Category: Services and Fees

Management fees are usually payments from subsidiaries for head office services. Management fees have been used to shift income from high tax to low tax jurisdictions. For transfer pricing practitioners it is important to establish the facts and supporting documentation substantiating that management services are actually being performed. The mere description of a payment as a “management fee” should not be expected to be treated as prima facie evidence that such services have been rendered.

Italy vs "Lender" SpA, February 2020, Regional Tax Tribunal for Umbria, Case No 18/02/2020 n. 56

Italy vs “Lender” SpA, February 2020, Regional Tax Tribunal for Umbria, Case No 18/02/2020 n. 56

An Italian parent company “Lender SpA” had granted interest free loans to foreign subsidiaries. Lender SpA had also paid subsidiaries for services rendered. The Italian tax authorities held that interest should be paid on the loans and that the company had not sufficiently demonstrated the conditions to justify the deductibility of costs of services. The regional Court found in favor of the tax authorities and dismissed the appeal of Lender SpA. “For these loans, which took place on the initiative of the Managing Director and in the absence of a resolution of the Shareholders’ Meeting, the Company partly used its available liquidity and partly resorted to the credit market. In this situation, contrary to what was claimed by the company xxxxx, the principle established by the aforementioned art. 110, paragraph 7 of the Consolidated Income Tax Act should have been applied and, therefore, the Italian ... Continue to full case
Italy vs Rohm and Haas Italia s.r.l, Febuary 2020, Supreme Court Case No 3599 13/02/2020

Italy vs Rohm and Haas Italia s.r.l, Febuary 2020, Supreme Court Case No 3599 13/02/2020

At issue was deduction of VAT on purported costs incurred for intra-group services, which had been deemed non-deductible for tax as well as VAT purposes by the Italien Tax Authorities, as the taxpayer had not been able to prove the effectiveness and relevance of these services. The Supreme Court found that in order for intra-group cost to be deductible (and VAT deductible) taxpayer must prove that, a real service have been received which is objectively determinable and adequately documented. This burden of proof had not been lifted by the taxpayer and VAT payments on the purported services were consequently non-deductible. Click here for Translation Sentenza Cassazione Civile n. 3599 del 13022020 ... Continue to full case
Switzerland vs Swiss Investment AG, February 2020, Administrative Court Zurich, Case No SB.2018.00094 and SB.2018.00095

Switzerland vs Swiss Investment AG, February 2020, Administrative Court Zurich, Case No SB.2018.00094 and SB.2018.00095

Two Swiss investors had established a structure for the management of a private equity fund in the form of a Swiss “Investment Advisor” AG and a Jersey “Investment Mananger” Ltd. They each held 50% of the shares in the Swiss AG and 50% of the shares in the Jersey Ltd. Swiss AG and Jersey Ltd then entered an investment advisory agreement whereby the Swiss AG carried out all advisory activities on behalf of Jersey Ltd and Jersey Ltd assumed all the risk of the investments. Both investors were employed by Swiss AG and Jersey Ltd had no employees execpt two directors who each received a yearly payment of CFH 15,000. According to the investment advisory agreement Jersey Ltd would remunerate the Swiss AG with 66% of the gross fee income. The Swiss AG would carry out all relevant functions related to investment advisory and recommend ... Continue to full case
Poland vs Shared Service Center, February 2020, Administrative Court, SA/PO 935/19

Poland vs Shared Service Center, February 2020, Administrative Court, SA/PO 935/19

A shared service center in Poland both provided intra-group services to the group and in doing so also received and paid for services from other group companies. At issue was payments for the services that the Shared Service Center in Poland received. Under some circumstances intra-group service costs are non-deductible in Poland according to local anti-avoidance provisions aimed at base eroding payments, and according to the tax authorities the payments for intra group services received by the Shared Service Center were non-deductible according to these anti-avoidance provisions. The tax authorities had considered that the payments for the received services were non-deductible according to these provisions. Court decision Service costs that are directly connected with provision of services that generate income, and are included in the base for remuneration of the services provided are deductable and thus not covered by the non-deduction provisions. The Company’s revenues ... Continue to full case
France vs SAS Groupe Lagasse Europe, January 2020, CCA de VERSAILLES, Case No. 18VE00059 18VE02329

France vs SAS Groupe Lagasse Europe, January 2020, CCA de VERSAILLES, Case No. 18VE00059 18VE02329

A French subsidiary, SAS Groupe Lagasse Europe, of the Canadian Legasse Group had paid service fees to another Canadian group company, Gestion Portland Vimy. The French tax authorities held that the basis for the payments of service fees had not been established, and that there was no benefit to the French subsidiary. The payments constituted an indirect transfer of profits within the meaning of the ‘article 57 of the general tax code; Excerps from the judgement of the Court: “11. Under the terms of article 57 of the general tax code, applicable in matters of corporate tax under article 209 of the same code: “For the establishment of income tax due by the companies which are dependent or have control of companies located outside of France, the profits indirectly transferred to the latter, either by increasing or decreasing the purchase or sale prices, or by ... Continue to full case
Malaysia vs Shell Services Asia Sdn Bhd, November 2019, High Court, Case No BA 25-68-08/2019

Malaysia vs Shell Services Asia Sdn Bhd, November 2019, High Court, Case No BA 25-68-08/2019

The principal activities of Shell Services Asia Sdn Bhd in Malaysia is to provide services to related companies within the Shell Group. The company is part of a contractual arrangement for the sharing of services and resources within the Shell Group as provided in a Cost Contribution Arrangement. The tax authorities conducted a transfer pricing audit, and based on the findings, issued a tax assessment for fiscal years 2011 to 2016, where the Cost Contribution Arrangement had been recharacterised as an intra-group services arrangement. The taxable income was adjusted by imposing a markup on the total costs of the company for fiscal years 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Consequently, the company had to pay the additional taxes in the amount of: RM 3,474,978.44; RM 2,559,754.38; RM 7,096,984.69; RM 2,537,458.50; RM 15,669,176.01. The company did not agree with the proposal. The judgement by the High Court only relates to proceedings ... 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
Spain vs ARW Enterprise Computin Solution SA, September 2019, Tribunal Superior de Justicia, Case No STSJ M 7038/2019 - ECLI: ES:TSJM:2019:7038

Spain vs ARW Enterprise Computin Solution SA, September 2019, Tribunal Superior de Justicia, Case No STSJ M 7038/2019 – ECLI: ES:TSJM:2019:7038

A Spanish subsidiary, ARW Enterprise Computin Solution SA, had deducted intra-group management fees paid according to two service contracts with two french group companies – Distrilogie SA and DCC France Holding SAS. For an expense to be deductible it is required not only that invoice, account, payments have been imputed correctly, but also that the expense have been held for obtaining income and to the direct benefit of the subsidiary. The Spanish tax authorities found, that these requirements had not been sufficiently proved by Computin Solution SA and issued a tax assessment. Click here for translation Spain vs Computin STSJ_M_7038_2019 ... Continue to full case
Norway vs A/S Norske Shell, September 2019, Borgarting lagmannsrett, Case No LB-2018-79168 – UTV-2019-807

Norway vs A/S Norske Shell, September 2019, Borgarting lagmannsrett, Case No LB-2018-79168 – UTV-2019-807

A/S Norske Shell – an entity within the Dutch Shell group – had operations on the Norwegian continental shelf and conducted research and development (R&D) through a subsidiary. All R&D costs were deducted in Norway. The Norwegian tax authority applied the arms length principle and issued a tax assessment. It was assumed that the R&D expense was due to a joint interest with the other upstream companies in the Shell group. The Court of Appeal found that the R&D conducted in Norway also constituted an advantage for the foreign companies within the group for which an independent company would demand compensation. The resulting reduction in revenue provided the basis for determining the company’s income on a discretionary basis in accordance with section 13-1 of the Tax Act. The tax authorities determination of the amount of the income reduction had not based on an incorrect or ... Continue to full case
Brazil vs "CCA group", September 2019, COSIT, SC No. 276-2019

Brazil vs “CCA group”, September 2019, COSIT, SC No. 276-2019

In a public ruling, the General Tax Coordination Office in Brazil (COSIT) found that a transaction labled as a “cost sharing agreement” between a foreign group and its Brazilian subsidiary, was in fact a mere agreement for provision of services. COSIT pointed to the key characteristics of cost sharing agreements. These had been listed in a prior ruling from 2012: Segregation of costs and risks inherent in the development, production or acquisition of goods, services or rights; Consistent contribution by each entity with expected and effectively-received benefits by each entity; Identification of the benefit to each participant entity; Mandatory reimbursement of costs incurred with no mark-up; Advantages offered to all participating group entities; and Payments for support activities whether such activities were actually used. < COSIT also pointed to the guidance provided in the 2017 Transfer Pricing Guidelines, Chapter VIII. Click here for translation SC_Cosit_n_276-2019 ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs MAN Energy Solutions, September 2019, Supreme Court, Case No SKM2019.486.HR

Denmark vs MAN Energy Solutions, September 2019, Supreme Court, Case No SKM2019.486.HR

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
Sweden vs Absolut Company AB, June 2019, Supreme Administrative Court, Case no 1913-18

Sweden vs Absolut Company AB, June 2019, Supreme Administrative Court, Case no 1913-18

The Absolut Company AB had been issued an assessment of additional taxable income of SEK 247 mio. The assessment was based on the position that (1) The Absolut Company AB had been selling below the arm’s length price to an US group company – The Absolut Spirit Company Inc. (ASCI), and (2) that acquired distribution services from ASCI that had been priced above the arm’s length price. In 2018 the Swedish Administrative Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the tax administration. The Swedish Supreme Administrative Court has now ruled in favor of The Absolute Company AB. According to the Supreme Administrative Court the Swedish Tax Agency did not fulfill the burden of proof. The Supreme Administrative Court further states that the full range of results in the benchmark study could be applied and that a multiple year analysis of the tested party data can be used ... Continue to full case
Argentina vs. Nike, June 2019, Court of Appeal, Case No TF 24495-I

Argentina vs. Nike, June 2019, Court of Appeal, Case No TF 24495-I

The tax authorities had partly disallowed amounts deducted by Nike Argentina for three expenses; royalties for use of trademarks and technical assistance, promotional expenses for sponsorship of the Brazilian Football Confederation, and commissions of Nike Inc. for purchasing agents. Issue one and two was dropped during the process and the remaining issue before the tribunal was expenses related to commissions for purchases according to a contract signed between Nike Argentina and Nike Inc. The tax authorities (AFIP) had found that the 7% commission rate paid by Nike Argentina had not been determined in accordance with the arm’s length principle. The tax authorities stated that the purchase management services were provided by NIAC, and that Nike Inc.’s participation was merely an intermediary, and therefore it charged a much higher percentage than the one invoiced by the company performing the actual management. The Court of Appeal ruled ... Continue to full case
Poland vs A Sp. z o.o., June 2019, Administrative Court, Case No GD 530/19

Poland vs A Sp. z o.o., June 2019, Administrative Court, Case No GD 530/19

A Polish Subsidiary A SP. z o.o. had incurred a loss in 2012 in the amount of PLN 1,357,333.66 and following an audit the tax authorities issued an assessment whereby the loss was reduced by an amount of PLN 234,019.90. The disputable issue was whether, in the circumstances of the case under consideration, the tax authorities correctly determined the amount of the applicant’s loss for 2012 in an amount other than that resulting from the correction of the declaration due to the finding that the Company undervalued income from transactions concluded with related entities for a total amount of PLN 234,019.90. The Administrative Court dismissed the complaint of A SP z o.o. According the the provided transfer pricing documentation the company had applied a TNMM and determined remuneration based on cost added a fixed percentage of 4% for the parent company, 8% for other companies ... Continue to full case
France vs SAP Laps SAS, February 2019, Administrative Tribunal of Montreuil, Case No. 1801945

France vs SAP Laps SAS, February 2019, Administrative Tribunal of Montreuil, Case No. 1801945

SAP Labs France SAS provided IT-related services to its German parent company, SAP AG, and received a cost-plus 6 % remuneration. According to the R&D agreement all income taxes, including withholding tax, applied on the amount paid by the parent company pursuant to the agreement would be paid for by the French company. However, the French tax administration held that the French company should have included the CVAE tax in the cost base on which it was remunerated, and by not doing so SAP Laps France had indirectly transferred profit to SAP AG. A tax reassessments under the French arm’s length provisions was then issued. SAP disagreed with the assessment and brought the case before the Administrative Tribunal. The Administrative Tribunal issued a decision in favor of the tax administration. “6. The contribution on the added value of companies is a burden on the company ... Continue to full case
Russia vs Ashin Steel Trading House, February 2019, Court of Appeal, Case No. A76-19287/2018

Russia vs Ashin Steel Trading House, February 2019, Court of Appeal, Case No. A76-19287/2018

A group company, PI, purportedly provided management services to the Ashin Steel Trading House. During the audit for FY 2013-2015 the tax authority came to the conclusions that Ashin Steel Trading House and the PI had “deliberately created a management relationship scheme so that service providers are listed on the staff of an entrepreneur who pays tax on the ONS with the object of taxation “income””. Significant sums of money was transferred to PIs in the form of payments for the provision of management services for their subsequent withdrawal and to the accounts of an individual (from the accounts of the PI), which allowed the Company to minimize tax revenues. The tax authority recalculated the Company’s expenses for the management services, using a combination of transfer pricing methods – cost plus and comparable profitability. The Decision of the Court of Appeal: The CUP method has ... 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
India vs. L.G. Electronic India Pvt. Ltd., January 2019, TAX APPELLATE TRIBUNAL, Case No. ITA No. 6253/DEL/2012

India vs. L.G. Electronic India Pvt. Ltd., January 2019, TAX APPELLATE TRIBUNAL, Case No. ITA No. 6253/DEL/2012

LG Electronic India has incurred advertisement and AMP expenses aggregating to Rs.6,89,60,79,670/- for the purpose of its business. The tax authorities undertook benchmarking analysis of AMP expenses incurred by LG Electronic India applying bright line test by comparing ratio of AMP expenses to sale of LG Electronic India with that of the comparable companies and holding that any expenditure in excess of the bright line was for promotion of the brand/trade name owned by the AE, which needed to be suitably compensated by the AE. By applying bright line test, the tax authorities compared AMP expenditure incurred by LG Electronic India as percentage of total turnover at 8.01% with average AMP expenditure of 4.93% of comparable companies. Since AMP expenses incurred by LG Electronic India  as percentage of sales was more than similar percentage for comparable companies, LG Electronic India had incurred such AMP expenditure ... Continue to full case
Chile vs Monsanto Chile S.A, December 2018, Tax Court, Case N° RUC N° 14-9-0000002-3

Chile vs Monsanto Chile S.A, December 2018, Tax Court, Case N° RUC N° 14-9-0000002-3

Monsanto Chile – since 2018 a subsidiary of Bayer – is engaged in production of vegetable seeds and Row Crop seeds. The company uses its own local farmers and contractors, employs some 250 people and hires a maximum of 2,000 temporary workers in the summer months. It receives parental seed from global planners in the US and other countries and then multiplies these seeds in Chile on its own or third-party farms. The seeds are then harvested, processed and shipped to locations specified by global planners. Following an audit of FY 2009-2010 an adjustment was issued related to the profitability obtained in the operations of the “Production” segment (sale of semi-finished products to related parties) and “Research and Development” carried out on behalf of related parties abroad. The adjustment was determined by the tax authorities using the a Net Margin method. The tax authorities found ... Continue to full case
Wheaton Precious Metals Reaches Settlement on Canadian Tax Dispute Regarding Foreign Income

Wheaton Precious Metals Reaches Settlement on Canadian Tax Dispute Regarding Foreign Income

Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. has reached a settlement with the Canada Revenue Agency which provides for a final resolution of Wheaton’s tax appeal in connection with the reassessment under transfer pricing rules of the 2005 to 2010 taxation years related to income generated by the Company’s wholly-owned foreign subsidiaries, Wheaton International, outside of Canada. Wheaton is the leading company in the precious metals streaming business, essentially providing up-front financing to mining companies looking to build mines. In return, it earns the right to buy silver and gold output from those mines at a heavily discounted price, which it sells on for a profit. When Wheaton earns money from mines outside Canada, income is reported through foreign subsidiaries and Wheaton does not pay tax on it in Canada. The CRA essentially thinks this is tax avoidance, and earnings should be taxed according to transfer pricing rules ... Continue to full case
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