Switzerland vs. A GmbH, 12 Sep. 2018, Administrative Court, Case No. SB.2017.00100

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A GmbH, based in Zurich, was a subsidiary of the D group operating mainly in the field of consumer electronics worldwide, headquartered in country E. A GmbH was primarily responsible for acquiring exploitation rights to … and other related activities. The D Group also owned company F in Land H, which was responsible for the global treasury and cash pooling of the Group. On December 1 2008 A GmbH had entered into an agreement with Company F for the short-term deposit of excess capital and short-term borrowing. Under the terms of the agreement, if the balance was in A GmbH’s favor, A GmbH would be credited interest based on the one-month London Interbank Bid Rate (LIBID) minus 6.25 basis points, but not less than 0.05%.

Following an audit in relation to the tax periods of 1.4.2009-31.3.2010 and 1.4.2010-31.3.2011, the tax authorities took the view that the cash pool credit contains a proportion of long-term loans to company F and insofar as the interest rate (determined on the terms of short-term deposits ) was too low compared to third-party terms. In the two financial years a minimum balance of Fr. … resp . … had never fallen below the base amount as a long-term loan.
An assessment was issued on May 26, 2014 as a result of insufficient interest resulting in a hidden profit distributions based on the LIBOR interest rates.

The appeal against the decision was dismissed by the Tax Appeals Court on 25 November 2016 with regard to the direct federal tax of the 2009/10 tax period and was partially approved with regard to the federal tax period 2010/11. The partial approval was made because the court of appeal reduced the applicable interest rate for 2011 from 2.25% to 2.0%, resulting in a reduction of the hidden profit distribution. A GmbH was charged for the direct federal tax of 1.4.2009-31.3.2010 with a taxable net profit of Fr. … and for the period from 1.4.2010-31.3.2011 with a taxable net profit of Fr. ….

The Administrative Court partially upheld the complaint filed by A GmbH against the decision of the Tax Appeals Court by judgment of 7 December 2016 (SB.2016.00008) and dismissed the case for further investigation and for a new decision to the Tax Appeals Tribunal.

It considered that the deposit in the cash pool that qualifies as a longer-term credit must be recalculated in the light of the considerations. On the basis of the facts presented by A GmbH and the evidence submitted, the administrative court concluded that the interest rates applicable in the D Group for longer-term loans to company F were in line with market conditions and, in the specific case, for the longer-term interest rates qualifying assets are decisive.

The tax recourse court partially upheld the complaint in the second case by decision of 25 July 2017 and assessed the complainant for the direct federal tax of 1.4.2009-31.3.2010 with a taxable net profit of Fr. … and for the period of 1.4.2010- 31.3.2011 with a taxable net profit of Fr. ….

The case was appealed to the Administrative Court on 29 August 2017, by the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (FTA). The Federal Tax Administration requested that the decision of the Tax Appeals Tribunal should be set aside and the taxable net profit with regard to the direct federal tax of 1.4.2009-31.3.2010 be set at CHF. … and for the tax period from 1.4.2010-31.3.2011 to Fri ….

In a statement of objection dated 21 September 2017, A GmbH requested the dismissal of the complaint under costs and repercussions

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