Tag: Beneficial owner

A person who enjoys the real benefits of ownership, even though the title to the property is in another name. Often important in tax treaties, as a resident of a tax treaty partner may be denied the benefits of certain reduced withholding tax rates if the beneficial owner of the dividends etc is resident of a third country.

New Beneficial Ownership Toolkit will help tax administrations tackle tax evasion more effectively

New Beneficial Ownership Toolkit will help tax administrations tackle tax evasion more effectively

A beneficial ownership toolkit was released 20. May 2019 in the context of the OECD’s Global Integrity and Anti-Corruption Forum. The toolkit, prepared by the Secretariat of the OECD’s Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, is intended to help governments implement the Global Forum’s standards on ensuring that law enforcement officials have access to reliable information on who the ultimate beneficial owners are behind a company or other legal entity so that criminals can no longer hide their illicit activities behind opaque legal structures. The toolkit was developed to support Global Forum members and in particular developing countries because the current beneficial ownership standard does not provide a specific method for implementing it. The toolkit covers a variety of important issues regarding beneficial ownership, including: the concepts of beneficial owners and ownership, the criteria used to identify them, the importance of the matter for transparency in the financial ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs T and Y Denmark, February 2019, European Court of Justice, Cases C-116/16 and C-117/16

Denmark vs T and Y Denmark, February 2019, European Court of Justice, Cases C-116/16 and C-117/16

The cases of T Danmark (C-116/16) and Y Denmark Aps (C-117/16) adresses questions related to interpretation of the EU-Parent-Subsidary-Directive The issue is withholding taxes levied by the Danish tax authorities in situations where dividend payments are made to conduit companies located in treaty countries but were the beneficial owners of these payments are located in non-treaty countries. During the proceedings in the Danish court system the European Court of Justice was asked a number of questions related to the conditions under which exemption from withholding tax can be denied on dividend payments to related parties. The European Court of Justice has now answered these questions in favor of the Danish Tax Ministry; Benefits granted under the Parent-Subsidiary Directive can be denied where fraudulent or abusive tax avoidance is involved. Quotations from cases C-116/16 and C-117/16: “The general principle of EU law that EU law cannot be relied on for abusive or fraudulent ends must be interpreted as meaning that, where ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs N, X, C, and Z Denmark, February 2019, European Court of Justice, Cases C-115/16, C-118/16, C-119/16 and C-299/16

Denmark vs N, X, C, and Z Denmark, February 2019, European Court of Justice, Cases C-115/16, C-118/16, C-119/16 and C-299/16

The cases of N Luxembourg 1 (C-115/16), X Denmark A/S (C-118/16), C Danmark I (C-119/16) and Z Denmark ApS (C-299/16), adresses questions related to the interpretation of the EU Interest and Royalty Directive. The issue in these cases is withholding taxes levied by the Danish tax authorities in situations where interest payments are made to conduit companies located in treaty countries but were the beneficial owners of these payments are located in non-treaty countries. During the proceedings in the Danish court system the European Court of Justice was asked a number of questions related to the conditions under which exemption from withholding tax can be denied on interest payments to related parties. The European Court of Justice has now answered these questions in favor of the Danish Tax Ministry; Benefits granted under the Interest and Royalty Directive can be denied where fraudulent or abusive tax avoidance is involved. Quotations from cases C-115/16, C-118/16, C-119/16 and C-299/16: “The concept of ‘beneficial ... Continue to full case
Italy vs Dolce & Gabbana, December 2018, Supreme Court, Case no 33234/2018

Italy vs Dolce & Gabbana, December 2018, Supreme Court, Case no 33234/2018

In this case the Italian fashion group, Dolce & Gabbana, had moved ownership of valuable intangibles to a subsidiary established for that purpose in Luxembourg. The Italian Revenue Agency found the arrangement to be wholly artificial and set up only to avoid Italien taxes and to benefit from the privileged tax treatment in Luxembourg. The Revenue Agency argued that all decision related to the intangibles was in fact taken at the Italian headquarters of Dolce & Gabbana in Milan, and not in Luxembourg, where there were no administrative structure and only one employee with mere secretarial duties. Dolce & Gobbana disargeed with these findings and brought the case to court. In the first and second instance the courts ruled in favor of the Italian Revenue Agency, but the Italian Supreme Court ruled in favor of Dolce & Gabbana. According to the Supreme Court, the fact that a company is established in another EU Member State to benefit from more advantageous ... Continue to full case

Korea vs Company A, November 29, 2018, Supreme Court Case no. 2018Du38376

The issue in this case was the meaning of and standard for determining what constitutes “beneficial owner” as prescribed by Article 10(2)(a) of the Convention between the Government of the Republic of Korea and the Government of the Hungarian People’s Republic for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income. Whether a tax treaty may be deemed inapplicable in the event that treaty abuse is acknowledged according to the principle of substantial taxation under the Framework Act on National Taxes even if constituting a beneficial owner of dividend income (affirmative) In a case where: (a) Company A, in paying dividends on six occasions to Hungary-based Company B that owns 50% of its shares, paid the withheld corporate tax based on the limited tax rate of 5% as prescribed by Article 10(2)(a) of the Convention between the Government of the Republic of Korea and the Government of the Hungarian People’s Republic for ... Continue to full case

Korea vs CJ E&M Co., Ltd., November 2018, Supreme Court Case no. 2018Du38376

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 time to December 2013, the Plaintiff paid VIH royalties amounting to roughly KRW 13.5 billion (hereinafter “pertinent royalty income”). CJ E&M Co., Ltd did not withhold the corporate tax regarding the pertinent royalty income according to Article 12(1) of the Convention between the Government of the Republic of Korea and the Government of the Hungarian People’s Republic for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income (hereinafter “Korea-Hungary Tax Treaty”). The Hungarian company was interposed between the Korean entertainment company and a Dutch company which previously licensed the rights to the Korean entertainment company. The Korean ... Continue to full case
UK vs GDF Suez Teesside, October 2018, UK Court of Appeal, Case No [2018] EWCA Civ 2075

UK vs GDF Suez Teesside, October 2018, UK Court of Appeal, Case No [2018] EWCA Civ 2075

Following the collapse of Enron in 2001, Goldman Sachs and Cargill had purchased a company previously known as Teeside Power Ltd. Teesside Power had claimed hundreds of millions of pounds were owed to the plant by other Enron subsidiaries. In a scheem devised by Ernst and Young, Teesside Power set up a Jersey-based company to avoid paying corporation tax on about £200 million by converting the receivables into shares. The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the tax authorities and considered the scheme abusive tax avoidance covered by UK GAARs. The Court stated that statutory notes, although they are not endorsed by Parliament, are admissible as an aid to construction. The explanatory notes relating to the 2006 amendment to FA 1996 s 85A(1) confirmed that the amendment aimed to make it absolutely clear that the ‘fairly represent’ rule in s 84(1) takes priority over the accounting treatment mandated by s 85A(1). ”GDF EWCA Civ 2075 (05 October 2018)”] ... Continue to full case
Poland vs CP Corp, September 2016, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. II FSK 2299/14

Poland vs CP Corp, September 2016, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. II FSK 2299/14

A Polish company were planning to enter into a inter-group cash pooling agreement. The cash pooling operation were to be managed by a foreign bank, which would open a group account as a basic account for Norwegien parent company, the pool leader. The question was whether the taxation of interest payments made from the Polish company to the pool leader will apply art. 21 par. 3 of the Corporate Income Tax Act, as a result of which interest should be exempt from withholding tax, and if not – whether the taxation of the interest will apply art. 11 of the tax treaty between Norway and Poland. In this judgement the Court stated that the cash pool leader cannot be regarded as the owner of all receivables paid to the group account, because it is not entitled to dispose of the interest in its sole discretion. The judgement in this case is aligned with prior rulings of 11 June 2015, file ... Continue to full case
Poland vs Cash Pool Corp, March 2016, Supreme administrative Court, Case No. II FSK 3666/13

Poland vs Cash Pool Corp, March 2016, Supreme administrative Court, Case No. II FSK 3666/13

In a request for a binding ruling, a Polish Company indicated that it was joining an inter-group Cash Pooling Agreement (“Agreement”) in which the leader was based in Luxembourg. Under the Agreement, the pool leader acts as a regional financial center and consolidates the balances of current accounts of all the cash pool participants. The banking platform used by the Group for the purposes of Cash Pooling is operated by D. Bank (“DB”) based in Germany. The actual operation of the Cash pooling system will consist in automated transfers of positive balances existing on the accounts of participants of Cash pooling, including the applicant’s account at the end of the settlement day into the superior account of Leader. The Minister of Finance found that the role of Cash pool leader boils down to the management of cash that will flow from participants in the cash pooling system. It is the companies participating in this cash pool that can actually enjoy ... Continue to full case
Poland vs Cash Pool Corp, Warsaw Administrative Court, Case no II-FSK-1518-13

Poland vs Cash Pool Corp, Warsaw Administrative Court, Case no II-FSK-1518-13

In a request for a binding ruling, a Polish Company indicated that it was joining an inter-group Cash Pooling Agreement (“Agreement”) in which the leader was based in Luxembourg. Under the Agreement, the pool leader acts as a regional financial center and consolidates the balances of current accounts of all the cash pool participants. The banking platform used by the Group for the purposes of Cash Pooling is operated by D. Bank (“DB”) based in Germany. The actual operation of the Cash pooling system will consist in automated transfers of positive balances existing on the accounts of participants of Cash pooling, including the applicant’s account at the end of the settlement day into the superior account of Leader. The Minister of Finance found that the role of Cash pool leader boils down to the management of cash that will flow from participants in the cash pooling system. It is the companies participating in this cash pool that can actually enjoy ... Continue to full case
Switzerland vs DK Bank, May 2015, Federal Supreme Court, Case No BGE 141 II 447)

Switzerland vs DK Bank, May 2015, Federal Supreme Court, Case No BGE 141 II 447)

The Federal Supreme Court denied the refund of withholding taxes claimed by a Danish bank on the basis of the double tax treaty between Denmark and Switzerland due to the lack of beneficial ownership. The Danish bank entered into total return swap agreements with different clients. For hedging purposes, the Danish bank purchased a certain amount of the underlying assets (companies listed in the Swiss stock exchange) and received dividend distributions from these Swiss companies. The Federal Supreme Court was of the opinion that the Danish bank lost the right for refund of the withholding taxes on the dividends received based on the DTT-DK/CH. According to the Federal Supreme Court, the Danish Bank could not be qualified as the beneficial owner of these shares. The Federal Supreme Court denied the beneficial ownership on the grounds that the Danish bank was, in fact, obliged to transfer the dividends to the respective parties of the total return swap agreements. Click here for ... Continue to full case