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 2003.

The adjustment had been based on interpretation of the Commentaries to the OECD Model Convention, article 7, which had first been approved in 2008.

Judgement of the National Court

The court did not agree with the “dynamic interpretation” of Article 7 applied by the tax administration in relation to “free” capital, and ruled in favor of the branch of ING Direct.

“In short, in accordance with the terms of the aforementioned DGT Consultation of 1272-98 of 13 July, “Consequently, to the extent that the branch or establishment is that of a banking institution, the interest paid to the head office will be deductible”, the appeal must be upheld in its entirety.

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