Category: Disputes and Settlements

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
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 from ... 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
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
Loading...