Legal issue: Tax treaty interpretation

Denmark vs NetApp Denmark ApS and TDC A/S, January 2023, Supreme Court, Cases 69/2021, 79/2021 and 70/2021

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The issue in the Danish beneficial ownership cases of NetApp Denmark ApS and TDC A/S was whether the companies were obliged to withhold dividend tax on distributions to foreign parent companies. The first case – NetApp Denmark ApS – concerned two dividend distributions of approximately DKK 566 million and DKK 92 million made in 2005 […]

Czech Republic vs. Eli Lilly ČR, s.r.o., December 2022, Supreme Administrative Court, No. 7 Afs 279/2021 – 65

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Eli Lilly ČR imports pharmaceutical products purchased from Eli Lilly Export S.A. (Swiss sales and marketing hub) into the Czech Republic and Slovakia and distributes them to local distributors. The arrangement between the local company and Eli Lilly Export S.A. is based on a Service Contract in which Eli Lilly ČR is named as the […]

India vs Google India Private Limited, Oct. 2022, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, 1513/Bang/2013, 1514/Bang/2013, 1515/Bang/2013, 1516/Bang/2013

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Google Ireland licenses Google AdWords technology to its subsidiary in India and several other countries across the world. The Tax Tribunal in India found that despite the duty of Google India to withhold tax at the time of payment to Google Ireland, no tax was withheld. This was considered tax evasion, and Google was ordered […]

Netherlands vs “Fertilizer BV”, April 2022, Court of Appeal, Case No. ECLI:NL:GHSHE:2022:1198

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In 2016 Fertilizer BV had been issued a tax assessment for FY 2012 in which the tax authorities had imposed additional taxable income of €133,076,615. In November 2019 the district court ruled predominantly in favor of the tax authorities but reduced the adjustment to €78.294.312. An appel was filed by Fertilizer BV with the Court […]

Costa Rica vs British Tobacco Centroamérica S.A. March 2022, Supreme Court, Case No 750-2022

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The tax authorities had started investigating a sales contract that British Tobacco Centroamérica S.A. had with a related company abroad for the import of goods. The historical price of the imported goods was compared to the price contained in the later sales contract. In the customs forms, the company declared one value, but in its […]

India vs UPS Asia Group Pte. Ltd., March 2022, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal – Mumbai, Case No 220/Mum./2021

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UPS Asia is a company incorporated under the laws of Singapore and is engaged in the business of provision of supply chain management including the provision of freight forwarding and logistic services. In 2012 UPS Asia had entered into a Regional Transportation Services Agreement with UPS SCS (India) Pvt. Ltd. for the provisions of freight […]

India vs Synamedia Limited, February 2022, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal – BANGALORE, Case No ITA No. 3350/Bang/2018

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Synamedia Ltd. provides open end-to-end digital technology services to digital pay television platform operators. The company has expertise in the area of providing conditional access system, interactive systems and other software solutions as well as integration and support services for digital pay TV networks. For FY 2014-15 the company filed a tax return with nil […]

Korea vs Microsoft, February 2022, Supreme Court, Case no. 2019두50946

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In 2011 Samsung signed the contract with Microsoft for use of software-patent in Android-based smartphone and tablets, and for the years 2012-2015 Samsung paid royalties to a Microsoft subsidiary, MS Licensing GP, while saving 15 percent for withholding tax. The royalties paid by Samsung to Microsoft during these years amounted to 4.35 trillion won, of […]

Italy vs Arnoldo Mondadori Editore SpA , February 2022, Supreme Court, Cases No 3380/2022

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Since Arnoldo Mondadori Editore SpA’s articles of association prevented it from issuing bonds, financing of the company had instead been archived via an arrangement with its subsidiary in Luxembourg, Mondadori International S.A. To that end, the subsidiary issued a bond in the amount of EUR 350 million, which was subscribed for by US investors. The […]

Czech Republic vs Avon Cosmetics Ltd, February 2022, Municipal Court, Case No 6 Af 36/2020 – 42

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In 2016 the British company Avon Cosmetics Limited (ACL) became the sole licensor of intellectual property rights for Europe, Africa and the Middle East within the Avon Cosmetics Group and was authorised to issue sub-licences to other group companies, including the Czech subsidiary, Avon Cosmetics spol. s r.o.. ACL charged a fee for issuing a […]

Sweden vs Flir Commercial Systems AB, January 2022, Administrative Court of Appeal, Case No 2434–2436-20

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In 2012, Flir Commercial Systems AB sold intangible assets from a branch in Belgium and subsequently claimed a tax relief of more than SEK 2 billion in fictitious Belgian tax due to the sale. The Swedish Tax Agency decided not to allow relief for the Belgian “tax”, and issued a tax assessment where the relief […]

Kenya vs Seven Seas Technologies Ltd, December 2021, High Court of Kenya, Income Tax Appeal 8 of 2017 [2021] KEHC 358

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Seven Seas Technologies under a software license agreement purchased software from a US company – Callidus software – for internal use and for distribution to local customers. Following an audit, the tax authorities found that Seven Seas Technologies had not been paying withholding taxes on payments in respect of the software license agreement with Callidas. […]

Canada vs Alta Energy Luxembourg S.A.R.L., November 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 2021 SCC 49 – 2021-11-26

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ALTA Energy, a resident of Luxembourg, claimed an exemption from Canadian income tax under Article 13(5) of the Canada-Luxembourg Income Tax Treaty in respect of a large capital gain arising from the sale of shares of ALTA Canada, its wholly-owned Canadian subsidiary. At that time, Alta Canada carried on an unconventional shale oil business in […]

Denmark vs Takeda A/S and NTC Parent S.a.r.l., November 2021, High Court, Cases B-2942-12 and B-171-13

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The issue in these two cases is whether withholding tax was payable on interest paid to foreign group companies considered “beneficial owners” via conduit companies covered by the EU Interest/Royalties Directive and DTA’s exempting the payments from withholding taxes. The first case concerned interest accruals totalling approximately DKK 1,476 million made by a Danish company […]

Spain vs SGL Carbon Holding, September 2021, Tribunal Supremo, Case No 1151/2021 ECLI:EN:TS:2021:3572

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A Spanish subsidiary – SGL Carbon Holding SL – had significant financial expenses derived from an intra-group loan granted by the parent company for the acquisition of shares in companies of the same group. The taxpayer argued that the intra-group acquisition and debt helped to redistribute the funds of the Group and that Spanish subsidiary […]

Argentina vs Molinos Río de la Plata S.A., September 2021, Supreme Court, Case No CAF 1351/2014/1/RH1

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In 2003 Molinos Argentina had incorporated Molinos Chile under the modality of an “investment platform company” regulated by Article 41 D of the Chilean Income Tax Law. Molinos Argentina owned 99.99% of the shares issued by Molinos Chile, and had integrated the share capital of the latter through the transfer of the majority shareholdings of […]

Brazil vs AES SUL Distribuidora Gaúcha de Energia S/A, August 2021, Superior Tribunal de Justiça, CaseNº 1949159 – CE (2021/0219630-6)

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AES SUL Distribuidora Gaúcha de Energia S/A is active in footwear industry. It had paid for services to related foreign companies in South Africa, Argentina, Canada, China, South Korea, Spain, France, Holland, Italy, Japan, Norway, Portugal and Turkey. The tax authorities were of the opinion that withholding tax applied to these payments, which they considered […]

Liechtenstein vs D AG (formerly A AG), August 2021, Constitutional Court (Staatsgerichtshof), Case No 2021/029

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In the course of an Austrian tax audit related party transactions between C GmbH, Austria, and D AG (formerly A AG), Liechtenstein, could only be traced on the basis of balance sheets and tax returns of A AG, Liechtenstein. In January 2019, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF), Vienna, therefore submitted a request for […]

UK vs G E Financial Investments Ltd., June 2021, First-tier Tribunal, Case No [2021] UKFTT 210 (TC), TC08160

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The case concerned a complex financing structure within the General Electric Group. The taxpayer, GE Financial Investments Ltd (GEFI Ltd), a UK resident company was the limited partner in a Delaware limited partnership, of which, GE Financial Investments Inc (GEFI Inc) a Delaware corporation was the general partner. GEFI Ltd filed UK company tax returns […]

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

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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 […]

India vs Concentrix Services & Optum Global Solutions Netherlands B.V., March 2021, High Court, Case No 9051/2020 and 2302/2021

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The controversy in the case of India vs Concentrix Services Netherlands B.V. & Optum Global Solutions International Netherlands B.V., was the rate of withholding tax to be applied on dividends paid by the Indian subsidiaries (Concentrix Services India Private Limited & Optum Global Solutions India Private Limited) to its participating (more than 10% ownership) shareholders […]

Philippines vs Snowy Owl Energy Inc, March 2021, Tax Court, CTA CASE No. 9618

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In 2013, Snowy Owl Energy Inc entered into a Consultancy Agreement (Subconsultant Services Agreement) with Rolenergy Inc. – a Hong Kong-based corporation organized and registered in the British Virgin Islands. Based on the Agreement, Rolenergy would serve as Snowy Owl Energy Inc’s sub-consultant. The tax authorities issued an assessment for deficiency income tax (IT), final […]

India vs Engineering Analysis Centre of Excellence Private Limited, March 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 8733-8734 OF 2018

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At issue in the case of India vs. Engineering Analysis Centre of Excellence Private Limited, was whether payments for purchase of computer software to foreign suppliers or manufacturers could be characterised as royalty payments. The Supreme Court held that such payments could not be considered payments for use of the underlying copyrights/intangibles. Hence, no withholding […]

Netherlands vs “Share Owner/Lender”, February 2021, Supreme Court (Preliminary ruling by the Advocate General), Case No 20/01884

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The interested party bought AEX-listed shares, sold three-month futures based on those shares through its shareholder/broker [D], and lent the shares to [D] (stock lending). It received cash collateral ($ deposits as collateral) and a stock lending fee for its lending. According to the interested party, the shares always briefly reverted to its ownership around […]

Luxembourg vs “Lux Service SA”, December 2020, Higher Administrative Court, Case No 45072

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In August 2020, the competent authority of the Belgian tax administration sent a request for information to the Luxembourg tax administration concerning “Lux Service SA” under the tax convention between Luxembourg and Belgium. The requested information regarding “Lux Service SA” was documentation related to the basis for service payments from a related party in Belgium. […]

Spain vs JACOBS DOUWE EGBERTS ES, SLU., November 2020, Tribunal Superior de Justicia, Case No STSJ M 7038/2019 – ECLI:EN:TS:2020:3730

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At issue in this case was whether or not it is possible to regularize transactions between companies by directly applying art. 9.1 of DTA between Spain and French, without resorting to the transfer pricing methods provided for in local Spanish TP legislation. Application of article 9 and taxing according to local tax legislation is often […]

Italy vs Gulf Shipping & Trading Corporation Ltd Inc, October 2020, Supreme Court, Case No 21693/2020

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The Italian Revenue Agency had notified to Gulf Shipping & Trading Corporation Ltd Inc. several notices of assessment, relating to the tax years 1999 to 2006, contesting undeclared taxable income, having ascertained that the aforesaid company had a permanent establishment in Italy through which it traded in construction materials. The company had lodged separate appeals […]

Bulgaria vs CBS, October 2020, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 12349

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By judgment of 22 May 2020, the Administrative Court set aside a tax assessment in which CBS International Netherlands B.V. had been denied reimbursement of withholding tax related to royalties and license payments. An appeal was filed by the tax authorities with the Supreme Administrative Court. In the appeal the tax authorities held that the […]

Spain vs COLGATE PALMOLIVE ESPAÑA, S.A., September 2020, Supreme Court, Case No 1996/2019 ECLI:ES:TS:2020:3062

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The tax authorities had issued an assessment according to which royalty payments from Colgate Palmolive España S.A (CP España) to Switzerland were not considered exempt from withholding taxes under the Spanish-Swiss DTA since the company in Switzerland was not the Beneficial Owner of the royalty-income. The assessment was set aside by the National Court in […]

Panama vs X S.A., September 2020, Administrative Tax Court, Case No TAT-RF-065

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An assessment was issued where the tax administration denied the application treaty benefits, understanding that the dividends distributed by X S.A. a company with tax residence in Panama, to its shareholder NL Corp in the Netherlands did not qualify for the reduced rate provided for in the DTA because the latter was not the “beneficial […]

UK vs Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited and Irish Nationwide Building Society, August 2020, Court of Appeal , Case No [2020] EWCA Civ 1128

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This case concerned deductibility of notional interest paid in 2003-7 by two permanent establishments in the UK to their Irish HQs. The loans – and thus interest expenses – had been allocated to the PEs as if they were separate entities. The UK tax authorities held that interest deductibility was restricted by UK tax law, […]

Switzerland vs Coffee Machine Group, April 2020, Federal Supreme Court, Case No 2C_354/2018

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Coffee Machine Ltd. was founded in Ireland and responsible for the trademark and patent administration as well as the management of the research and development activities of the A group, the world’s largest manufacturer of coffee machines. A Swiss subsidiary of the A group reported payments of dividend to the the Irish company and the […]

Netherlands vs Hunkemöller B.V., January 2020, AG opinion – before the Supreme Court, Case No ECLI:NL:PHR:2020:102

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To acquire companies and resell them with capital gains a French Investment Fund distributed the capital of its investors (€ 5.4 billion in equity) between a French Fund Commun de Placement à Risques (FCPRs) and British Ltds managed by the French Investment Fund. For the purpose of acquiring the [X] group (the target), the French […]

Korea vs “Lux corp”, 16 January 2020, Supreme Court Case no. 2016두35854

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In this case the Korean Supreme Court held that Luxembourg SICAV and SICAF are entitled to reduced withholding tax rate on interest and dividend income under the Korea–Luxembourg Tax Treaty.   Meaning of “residents of Luxembourg,” which is subject to the “Convention between the Government of the Republic of Korea and the Government of the […]

Netherlands vs “Fertilizer BV”, November 2019, District Court, Case No. ECLI:NL:RBZWB:2019:4920

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In 2016 Fertilizer BV had been issued a tax assessment for FY 2012 in which the tax authorities had imposed additional taxable income of €162,506,660. Fertilizer BV is the parent company of a fiscal unity for corporation tax (hereinafter: FU). It is a limited partner in a limited partnership under Dutch law, which operates a […]

Czech Republic vs. Eli Lilly ČR, s.r.o., December 2019, District Court of Praque, No. 6 Afs 90/2016 – 62

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Eli Lilly ČR imports pharmaceutical products purchased from Eli Lilly Export S.A. (Swiss sales and marketing hub) into the Czech Republic and Slovakia and distributes them to local distributors. The arrangement between the local company and Eli Lilly Export S.A. is based on a Service Contract in which Eli Lilly ČR is named as the […]

Germany vs “NO-MAP GmbH”, September 2019, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No IR 82/17

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A request for mutual agreement and arbitration procedure between Spain and Germany was denied due to highly punishable violation of tax regulations committed by the taxpayer. The mutual agreement procedure according to the EU Arbitration Convention is of a mandatory nature and therefore leads to the elimination of double taxation if the requirements are met. […]

Spain vs COLGATE PALMOLIVE ESPAÑA, S.A., November 2018, Audiencia National, Case No 643/2015 – ECLI:EN:AN:2018:5203

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The tax authorities had issued an assessment according to which royalty payments from Colgate Palmolive España S.A. (CP España) to Switzerland were not considered exempt from withholding taxes under the Spanish-Swiss DTA since the company in Switzerland was not the Beneficial Owner of the royalty-income. Judgement of the National Court The court held in favour […]

Korea vs CJ E&M Co., Ltd. , November 2018, Supreme Court Case no. 2017두33008

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In 2011, a Korean company, CJ E&M Co., Ltd concluded a license agreement relating to the domestic distribution of Paramount films, etc. with Hungary-based entity Viacom International Hungary Kft (hereinafter “VIH”), which is affiliated with the global entertainment content group Viacom that owns the film producing company Paramount and music channel MTV. From around that […]

Spain vs ICL ESPAÑA, S.A. (Akzo Nobel), March 2018, Audiencia Nacional, Case No 1307/2018 ECLI:ES:AN:2018:1307

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ICL ESPAÑA, S.A., ICL Packaging Coatings, S.A., were members of the Tax Consolidation Group and obtained extraordinary profits in the financial years 2000, 2001 and 2002. (AKZO NOBEL is the successor of ICL ESPAÑA, as well as of the subsidiary ICL PACKAGING.) On 26 June 2002, ICL ESPAÑA, S.A. acquired from ICL Omicron BV (which […]

Panama vs Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (Panama), S.A., November 2017, Administrative Tax Court, Case No TAT-RF-087

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In this case the Tax Court analyses the application of clause 10 (2) of the DTA between Panama and Luxembourg. The case originated in an assessment issued 26 November 2014 by the Directorate General of Revenue through which the tax administration denied the application of the aforementioned clause, understanding that the dividends distributed by Banco […]

Spain vs. Schwepps (Citresa), February 2017, Spanish Supreme Court, case nr. 293/2017

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The Spanish Tax administration made an income adjustment of Citresa (a Spanish subsidiary of the Schweeps Group) Corporate Income Tax for FY 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, resulting in a tax liability of €38.6 millon. Citresa entered into a franchise agreement and a contract manufacturing agreement with Schweppes International Limited (a related party resident in the Netherlands). […]

Spain vs. branch of ING Direct Bank, July 2015, Spanish High Court, Case No 89/2015 2015:2995

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In the INC bank case the tax administration had characterised part of the interest-bearing debt of a local branch of a Dutch bank, ING DIRECT B.V,  as “free” capital, in “accordance” with EU minimum capitalisation requirements and consequently reduced the deductible interest expenses in the taxabel income of the local branch for FY 2002 and […]

France vs. Bayerische Hypo und Vereinsbank AG, April 2014, Conseil d’État, Case No. FR:CESSR:2014:344990.20140411

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Bayerische Hypo und Vereinsbank AG (HVB-AG), a banking institution under German law, set up a French branch under the name “HVB-AG Paris” and contributed ten million Deutschmarks to this structure. The French branch also took out loans from the company’s head office or from third-party companies Following an audit of the branch’s accounts, the tax […]

Spain vs. Roche, January 2012, Supreme Court case nr. 1626/2008

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Prior to a business restructuring in 1999, the Spanish subsidiary, Roche Vitaminas S.A., was a full-fledged distributor, involved in manufacturing, importing, and selling the pharmaceutical products in the Spanish and Portuguese markets. In 1999 the Spanish subsidiary and the Swiss parent, Roche Vitamins Europe Ltd., entered into a manufacturing agreement and a distribution agreement. Under […]

Philippines vs Filinvest Development Corporation, July 2011, Supreme Court, G.R. No. 163653

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In the Filinvest case an assessment had been issued where the tax authorities had imputed interest on an interest free loan. Judgement of the Tax Court The Court set aside the assessment. The tax authorities power to allocate gross income does not include the power to impute ‘theoretical interest’ because there must be actual or, […]

Spain vs. Refrescos Envasados S.A., November 2009, Supreme Court, Case nr. 3582/2003

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Refrescos Envasados, S.A. – a Coca-Cola subsidiary in Spain – bought soft drink concentrate manufactured by Coca-Cola companies in Ireland and France. According to the tax authorities the prices paid for the concentrate were above market prices. Hence, an assessment was issued where the prices for the concentrate had been lowered resulting in additional taxable […]

Canada vs Prévost Car Inc, April 2008, Tax Court of Canada, Case No 2008 TCC 231

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Prévost is a resident Canadian corporation who declared and paid dividends to its shareholder Prévost Holding B.V. (“PHB.V.”), a corporation resident in the Netherlands. When Prévost paid the dividends it withheld five percent in tax. The tax authorities issued an assessments against Prévost in respect of the aforementioned dividends. The tax authorities assessed on the […]

US vs National Westminster Bank PLC, January 2008, US Court of Appeals, Case No. No. 2007-5028

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NatWest is a United Kingdom corporation engaged in international banking activities. For the tax years 1981-1987, NatWest conducted wholesale banking operations in the United States through six permanently established branch locations (collectively “the U.S. Branch”). On its United States federal income tax returns for the years at issue, NatWest claimed deductions for accrued interest expenses […]

Czech Republic vs. B.p., s.r.o., June 2007, Supreme Administrative Court , Case No 8 Afs 152/2005 – 72

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The subject-matter of the dispute was the exclusion of the rent for lease of machinery and equipment. It referred to the lease and sublease agreements for non-residential premises, machinery and equipment with the companies B.p., s.r.o. and M.-T., s.r.o., by which the parties agreed that the objects of the lease agreements would be used free […]