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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.

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

In this case 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Switzerland vs S SA, Dec 2018, Swiss Federal Supreme Court, Case No 2C_11/2018

The Swiss company S SA is involved in the manufacturing and distribution of pharmaceutical and chemical products. S SA is part of multinational group with a parent company in the Netherlands, N BV, and subject to a royalty payments equal to 2.5% of its turnover for using the results of R&D activities conducted by a French sister company F SAS. The R&D activities were performed by F SAS and remunerated with a cost (plus 15%). […]

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 […]

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

In the case between Ghana and Beiersdorf Gh. Ltd. (Import and distribution of 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 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 […]

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

In this ruling 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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