Court result: Decision predominantly in favor of tax authority

Denmark vs NETAPP ApS and TDC A/S, May 2021, High Court, Cases B-1980-12 and B-2173-12

On 3 May 2021, the Danish High Court ruled in two “beneficial owner” cases concerning the question of whether withholding tax must be paid on dividends distributed by Danish subsidiaries to foreign parent companies. The first case – NETAPP Denmark ApS – concerned two dividend distributions of approx. 566 million DKK and approx. 92 million made in 2005 and 2006 by a Danish company to its parent company in Cyprus. The National Tax Court had […]

St. Vincent & the Grenadines vs Unicomer (St. Vincent) Ltd., April 2021, Supreme Court, Case No SVGHCV2019/0001


Unicomer (St. Vincent) Ltd. is engaged in the business of selling household furniture and appliances. In FY 2013 and 2014 Unicomer entered into an “insurance arrangement” involving an unrelated party, United insurance, and a related party, Canterbury. According to the tax authorities United Insurance had been used as an intermediate/conduit to funnel money from the Unicomer to Canterbury, thereby avoiding taxes in St. Vincent. In 2017 the Inland Revenue Department issued an assessments of additional […]

South Africa vs Levi Strauss SA (PTY) LTD, April 2021, Supreme Court of Appeal, Case No (509/2019) [2021] ZASCA 32


Levi Strauss South Africa (Pty) Ltd, has been in a dispute with the African Revenue Services, over import duties and value-added tax (VAT) payable by it in respect of clothing imports. The Levi’s Group uses procurement Hubs in Singapore and Hong Kong but channeled goods via Mauritius to South Africa, thus benefiting from a favorable duty protocol between Mauritius and South Africa. Following an audit, the tax authorities issued an assessment in which it determined […]

Spain vs DIGITEX INFORMÁTICA S.L., February 2021, National Court, Case No 2021:629


DIGITEX INFORMATICA S.L. had entered into a substantial service contract with an unrelated party in Latin America, Telefonica, according to which the DIGITEX group would provide certain services for Telefonica. The contract originally entered by DIGITEX INFORMATICA S.L. was later transferred to DIGITEX’s Latin American subsidiaries. But after the transfer, cost and amortizations related to the contract were still paid – and deducted for tax purposes – by DIGITEX in Spain. The tax authorities found […]

France vs Bluestar Silicones France, Feb 2021, Supreme Administrative Court (CAA), Case No 16VE00352


Bluestar Silicones France (BSF), now Elkem Silicones France SAS (ESF), produces silicones and various products that it sells to other companies belonging to the Bluestar Silicones International group. The company was audited for the financial years 2007 – 2008 and an assessment was issued. According to the tax authorities, the selling prices of the silicone products had been below the arm’s length price and the company had refrained from invoicing of management exepences and cost […]

France vs Société Générale S.A., Feb 2021, Administrative Court of Appeal, Case No 16VE00352


SociĂ©tĂ© GĂ©nĂ©rale S.A. had paid for costs from which its subsidiaries had benefited. The costs in question was not deducted by SociĂ©tĂ© GĂ©nĂ©rale in its tax return, but nor had they been considered distribution of profits subject to withholding tax. Following an audit for FY 2008 – 2011 a tax assessment was issued by the tax authorities according to which the hidden distribution of profits from which the subsidiaries benefited should have been subject to […]

Belgium vs ENGIE CC cv, January 2021, Supreme Court, Case No F.18.0140.N


ENGIE CC granted a loan to one of its group companies (Electrabel Nederland Holding bv). In 2005 Electrabel Holding bv repaid the loan prematurely and paid – as contractually stipulated – a reinvestment fee of EUR 5,611,906.11 to the plaintiff. Following a tax audit in 2008, the tax authorities established that an incorrect interest rate had been used and that the reinvestment fee should only have been EUR 2,853,070.69, hence EUR 2,758,835.42 was overpaid. The […]

Denmark vs. “H Borrower and Lender A/S”, January 2021, Tax Tribunal, Case no SKM2021.33.LSR


“H Borrower and Lender A/S”, a Danish subsidiary in the H Group, had placed deposits at and received loans from a group treasury company, H4, where the interest rate paid on the loans was substantially higher than the interest rate received on the deposits. Due to insufficient transfer pricing documentation, the tax authorities (SKAT) issued a discretionary assessment of taxable income where the interest rate on the loans had been adjusted based on the rate […]

Sweden vs TELE2 AB, January 2021, Administrative Court, Case No 13259-19 and 19892-19


The Swedish group TELE2, one of Europe’s largest telecommunications operators, had invested in an entity in Kazakhstan, MTS, that was owned via a joint venture together with an external party. Tele2 owned 51% of the Joint venture and MTS was financed by Tele2’s financing entity, Tele2 Treasury AB, which, during 2011-2015, had issued multiple loans to MTS. In September 2015, the currency on the existing internal loans to MTS was changed from dollars to KZT. […]

France vs Sté Paule Ka Holding, December 2020, Paris Administrative Court of Appeal, Case No 18PA02715


StĂ© Paule Ka Holding, was set up as part of a leveraged buy-out (LBO) operation to finance the acquisition of the Paule Ka group, and in 2011 it acquired the entire capital of the group a price of 42 million euros. The acquisition was financed by issuing convertible bonds carrying an interest rate of 8%. The French tax authorities issued an assessment where deductions for certain payments related to the acquisition and part of the interest payments on […]

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