGI. The Court stresses the irrelevance of the comparables presented by the administration: “Considering that the nine trademarks used as comparables by the administration relate to the French market, the furniture sector and distribution methods similar to that of Ikea; that, however, as the company Ikea Holding France argues, the Minister does not give any precise indication on the content of the services rendered to the franchisees of these ... Continue to full case

Australia vs Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, April 2017 – Going to Court

Singapore marketing hubs are being used by large multinational companies — and billions of dollars in related-party transactions that are being funnelled through the hubs each year. The Australian Tax Office has issued claims of substantial unpaid taxes to mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have revealed through the Senate inquiry they have been issued amended assessments for tax, interest and penalties of $522 million and $107 million respectively. These claims will be challenged in court. The cases centres on the use of commodity trading/marketing hubs established in Singapore colloquially known as the Singapore Sling. The Australian taxation commissioner alleges Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton is using subsidiaries in Singapore to reduce the taxes in Australia. It has been revealed that from 2006 to 2014, BHP Billiton sold $US210 billion worth of resources to its Singapore subsidiary. That was ... Continue to full case

Luxembourg vs Lux SA, December 2016, Administrative Tribunal Case No 36954

By a trademark license agreement dated August 22, 2008, a group company in Luxembourg granted another group company a non-exclusive right to use and exploit the brands registered in the territory of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Benelux and the European Community for an initial period of ten years, renewable tacitly each time for a period of one year and this against a license fee paid and calculated annually corresponding to 3% of this turnover. By letters of 30 January 2015, the Tax Office informed the company that they intended to refuse to deduct the royalties paid to the company for the years 2010, 2011 and 2010. Click here for translation Lux vs taxpayer 21 dec 2016 36954 Share: ... Continue to full case

IRS vs Boston Scientific and Guidant, Settlement of $1billion dispute

Just days before trial, Boston Scientific Corp. has agreed to pay the Internal Revenue Service $275 million plus interest to settle more than $1 billion in disputed taxes dating back more than a decade. Boston Scientific has long disputed the IRS’ assertions that the company and its Guidant subsidiary have underpaid corporate taxes by as much as $1.16 billion. The dispute centers on “transfer pricing” and the amount of taxes owed to the United States for intellectual property transferred among its domestic and foreign subsidiaries. The primary issue for all years is related to transfer pricing established under technology license agreements between domestic and foreign subsidiaries of Guidant — how much one subsidiary of the company paid another for the intellectual property necessary to manufacture, sell or market medical devices. Share: ... Continue to full case
US vs. Medtronic Inc. June 2016, US Tax Court

US vs. Medtronic Inc. June 2016, US Tax Court

The IRS argued that Medtronic Inc failed to accurately account for the value of trade secrets and other intangibles owned by Medtronic Inc and used by Medtronic’s Puerto Rico manufacturing subsidiary in 2005 and 2006 when determening the royalty payments from the subsidiary. In 2016 the United States Tax Court found in favor of Medtronic, sustaining the use of the CUT method to analyze royalty payments. The Court also found that adjustments to the CUT were required. These included additional adjustments not initially applied by Medtronic Inc for know-how, profit potential and scope of product. The decision from the United States Tax Court has been appealed by the IRS in 2017. US-Memo-2016-112-Medtronic-v.-Commissioner Share: ... Continue to full case
Loading...