Tag: Commercial rationality

Test used for identification of tax avoidance schemes. Artificial schemes which create circumstances under which no tax or minimal tax is levied may be disregarded if they are not “commercially rational” absent the tax benefit. See also lack of economic substance.

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
Norway vs Hess Norge AS, May 2017, Court of Appeal

Norway vs Hess Norge AS, May 2017, Court of Appeal

A Norwegian subsidiary of an international group (Hess Oil), refinanced an intra-group USD loan two years prior to the loans maturity date. The new loan was denominated in Norwegian kroner and had a significantly higher interest rate. The tax authorities reduced the interest payments of the Norwegian subsidiary pursuant to section 13-1 of the Tax Act for fiscal years 2009 – 2011, thereby increasing taxable income for years in question with a total of kroner 262 million. The Court of Appeal found for the most part in favor of the tax administraion. Under the circumstances of the case, neither the claimed refinancing risk nor the currency risk could sufficiently support it being commercially rational for the subsidiary to enter into the new loan agreement two years prior to the maturity date of the original USD loan. When applying the arm’s length principle, the company’s refinancing risk had to be based on the Norwegian company’s actual situation as a subsidiary in ... Continue to full case
Brazil vs Macopolo, July 2014, Supreme Tax Appeal Court, Case no 9101-001.954

Brazil vs Macopolo, July 2014, Supreme Tax Appeal Court, Case no 9101-001.954

The case involved export transactions carried out by a company domiciled in Brazil, Marcopolo, manufacturing bus bodies (shells) which were sold to subsidiary trading companies domiciled in low tax jurisdictions (Jurisdição com Tributação Favorecida). The trading companies would then resell the bus bodies (shells) to unrelated companies in different countries. The tax authorities argued that the sale of the bus bodies to the intermediary trading companies carried out prior to the sale to the final customers lacked business purpose and economic substance and were therefore a form of abusive tax planning. The Court reached the decision that the transactions had a business purpose and were therefore legally acceptable. Click here for translation Brazil vs M 2014 ... Continue to full case
Switzerland vs. Corp, Juli 2012, Federal Supreme Court, Case No. 2C_834-2011, 2C_836-2011

Switzerland vs. Corp, Juli 2012, Federal Supreme Court, Case No. 2C_834-2011, 2C_836-2011

In this ruling, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court comments on the application of the arm’s length principel and the burden of proff in Switzerland. “Services, which have their legal basis in the investment relationship, are to be offset against the taxable income of the company to the extent that they would otherwise not be granted to a third party under the same circumstances or not to the same extent and would not constitute a capital repayment. This rule of the so-called third-party comparison (or the principle of “dealing at arm’s length”) therefore requires that even legal transactions with equity holders or between Group companies be conducted on the same terms as would be agreed with external third parties on competitive and market conditions.” “Swiss Law – with the exception of individual provisions – does not have any actual group law and treats each company as a legally independent entity with its own bodies which have to transact the business in ... Continue to full case
Norway vs. Telecomputing, June 2010, Supreme Court case nr. HR-2010-1072-A

Norway vs. Telecomputing, June 2010, Supreme Court case nr. HR-2010-1072-A

This case was about the qualification of capital transfers to a US subsidiary – whether the capital should be qualified as a loan (as done by the company) or as a equity contribution (as agrued by the tax administration). The Supreme Court concluded that the capital transfers to the subsidiary as a whole should be classified as loans. The form chosen by the company (loan) had an independent commercial rationale and Section 13-1 of the Tax Code did not allow for reclassification of the capital transfer The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Telecomputing AS. Click here for translation Norway rt-2010-s-790-Telecomputing-rentefritt-lån ... Continue to full case