Tag: Business rationale

Test used in determining the economic substance of an arrangement/transaction. Artificial schemes which create circumstances under which no tax or minimal tax is levied may be disregarded if they do not have a “business rationale”. See also lack of economic substance.

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 ... Continue to full case
Spain vs SGL Carbon Holding, April 2019, Audiencia Nacional, Case No ES:AN:2019:1885

Spain vs SGL Carbon Holding, April 2019, Audiencia Nacional, Case No ES:AN:2019:1885

A Spanish subsidiary – SGL Carbon Holding SL – had significant financial expenses derived from an intra-group loan granted by the parent company for the acquisition of shares in companies of the same group. The taxpayer argued that the intra-group acquisition and debt helped to redistribute the funds of the Group and that Spanish subsidiary was less leveraged than the Group as a whole. The Spanish tax authorities found the transactions lacked any business rationale other than tax avoidance and therefor disallowed the interest deductions. The Court held in favor of the authorities. The court found that the transaction lacked any business rationale and was “fraud of law” only intended to avoid taxation. The Court also denied the company access to MAP on the grounds that Spanish legislation determines: Article 8 Reglamento MAP: Mutual agreement procedure may be denied, amongst other, in the following cases: … (d) Where it is known that the taxpayer’s conduct was intended to avoid taxation ... Continue to full case
Nederlands vs. Corp, January 2014, Lower Court, Case nr. AWB11/3717, 11/3718, 11/3719, 11/3720, 11/3721

Nederlands vs. Corp, January 2014, Lower Court, Case nr. AWB11/3717, 11/3718, 11/3719, 11/3720, 11/3721

The case involved a Dutch mutual insurance company, DutchCo, which paid surpluses from the insurance activity back to the participating members in the form of premium restitution. Prior to 2002, DutchCo reinsured the majority of its risks with external reinsurers via an external reinsurance broker. DutchCo kept a small part of the risks for its own account. In 2001, DutchCo established a subsidiary in Switzerland, Captive, to act as a captive reinsurance provider. DutchCo stated that the business rationale to establish Captive goes back to “9/11.” The resulting worldwide turmoil significantly impacted the reinsurance market. In an extremely nervous market, premiums increased and conditions were sharpened. From 2002 onward, all the reinsurance contracts of DutchCo were concluded with Captive (in exchange for payment of premiums), whereby Captive reinsured a vast majority of these risks with external reinsurers and kept a limited part of the risk for itself. As mentioned above, Captive did not employ any personnel, but made use of ... Continue to full case
Netherlands vs Corp, 2011, Dutch Supreme Court, Case nr. 08/05323 (10/05161, 10/04588)

Netherlands vs Corp, 2011, Dutch Supreme Court, Case nr. 08/05323 (10/05161, 10/04588)

In this case, the Dutch Supreme Court further outlined the Dutch perspective on the distinction between debt and equity in its already infamous judgments on the so-called extreme default risk loan (EDR loan) L sold a securities portfolio to B for EUR 5.3 million against B’s acknowledgement of debt to L for the same amount. The debt was then converted into a 10 year loan with  an interest rate of 5% and a pledge on the portfolio. Both L and B were then moved to the Netherlands Antilles. Later on L deducted a EUR 1.2 mill. loss on the loan to B due to a decrease in value of the securities portfolio. The Dutch Tax Authorities disallowed the deduction based on the argument, that the loan was not a business motivated loan. The Dutch Supreme Court ruled that in principle civil law arrangement is decisive in regard to taxation. However there are exceptions in which a civil law loan arrangement can be disregarded ... Continue to full case
Nederlands vs. Corp, July 2011, Lower Court AWB 08/9105

Nederlands vs. Corp, July 2011, Lower Court AWB 08/9105

X is the holding company of the so-called A-group, which is a recreation company driven. The activities in X was taking out cancellation insurance. Within the group an Irish company was established. Between X and an insurer, that insurer and a reinsurer and the reinsurer and the Irish company several contracts were concluded with regard to the cancellation activities. The court considers that the tax administration has proved that X has let on un-businesslike grounds earnings miss in favor of the Irish company. Click here for translation Nederlands-vs-Corp-July-2011-Lower-Court-Case-nr-AWB-08-9105 ... Continue to full case
Netherlands vs Shoe Corp, June 2007, District Court, Case nr. 05/1352, VSN June 2, 2007

Netherlands vs Shoe Corp, June 2007, District Court, Case nr. 05/1352, VSN June 2, 2007

This case is about a IP sale-and-license-back arrangement. The taxpayer acquired the shares in BV Z (holding). BV Z owns the shares in BV A and BV B (the three BVs form a fiscal unity under the CITA). BV A produces and sells shoes. In 1993, under a self-proclaimed protection clause, BV A sells the trademark of the shoes to BV C, which is also part of the fiscal unity. The protection clause was supposedly intended to protect the trademark in case of default of BV A. Taxpayer had created BV C prior to the sale of the trademark. In 1994, the taxpayer entered into a licensing agreement with BV C: the taxpayer pays NLG 2 to BV C per pair of shoes sold. Next, BV C is then moved to the Netherlands Antilles, which results in the end of the fiscal unity as of January 1, 1994. The roundtrip arrangement, the sale of an intangible and the subsequent payment of ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case