Tag: Abnormal act of management

The French principle of “abnormal act of management” is based on case law. The tax administration is generally not allowed to intervene in the management of companies. However, where a company takes a decision not in its direct interest or not reflecting normal management, the tax administration can disallow the related expenses.

In French: “D’actes anormaux de gestion

France vs SA Tropicana Europe Hermes, August 2022, CAA of DOUAI, Case No. 20DA01106

France vs SA Tropicana Europe Hermes, August 2022, CAA of DOUAI, Case No. 20DA01106

SA Tropicana Europe Hermes is a French permanent establishment of SA Tropicana Europe, located in Belgium. The French PE carried out the business of bottling fruit juice-based drinks. In 2009, a new distribution contract was concluded with the Swiss company FLTCE, which was accompanied by a restructuring of its business. Before 1 July 2009, Tropicana was engaged in the manufacture of fresh fruit juices in cardboard packs and purchased fresh fruit juices which it pasteurised. As of 1 July 2009, its activity was reduced to that of a contract manufacturer on behalf of FLTCE, which became the owner of the technology and intellectual property rights as well as the stocks. The re-organisation led to a significant reduction in the company’s turnover and profits. Tropicana Europe was subject to two audits, at the end of which the tax authorities notified it of tax reassessments in respect of corporate income tax, withholding tax and business value added contribution (CVAE) for the years ... Read more
France vs SAS Oakley Holding, May 2022, CAA of Lyon, No 19LY03100

France vs SAS Oakley Holding, May 2022, CAA of Lyon, No 19LY03100

SNC Oakley Europe, a subsidiary of SAS Oakley Holding, which belonged to the American group Oakley Inc. until its takeover in 2007 by the Italian group Luxottica, carried on the business of distributing clothing, footwear, eyewear and accessories of the Oakley brand on European territory. Following the takeover SNC Oakley Europe in 2008 transferred its distribution activity on the French market to another French company, Luxottica France, and its distribution activity on the European market to companies incorporated in Ireland, Luxottica Trading and Finance and Oakley Icon, and deducted restructuring costs in an amount of EUR 15,544,267. The tax authorities qualified these costs as an advantage granted without consideration to its sister companies, constituting, on the one hand, an abnormal management act and, on the other hand, an indirect transfer of profits within the meaning of Article 57 of the General Tax Code on the grounds that its costs had not been re-invoiced to the Italian company, the head of ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.13

For example, consider a situation in which Company B, a member of an MNE group, needs additional funding for its business activities. In this scenario, Company B receives an advance of funds from related Company C, which is denominated as a loan with a term of 10 years. Assume that, in light of all good-faith financial projections of Company B for the next 10 years, it is clear that Company B would be unable to service a loan of such an amount. Based on facts and circumstances, it can be concluded that an unrelated party would not be willing to provide such a loan to Company B due to its inability to repay the advance. Accordingly, the accurately delineated amount of Company C’s loan to Company B for transfer pricing purposes would be a function of the maximum amount that an unrelated lender would have been willing to advance to Company B, and the maximum amount that an unrelated borrower ... Read more
France vs SAS Microchip Technology Rousset, December 2021, CAA of MARSEILLE, Case No. 19MA04336

France vs SAS Microchip Technology Rousset, December 2021, CAA of MARSEILLE, Case No. 19MA04336

SAS Microchip Technology Rousset (former SAS Atmel Rousset) is a French subsidiary of the American Atmel group, which designs, manufactures, develops and sells a wide range of semiconductor integrated circuits. It was subject to an audit covering the FY 2010 and 2011 and as a result of this audit, the tax authorities imposed additional corporate income tax and an additional assessments for VAT. The administration also subjected SAS Atmel Rousset to withholding tax due to income deemed to be distributed to one of the Atmel group companies. The authorities invoked the provisions of Article 57 of the General Tax Code as the new legal basis for the additional corporate tax contributions and the social contribution on corporate tax, resulting from the reintegration of the capital loss arising from the sale of SAS Fabco shares and the assumption of responsibility for SAS Fabco’s social plan, instead of the provisions of Article 38(1) and Article 39(1) of the same code. The tax ... Read more
France vs SAP France, December 2021, CAA de VERSAILLES, Case No. 20VE01009

France vs SAP France, December 2021, CAA de VERSAILLES, Case No. 20VE01009

SAP AG (now SAP SE) is a German multinational software corporation that develops enterprise software to manage business operations and customer relations. The company is especially known for its ERP software. SA SAP France, a 98% subsidiary of SA SAP France Holding, itself wholly owned by the German group, had deposited funds under a Cash Management Agreement as sight deposits carrying an interest of 0%. Following an audit for the financial years 2012 and 2013, two assessment proposals were issued in December 2015 and November 2016, relating in particular to the 0% interest rate charged on the cash deposits. The tax authorities had added interest to SA SAP France’s taxable income calculated by reference to the rate of remuneration on sight deposits. SA SAP France contested the adjustments and furthermore requested the benefit of the reduced rate of corporation tax on income from industrial property, pursuant to Article 39 of the French General Tax Code, with regard to the royalties ... Read more
France vs SA Compagnie Gervais Danone, June 2021, CAA, Case No. 19VE03151

France vs SA Compagnie Gervais Danone, June 2021, CAA, Case No. 19VE03151

SA Compagnie Gervais Danone was the subject of an tax audit at the end of which the tax authorities questioned, among other things, the deduction of a compensation payment of 88 million Turkish lira (39,148,346 euros) granted to the Turkish company Danone Tikvesli, in which the french company holds a minority stake. The tax authorities considered that the payment constituted an indirect transfer of profits abroad within the meaning of Article 57 of the General Tax Code and should be considered as distributed income within the meaning of Article 109(1) of the Code, subject to the withholding tax provided for in Article 119a of the Code, at the conventional rate of 15%. SA Compagnie Gervais Danone brought the tax assessment to the administrative court. In a decision of 9 July 2019 the Court discharged SA Compagnie Gervais Danone from the taxes in dispute. This decision was appealed to Administrative Court of Appeal by the tax authorities. Judgement of the Court ... Read more
France vs Bluestar Silicones France, Feb 2021, Supreme Administrative Court (CAA), Case No 16VE00352

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 of secondment of employees . In the course of the proceedings agreement had been reached on the pricing of products. Hence, in dispute before the court was the issue of lacking invoicing of management exepences and cost of secondment of employees for the benefit of the Chinese and Brazilian subsidiaries of the Group. According to the company there had been no hidden transfer of profits; its method of constructing the group’s prices has not changed and compliance with the arm’s length principle has been demonstrated ... Read more
France vs Société Générale S.A., Feb 2021, Administrative Court of Appeal, Case No 16VE00352

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

Société Générale S.A. had paid for costs from which its subsidiaries had benefited. The costs in question was not deducted by Société Générale 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 withholding tax in France Société Générale held that the advantage granted by the parent company in not recharging costs to the subsidiaries resulted in an increase in the valuation of the subsidiaries. It also argued that the advantages in question were not “hidden” since they were explicitly mentioned in the documents annexed to the tax return By judgment of 11 October 2018, the court of first instance discharged the withholding taxes as regards the absence of re-invoicing of costs incurred on behalf of the subsidiaries located ... Read more

TPG2020 Chapter X paragraph 10.13

For example, consider a situation in which Company B, a member of an MNE group, needs additional funding for its business activities. In this scenario, Company B receives an advance of funds from related Company C, which is denominated as a loan with a term of 10 years. Assume that, in light of all good-faith financial projections of Company B for the next 10 years, it is clear that Company B would be unable to service a loan of such an amount. Based on facts and circumstances, it can be concluded that an unrelated party would not be willing to provide such a loan to Company B due to its inability to repay the advance. Accordingly, the accurately delineated amount of Company C’s loan to Company B for transfer pricing purposes would be a function of the maximum amount that an unrelated lender would have been willing to advance to Company B, and the maximum amount that an unrelated borrower ... Read more
France vs Philips, September 2018, Conseil d’État, Case No 405779

France vs Philips, September 2018, Conseil d’État, Case No 405779

Philips France SAS provides contract R&D to it’s Dutch parent. Compensation for the service was calculated as cost plus 10%. In the years 2003 to 2007 Philips France received government subsidies for performing R&D. These subsidies had been deducted by the company from the cost base before calculating of the cost plus remuneration. The French tax authorities issued a tax assessment where the deduction was denied and the remuneration calculated on the full cost base. The Supreme Administrative Court ruled that a deduction of subsidies from the cost base does not constitute a “transfer of profits abroad” and allowed the reduced cost base for calculation of the arm’s length remuneration.  Click here for English translation Click here for other translation CÉt_8ème_-_3ème_chambres_réunies_19_09_2018_405779 ... Read more
France vs General Electric France, June 2017, Conseil d État, Case No 392543

France vs General Electric France, June 2017, Conseil d État, Case No 392543

The Supreme Administrative Court laid down the factors to be applied in determining the abnormal nature of the remuneration of intragroup loans. “The normal or abnormal nature of the remuneration of loans taken by an enterprise from another enterprise to which it is affiliated must be assessed in relation to the remuneration that the lender should pay to a financial institution or similar body to which the enterprise is not related and would borrow, under similar conditions, sums of an equivalent amount. A lender’s assessment of the default risk of the borrower, whose risk premium is the consideration, depends on the debtor’s ability to repay the debt to the obligee until maturity. The assessment of the solvency risk of the borrower, in particular summarized in the periodic ratings that the rating agencies attribute to the companies that may, where appropriate, solicit them to this effect, results from the analysis of the evolutions of a series. economic variables, both internal and ... Read more
France vs SAS Cooper Capri, December 2015, CAA de Nantes, Case No 14NT01720

France vs SAS Cooper Capri, December 2015, CAA de Nantes, Case No 14NT01720

SAS Cooper Capri’s belongs to the American group Cooper Industries. The Group carries out a parts production and sales activity in the context of two branches, a “construction” branch and an “industry” branch which produces, in particular, cable glands Cooper Capri was subject to an audit at the end of which the administration considered that it had indirectly transferred part of its profits to companies belonging to the same group located outside France and, consequently, incorporated the profits thus transferred into the result charged to the accounts for FY 2007 The company asked the Administrative Court to discharge the additional taxes. In November 2014 the request of Cooper Capri was rejected and the assessment of the tax authorities upheld. Cooper Capri then filed an appeal with the Court of Appeal. According to Cooper Capri, the tax administration had not demonstrated the granting of an advantage to related companies located abroad; in fact, if the ratio between the gross margin and ... Read more
France vs. Rottapharm, Jan 2015, CE No 369214

France vs. Rottapharm, Jan 2015, CE No 369214

In the Rottapharm case The French “abnormal management action” principle was invoked. The Court overruled the decision of the tax administration under the principle of non-intervention, which prevents the tax administration from getting involved in company management. The fact that an advertising campaign costs more than the usual amount spent by the majority of companies in the same business area for similar products does not prove that the advertising campaign is an abnormal management action. Click here for translation France vs Rottapharm 23_01_2015_CE 369214 ... Read more
France vs. SOCIETE D'ACQUISITIONS IMMOBILIERES, Jan 2010, CE, No. 313868

France vs. SOCIETE D’ACQUISITIONS IMMOBILIERES, Jan 2010, CE, No. 313868

In the Société d’acquisitions immobilières case the interest rate charged to a subsidiary was considered comparable with the interest rate the French entity would receive from a third party bank for an investment similar in terms and risk. The Court decided that the cash advance granted by a sub-subsidiary to its ultimate parent with which it had no business relations could constitute an “abnormal act of management” if the amount lent is clearly disproportionate to the creditworthiness of the borrowing company. Click here for translation France vs SOCIETE D'ACQUISITIONS IMMOBILIERES 22 Jan 2010 CE no 313868 ... Read more
France vs. Soladi, April 1998, CAA No. 94NC00880

France vs. Soladi, April 1998, CAA No. 94NC00880

In the Soladi case the court deemed it to be an “abnormal act of management” to provide an explicit financial guarantee free of charge, unless direct actual benefit for the entity providing this support can be justified. Click here for translation France vs Soladi_30_avril_1998_CAA 94NC00880 ... Read more
France vs. Montlaur Sakakini, Oct 1995, Administrative Court of Appeal, No 95LY00427

France vs. Montlaur Sakakini, Oct 1995, Administrative Court of Appeal, No 95LY00427

In the case of Montlaur Sakakini the tax authorities had issued an adjustment where the arm’s length interest rate on deposits had been determined to be between 10-12%. The company held that the interest rate should be 4.5%. Judgement of the Court The court decided in favour of the company as no proof of the validity of an interest rate higher than the 4.5% had been provided by the authorities. Excerpt “…in order to justify the interest rates of 12.5%, 12.5%, 11.79% and 10.63% which the tax authorities retained, respectively for the financial years …, 1984 and 1985 respectively on the advances still in dispute with the MONTLAUR company, the Minister of the Economy and Finance refers to the rates at which certain financial establishments would have remunerated twelve-month deposits of more than 500,000 francs and three-month deposits of 100,000 francs, as well as to the average rates charged on the interbank market ; that none of these investments is ... Read more
France vs Baker International, April 1994, Court of Appeal, Case No 92BX01109

France vs Baker International, April 1994, Court of Appeal, Case No 92BX01109

In Baker International the court concluded that if interest is not charged in respect of deferrals of payments granted to a related company, it is considered either an abnormal act of management or is subject to Section 57 of the tax code. Excerpt “…it is clear from the investigation that the share of the applicant company’s turnover corresponding to sales of equipment to its subsidiary decreased significantly during the years under investigation, as did sales to Elf; whereas, on the other hand, the above-mentioned provisions of Article 57 prevented S.A. BAKER INTERNATIONAL FRANCE from charging its subsidiary sales prices that differed from the public prices; finally, neither the operating conditions decided by the company “Bi-Gabon” with regard to stocks and the taking back of equipment, nor the fact that the financial health of this subsidiary was able to provide it with income, can suffice to justify the interest that S. A. would have had in this matter. A. BAKER INTERNATIONAL ... Read more
France vs Vansthal International, March 1993, CAA, No 92NC00227

France vs Vansthal International, March 1993, CAA, No 92NC00227

In the case of Vansthal France the tax authorities had disallowed a transfer pricing policy under which a 20%-40% mark-up was added to payments to a Swiss entity because in its capacity as a billing centre the Swiss entity assumed no risk. Judgement of the Court The Court ruled in favour of the tax authorities. Excerpt “Considering, on the other hand, that it results from the investigation that the MAD company re-invoiced the goods to the VANSTHAL FRANCE company after having increased the prices by 39% for the kitchen articles and 20% for the porcelain articles and collected the corresponding payments; that, since MAD did not perform any services for the applicant company, the department considered that the latter had performed an abnormal act of management by agreeing to pay for its purchases at an unreasonably high price with full knowledge of the facts and that the payment of the excess price resulted in a transfer of profits abroad to ... Read more