Countries: European Union

The European Commission vs Fiat Chrysler Finance Europe, November 2022, European Court of Justice, Case No C-885/19 P and C-898/19 P

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In 2012, the Luxembourg tax authorities issued a tax ruling in favour of Fiat Chrysler Finance Europe (‘FFT’), an undertaking in the Fiat group that provided treasury and financing services to the group companies established in Europe. The tax ruling at issue endorsed a method for determining FFT’s remuneration for these services, which enabled FFT […]

Germany vs X GmbH & Co. KG, October 2022, European Court of Justice, Case No C-431/21

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A Regional Tax Court in Germany had requested a preliminary ruling from the European Court of Justice on two questions related to German transfer pricing documentation requirements. whether the freedom of establishment (Article 49 TFEU) or the freedom to provide services (Article 56 TFEU) is to be interpreted in such a way that it precludes […]

EU directive on minimum effective tax rate – implementation of OECD Pillar II

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The European Commission has proposed a Directive ensuring a minimum effective tax rate for the global activities of large multinational groups. The proposal delivers on the EU’s pledge to move extremely swiftly and be among the first to implement the recent historic global tax reform agreement, which aims to bring fairness, transparency and stability to […]

The European Commission vs. Ireland, December 2021, European Court of Justice Case, AG Opinion, No C-898/19 P (ECLI:EU:C:2021:1029)

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At issue in this case is whether the arm’s length principle as described in the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines can be applied by the EU in determining if state aid had been granted. In 2012, the Luxembourg tax authorities issued a tax ruling in favour of Fiat Chrysler Finance Europe (‘FFT’), an undertaking in the […]

The European Commission vs. Fiat Chrysler Finance Europe, December 2021, European Court of Justice Case, AG Opinion, No C-885/19 P (ECLI:EU:C:2021:1028)

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In 2012, the Luxembourg tax authorities issued a tax ruling in favour of Fiat Chrysler Finance Europe (‘FFT’), an undertaking in the Fiat group that provided treasury and financing services to the group companies established in Europe. The tax ruling at issue endorsed a method for determining FFT’s remuneration for these services, which enabled FFT […]

European Commission vs. Belgium, September 2021, The European Court of Justice, Case No. C‑337/19 P

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Since 2005, Belgium has applied a system of exemptions for the excess profit of Belgian entities which form part of multinational corporate groups. Those entities were able to obtain a tax ruling from the Belgian tax authorities, if they could demonstrate the existence of a new situation, such as a reorganisation leading to the relocation […]

The European Commission vs. Nike and the Netherlands, July 2021, European Court of Justice Case No T-648/19

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In 2016 the European Commission announced that it had opened an in-depth investigation to examine whether tax rulings (unilateral APA’s) granted by the Netherlands had given Nike an unfair advantage over its competitors, in breach of EU State aid rules. The formal investigation concerned the tax treatment in the Netherlands of two Nike group companies, […]

European Commission vs Luxembourg and Engie, May 2021, EU General Court, Case No T-516/18 and T-525/18

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Engie (former GDF Suez) is a French electric utility company. Engie Treasury Management S.à.r.l., a treasury company, and Engie LNG Supply, S.A, a liquefied natural gas trading company, are both part of the Engie group. In November 2017, Total has signed an agreement with Engie to acquire its LNG business, including Engie LNG Supply. In […]

European Commission vs. Amazon and Luxembourg, May 2021, State Aid – European General Court, Case No T-816/17 and T-318/18

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In 2017 the European Commission concluded that Luxembourg granted undue tax benefits to Amazon of around €250 million.  Following an in-depth investigation the Commission concluded that a tax ruling issued by Luxembourg in 2003, and prolonged in 2011, lowered the tax paid by Amazon in Luxembourg without any valid justification. The tax ruling enabled Amazon […]

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

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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 […]

Advocate General’s Opinion in Belgian Excess Profit Exemption Scheme case before the EU Court of Justice

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In the Advocate General Opinion delivered 3 December 2020, in the EU Commissions “Aid scheme” case against Belgium and Magnetrol International, it is proposed that the Court of Justice set aside the 2019 judgment of the General Court, on the ground that the Commission has, contrary to the findings of the General Court, sufficiently demonstrated […]

Allegations of tax avoidance in Dutch Pharma Group Qiagen

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According to investigations by SOMO – an independent center for Research on Multinational Corporations – the annual accounts of Pharma Group Qiagen shows that the group has avoided tax on profits by passing internal loans through an elaborate network of letterbox companies in European tax havens including Ireland, Luxembourg and Malta. It is estimated that, […]

European Commission vs. Ireland and Apple, September 2020, Appeal of the Judgement of the General Court on the Apple tax State aid case in Ireland

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The European Commission has decided to appeal the decision of the EU General Court in the State Aid case of Apple and Ireland. According to the European Commission Ireland gave illegal tax benefits to Apple worth up to €13 billion, because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. In a decision […]

European Commission vs. Ireland and Apple, July 2020, General Court of the European Union, Case No. T-778/16 and T-892/16

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In a decision of 30 August 2016 the European Commission concluded that Ireland’s tax benefits to Apple were illegal under EU State aid rules, because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. The decision of the Commission concerned two tax rulings issued by Ireland to Apple, which determined the taxable profit […]

European Commission vs. Luxembourg and Fiat Chrysler Finance Europe, September 2019, General Court of the European Union, Case No. T-755/15

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On 3 September 2012, the Luxembourg tax authorities issued a tax ruling in favour of Fiat Chrysler Finance Europe (‘FFT’), an undertaking in the Fiat group that provided treasury and financing services to the group companies established in Europe. The tax ruling at issue endorsed a method for determining FFT’s remuneration for these services, which […]

European Commission vs. The Netherlands and Starbucks, September 2019, General Court of the European Union, Case No. T-760/15

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In 2008, the Netherlands tax authorities concluded an advance pricing arrangement (APA) with Starbucks Manufacturing EMEA BV (Starbucks BV), part of the Starbucks group, which, inter alia, roasts coffees. The objective of that arrangement was to determine Starbucks BV’s remuneration for its production and distribution activities within the group. Thereafter, Starbucks BV’s remuneration served to […]

Skatteverket vs Holmen AB, June 2019, European Court of Justice, Case no C-608/17

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The Holmen case dealt with tax deduction of losses arising in indirectly held Spanish subsidiaries would be deductible upon liquidations of the Spanish companies. The Court clarified that final losses arising in an indirectly held subsidiary, should not be deductible for the parent company, unless all the intermediate companies between the parent company and the […]

Skatteverket vs Memira Holding AB, June 2019, European Court of Justice, Case no C-607/17

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The Memira Holding case was about a crossborder merger between a loss-making German subsidiary and a Swedish parent company. The CJEU was asked to clarify whether the German losses would be deductible in Sweden after the merger had been finalized. In the Court’s view, Memira Holding may deduct the foreign losses in Sweden, but only […]

European Commission decision to open state-aid investigation into Luxembourg deduction of deemed interest on interest free loans – The Huhtamaki

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The European Commission has published a non-confidential version of the decision to open a state aid investigation into tax rulings granted by the Luxembourg tax authorities to the Huhtamaki Group in relation to the treatment of interest-free loans granted by an Irish group company to a Luxembourg group company, Huhtalux S.a.r.l. The investigation will focus on […]

European Commission vs. UK, April 2019, European Commission, Case no C(2019) 2526 final

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Back in 2017 the European Commission opened an in-depth probe into a UK scheme that exempts certain transactions by multinational groups from the application of UK rules targeting tax avoidance. The EU commission concluded its investigations in a decision issued 2 April 2019. According to the decision the UK “Group Financing Exemption” is in breach […]

EU list of Non-Cooperative Tax Jurisdictions – Tax Havens

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12 March 2019 the EU Council added ten jurisdictions to the list of Non-Cooperative Tax Jurisdictions – Tax Havens. Non-Cooperative Tax Jurisdictions are those that refused to engage with the EU or to address tax good governance shortcomings. See the full 2019 document with the Council’s conclusions on the revised EU list of noncooperative jurisdictions […]

Commission opens in-depth investigation into tax treatment of Huhtamäki in Luxembourg

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The European Commission has now opened an in-depth investigation to examine whether tax rulings granted by Luxembourg to Finnish food and drink packaging company Huhtamäki may have given the company an unfair advantage over its competitors, in breach of EU State Aid rules. Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner in charge of competition policy, said: “Member States should […]

European Commission vs Belgium and Ireland, February 2019, General Court Case No 62016TJ0131

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In 2016, the Commission requested that Belgium reclaim around €700 million from multinational corporations in what the Commission found to be illegal state aid provided under the Belgian “excess profit” tax scheme. The tax scheme allowed selected multinational corporations to exempt “excess profits” from the tax base when calculating corporate tax in Belgium. The European […]

European Commission vs. Belgium and Magnetrol International, February 2019, General Court of the European Union, Case No. T 131/16 and T 263/16

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In January 2016 the European Commission concluded that Belgium’s excess profits tax exemption scheme was incompatible with the internal market and unlawful and ordering recovery of the aid granted . Belgium’s excess profits tax exemption In the first step, the arm’s length prices charged in transactions between the Belgian entity of a group and the companies […]

The European Commission opens in-depth investigation into tax treatment of Nike and Converse in the Netherlands

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The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to examine whether tax rulings granted by the Netherlands to Nike may have given the company an unfair advantage over its competitors, in breach of EU State aid rules. Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner in charge of competition policy, said: “Member States should not allow companies to set up […]

European Commission vs McDonald, December 2018, European Commission Case no. SA.38945

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The European Commission found that Luxembourg did not grant illegal State aid to McDonald’s as a consequence of the exemption of income attributed to a US branch.

…it is not established that the Luxembourg tax authorities misapplied the Luxembourg – US double taxation treaty. Therefore, on the basis of the doubts raised in the Opening Decision and taking into account its definition of the reference system, the Commission cannot establish that the contested rulings granted a selective advantage to McD Europe by misapplying the Luxembourg – US double taxation treaty.

European Commission concludes on investigation into Luxembourg’s tax treatment of McDonald’s under EU state aid regulations, September 2018

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Following an investigation into Luxembourg’s tax treatment of McDonald’s under EU state aid regulations since 2015, the EU Commission concluded that the tax rulings granted by Luxembourg to McDonald’s in 2009 did not provide illegal state aid. According to the Commission, the law allowing McDonald’s to escape taxation on franchise income in Luxembourg – and […]

European Commission’s investigations into member state transfer pricing and tax ruling practices

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Since June 2013, the European Commission has been investigating tax ruling practices of EU Member States. A Task Force was set up in summer 2013 to follow up on allegations of favourable tax treatment of certain companies, in particular in the form of unilateral tax rulings. The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union […]

European Commission vs Luxembourg and Engie, June 2018, EU State Aid Decision by the EU Commission

Engie (former GDF Suez) is a French electric utility company. Engie Treasury Management S.à.r.l., a treasury company, and Engie LNG Supply, S.A, a liquefied natural gas trading company, are both part of the Engie group. In November 2017, Total has signed an agreement with Engie to acquire its LNG business, including Engie LNG Supply. The […]

Apple – Taxes and Transfer Pricing

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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 […]

Germany vs Hornbach-Baumarkt, May 2018, European Court of Justice, C-382/16

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In the Hornbach-Baumarkt case, a German parent company guaranteed loans of two related companies for no remuneration. The German tax authorities made an assessment of the amount of income allocated to the parent company as a result of the guarantee, based on the fact that unrelated third parties, under the same or similar circumstances, would […]

Europe vs Hamamatsu, Dec 2017, European Court of Justice, Case No C-529-16

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The case concerns the effect of transfer pricing year-end adjustments on VAT – the relationship between transfer pricing and the valuation of goods for customs (VAT) purposes (Hamamatsu case C-529/16). Hamamatsu Photonics Deutschland GmbH (Hamamatsu) is a German subsidiary of the Japanese company Hamamatsu, and it acts as a distributor of optical devices purchased from […]

EU blacklist of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions

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On December 5, 2017, the EU published it’s blacklist of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions (tax havens). 1. American Samoa American Samoa does not apply any automatic exchange of financial information, has not signed and ratified, including through the jurisdiction they are dependent on, the OECD Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance as amended, does not apply […]

European Commission vs. Amazon and Luxembourg, October 2017, State Aid – Comissions decision, SA.38944 

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Luxembourg gave illegal tax benefits to Amazon worth around €250 million   The European Commission has concluded that Luxembourg granted undue tax benefits to Amazon of around €250 million.  Following an in-depth investigation launched in October 2014, the Commission has concluded that a tax ruling issued by Luxembourg in 2003, and prolonged in 2011, lowered […]

European Commission vs Spain, December 2016, European Court of Justice, Case C-20/15P, C-21/15P

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The issue in these cases was tax provisions in Spain stipulating that, when a company in Spain acquires a share holding in a foreign company of at least 5%, goodwill resulting from that acquisition can be deducted for tax purposes through amortization (much like the US asset deal-regs). The Commission found these provisions to be […]

European Commission has opened investigation into Luxembourg’s tax treatment of the GDF Suez group (now Engie), September 2016

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The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into Luxembourg’s tax treatment of the GDF Suez group (now Engie). The Commission has concerns that several tax rulings issued by Luxembourg may have given GDF Suez an unfair advantage over other companies, in breach of EU state aid rules. The Commission will assess in particular whether […]

European Commission opens formal investigation into Luxembourg’s tax treatment of McDonald’s under EU state aid regulations, December 2015

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The European Commission has formally opened an investigation into Luxembourg’s tax treatment of McDonald’s. Tax ruling granted by Luxembourg may have granted McDonald’s an advantageous tax treatment in breach of EU State aid rules On the basis of two tax rulings given by the Luxembourg authorities in 2009, McDonald’s Europe Franchising has paid no corporate […]

European Commission opens investigation of transfer pricing arrangements on corporate taxation of Amazon in Luxembourg, October 2014

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The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to examine whether the decision by Luxembourg’s tax authorities with regard to the corporate income tax to be paid by Amazon in Luxembourg comply with the EU rules on state aid. The opening of an in-depth investigation gives interested third parties and the Member States concerned an […]

Netherlands vs Bosal Holding BV, September 2003, European Court, Case no C-168/01

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Bosal is a company which carries on holding, financing and licensing/royalty related activities and which, as a taxpayer, is subject to corporation tax in the Netherlands. For the 1993 financial year, it declared costs amounting to NLG 3 969 339 in relation to the financing of its holdings in companies established in nine other Member […]