Category: Disputes and Settlements

US Supreme Court denies Whirlpool's request for judicial review of the 2021 judgement from the Court of Appeal.

US Supreme Court denies Whirlpool’s request for judicial review of the 2021 judgement from the Court of Appeal.

21 November 2022 the US Supreme Court denied Whirlpool its request for judicial review of the December 2021 judgement of the Court of Appeal (Sixth Circuit). 10 August 2022 Whirlpool filed a “petition for writ” with the Supreme Court of the United States. “Petitioners Whirlpool Financial Corporation & Consolidated Subsidiaries and Whirlpool International Holdings S.à.r.l. & Consolidated Subsidiaries collectively, “Whirlpool”) respectfully petition this Court for a writ of certiorari to review the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in this case.” The case revolves around a tax arrangement setup by the Whirlpool group, where a subsidiary in Luxembourg with one part-time employee (and subject to US CFC provisions) owned a Mexican manufacturing entity. The Mexican entity manufactured products for the Luxembourg subsidiary under a manufacturing services arrangement. According to the contractual setup, the subsidiary in Luxembourg owned all the ... Continue to full case
TELE2 announces SEK 1,8 billion victory in Swedish Courts

TELE2 announces SEK 1,8 billion victory in Swedish Courts

In a press release dated November 7, 2022, TELE2 announced a SEK 1,8 billion win related to tax deductions for foreign exchange losses on intra-group loans, that had previously been disallowed by the Swedish tax authorities in an assessment issued back in 2019. According to the tax authorities the company would not – at arms length – have agreed to a currency conversion of certain intra-group loans which resulted in the loss. Tele2 appealed the decision to the Administrative Court where, during the proceedings, the authorities acknowledged deductions in part of the currency loss – SEK 745 millions. Hence, at issue before the Court was disallowed deductions of the remaining amount of SEK 1 billion. In January 2021 the administrative court dismissed TELE2’s appeal in regards of the remaining amount of SEK 1 billion. Tele2 then filed an appeal with the Court of Appeal. The ... Continue to full case
Caterpillar announces $740 million settlement with the IRS

Caterpillar announces $740 million settlement with the IRS

In a press release dated October 27, 2022, Caterpillar announced that a $740 million settlement had been reached with the IRS related to tax issues for FY 2007 through 2016. In the third quarter of 2022, the company reached a settlement with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that resolves all issues for tax years 2007 through 2016, without any penalties. The company’s settlement includes, among other issues, the resolution of disputed tax treatment of profits earned by Caterpillar SARL (CSARL) from certain parts transactions. The company vigorously contested the IRS’s application of the “substance-over-form” or “assignment-of-income” judicial doctrines and its proposed increases to tax and imposition of accuracy related penalties. The settlement does not include any increases to tax in the United States based on those judicial doctrines and does not include any penalties. The final tax assessed by the IRS for all issues ... Continue to full case
Credit Suisse enters EUR 238 million settlement agreement in France

Credit Suisse enters EUR 238 million settlement agreement in France

A settlement agreement between the French Financial Public Prosecutor and Credit Suisse was announced in the Paris Court of Appeal 24 October 2022. The “CJIP” agreement brings an end to investigations in France over whether the Swiss bank facilitated and aided clients in tax avoidance. (English translation of the press release from the French Public Prosecutor) On 24 October 2022, the President of the Paris Judicial Court validated the judicial public interest agreement (CJIP) concluded on 21 October 2022 between the Financial Public Prosecutor (PRF) and CREDIT SUISSE AG pursuant to Article 41-1-2 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Under the terms of the CJIP, CREDIT SUISSE AG undertakes to pay the Treasury a public interest fine totaling EUR 123,000,000. In addition, CREDIT SUISSE AG undertakes to pay to the Treasury the sum of €115,000,000 in damages owed to the State. As a result, the public ... Continue to full case
Rio Tinto has agreed to pay AUS$ 1 billion to settle a dispute with Australian Taxation Office over its Singapore Marketing Hub

Rio Tinto has agreed to pay AUS$ 1 billion to settle a dispute with Australian Taxation Office over its Singapore Marketing Hub

On 20 July 2022 Australian mining group Rio Tinto issued a press release announcing that a A$ 1 billion settlement had been reached with the Australian Taxation Office. “The agreement resolves the disagreement relating to interest on an isolated borrowing used to pay an intragroup dividend in 2015. It also separately resolves the pricing of certain transactions between Rio Tinto entities based in Australia and the Group’s commercial centre in Singapore from 2010-2021 and provides certainty for a further five-year period. Rio Tinto has also reached agreement with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) in relation to transfer pricing for the same periods. Reaching agreement with both tax authorities ensures Rio Tinto is not subject to double taxation. As part of this agreement, Rio Tinto will pay to the ATO additional tax of A$613m for the twelve historical years (2010 to 2021). This is ... Continue to full case
McDonald’s has agreed to pay €1.25bn to settle a dispute with French authorities over excessive royalty payments to Luxembourg

McDonald’s has agreed to pay €1.25bn to settle a dispute with French authorities over excessive royalty payments to Luxembourg

On 16 June 2022 McDonald’s France entered into an settlement agreement according to which it will pay €1.245 billion in back taxes and fines to the French tax authorities. The settlement agreement resulted from investigations carried out by the French tax authorities in regards to abnormally high royalties transferred from McDonald’s France to McDonald’s Luxembourg following an intra group restructuring in 2009. McDonald’s France doubled its royalty payments from 5% to 10% of restaurant turnover, and instead of paying these royalties to McDonald’s HQ in the United States, going forward they paid them to a Swiss PE of a group company in Luxembourg, which was not taxable of the amounts. During the investigations it was discovered that McDonald’s royalty fees could vary substantially from one McDonald’s branch to the next without any justification other than tax savings for the group. This conclusion was further supported ... Continue to full case
Amgen in Billion Dollar Transfer Pricing Dispute with the IRS

Amgen in Billion Dollar Transfer Pricing Dispute with the IRS

Amgen, in its quarterly report for the period ended March 31, 2022, disclosed that, not only has the group been issued a notice of assessments from the IRS for FY 2010-2012 resulting in additional taxes of approximately $3.6 billion plus interest – as previously reported – it has also received a Revenue Agent Reports (RAR) for 2013-2015 resulting in additional taxes of approximately $5.1 billion, plus interest and penalties of approximately $2.0 billion. Furthermore, it is disclosed that Amgen is currently under examination by the IRS for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 and by a number of state and foreign tax jurisdictions The main dispute relates to the allocation of profits between Amgen group entities in the United States and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. Excerpt from Amgen’s quarterly report for the period ended March 31, 2022 4. Income taxes The effective tax ... Continue to full case
Exor in €746 million settlement with the Italian Tax Authorities

Exor in €746 million settlement with the Italian Tax Authorities

In a press release dated February 18, 2022, Exor announced that a €746 million settlement had been reached with the Italian Tax Authorities (“Agenzia delle Entrate”) related to a cross-border merger in December 2016 that resulted in all the activities of the group being moved from Italy to the Netherlands. According to Exor the exit tax claimed by the tax authorities was a result of a changed interpretation of Italien Participation Exemption rules issued by the authorities: Principio di diritto n. 10/2021. Exor Press release Settlement with the Italian Tax Authorities ... Continue to full case
ResMed Inc has entered a $381.7 million tax settlement agreement with the Australian Tax Office

ResMed Inc has entered a $381.7 million tax settlement agreement with the Australian Tax Office

ResMed – a world-leading digital health company – in an October 2021 publication of results for the first quarter of FY 2022, informs that a $381.7 million tax settlement agreement has been entered with the Australian Tax Office. The dispute concerns the years 2009 through 2018, in which the ATO alleged that ResMed should have paid additional Australian taxes on income derived from the company’s Singapore operations. Excerpts from the announcement “Operating cash flow for the quarter was negative $65.7 million and was impacted by a payment to the Australian Tax Office of $284.8 million, which was the settlement amount of $381.7 million net of prior remittances.” “During the quarter, concluded the settlement agreement with the Australian Taxation Office (“ATO”), which fully resolves the transfer pricing dispute for all prior years since 2009. ResMed previously recognized a tax reserve in êscal year 2021 in anticipation ... Continue to full case
ATO and Singtel in Court over Intra-company Financing Arrangement

ATO and Singtel in Court over Intra-company Financing Arrangement

In 2001, Singtel, through its wholly owned Australian subsidiary, Singapore Telecom Australia Investments Pty Limited (Singtel Au), acquired the majority of the shares in Cable & Wireless Optus for $17.2 billion. The tax consequences of this acqusition was decided by the Federal Court in Cable & Wireless Australia & Pacific Holding BV (in liquiatie) v Commissioner of Taxation [2017] FCAFC 71. Cable & Wireless argued that part of the price paid under a share buy-back was not dividends and that withholding tax should therefor be refunded. The ATO and the Court disagreed. ATO and Singtel is now in a new dispute  – this time over tax consequences associated with the intra-group financing of the takeover. This case was heard in the Federal Court in August 2021. At issue is a tax assessments for FY 2011, 2012 and 2013 resulting in additional taxes in an amount ... Continue to full case
Perrigo has settled its €1.6 billion tax bill with the Irish Revenue for €297 million

Perrigo has settled its €1.6 billion tax bill with the Irish Revenue for €297 million

Pharmaceutical group Perrigo has settled a €1.6 billion case with the Irish Revenue Commissioners for €297 million. Perrigo was issued a tax assessment in 2018. The assessment related to Perrigo’s tax treatment of income generated by the sale of the rights to Tysabri – a drug for the treatement of multiple sclerosis. The tax authorities held that proceeds form the sale of these rights – more than $ billion – was a capital transaction taxed at a rate of 33%, while Perrigo had treated the proceeds as trading income taxed at the standard rate of 12.5%. In November 2020 Perrigo lost the case at the Irish High Court. Following the settlement Perrigo issued an announcement “While the Company believes that its tax position was correct and would ultimately have been confirmed by the Tax Appeals Commission, given the risks inherent in any litigation, as well ... Continue to full case
Bristol-Myers Squibb in Dispute with IRS over "Abusive Offshore Scheme"

Bristol-Myers Squibb in Dispute with IRS over “Abusive Offshore Scheme”

According to the IRS, Bristol-Myers Squibb reduces its U.S. taxes by holding valuable intangibles in an Irish subsidiary. In a legal analysis, the IRS concluded that the Irish scheme saves Bristol-Myers Squibb up to $1.38 billion in US taxes. From Bristol-Myers Squibb’s 2019 10-K form, “Note 7. Income Taxes” “BMS is currently under examination by a number of tax authorities which have proposed or are considering proposing material adjustments to tax positions for issues such as transfer pricing, certain tax credits and the deductibility of certain expenses. It is reasonably possible that new issues will be raised by tax authorities which may require adjustments to the amount of unrecognized tax benefits; however, an estimate of such adjustments cannot reasonably be made at this time. It is also reasonably possible that the total amount of unrecognized tax benefits at December 31, 2019 could decrease in the ... Continue to full case
Airbnb under examination by the Internal Revenue Service for 2013 and 2016

Airbnb under examination by the Internal Revenue Service for 2013 and 2016

Airbnb is under examination by the Internal Revenue Service for its income taxes in 2013 and 2016, according to the company’s December 2020 SEC filing. According to the filing a draft notice of adjustment from the IRS proposes that the company owes an additional $1.35 billion in taxes plus interest and penalties for the years in question. The assessment is related to valuation of its intellectual property that was transferred to a subsidiary in FY 2013. Airbnb then had had two subsidiaries outside the United States – Airbnb International Holdings Ltd and Airbnb International Unlimited Co – both resident for tax purposes in tax haven Jersey. The company plans to fight a potential adjustment. “We disagree with the proposed adjustment and intend to vigorously contest it,” “If the IRS prevails in the assessment of additional tax due based on its position and such tax and related ... Continue to full case

Mining Company Oyu Tolgoi LLC receives a second Tax Assessment from the Mongolian Tax Authority

The Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine is a joint venture between Turquoise Hill Resources (which is 50.8 per cent owned by Rio Tinto), and the Mongolian Government. The Mongolian government has not been satisfied by the result of the joint venture and has concerns that increasing development costs of the Oyu Tolgoi project has eroded the economic benefits it anticipated receiving. “It is calculated that Mongolia will not receive dividend payments until 2051 and will incur debts of US$22 billion,” said Mongolia’s deputy chief cabinet secretary, Solongoo Bayarsaikhan. “In addition, Oyu Tolgoi is estimated to pay profit taxes or corporate income taxes only in four years until 2051.” The Mongolian authorities has put forward proposals to coordinate and lower management services received from Rio Tinto and increase Mongolia’s benefits by reducing shareholder loan interest rates. On December 23, 2020 the Mongolian Tax Authority issued a press ... Continue to full case
Diageo - British multinational beverage and alcohol group - is facing various tax challenges

Diageo – British multinational beverage and alcohol group – is facing various tax challenges

Diageo (British multinational beverage and alcohol group – owner of numerus brands including Jonny Walker, Captain Morgan, Gordons Gin, Smirnoff and Guinness) is facing difficult tax challenges according to the group’s August 2020 SEC-filings. During 2017 Diageo was in discussions with UK tax authorities to seek clarity on Diageo’s transfer pricing and related issues, and in the first half of the year ending 30 June 2018 a preliminary assessment for diverted profits tax notice was issued. Final charging notices were issued in August 2017 and Diageo paid £107 million in respect of the two years ended 30 June 2016.  In June 2018 an agreement was reached with UK tax authorities that diverted profits tax does not apply the Diageo and at the same time a resolution was reached on the transfer pricing issues being discussed. The agreement in respect of transfer pricing covers the period ... Continue to full case
Ørsted in billion dollar transfer pricing dispute with the Danish tax authorities

Ørsted in billion dollar transfer pricing dispute with the Danish tax authorities

Ørsted is a Danish energy group that develops, constructs, and operates offshore and onshore wind farms, solar farms, energy storage facilities, renewable hydrogen and green fuels facilities, and bioenergy plants. According to a company announcement issued in December 2020, Ørsted has received an administrative decision from the Danish Tax Agency requiring Danish taxation of the company’s British offshore wind farms Walney Extension and Hornsea 1 in the tax years 2015 and 2016. The Danish Tax Agency’s claim amounts to DKK 5.1 billion, plus interest amounting to DKK 1.5 billion. According to the decision, Ørsted is to be taxed in Denmark on the full future value of the two offshore wind farms, despite the fact that they are developed, owned, and operated by British subsidiaries of the Ørsted group and are already taxed in the UK. The decision also entails that the date of taxation is ... Continue to full case
AXA S.A. issued an income assessment of EUR 130 million by the French tax authorities

AXA S.A. issued an income assessment of EUR 130 million by the French tax authorities

Insurance group AXA S.A. is now paying back millions of euros in taxes after French tax authorities found that a Luxembourg-based structure had been used by the group for tax avoidance. According to the French tax authorities AXE S.A. had undeclared taxable profits of at least 130 million in FY 2005 and 2010.    The scheme involved use of a group entity in Luxembourg granting loans to AXA’s foreign subsidiaries. The entity in Luxembourg benefited from a tax ruling issued by Luxembourg’s authorities that allowed it to be tax-exempt. According to AXA the tax laws of France and Luxembourg were fully respected and the group is confident regarding the outcome of this process and will keep collaborating with fiscal authorities to assert its rights ... Continue to full case
Facebook France has agreed to pay 106 million euros in back taxes and penalties

Facebook France has agreed to pay 106 million euros in back taxes and penalties

The agreement, according to which Facebook France will pay 106 million euros in back taxes and penalties, was reached after French tax authorities had carried out an extensive audit covering FY 2009-2018. Furthermore, Facebook’s French revenues were increased last year after the company decided to include advertising income from French companies in its local accounts, instead of declaring them in Ireland, where Facebook’s international operations are based. As a result, Facebook will pay 8.4 million euros in taxes in France this year – 50% more than last year. These changes are likely the result of efforts from the French government to have global online businesses pay more taxes locally ... Continue to full case
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
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