Tag: Artificial arrangements

Arrangements lacking substance and therefore disregarded for tax purposes

France vs IKEA, February 2022, CAA of Versailles, No 19VE03571

France vs IKEA, February 2022, CAA of Versailles, No 19VE03571

Ikea France (SNC MIF) had concluded a franchise agreement with Inter Ikea Systems BV (IIS BV) in the Netherlands by virtue of which it benefited, in particular, as a franchisee, from the right to operate the ‘Ikea Retail System’ (the Ikea concept), the ‘Ikea Food System’ (food sales) and the ‘Ikea Proprietary Rights’ (the Ikea trade mark) in its shops. In return, Ikea France paid Inter Ikea Systems BV a franchise fee equal to 3% of the amount of net sales made in France, which amounted to EUR 68,276,633 and EUR 72,415,329 for FY 2010 and 2011. These royalties were subject to the withholding tax provided for in the provisions of Article 182 B of the French General Tax Code, but under the terms of Article 12 of the Convention between France and the Netherlands: “1. Royalties arising in one of the States and paid to a resident of the other State shall be taxable only in that other State”, ... Read more
Portugal vs "GAAR S.A.", January 2022, Supremo Tribunal Administrativo, Case No : JSTA000P28772

Portugal vs “GAAR S.A.”, January 2022, Supremo Tribunal Administrativo, Case No : JSTA000P28772

“GAAR S.A” is a holding company with a share capital of EUR 55,000.00. In 2010, “GAAR S.A” was in a situation of excess equity capital resulting from an accumulation of reserves (EUR 402,539.16 of legal reserves and EUR 16,527,875.72 of other reserves). The Board of Directors, made up of three shareholders – B………… (holder of 21,420 shares, corresponding to 42.84% of the share capital), C………… (holder of a further 21,420 shares, corresponding to 42.84% of the share capital) and D………… (holder of 7. 160 shares, corresponding to the remaining 14.32% of the share capital) – decided to “release this excess of capital” and, following this resolution, the shareholders decided: i) on 22.02.2010 to redeem 30,000 shares, with a share capital reduction, at a price of EUR 500.00 each, with a subsequent share capital increase of EUR 33. 000.00, by means of incorporation of legal reserves, and the share capital of the appellant will be made up of 20,000 shares at ... Read more
Israel vs Sephira & Offek Ltd and Israel Daniel Amram, August 2021, Jerusalem District Court, Case No 2995-03-17

Israel vs Sephira & Offek Ltd and Israel Daniel Amram, August 2021, Jerusalem District Court, Case No 2995-03-17

While living in France, Israel Daniel Amram (IDA) devised an idea for the development of a unique and efficient computerized interface that would link insurance companies and physicians and facilitate financial accounting between medical service providers and patients. IDA registered the trademark “SEPHIRA” and formed a company in France under the name SAS SEPHIRA . IDA then moved to Israel and formed Sephira & Offek Ltd. Going forward the company in Israel would provid R&D services to SAS SEPHIRA in France. All of the taxable profits in Israel was labled as “R&D income” which is taxed at a lower rate in Israel. Later IDA’s rights in the trademark was sold to Sephira & Offek Ltd in return for €8.4m. Due to IDA’s status as a “new Immigrant” in Israel profits from the sale was tax exempt. Following the acquisition of the trademark, Sephira & Offek Ltd licensed the trademark to SAS SEPHIRA in return for royalty payments. In the books ... Read more
Russia vs ViciunaiRus LLC, April 2020, Supreme Court, Case No. A21-133/2018

Russia vs ViciunaiRus LLC, April 2020, Supreme Court, Case No. A21-133/2018

ViciunaiRus LLC was engaged in production and wholesale distribution of its products. During the inspection, the inspection concluded that the chain of contractual relations between the Company and its sole official distributor in the Russian Federation artificially had established intermediates that do not have assets and personnel. At the same time, the price of products increased by more than 20% in the course of movement along the chain of counter parties. During the period from 2012 to 2014, the tax authorities considered the inclusion of intermediaries in the sales structure to be of a artificial nature and aimed at understating the sales revenue. The taxpayer was additionally charged profit tax and VAT, and the additional tax was calculated based on the resale price at which the goods were received by the distributor. In 2012 and 2013 the transactions between the taxpayer and distributor were controlled. In 2014 they were not. The taxpayer objected to the tax authority’s decision; among other ... Read more
Czech Republic vs. ACTRAD s.r.o., February 2020, Supreme Administrative Court, No. 7 Afs 176/2019 - 26

Czech Republic vs. ACTRAD s.r.o., February 2020, Supreme Administrative Court, No. 7 Afs 176/2019 – 26

The issue in this case was the pricing of advertising services acquired by ACTRAD s.r.o. from related parties PRESSTEX PRINT and PRESSTEX MEDIA . According to the authorities ACTRAD instead of acquiring advertising and promotional services directly from the sports clubs (which was possible), used the services of intermediaries PRESSTEX PRINT and PRESSTEX MEDIA, who increased the price of the services provided significantly (290, 229 and 102 times), without adding any value to the transaction. The final price paid for the advertisement thus increased 290 times in 2011, 229 times in the first half of 2012 and 102 times in the second half of 2012 compared to the initial invoice. This increase occurred while the content, scope and form of the services remained unchanged. The result of the arrangement was a reduction in the tax bases of ACTRAD s.r.o. The tax authorities issued an assessment of additional income taxes for FY 2011 and 2012 in a total amount of ~CZK ... Read more
Greece vs "VSR Inc", December 2019, Court, Case No A 2631/2019

Greece vs “VSR Inc”, December 2019, Court, Case No A 2631/2019

At issue was the transfer of taxable assets from a shareholder to a 100% owned company, “VSR Inc”. This transfer of resulted in an understatement of profits in a controlled sale of vehicle scrapping rights. Following an audit, the tax authority concluded that the rights had been acquired in the previous quarter from the one transferred and that a sale value below cost could not be justified. According to the tax authorities the arrangement lacked economic or commercial substance. The sole purpose had been to lower the overall taxation. An revised tax assessment – and a substantial fine – was issued by the tax authorities. VSR filed an appeal. Judgement of the Court The court dismissed the appeal and decided in favor of the tax authorities. “Since it is apparent from the above that the above transactions were intended to transfer taxable material from the applicant’s sole proprietorship to the associated company under the name of ” “, TIN and ... Read more
Czech Republic vs. Eli Lilly ČR, s.r.o., December 2019, District Court of Praque, No. 6 Afs 90/2016 - 62

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

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 service provider to Eli Lilly Export S.A. (the principal). Eli Lilly ČR was selling the products at a lower price than the price it purchased them for from Eli Lilly Export S.A. According to the company this was due to local price controls of pharmaceuticals. Eli Lilly ČR was also paid for providing marketing services by the Swiss HQ, which ensured that Eli Lilly ČR was profitable, despite selling the products at a loss. Eli Lilly ČR reported the marketing services as a provision of services with the place of supply outside of the Czech Republic; therefore, the income from such supply was exempt from ... Read more
Russia vs Garnet-SPb, June 2019, Court of Appeal, Case No. A56-113775/2017

Russia vs Garnet-SPb, June 2019, Court of Appeal, Case No. A56-113775/2017

Garnet-SPb was the exclusive representative of a German manufacturing company in Russia. Following introduction of restrictions on the supply of certain categories of goods to Russia by the European Union in 2014, the Company had used the services of an intermediary trading company. The intermediary offered the Company to purchase products previously purchased directly from the manufacturer. The difference between the export price of goods according to the manufacturer’s data and the price at which the goods were now purchased by the Company – through the intermediate – was over 40%. During the audit, the tax authority considered that the Company was able and actually exported the goods itself, the transition to the new delivery scheme was aimed at obtaining unjustified tax benefits in the form of overstatement of VAT deductions. The amount of additional income tax and VAT was calculated by the tax authority on the basis of the export value of these goods. The court of first instance ... Read more
Belgium vs Fortum Project Finance, May 2019, Court of Appeal in Antwerp, Case No F.16.0053.N

Belgium vs Fortum Project Finance, May 2019, Court of Appeal in Antwerp, Case No F.16.0053.N

Fortum Project Finance (Fortum PF’) is a Belgian company, founded in 2008 by Fortum OYI, a Finnish company, and Fortum Holding bv, a Dutch company. The establishment of Fortum PF was part of an acquisition that the Finnish company Fortum OYI, through its Swedish subsidiary Fortum 1AB, had in mind in Russia. However, the financing of this Russian acquisition did not go directly through Sweden but through Fortum PF in Belgium. Two virtually identical loan contracts were drawn up simultaneously on 19 March 2008. First, Fortum OYI granted credit facilities of EUR 3,000,000,000 to Fortum PF and with a second loan, Fortum PF ‘passed on’ the same amount to Fortum 1AB of Sweden. The funds, intended for the acquisition in Russia, did not pass through Belgium but went directly to Russia. 10 days later, capital increases were made to Fortum PF, with the Finnish company Fortum OYI contributing part of its loan to Fortum PF. In this way, a total ... Read more

EU report on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance

In March 2018 a special EU committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance (TAX3) was established. Now, one year later, The EU Parliament has approved a controversial report from the committee. According to the report close to 40 % of MNEs’ profits are shifted to tax havens globally each year with some European Union countries appearing to be the prime losers of profit shifting, as 35 % of shifted profits come from EU countries. About 80 % of the profits shifted from EU Member States are channelled to or through a few other EU Member States. The latest estimates of tax evasion within the EU point to a figure of approximately EUR 825 billion per year. Tax avoidance via six EU Member States results in a loss of EUR 42,8 billion in tax revenue in the other 22 Member States, which means that the net payment position of these countries can be offset against the losses they inflict ... Read more
Russia vs ViciunaiRus LLC, December 2018, Court of Appeal, Case No. A21-133/2018

Russia vs ViciunaiRus LLC, December 2018, Court of Appeal, Case No. A21-133/2018

ViciunaiRus LLC was engaged in production and wholesale distribution of its products. During the inspection, the inspection concluded that the chain of contractual relations between the Company and its sole official distributor in the Russian Federation artificially had established intermediates that do not have assets and personnel. At the same time, the price of products increased by more than 20% in the course of movement along the chain of counter parties. During the period from 2012 to 2014, the tax authorities considered the inclusion of intermediaries in the sales structure to be of a artificial nature and aimed at understating the sales revenue. The taxpayer was additionally charged profit tax and VAT, and the additional tax was calculated based on the resale price at which the goods were received by the distributor. In 2012 and 2013 the transactions between the taxpayer and distributor were controlled. In 2014 they were not. The taxpayer objected to the tax authority’s decision; among other ... Read more
Malaysia vs Ensco Gerudi, June 2016, High Court, Case No. 14-11-08-2014

Malaysia vs Ensco Gerudi, June 2016, High Court, Case No. 14-11-08-2014

Ensco Gerudi provided offshore drilling services to the petroleum industry in Malaysia. The company did not own any drilling rigs, but entered into leasing agreements with a rig owner within the Ensco Group. One of the rig owners in the group incorporated a Labuan company to facilitate easier business dealings for the taxpayer. Ensco Gerudi entered into a leasing agreement with the Labuan company for the rigs. Unlike previous transactions, the leasing payments made to the Labuan company did not attract withholding tax. The tax authorities found the Labuan company had no economic or commercial substance and that the purpose of the transaction had only been to benefit from the tax reduction. The High Court decided in favour of the taxpayer. The Court held that there was nothing artificial about the payments and that the transactions were within the meaning and scope of the arrangements contemplated by the government in openly offering incentives. The High Court ruled that taxpayers have ... Read more
New Zealand vs Ben Nevis Forestry Ventures Ltd., December 2008, Supreme Court, Case No [2008] NZSC 115, SC 43/2007 and 44/2007

New Zealand vs Ben Nevis Forestry Ventures Ltd., December 2008, Supreme Court, Case No [2008] NZSC 115, SC 43/2007 and 44/2007

The tax scheme in the Ben Nevis-case involved land owned by the subsidiary of a charitable foundation being licensed to a group of single purpose investor loss attributing qualifying companies (LAQC’s). The licensees were responsible for planting, maintaining and harvesting the forest through a forestry management company. The investors paid $1,350 per hectare for the establishment of the forest and $1,946 for an option to buy the land in 50 years for half its then market value. There were also other payments, including a $50 annual license fee. The land had been bought for around $580 per hectare. This meant that the the investors, if it wished to acquire the land after harvesting the forest, had to pay half its then value, even though they had already paid over three times the value at the inception of the scheme. In addition to the above payments, the investors agreed to pay a license premium of some $2 million per hectare, payable ... Read more
Belgium vs SA Etablissements Brepols, June 1961, Court Cassation,

Belgium vs SA Etablissements Brepols, June 1961, Court Cassation,

SA Etablissements Brepols, which had a profitable commercial activity in Belgium, transferred its entire activity to an new company, the SA Usines Brepols. At the same time, a loan was granted to the new company. The interest charge on that loan was so high that almost all of the profits of SA Usines Brepols were used to finance the loan and therefore no taxes were paid. However, S.A. Etablissements Brepols was taxed on the interest received, which at the time was at a reduced rate in Belgium. The tax administration considered that the taxpayer had only entered into the transactions for the main purpose of reducing the tax burden and disallowed the reduced taxation. The Court of Appeal agreed and held that the agreements concluded between the parties constituted evasion of the law. The Belgian Supreme court overturned the decision in its judgment of 6 June 1961 and stated the following: “There is no simulation prohibited in the field of ... Read more