Tag: Interest deduction

Australia vs Singapore Telecom Australia Investments Pty Ltd, December 2021, Federal Court of Australia, Case No FCA 1597

Australia vs Singapore Telecom Australia Investments Pty Ltd, December 2021, Federal Court of Australia, Case No FCA 1597

Singapore Telecom Australia Investments Pty Ltd entered into a loan note issuance agreement (the LNIA) with a company (the subscriber) that was resident in Singapore. Singapore Telecom Australia and the subscriber were ultimately 100% owned by the same company. The loan notes issued totalled approximately $5.2 billion to the subscriber. The terms of the LNIA was amendet on three occasions – the first amendment and the second amendment were expressed to have effect as from the date when the LNIA was originally entered into. The interest rate under the LNIA as amended by the third amendment was 13.2575% Following an audit the tax authorities issued an amended assessment under the transfer pricing provisions and denied interest deductions totalling approximately $894 million in respect of four years of income. According to the tax authorities the conditions agreed between the parties differed from the arm’s length principle. Singapore Telecom Australia appealed the assessment to the Federal Court. Judgement of the Federal Court ... Read more
Portugal vs "Welding Mesh SA", December 2021, CAAD Tax Arbitration, Case No 194/2021-T

Portugal vs “Welding Mesh SA”, December 2021, CAAD Tax Arbitration, Case No 194/2021-T

A Portuguese subsidiary – A SA – had received intra group loans in foreign currency and had various other transactions with foreign group companies. The tax authorities claimed that the pricing of the transactions had not been at arm’s length and that the interest payment and exchange losses on the loans were not tax deductible. Decision of CAAD The CAAD set aside the assessment and decided in favour of “Welding Mesh SA” Click here for English translation Portugal - P194_2021-T - 2021-12-07 ... Read more
ATO and Singtel in Court over Intra-company Financing Arrangement

ATO and Singtel in Court over Intra-company Financing Arrangement

In 2001, Singtel, through its wholly owned Australian subsidiary, Singapore Telecom Australia Investments Pty Limited (Singtel Au), acquired the majority of the shares in Cable & Wireless Optus for $17.2 billion. The tax consequences of this acqusition was decided by the Federal Court in Cable & Wireless Australia & Pacific Holding BV (in liquiatie) v Commissioner of Taxation [2017] FCAFC 71. Cable & Wireless argued that part of the price paid under a share buy-back was not dividends and that withholding tax should therefor be refunded. The ATO and the Court disagreed. ATO and Singtel is now in a new dispute  – this time over tax consequences associated with the intra-group financing of the takeover. This case was heard in the Federal Court in August 2021. At issue is a tax assessments for FY 2011, 2012 and 2013 resulting in additional taxes in an amount $268 million. In the assessment interest deductions claimed in Australia on notes issued under a ... Read more
Netherlands vs Hunkemöller B.V., July 2021, Supreme Court, Case No ECLI:NL:2021:1152

Netherlands vs Hunkemöller B.V., July 2021, Supreme Court, Case No ECLI:NL:2021:1152

In 2011 a Dutch group “Hunkemöller BV” acquired “Target BV” for EUR 135 million. The acquisition was financed by four French affiliates “FCPRs” in the Dutch Group – EUR 60,345,000 in the form of convertible instruments (intercompany debt) and the remainder in the form of equity. The convertible instruments carried an interest rates of 13 percent. The four French FCPRs were considered transparent for French tax purposes, but non-transparent for Dutch tax purposes. Hence the interest payments were deducted from the taxable income reported by the Group in the Netherlands, but the interest income was not taxed in France – the structure thus resulted in a tax mismatch. The Dutch tax authorities argued that the interest payments should not be deductible as the setup of the financing structure constituted abuse of law; the financing structure was set up in this particular manner to get around a Dutch anti-abuse rule which limits interest deduction on loans from affiliated entities in respect ... Read more
Netherlands vs X B.V., July 2021, Supreme Court, Case No ECLI:NL:2021:1102

Netherlands vs X B.V., July 2021, Supreme Court, Case No ECLI:NL:2021:1102

X B.V., a private limited company established in the Netherlands, is part of a globally operating group (hereafter: the Group). In the years under review, the head office, which was also the top holding company, was located in the USA. Until 1 February 2008, the X B.V. was, together with BV 1 and BV 2, included in a fiscal unity for corporate income tax with the Interested Party as the parent company. As of 1 February 2008, a number of companies were added to the fiscal unity, including BV 3 and BV 4. X B.V. is considered transparent for tax purposes according to US standards. Its parent company is a company domiciled in the USA, as further described in 2.1.8 below. In 2006, BV 1 borrowed € 195,000,000 under a Euro Credit Facility (ECF), a head office guaranteed credit facility with a syndicate of sixteen banks. BV 1 contributed this amount in 2007 as share premium to BV 2. BV ... Read more
Portugal vs "M Fastfood S.A", April 2021, Tribunal Central Administrativo Sul, Case No 1331/09

Portugal vs “M Fastfood S.A”, April 2021, Tribunal Central Administrativo Sul, Case No 1331/09

“M Fastfood S.A” was incorporated as a subsidiary company of an entity not resident in Portuguese territory, M Inc., a company with registered office in the United States. “M Fastfood S.A” had obtained financing from M Inc. for investment in its commercial activity, which resulted in indebtedness totalling EUR 74,000,000.00. The activity of “M Fastfood S.A” is “the opening, assembling, promotion, management, administration, purchase, sale, rental, leasing and cession of exploration of restaurants, for which purpose it may acquire or grant licenses or sub-licenses and enter into franchise contracts. It also includes the purchase, sale, rental, administration and ownership of urban buildings and the acquisition, transfer, exploitation and licensing of copyrights, trademarks, patents and industrial and commercial secrets and, in general, any industrial property rights”. “M Fastfood S.A” was in a situation of excessive indebtedness towards that entity, in light of the average equity capital presented by it in 2004, on 27 January 2005 it submitted a request to the ... Read more
UK vs GE Capital, April 2021, Court of Appeal, Case No [2021] EWCA Civ 534

UK vs GE Capital, April 2021, Court of Appeal, Case No [2021] EWCA Civ 534

In 2005 an agreement was entered between the UK tax authority and GE Capital, whereby GE Capital was able to obtain significant tax benefits by routing billions of dollars through Australia, the UK and the US. HMRC later claimed, that GE Capital had failed to disclose all relevant information to HMRC prior to the agreement and therefore asked the High Court to annul the agreement. In December 2020 the High Court decided in favour of HMRC GE Capital then filed an appeal with the Court of Appeal. Judgement of the Court of Appeal The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and set aside the decision of the High Court and thus the assessment af the HMRC. HMRC-v-GE CAPITAL 2021 ... Read more
Netherlands vs Lender B.V., March 2021, Supreme Court, Case No ECLI:NL:GHAMS:2021:724

Netherlands vs Lender B.V., March 2021, Supreme Court, Case No ECLI:NL:GHAMS:2021:724

A Dutch company, Lender B.V., had acquired companies through a private equity structure. The Dutch company that had been set up for the purpose of the acquisition was financed by subordinated loans payable to related parties established on the island of Guernsey. In the tax return for the Dutch company interest in the amount of € 13,157,632 was deducted in the taxable income based on an interest rate of 11,5 – 14 percent. The tax authorities denied the deduction, as the financing arrangement was considered abusive. Decision of the Supreme Court The Court decided in favor of the tax authorities. The interest on the loans was determined to 2.5% (instead of the agreed 11.5 – 14%). This interest was not deductible, because granting of the loans was considered as abusive. Furthermore, an Arrangement Fee of € 8.4 mio. could not be charged at once, but had to be capitalised. Click here for English translation Click here for other translation ECLI_NL_GHAMS_2021_724 ... Read more
Portugal vs "B Lender S.A", January 2021, Supremo Tribunal Administrativo, Case No JSTA000P26984

Portugal vs “B Lender S.A”, January 2021, Supremo Tribunal Administrativo, Case No JSTA000P26984

In 2005 “B Lender S.A” transferred a supplementary capital contributions to company C. The capital was to be paid back in 31 October 2009 and was provided interest-free. Tax Authorities adjusted the taxable income of “B Lender S.A” with an amount of EUR 1,586,272.23, of which EUR 1,575,958.86 was attributable to interest on capital transactions, which it reclassified as interest-bearing loan under the arm’s length provisions of article 58 of the CIRC. The assessment of additional income was upheld by a decision from the tax court. An appeal was then filed by “B Lender S.A.” Decision of Supreme Administrative Court The Supreme Administrative Court set aside the decision of the tax court and decided in favour of A “B Lender S.A.” Experts “The question translates, in short, into knowing whether the arm’s length principle requires or imposes that a transaction of performance of ancillary services, within the scope of a group of companies be taxed as if it earned interest, ... Read more
UK vs GE Capital, December 2020, High Court, Case No [2020] EWHC 1716

UK vs GE Capital, December 2020, High Court, Case No [2020] EWHC 1716

In 2005 an agreement was entered between the UK tax authority and GE Capital, whereby GE Capital was able to obtain significant tax benefits by routing billions of dollars through Australia, the UK and the US. HMRC later claimed, that GE Capital had failed to disclose all relevant information to HMRC prior to the agreement and therefore asked the High Court to annul the agreement. The High Court ruled that HMRC could pursue the claim against GE in July 2020. Judgement of the High Court The High Court ruled in favour of the tax authorities. UK vs GE 2021 COA 1716 ... Read more
UK vs Blackrock, November 2020, First-tier Tribunal, Case No TC07920

UK vs Blackrock, November 2020, First-tier Tribunal, Case No TC07920

In 2009 the BlackRock Group acquired Barclays Global Investors for a total sum of $13,5bn . The price was paid in part by shares ($6.9bn) and in part by cash ($6.6bn). The cash payment was paid by BlackRock Holdco 5 LLC – a US Delaware Company tax resident in the UK – but funded by the parent company by issuing $4bn loan notes to the LLC. In the years following the acquisition Blackrock Holdco 5 LLC claimed tax deductions in the UK for interest payments on the intra-group loans. Following an audit in the UK the tax authorities disallowed the interest deductions. The tax authorities held that the transaction would not have happened between independent parties. They also found that the loans were entered into for an unallowable tax avoidance purpose. A UK taxpayer can be denied a deduction for interest where a loan has an unallowable purpose i.e, where a tax advantage is the company’s main purpose for entering ... Read more
New Zealand vs Frucor Suntory, September 2020, Court of appeal, Case No [2020] NZCA 383

New Zealand vs Frucor Suntory, September 2020, Court of appeal, Case No [2020] NZCA 383

Frucor Suntory (FHNZ) had deducted purported interest expenses that had arisen in the context of a tax scheme involving, among other steps, its issue of a Convertible Note to Deutsche Bank, New Zealand Branch (DBNZ), and a forward purchase of the shares DBNZ could call for under the Note by FHNZ’s Singapore based parent Danone Asia Pte Ltd (DAP). The Convertible Note had a face value of $204,421,565 and carried interest at a rate of 6.5 per cent per annum. Over its five-year life, FHNZ paid DBNZ approximately $66 million which FHNZ characterised as interest and deducted for income tax purposes. The tax authorities issued an assessment where deductions of interest expenses in the amount of $10,827,606 and $11,665,323 were disallowed in FY 2006 and 2007 under New Zealand´s general anti-avoidance rule in s BG 1 of the Income Tax Act 2004. In addition, penalties of $1,786,555 and $1,924,779 for those years were imposed. The tax authorities found that, although ... Read more
UK vs Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited and Irish Nationwide Building Society, August 2020, Court of Appeal , Case No [2020] EWCA Civ 1128

UK vs Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited and Irish Nationwide Building Society, August 2020, Court of Appeal , Case No [2020] EWCA Civ 1128

This case concerned deductibility of notional interest paid in 2003-7 by two permanent establishments in the UK to their Irish HQs. The loans – and thus interest expenses – had been allocated to the PEs as if they were separate entities. The UK tax authorities held that interest deductibility was restricted by UK tax law, which prescribed that PE’s has such equity and loan capital as it could reasonably be expected to have as a separate entity. The UK taxpayers, refered to  Article 8 of the UK-Ireland tax treaty. Article 8 applied the “distinct and separate enterprise” principle found in Article 7 of the 1963 OECD Model Tax Convention, which used the language used in section 11AA(2). Yet nothing was said in the treaty about assumed levels of equity and debt funding for the PE. In 2017, the First-tier Tribunal found in favour of the tax authority, and in October 2019 the Upper Tribunal also dismissed the taxpayers’ appeals. Judgement ... Read more
UK vs GE Capital, July 2020, High Court, Case No RL-2018-000005

UK vs GE Capital, July 2020, High Court, Case No RL-2018-000005

GE Capital (GE) have been routing financial transactions (AUS $ 5 billion) related to GE companies in Australia via the UK in order to gain a tax advantage – by “triple dipping” in regards to interest deductions, thus saving billions of dollars in tax in Australia, the UK and the US. Before entering into these transactions, GE obtained clearance from HMRC that UK tax rules were met, in particular new “Anti-Arbitrage Rules” introduced in the UK in 2005, specifically designed to prevent tax avoidance through the exploitation of the tax treatment of ‘hybrid’ entities in different jurisdictions. The clearance was granted by the tax authorities in 2005 based on the understanding that the funds would be used to invest in businesses operating in Australia. In total, GE’s clearance application concerned 107 cross-border loans amounting to debt financing of approximately £21.2 billion. The Australian Transaction was one part of the application. After digging into the financing structure and receiving documents from ... Read more
UK vs Bluecrest Capital Management, July 2020, First-Tier Tribunal - Tax Chamber, Case No TC07782

UK vs Bluecrest Capital Management, July 2020, First-Tier Tribunal – Tax Chamber, Case No TC07782

In the case of BlueCrest Capital Management Cayman Limited (& others), the key issues involved partnership profit/loss allocations for mixed member partnerships and the associated anti-avoidance legislation – limitation on tax relief for interest on unallowable purpose loans and the sale of occupational income provisions. Judgement The Tribunal found that the sale of occupational income rules could apply to charge Income tax on partnership capital contributions. Although the arrangements  did have a commercial purpose (retention and incentivization of partners), they also had as a main object the avoidance or reduction of liability to pay income tax. The test for application of the occupational income rules was therefore met. UK-vs-Bluecrest-Capital-Management-TC07782-1 ... Read more
Italy vs Stiga s.p.a., formerly Global Garden Products Italy s.p.a., July 2020, Supreme Court, Case No 14756.2020

Italy vs Stiga s.p.a., formerly Global Garden Products Italy s.p.a., July 2020, Supreme Court, Case No 14756.2020

The Italian Tax Authorities held that the withholding tax exemption under the European Interest and Royalty Directive did not apply to interest paid by Stiga s.p.a. to it’s parent company in Luxembourg. The interest was paid on a loan established in connection with a merger leverage buy out transaction. According to the Tax Authorities the parent company in Luxembourg was a mere conduit and could not be considered as the beneficial owner of the Italian income since the interest payments was passed on to another group entity. The Court rejected the arguments of the Italian Tax Authorities and recognized the parent company in Luxembourg as the beneficial owner of the interest income. In the decision, reference was made to the Danish Beneficial Owner Cases from the EU Court of Justice to clarify the conditions for application of the withholding tax exemption under the EU Interest and Royalty Directive and for determination of beneficial owner status. The Court also found that no ... Read more
Greece vs "Lender Corp", March 2020, Court, Case No A 638/2020

Greece vs “Lender Corp”, March 2020, Court, Case No A 638/2020

“Lender Corp” had received a loan from a related party for repayment of outstanding dividends to its shareholders. The tax authority disallowed Lender Corp’s interest expenses on the loan. They found that the receipt of the loan was not in compliance with the provisions of paragraph a of Article 22 of Law No. 4172/2013, since the loan capital was not used in the interest of the company. Although the funds were made available for the fulfilment of obligations, they did not contribute to the generation of income or the development of the company’s business. Hence interest on the loan was considered as a non-deductible business expense. Lender Corp then filed an appeal. Judgement of the Court The court dismissed the appeal of Lender Corp and upheld the decision of the tax authorities. “As is evident from the information in the file of the present appeal, on 25.06.2015 the General Meeting of the shareholders of the company ” ” decided to ... Read more
Netherlands vs Hunkemöller B.V., January 2020, AG opinion - before the Supreme Court, Case No ECLI:NL:PHR:2020:102

Netherlands vs Hunkemöller B.V., January 2020, AG opinion – before the Supreme Court, Case No ECLI:NL:PHR:2020:102

To acquire companies and resell them with capital gains a French Investment Fund distributed the capital of its investors (€ 5.4 billion in equity) between a French Fund Commun de Placement à Risques (FCPRs) and British Ltds managed by the French Investment Fund. For the purpose of acquiring the [X] group (the target), the French Investment Fund set up three legal entities in the Netherlands, [Y] UA, [B] BV, and [C] BV (the acquisition holding company). These three joint taxed entities are shown as Fiscal unit [A] below. The capital to be used for the acquisition of [X] group was divided into four FCPRs that held 30%, 30%, 30% and 10% in [Y] respectively. To get the full amount needed for the acquisition, [Y] members provided from their equity to [Y]: (i) member capital (€ 74.69 million by the FCPRs, € 1.96 million by the Fund Management, € 1.38 million by [D]) and (ii) investment in convertible instruments (hybrid loan ... Read more
UK vs Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited and Irish Nationwide Building Society, October 2019, UK Upper Tribunal, UKUT 0277 (TCC)

UK vs Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited and Irish Nationwide Building Society, October 2019, UK Upper Tribunal, UKUT 0277 (TCC)

This case concerned deductibility of notional interest paid in 2003-7 by two permanent establishments in the UK to their Irish HQs. The loans – and thus interest expenses – had been allocated to the PEs as if they were separate entities. The UK tax authorities held that interest deductibility was restricted by UK tax law, which prescribed that PE’s has such equity and loan capital as it could reasonably be expected to have as a separate entity. The UK taxpayers, refered to  Article 8 of the UK-Ireland tax treaty. Article 8 applied the “distinct and separate enterprise” principle found in Article 7 of the 1963 OECD Model Tax Convention, which used the language used in section 11AA(2). Yet nothing was said in the treaty about assumed levels of equity and debt funding for the PE. In 2017, the First-tier Tribunal found in favour of the tax authority, and in October 2019 the Upper Tribunal also dismissed the taxpayers’ appeals. Irish_Nationwide_Building_Society_and_anor_v_HMRC ... Read more
France, Public Statement related to deduction of interest payments to a Belgian group company, BOI-RES-000041-20190904

France, Public Statement related to deduction of interest payments to a Belgian group company, BOI-RES-000041-20190904

In a public statement the French General Directorate of Public Finance clarified that tax treatment of interest deductions taken by a French company on interest payments to a related Belgian company that benefits from the Belgian notional interest rate scheme. According to French Law, interest paid to foreign group companies is only deductible if a minimum rate of tax applies to the relevant income abroad. Click here for translation BOI-RES-000041-20190904 ... Read more