Tag: Interest deduction

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 ... Continue to full case
Netherlands vs Lender [X] B.V., July 2021, Supreme Court, Case No ECLI:NL:2021:1152

Netherlands vs Lender [X] B.V., July 2021, Supreme Court, Case No ECLI:NL:2021:1152

In 2011 a Dutch group “Lender [X] 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 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
UK vs GE Capital, April 2021, Court of Appeal, Case No [2020] EWHC 1716

UK vs GE Capital, April 2021, Court of Appeal, 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 Court of Appeal The Court of Appeal overturned the judgement of the High Court and ruled in favour of GE Capital. UK vs GE 2021 COA 1716 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
Netherlands vs [X] B.V., legal successor to [Y] U.A., March 2020, Pending before the Supreme Court, Case No ECLI:NL:PHR:2020:102

Netherlands vs [X] B.V., legal successor to [Y] U.A., March 2020, Pending 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 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
Portugal vs Galeria Parque Nascente-Exploração de Espaços Comerciais SA, July 2019, ECJ Case C-438/18

Portugal vs Galeria Parque Nascente-Exploração de Espaços Comerciais SA, July 2019, ECJ Case C-438/18

The Portuguese Tribunal Arbitral Tributário (Centro de Arbitragem Administrativa) requested a preliminary ruling from the European Court of Justice. The request related to the common system of taxation applicable to mergers, divisions, partial divisions, transfers of assets and exchanges of shares concerning companies of different Member States — Directive 90/434/EEC — Articles 4 and 11 — Directive 2009/133/EC — Articles 4 and 15 — So-called ‘reverse’ merger In the event of a ‘reverse’ merger, costs which are incurred by the parent company relating to a loan taken out by that parent company for the purchase of shares of the subsidiary and which are deductible for that parent company, are considered non-deductible for that subsidiary. Click here for translation Portugal vs Galeria Parque Nascente-Exploração de Espaços Comerciais SA ... Continue to full case
Japan vs. Universal Music Corp, June 2019, Tokyo District Court, Case No 平成27(行ウ)468

Japan vs. Universal Music Corp, June 2019, Tokyo District Court, Case No 平成27(行ウ)468

An intercompany loan in the form of a so-called international debt pushdown had been issued to Universal Music Japan to acquire the shares of another Japanese group company. The tax authority found that the loan transaction had been entered for the principal purpose of reducing the tax burden in Japan and issued an assessment where deductions of the interest payments on the loan had been disallowed for tax purposes. Decision of the Court The Tokyo District Court decided in favour of Universal Music Japan and set aside the assessment. The Court held that the loan did not have the principle purpose of reducing taxes because the overall restructuring was conducted for valid business purposes. Therefore, the tax authorities could not invoke the Japanese anti-avoidance provisions to deny the interest deductions. The case is now pending at the Tokyo High Court awaiting a final decision. Click here for English Translation Jap UM 2019 ... Continue to full case
New Zealand vs Frucor Suntory, November 2018, High Court, Case No NZHC 2860

New Zealand vs Frucor Suntory, November 2018, High Court, Case No NZHC 2860

This case concerns application of the general anti-avoidance rule in s BG 1 of the Income Tax Act 2004. The tax authorities issued an assessment where deductions of $10,827,606 and $11,665,323 were disallowed in the 2006 and 2007 income tax years respectively. In addition, penalties of $1,786,555 and $1,924,779 for those years were imposed. The claimed deductions arose in the context of an arrangement entered into by Frucor Holdings Ltd (FHNZ) 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 Note had a face value of $204,421,5654 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 said that, although such ... Continue to full case
Sweden vs S BV, 16 June 2017, Administrative Court, case number 2385-2390-16

Sweden vs S BV, 16 June 2017, Administrative Court, case number 2385-2390-16

S BV was not granted deductions in its Swedish PE for interest on debt relating to the acquisition of subsidiaries. The Court of Appeal considers that it is clear that key personnel regarding acquisition, financing and divestment of the shares in the subsidiary and the associated risks have not existed in the PE. It is also very likely that the holding of the shares has not been necessary for and conditioned by the PE’s operations. Therefore, there is no support for allocating the shares and the related debt to the PE. Click here for translation Sweden vs Corp 30 June 2017 KRNS, mål nr 2385—2390-16 ... Continue to full case
Norway vs. IKEA Handel og Ejendom, October 2016, Supreme Court HRD 2016-722

Norway vs. IKEA Handel og Ejendom, October 2016, Supreme Court HRD 2016-722

In 2007, IKEA reorganised its property portfolio in Norway so that the properties were demerged from the Norwegian parent company and placed in new, separate companies. The shares in these companies were placed in a newly established property company, and the shares in this company were in turn sold to the original parent company, which then became an indirect owner of the same properties. The last acquisition was funded through an inter-company loan. Based on the non-statutory anti-avoidance rule in Norwegian Tax Law, the Supreme Court concluded that the parent company could not be allowed to deduct the interest on the inter-company loan, as the main purpose of the reorganisation was considered to be to save tax. The anti-avoidance rule in section 13-1 of the Tax Act did not apply in this circumstance. Click here for translation Norway vs IKEA-Handel-og-Ejendom-HRD-2016-722 ... Continue to full case
Germany vs. "Loss and Limitation Gmbh", November 2015, Supreme Tax Court judgment I R 57/13

Germany vs. “Loss and Limitation Gmbh”, November 2015, Supreme Tax Court judgment I R 57/13

There are a number of exceptions to the German interest limitation rule essentially limiting the annual interest deduction to 30% of EBITDA as shown in the accounts. One of these is the equity ratio rule exempting a subsidiary company from the interest limitation provided its equity ratio (ratio of shareholder’s equity to the balance sheet total) is no more than two percentage points lower than that of the group and no more than 10% of its net interest cost was paid to any one significant shareholder (a shareholder owning more than 25% of the share capital). A loss-making company paying slightly less than 10% of its total net interest cost to each of two significant shareholders claimed exemption from the interest limitation as its equity ratio was better than that of the group. The tax office applied the limitation as the two significant shareholders together received more than 10% of the net interest cost. The finance ministry decree on the ... Continue to full case
Germany - Constitutionality of interest limitation provisions, October 2015, Supreme Tax Court decision I R 20/15

Germany – Constitutionality of interest limitation provisions, October 2015, Supreme Tax Court decision I R 20/15

The Supreme Tax Court has requested the Constitutional Court to rule on the conformity of the interest limitation with the constitutional requirement to tax like circumstances alike. The interest limitation disallows net interest expense in excess of 30% of EBITDA. However, the rule does not apply to companies with a total net annual interest cost of no more than €3 m or to those that are not part of a group. There are also a number of other exemptions, but the overall effect is to render the actual impact somewhat arbitrary. In particular, the asserted purpose of the rule – prevention of profit shifts abroad through deliberate under-capitalisation of the German operation – seemed somewhat illusory to the Supreme Tax Court in the light of the relatively high threshold and of the indiscriminate application to cases without foreign connotations. The court also pointed out that interest, as such, is a legitimate business expense and that the limitation rule can penalise ... Continue to full case