Country: New Zealand

New Zealand vs Frucor Suntory, September 2020, Court of appeal, Case No [2020] NZCA 383

Frucor Suntory (FHNZ) had deducted purported interest expenses that had arisen in the context of a tax scheme involving, among other steps, its issue of a Convertible Note to Deutsche Bank, New Zealand Branch (DBNZ), and a forward purchase of the shares DBNZ could call for under the Note by FHNZ’s Singapore based parent Danone Asia Pte Ltd (DAP). The Convertible Note had a face value of $204,421,565 and carried interest at a rate of […]

New Zealand vs Cullen Group Limited, March 2019, New Zealand High Court, Case No [2019] NZHC 404

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In moving to the United Kingdom, a New Zealand citizen, Mr. Eric Watson, restructured a significant shareholding into debt owed by a New Zealand company, Cullen Group Ltd, to two Cayman Island conduit companies, all of which he still controlled to a high degree. This allowed Cullen Group Ltd to pay an Approved Issuer Levy (AIL) totalling $8 million, rather than Non-Resident Withholding Tax of $59.5 million. The steps in the arrangement were as follows: (a) Mr Watson sold his shares in […]

New Zealand vs Frucor Suntory, November 2018, High Court, Case No NZHC 2860

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This case concerns application of the general anti-avoidance rule in s BG 1 of the Income Tax Act 2004. The tax authorities issued an assessment where deductions of $10,827,606 and $11,665,323 were disallowed in the 2006 and 2007 income tax years respectively. In addition, penalties of $1,786,555 and $1,924,779 for those years were imposed. The claimed deductions arose in the context of an arrangement entered into by Frucor Holdings Ltd (FHNZ) involving, among other steps, […]

New Zealand introduces Group Rating Approach for certain Cross-Border relatet party Borrowing and Debt Arrangements

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The OECD’s final report on interest limitation rules notes that thin capitalisation rules are vulnerable to loans with excessive interest rates and many transfer pricing practicioneres finds that transfer pricing may not the most effective way to prevent profit-shifting using high-priced related party debt. Related-party transactions are fundamentally different to third-party transactions. Factors that increase the riskiness of a loan between unrelated-parties (such as whether the debt can be converted into shares or the total […]

New Zealand vs Honk Land Trustee Limited, 10 March 2017, Court of Appeal

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The Court of Appeal upheld decisions of the High Court confirming the Commissioner of Inland Revenue’s disallowance of a $1,116,000 management fee for income tax purposes. The Court of Appeal dismissed Honk Land Trustees Limited’s (“HLT”) appeal on the following alternative grounds: (1) there was no satisfactory evidence to show that management services were in fact provided; (2) there was no sufficient nexus shown; and (3) in the event the management fees were deductible, they […]

New Zealand vs Alesco New Zealand Limited and others, Supreme Court, SC 33/2013, NZSC 66 (9 July 2013)

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In 2003 Alesco New Zealand Ltd (Alesco NZ) bought two other New Zealand companies. Its Australian owner, Alesco Corporation (Alesco), funded the acquisitions by advancing the purchase monies of $78 million. In consideration Alesco NZ issued a series of optional convertible notes (OCNs or notes). The notes were non-interest bearing for a fixed term and on maturity the holder was entitled to exercise an option to convert the notes into shares. Between 2003 and 2008 […]

New Zealand vs Alesco New Zealand Ltd March 2013 Court of Appeal NZCA 40

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In 2003 Alesco NZ bought two other companies in New Zealand. Its Australian owner, Alesco Corporation, funded the acquisitions by advancing the purchase amount of $78 million. In consideration Alesco NZ issued a series of optional convertible notes (OCNs or notes). The notes were non-interest bearing for a fixed term and on maturity the holder was entitled to exercise an option to convert the notes into shares. Between 2003 and 2008 Alesco NZ claimed deductions for […]

New Zealand vs Australian-owned banks – ANZ, ASB, BNZ and Westpac

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In 2009, New Zealand’s tax authorities made an out of court tax settlement of $2.2 billion. Australian-owned banks – ANZ, ASB, BNZ, and Westpac – agreed to recognise a extra tax bill of $2.2 billion between them, they avoided via deliberately complicated structured financial transactions. The Four banks entered the settlement after two of them had been to court and lost. Westpac Banking Corporation v Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Feb 2009 BNZ Investments Ltd v […]

New Zealand vs BNZ Investments Ltd, July 2009, HIGH COURT

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The case: Is each of six similar structured finance transactions entered into by the plaintiffs (the BNZ) a ‘tax avoidance arrangement’ void under s BG 1 Income Tax Act 1994? That is the primary issue in these five consolidated proceedings brought by the BNZ against the Commissioner, challenging his assessments issued after he voided each of the transactions pursuant to s BG 1. The BNZ claims the transactions are not caught by s BG 1. […]

New Zealand vs Westpac Banking Corporation, February 2009, High Court, Case no CA624/07

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Westpac Banking Corporation has challenged amended assessments issued by the Commissioner of Inland Revenue to its taxation liability for the years 1999 to 2005. The assessments impugn the bank’s taxation treatment of nine structured finance transactions entered into with overseas counterparties in that period. The funds invested in each transaction ranged between NZD390m and NZD1.5b. By August 2002 Westpac’s total investment in the transactions was NZD4.36b, representing 18% of its assets. The Commissioner says that […]