Category: Disputes and Settlements

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
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
US vs Boston Scientific, June 2018, IRS and Boston Scientific finalize a $608m settlement

US vs Boston Scientific, June 2018, IRS and Boston Scientific finalize a $608m settlement

/ Disputes and Settlements
Boston Scientific and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service have finalized a settlement of $610 million in taxes and interest dating back to the $26 billion acquisition of Guidant in 2006. Boston will pay $303 million in taxes and $305 million in interest to the IRS within the next three months. In 2016, Boston Scientific agreed to pay the IRS $275 million plus interest in a dispute over transfer pricing, plus charges related to a 2006 deal in which Abbott bought Guidant’s stent business from Boston Scientific ... Continue to full case
Apple - Taxes and Transfer Pricing

Apple – Taxes and Transfer Pricing

Apple’s tax affairs have been in the spotlight of tax authorities for decades – and still are! Settlements have been entered with numerous European Countries, among others – Italy, the UK and France. Apple has also been investigated by the EU and a State Aid ruling was issued in August 2016. According to the ruling “Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple” and the European Commission ordered Apple to pay €13 billion, plus interest, in unpaid Irish taxes from 2004–14 to the Irish state. U.S. Senate scrutiny of Apple Inc.’s tax strategies back in 2009 turned the spotlight on a stateless entity with $30 billion in profit since 2009 that’s incorporated in Ireland, controlled by a board in California, and didn’t pay taxes in either place ... Continue to full case
Nokia paid 202 million euro to settle a long running dispute with the tax authorities in India

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 – the company had a permanent establishment in India. According to the MAP settlement Nokia will pay 102 million euro in addition to the 100 million euro already paid in India during 2013-2015 ... Continue to full case
Amazon has settled a 200 million Euro tax dispute with France

Amazon has settled a 200 million Euro tax dispute with France

The dispute between Amazon and the French tax authorities relates to transfer pricing in fiscal years 2006 to 2010. Amazon has been accused of tax avoidance in the EU by channeling all local sales through Luxembourg. This set up has been changed in France, where Amazon in 2015 established a branch where all retail sales, charges and profits in France are booked. In October 2017 the EU commission decided that Luxembourg’s arrangement with Amazon is in conflict with EU State Aid regulations and ordered Luxembourg to recover 250 million euros in back taxes from Amazon. This decision has later been challenged by Luxembourg ... 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
UK vs. Apple, Jan. 2018, Payment of £136 million

UK vs. Apple, Jan. 2018, Payment of £136 million

Apple has paid an additional £136m taxes in a settlement with the UK. The settlement is revealed in Apple Europe’s 2017 accounts. “Following an extensive audit by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) the Company agreed to pay a corporate income tax adjustment of £136m covering prior years up to September 26, 2015. This payment of additional tax and interest reflects the Company’s increased activity and is recognized in the current financial period which ended on 1 April 2017. As a result of this adjustment the Company’s corporate income tax payments will increase going forward.” Most likely, the HMRC has found that the UK subsidiary had not received a large enough sales- and marketing commission from the Irish Apple sales hub ... Continue to full case
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