Tag: Burden of proof (Onus)

Obligation to persuade a court or other entity of the validity of a factual assertion.

France vs SAS Groupe Lagasse Europe, January 2020, CCA de VERSAILLES, Case No. 18VE00059 18VE02329

France vs SAS Groupe Lagasse Europe, January 2020, CCA de VERSAILLES, Case No. 18VE00059 18VE02329

A French subsidiary, SAS Groupe Lagasse Europe, of the Canadian Legasse Group had paid service fees to another Canadian group company, Gestion Portland Vimy. The French tax authorities held that the basis for the payments of service fees had not been established, and that there was no benefit to the French subsidiary. The payments constituted an indirect transfer of profits within the meaning of the ‘article 57 of the general tax code; Excerps from the judgement of the Court: “11. Under the terms of article 57 of the general tax code, applicable in matters of corporate tax under article 209 of the same code: “For the establishment of income tax due by the companies which are dependent or have control of companies located outside of France, the profits indirectly transferred to the latter, either by increasing or decreasing the purchase or sale prices, or by any other means, are incorporated into the results recognized by the accounts (…) “. These ... Continue to full case

Israel vs Broadcom, Aug 2019, Israeli Supreme Court, Case No 2454/19

In 2012 Broadcom Corporation acquired all the shares of Broadlight Inc, another US corporation which owned a subsidiary in Israel, for around $200 million. Three months later, the subsidiary in Israel sold its IP to a group company for $59.5m and then an agreement was entered according to which the subsidiary would supply R&D, marketing and support services to the other group companies for a cost plus fee. Based on these facts the Israeli tax Authorities issued an assessment equivalent to $168.5m. The tax authorities found that the full value of the company in Israel had been transferred. The tax assessment was brought to court where Broadcom claimed that the tax authorities had re-characterised the transaction and that the onus of proof was on the tax authorities to justify the value of $168.5m. First the District Court held that all the values in the Israeli subsidiary had been transferred and ruled in favor of the tax authorities. Later in a ... Continue to full case
Italy vs Christian Fishbacher S.p.A, May 2019, Corte di Cassazione No 9615 Anno 2019

Italy vs Christian Fishbacher S.p.A, May 2019, Corte di Cassazione No 9615 Anno 2019

According to the Tax Authorities, the content of Christian Fishbacher S.p.A’s contract with the Swiss parent of the Group, granting limited right of use of the trademark, did not justify a royalty of 3.5%, to which an additional 1.6% was added as a contribution to the investments for the promotion and development of the brand. The appellate judge held that exceeding the values taken as “normal” by the circular 32 of 09/22/1980 not it were justified in the light of the concrete elements of the case is that correctly the Office had re-determined the value of the services within 2%, following the aforementioned Circular, which incorporated the indications of the report drawn up by the OECD in 1979. The circular identifies three levels for assessing the normal value of royalties: the first, not suspected, up to 2%; the second from 2% to 5%, determined on the basis of technical data firm and to the content of the contract , in ... Continue to full case
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 translation CÉt_8ème_-_3ème_chambres_réunies_19_09_2018_405779 ... Continue to full case
US vs Pacific management Group, August 2018, US Tax Court Case, Memo 2018-131

US vs Pacific management Group, August 2018, US Tax Court Case, Memo 2018-131

This case concerned a tax scheme where taxable income was eliminated using factoring and management fees to shift profits. The Tax Court held that the scheme was in essence an attempt to eliminate the taxes. Factoring and management fees were not deductible expenses but rather disguised distributions of corporate profits and generally currently taxable to the individual shareholders as constructive dividends or as income improperly assigned to the corporations. In the TC Memo interesting views on the arm’s length nature of factoring and management fees is elaborated upon. TC memo 2018-131 US vs Pacific management Group 20aug 2018 TC memo 2018-131 ... Continue to full case
Malawi vs Eastern Produce Malawi Ltd, July 2018, Malawi High Court, JRN 43 af 2016

Malawi vs Eastern Produce Malawi Ltd, July 2018, Malawi High Court, JRN 43 af 2016

Eastern Produce Ltd is part of Camellia Plc Group, and is is engaged in the growing, production and processing of tea in Malawi. The Malawi tax administration conducted a tax audit and found that transfer prices for intergroup service transactions had not been at arm’s length. However, in the notifications to Eastern Produce Ltd. no reference was made to the local arm’s length regulations – only the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines. Eastern Produce Limited complained to the High Court and argued that: “The decision and proceeding by MRA to use OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) guidelines whilst performing transfer pricing analysis and as a basis for effecting amendments to tax assessments was illegal. CONSIDERATIONS OF THE COURT, EXCERPS “With regard to transfer pricing in 2014, the law was contained in Section 127A. Section 127A provides as follows: “where a person who is not resident in Malawi carries on business with a person resident in Malawi and the course of such business is ... Continue to full case
Israel vs Kontera and Finisar, April 2018, Supreme Court, Case No. 943/16

Israel vs Kontera and Finisar, April 2018, Supreme Court, Case No. 943/16

In these two cases from Israel the Supreme Court rules on the issue of whether or not companies using the cost plus method must include stock-based compensation in the cost base. The Court concludes that stock-based compensation is an integral part of the compensation package of the Israeli subsidiaries’ employees with the objective of improving the quality of services rendered and strengthening the bond between the companies’ and employees’ cohesive goals. Therefore, such compensation should be included in the cost base. The Court also addressed the burden of proof in relation to transfer pricing disputes in Israel. Section 85 A (c) (2) provides that the burden of proof is with the tax authority if the taxpayer have submitted all required documentation, including a transfer pricing study, that “adequately substantiate” intercompany prices to be in accordance with arm’s length principle ... Continue to full case
Zimbabwe vs CRS (Pvt) Ltd, October 2017, High Court, HH 728-17 FA 20/2014

Zimbabwe vs CRS (Pvt) Ltd, October 2017, High Court, HH 728-17 FA 20/2014

The issue in this case was whether tax administration could tax a “non-existent income” through the “deeming provisions” of s 98 of Zimbabwe’s Income Tax Act. A lease agreement and a separate logistical agreement had been entered by CRS Ltd and a related South African company, for the lease of its mechanical trucks, trailers and tankers for a fixed rental. The tax payer contended that the rentals in the agreements were fair and reasonable. The tax administration contended that they were outrageously low so as to constitute under invoicing and tax avoidance. The court ruled in favor of the tax administration. Excerps from the Judgement: “Where any transaction, operation or scheme (including a transaction, operation or scheme involving the alienation of property) has been entered into or carried out, which has the effect of avoiding or postponing liability for any tax or of reducing the amount of such liability, and which in the opinion of the Commissioner, having regard to the circumstances ... Continue to full case
Netherland vs. A BV, October 2017, Lower Court, case no 2017: 5965

Netherland vs. A BV, October 2017, Lower Court, case no 2017: 5965

A Dutch parent company was providing support services to its foreign subsidiary on a cost-plus basis and received a compensation fee following a business restructuring where headquarter and strategic functions was transferred from the Dutch parent company to Switzerland. The Dutch tax authorities took the view that the compensation paid was insufficient, and that the Dutch parent company was still performing strategic functions for the group. The Court ruled that the taxpayer had fulfilled its legal obligations by preparing thorough transfer pricing documentation and that the burden of proof was on the Dutch tax authorities. The Court ruled that the tax authorities did not provide sufficient arguments to support the adjustment. The original assessment of € 188.342.906 was reduced to a calculated taxable profit of € 42,641,089 and a taxable amount of € 32,067,270 ... Continue to full case
Netherlands vs Restructuring BV, September 2017, Rechtbank ZWB, No BRE 15/5683

Netherlands vs Restructuring BV, September 2017, Rechtbank ZWB, No BRE 15/5683

A Dutch company was engaged in smelting of zinc. The business was then restructured, for which the company received a small compensation payment. Dutch tax authorities disagreed with both the amount of compensation payment and the arm’s-length remuneration of the post restructuring manufacturing activities. Until 2003 the Dutch Company was a fully fledged business. The company owned the assets and controlled the risks relating to the activities. In the years after 2003, the company was involved in several business restructurings: Activities other than the actual production activities were gradually transferred to other group companies, among others the global marketing and services team (GMS), took over purchasing, sales and deployment of personnel. After becoming part of another group in 2007, the company entered a consultancy agreement with another group company under witch strategic and business development, marketing, sales, finance, legal support, IT, staffing and environmental services was now provided on a cost plus 7.5% basis. Under ‘Project X’, a Belgian company was established in April 2009, which concluded both a business transfer agreement and a cooperation agreement with related smelting companies ... Continue to full case
Italy vs Edison s.p.a. April 2016, Supreme Court no 7493

Italy vs Edison s.p.a. April 2016, Supreme Court no 7493

The Italien company had qualified a funding arrangement as a non-interest-bearing contribution for future capital increase, hence part of Net Equity. The Italian Supreme Court found that intra-group financing agreements are subject to transfer pricing legislation and that non-interest-bearing financing is generally not consistent with the arm’s-length principle ... Continue to full case
Australia vs. Chevron Australia Holdings Pty Ltd . October 2015, Federal Court of Australia, case No. 3 and 4

Australia vs. Chevron Australia Holdings Pty Ltd . October 2015, Federal Court of Australia, case No. 3 and 4

The Australien Chevron case was about a $US 2.5 billion intercompany loan between Chevron Australia and its US subsidiary, Chevron Texaco, and whether the interest paid on the loan by Chevron Australia exceeded the arm’s length price. Chevron Australia had set up a company in the US, Chevron Texaco Funding Corporation, which borrowed money in US dollars at an interest rate of 1.2% and then made an Australian dollar loan at 8.9% to the Australian parent company. This 8,9% interest increased Chevron Australia’s costs, and reduced taxable profits. These interest payments, which was not taxed in the US, came back to Australia in the form of tax free dividends. The US company was just a shell created for the sole purpose of raising funds in the commercial paper market and then lending those funds to the Australian company. Chevron argued that the 8,9% interest rate was taking into account the risk of raising loans written in US dollars and then turning that into an Australian dollar loan. The Court ruled in favor ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
Switzerland vs. Corp, Jan. 2015, Case No. 2C_1082-2013, 2C_1083-2013

Switzerland vs. Corp, Jan. 2015, Case No. 2C_1082-2013, 2C_1083-2013

In this case, the Swiss Court elaborates on application of the arm’s length principel, transfer pricing methods, OECD TPG, and the burden of proof in Switzerland. Excerp in English (unofficial translation) “5.1. The question of whether there is a disproportion between the service provided by the company and the compensation it provides is determined by comparison with what has been agreed between independent persons (“Drittvergleich”): the question is whether the benefit would have been granted, to the same extent, to a third party outside the company, or to check whether the “arm’s length” was respected. This method makes it possible to identify the market value of the property transferred or the service rendered, with which the counter-benefit actually required must be compared. 5.2. Where there is a free market, the prices charged therein are decisive and allow an effective comparison with those applied in the transaction examined. If there is no free market, but transactions with the same characteristics have ... Continue to full case
France vs. Nestlé water, Feb. 2014, CAA no 11VE03460

France vs. Nestlé water, Feb. 2014, CAA no 11VE03460

In the French Nestlé water case, the following arguments were made by the company: The administration, which bears the burden of proof under the provisions of Article 57 of the General Tax Code, of paragraphs 38, 39 and 42 of the Instruction 13 l-7-98 of 23 July 199 8 and case law, does not establish the presumption of indirect transfer of profits abroad that would constitute the payment of a fee to the Swiss companies A … SA, company products A … SA and Nestec SA. The mere fact that the association of the mark A … with the mark Aquarel also benefits company A … SA, owner of the mark A …, does not allow to prove the absence of profit and thus of consideration for NWE. The latter company also benefited from the combination of the two brands. Advertising alone are not enough to characterize an indirect transfer of profits abroad; in any case, the administration does not ... Continue to full case
Switzerland vs. X, Oct. 2013, Federal Supreme Court, Case No. 2C_644-2013

Switzerland vs. X, Oct. 2013, Federal Supreme Court, Case No. 2C_644-2013

X was the principal shareholder and Chairman in the Insurance Agency, Y AG. In 2003, the company went bankrupt, with the bankruptcy proceedings suspended for lack of assets and the company was removed from the commercial register in September 2003. On 12 March 2007, the tax administration initiated a subsequent taxation proceedings against X concerning monetary benefits which it was supposed to have received from Y AG in the years 1997 to 2000. On 2 May 2012, the tax administration imposed an additional tax in the amount of CHF 39’056.20 including default interest. The appeal against this decision was rejected by the Tax Appeals Commission. Before the Federal Supreme Court, X appealed the decision. Excerp from the Federal Supreme Court ruling: “3.1 According to Art. 20 para. 1 lit.c DBG Income from movable assets, in particular dividends, profit shares, liquidation surpluses and non-cash benefits arising from participations of all kinds. In the relevant economic view, this includes all payments, transfers, ... Continue to full case
Sweden vs Cambrex, April 2013, Administrative Court, Case No. 456-11

Sweden vs Cambrex, April 2013, Administrative Court, Case No. 456-11

In the Cambrix case the issue was whether the interest rate on an shareholder loan had been at arm’s length. The court concluded that the burden of proof was on the Swedish tax authorities and that sufficient evidence had not been provided to support the claim that the interest rate had not been at arm’s length. Click here for translation Sweden vs Cambrex AB 2013-04-26 ... Continue to full case
Japan vs Manufacturing Co. March 2013, Tokyo High Court, No 19

Japan vs Manufacturing Co. March 2013, Tokyo High Court, No 19

A Japanese manufacturing company was issued an estimated tax assessment due to lack of transfer pricing documentation. The District Court ruled in favor of the tax authorities. The Court decided that accounts and documents necessary for calculating arms’s length prices should be presented or submitted to the tax authorities without delay. If sufficient documentation is not submitted, the requirement for an estimated taxation is satisfied. Furthermore, in such cases the burden of proof shifts to the taxpayer side. See the transcripts from the district Court below. The case was then appealed by the company to Tokyo High Court, which also ruled in favor of the tax authorities. Click here for translation Japan-vs-Manufacturing-Co.083647_hanrei See transcripts from the district Court below. Click here for translation – Part 1 Click here for translation – Part 2 Click here for translation – Part 3 Dokumentationssag-082362_hanrei ... Continue to full case
Czech Republic vs. Goldfein, March 2013, Supreme Administrative Court, No. 1 Afs 99/2012-52

Czech Republic vs. Goldfein, March 2013, Supreme Administrative Court, No. 1 Afs 99/2012-52

The Czech company, Goldfine, submitted a revised tax return lowering the taxable income for the year. The reason being that the German Parent had losses for the year. The Supreme Administrative Court found that the burden of proof related to arm’s length transfer prices, under those circumstances rests with the taxpayer. Losses at the German parent company was not sufficient proof that transfer prices had been incorrect in the original tax return. The Court ruled i favor of the tax administration. Click here for translation Czech vs Corp, 13 March 2013, Supreme Adm. Court, No. 1 Afs 99-2012 ... Continue to full case
France vs. Sociétè Nestlé Finance , Feb 2013, CAA no 11PA02914 and 12PA00469

France vs. Sociétè Nestlé Finance , Feb 2013, CAA no 11PA02914 and 12PA00469

In the Nestlé Finance case, a cash pool/treasury activity was transferred to a related Swiss entity. The function had been purely administrative, carried out exclusively for the benefit of parties related to the French company. The French company did not receive any compensation for the transfer of the cash pooling activity. First the Administrative Court concluded that the transfer of an internal administrative function to a foreign entity – even if the function only involved other affiliated companies ‘captive clientele’ – required the payment of arm’s-length compensation. This decision was then appealed and later revoked by a decision of the Administrative Court of Appeals. Click here for translation France vs Nestlè Finance 5 feb 2013 CAA no 11PA02914 . . . Click here for translation France vs Nestlè Finance 5 Feb 2013 CAA no 12PA00469 ... Continue to full case