Category: Disputes and Settlements

Korean tax authorities investigates Starbucks' pricing of coffee beans

Korean tax authorities investigates Starbucks’ pricing of coffee beans

Starbucks Korea is now being investigated for overpricing goods and services imported from abroad. Officials from the National Tax Service have seized accounting records and data held at Starbucks’ Korean head office in Seoul. Subject of the investigation is transfer pricing of coffee beans and others products for sale at its more than 1,370 local shops. In 2019 Starbucks Korea reported sales of over 1.87 trillion won ($1.53 billion) and net profits of 132.8 billion won ... Continue to full case

Mining Group Rio Tinto in new $86 million Dispute with ATO over pricing of Aluminium

In March 2020 the Australian Taxation Office issued an tax assessment regarding transfer pricing to Rio Tinto’s aluminium division according to which additional taxes in an amount of $86.1 million must be paid for fiscal years 2010 – 2016. According to the assessment Rio’s Australian subsidiaries did not charge an arm’s length price for the aluminium they sold to Rio’s Singapore marketing hub. This new aluminum case is separate to Rio’s long-running $447 million dispute with the ATO over the transfer pricing of Australian iron ore. Rio intents to object to the ATO’s aluminium claim and states that the pricing of iron ore and aluminium has been determined in accordance with the OECD guidelines and Australian and Singapore domestic tax laws ... Continue to full case
Fiat Chrysler reaches a EUR 2.5 billion settelment with the Italien tax authorities

Fiat Chrysler reaches a EUR 2.5 billion settelment with the Italien tax authorities

Fiat Chrysler has reached a settlement with the Italian tax agency over taxable gains related to a transfer of the U.S. Chrysler business from Fiat SpA Italy to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (Netherlands). The Italian tax agency claimed that the value of the U.S. Chrysler business had been underestimated and issued a preliminary assessment with an additional taxable gain of 5.1 billion euros. The agency had valued Chrysler at 12.5 billion euros, while Fiat SpA had declared it to be worth less than 7.5 billion. Under the terms of the latter settlement the additional taxable gain has agreed at 2.5 billion euros ... Continue to full case
Google - Taxes and Transfer Pricing

Google – Taxes and Transfer Pricing

Google’s tax affairs are back in the spotlight after filings in the Netherlands have showed that billions of dollars were moved to Bermuda in 2016 using the “double Irish Dutch sandwich”. According to the Washington Post, Google’s cash transfers to Bermuda reached $27b in 2016. Google uses the double Irish Dutch sandwich structure to shield the majority of it’s international profits from taxation. The setup involves shifting revenue from one Irish subsidiary to a Dutch company with no employees, and then on to a Bermuda-mailbox owned by another company registered in Ireland. US According to US filings, Google’s global effective tax rate in 2016 was 19.3%. New US tax law will give companies such as Google an incentive to repatriate much of that cash by offering them a “one-time”, 15.5% tax rate on offshore funds. After that, foreign earnings will be taxed at 10.5%, with ... Continue to full case
Malaysian Energy Group - TENAGA Nasional Bhd - has been issued a RM 4.000.000.000 tax bill by the Revenue Board of Malaysia

Malaysian Energy Group – TENAGA Nasional Bhd – has been issued a RM 4.000.000.000 tax bill by the Revenue Board of Malaysia

Malaysian Energy Group – TENAGA Nasional Bhd – has begun legal proceedings against the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia. In November 2019, the Inland Revenue Board issued a tax assessment  according to which taxes of RM3.98 bil (or USD 1 billion) is owed for years 2015-2017. After reciving the assessment, TENAGA responded “Based on the legal advice obtained from our tax solicitors, TNB has a good basis to contend that there is no legal and factual basis for IRB to issue the said notices”  “Accordingly, TNB will be appealing against the said notices.” The High Court has now granted an interim stay of all further proceedings including the enforcement of the notices until the hearing of the leave application on April 2, 2020. In a prior case back from 2015 TENAGA received notices for the years of assessment 2013 and 2014 amounting to RM2.07 bil. Back then, ... Continue to full case
Microsoft - Taxes and Transfer Pricing

Microsoft – Taxes and Transfer Pricing

Microsoft’s tax affairs have been in the spotlight of tax authorities all over the World during the last decade. Why? The setup used by Microsoft involves shifting profits from sales in the US, Europe and Asia to regional operating centers placed in low tax jurisdictions (Bermuda, Luxembourg, Ireland, Singapore and Puerto Rico). The following text has been provided by Microsoft in a US filing concerning effective tax and global allocation of income: “Our effective tax rate for the three months ended September 30, 2017 and 2016 was 18% and 17%, respectively. Our effective tax rate was lower than the U.S. federal statutory rate primarily due to earnings taxed at lower rates in foreign jurisdictions resulting from producing and distributing our products and services through our foreign regional operations centers in Ireland, Singapore, and Puerto Rico.“ “In fiscal year 2017, our U.S. income before income taxes was $6.8 ... Continue to full case
Netflix under investigation for alleged tax evasion in Italy

Netflix under investigation for alleged tax evasion in Italy

Public prosecutors in Italy have opened a preliminary probe into the taxation of Netflix on the basis that servers and cables constitute a digital infrastructure that makes revenues taxable under Italian law. Italian media, Corriere della Sera, says that the prosecutors are working with Italy’s fiscal police to determine whether revenues from Netflix’s estimated 1.4 million Italian subscribers are subject to Italian taxation, even though Netflix operates out of the Netherlands. Italian prosecutors have recently also probed into the taxation of other U.S. tech giants such as Apple, Amazon and Facebook and collected a reported €5 billion-plus in back taxes. “Netflix does not pay taxes” the investigation in Milan starts. However, unlike the previous cases, Netflix have no companies, offices or employees in Italy. But still, Netflix earns millions selling streaming services to Italian customers. According to the prosecutor cables, fiber optics, computers, servers and ... Continue to full case
British American Tobacco hit by £902 million tax assessments in the Netherlands

British American Tobacco hit by £902 million tax assessments in the Netherlands

According to the 2018 financial statement, British American Tobacco group has been hit by a £902 million tax assessments in the Netherlands. “The Dutch tax authority has issued a number of assessments on various issues across the years 2003-2016 in relation to various intra-group transactions. The assessments amount to an  aggregate net liability across these periods of £902 million covering tax, interest and penalties. The Group has appealed against the assessments in full. The Group believes that its companies have meritorious defences in law and fact in each of the above matters and intends to pursue each dispute through the judicial system as necessary. The Group does not consider it appropriate to make provision for these amounts nor for any potential further amounts which may be assessed in relation to these matters in subsequent years. While the amounts that may be payable or receivable in relation to tax disputes ... Continue to full case
The L'Oréal group announced additional payment of 320 million euros in corporate tax to the French tax authorities to "settle a dispute"

The L’Oréal group announced additional payment of 320 million euros in corporate tax to the French tax authorities to “settle a dispute”

The French cosmetic group L’Oréal announced in September 2019 that it would pay 320 million euros to the French tax authorities to “settle a dispute” related to the payment of corporate tax for three of its subsidiaries for fiscal years 2014 and 2018. In detail, the charge was 47 million euros for Lancôme Parfums et Beauté, 115 million euros for Active International Cosmetics and 158 million euros for Prestige and Collections International ... Continue to full case
Telenor will have to pay additional taxes of 2.5 billion Norwegian crowns

Telenor will have to pay additional taxes of 2.5 billion Norwegian crowns

Telenor Norway has received a tax assessment according to which the company will have to pay additional taxes in Norway of 2.5 billion Norwegian crowns for tax year 2013. A deduction expenced in 2013 for a loss suffered in 2012 due to settlement of bank guarantees given in respect of external funding in its Indian subsidiary Unitech Wireless has been disallowed for tax purposes by the Norwegian Tax Authorities Telenor decided to enter the market in India in 2008. In 2012, the Supreme Court of India revoked the licenses of the Telenor mobile company and seven other mobile companies. In the fall of 2012, Telenor paid around NOK 4.2 billion to buy back licenses in six of 22 telecommunications regions. Following a dispute with Telenor’s Indian partnership – Unitech – the parties agreed to transfer all the valuables of their joint unit company Mobile Unitech ... Continue to full case
The Australian Taxation Office and Mining Giant BHP have settled yet another Transfer Pricing Dispute

The Australian Taxation Office and Mining Giant BHP have settled yet another Transfer Pricing Dispute

BHP Group has agreed to pay the state of Western Australia A$250 million to end a dispute over royalties paid on iron ore shipments sold through its Singapore marketing hub. The State government found in January that the world’s biggest miner had underpaid royalties on iron ore shipments sold via Singapore stretching back over more than a decade. BHP reached a deal to pay A$529 million in additional taxes to the Australian government late last year to settle a long-running tax dispute over the miner’s Singapore hub on its income from 2003-2018 ... 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

The Australian Taxation Office and Bupa Health Insurance reaches $157m settlement after decade-long dispute

Bupa reaches $157m settlement with the Australian tax office after decade-long dispute The settlement was the result of a decade-long dispute with the ATO over a “number of different matters”, included transfer pricing issues with acquisitions in Australia in 2007 and 2008. Bupa’s tax affairs came under scrutiny last year in a report by the Tax Justice Network. The report alleged that Bupa frequently used related party loans and debts from a corporate restructure, among other things, to reduce its profits in Australia. According to the report, Bupa posted a total income of $7.5bn in Australia in 2015-16, but paid just $105m in tax on a taxable income of $352m. Its aged care business in Australia made more than $663m, about 70% of which was from government funding. At the time of the report’s release, Bupa denied it had breached any tax laws ... Continue to full case
Glencore in $680 million Transfer Pricing Dispute with HMRC

Glencore in $680 million Transfer Pricing Dispute with HMRC

In a publication of preliminary results for 2018 mining giant Glencore reports a major tax assessment issued by HMRC in December 2018. “UK Tax Audit In December 2018, HMRC issued formal transfer pricing, permanent establishment and diverted profits tax assessments for the 2008 – 2017 tax years, amounting to $680 million. The Group intends to appeal and vigorously contest these assessments, following, over the years, various legal opinions received and detailed analysis conducted, supporting its positions and policies applied, and therefore the Group has not provided for the amount assessed. Management does not anticipate a significant risk of material changes in estimates in this matter in the next financial year.“ ... Continue to full case
France vs. Apple, Feb. 2019, Settlement on Payment of 571 million Euros in Back Taxes

France vs. Apple, Feb. 2019, Settlement on Payment of 571 million Euros in Back Taxes

Apple has agreed to paid an additional 571 million euros to France in a settlement with the tax authorities. According to the French news agency, l’expansion l’Express – “For several months now, secret negotiations on this subject have been taking place between Apple and the French International Audit Department (DVNI). But it is not until the end of December 2018 that a confidential agreement was reached. The subject of the negotiations has been the limited revenues and the low taxes paid by Apple in France for the last ten years.” A similar agreement was entered by Apple in the UK and Apple in Italy ... Continue to full case
Flir Systems Inc in SEK 2.8 billion transfer pricing dispute with Swedish Tax Authorities.

Flir Systems Inc in SEK 2.8 billion transfer pricing dispute with Swedish Tax Authorities.

Flir Systems Inc, a global leader in infrared Cameras, is involved in a SEK 2.8 billion transfer pricing dispute with the Swedish Tax Authorities. In a recent 10Q filings Flir Systems Inc. provides information on the dispute: “…the United States Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and other tax authorities regularly examine our income tax returns. Our financial condition and results of operations could be adversely impacted if any assessments resulting from the examination of our income tax returns by the IRS or other taxing authorities are not resolved in our favor. For example, during the quarter ending September 30, 2018, the Swedish Tax Authority (“STA”) issued a proposed tax assessment for the tax year ending December 31, 2012 to one of the Company’s non-operating subsidiaries in Sweden. The proposed assessment concerns the use of tax credits applied against capital gains pursuant to European Union Council Directive ... Continue to full case
Blizzard Gaming involved in major Tranfer Pricing disputes

Blizzard Gaming involved in major Tranfer Pricing disputes

US Gaming Giant, Activision Blizzard Inc. – known for games such as World of Warcraft and Diablo – is and has been involved in several major transfer pricing disputes – with the US, French, UK, and Swedish tax authorities. In a 10Q filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission from November 2018 the following information was provided by the company on pending tax cases. “Activision Blizzard’s 2009 through 2016 tax years remain open to examination by certain major taxing jurisdictions to which we are subject. During February 2018, the Company was notified by the IRS that its tax returns for 2012 through 2016 tax years will be subject to examination. In September 2018, the IRS concluded its examination of our 2009 through 2011 tax years. The Company also has several state and non-U.S. audits pending, including the French audit discussed below. In addition, as ... 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
Analog Devices hit by $52m tax demand in Ireland

Analog Devices hit by $52m tax demand in Ireland

Analog Devices has been issued a $52m tax demand from the Revenue Commissioners in Ireland. The assessment is related to inter-company transfers back in 2013, where – according to the tax authorities – the Irish entity has failed to conform to OECD transfer pricing guidelines. Analog Devices specialises in data converters and chips that translate a button press or sound – into electronic signals. The company was established in Ireland in 1977, where today about 1,200 people is employed at its original and main hub in Limerick, in addition to its design facility in Cork. Analog Devises 10K filing “The Company has numerous audits ongoing at any time throughout the world, including an Internal Revenue Service income tax audit for Linear’s pre-acquisition fiscal 2015 and fiscal 2016, various U.S. state and local tax audits, and transfer pricing audits in Spain, the Philippines and Ireland. With the ... Continue to full case
The Australian Taxation Office and Mining Giant BHP have settled an ongoing Transfer Pricing Dispute

The Australian Taxation Office and Mining Giant BHP have settled an ongoing Transfer Pricing Dispute

The Australian Taxation Office has agreed on a settlement with BHP Mining Group to resolve a transfer pricing dispute relating to transfer pricing treatment of commodities sold to a Singapore marketing hub. BHP had originally been assessed with over AUD 1 billion in additional taxes. According to the settlement BHP will pay additional tax of AUD 529 million to resolve the dispute, covering the years 2003–18. According to the settlement BHP Group will also increase its ownership of BHP Billiton Marketing AG, the company conducting BHP’s Singapore marketing business, from 58 percent to 100 percent. The change in ownership will result in all profits made in Singapore in relation to the Australian assets owned by BHP Group being fully subject to Australian tax. BHP’s Singapore marketing arrangements will continue to be located in Singapore and will also be within the ‘low risk’ segment for offshore ... Continue to full case