Tag: Interest rate

Spain vs "XZ SA", March 2022, TEAC, Case No Rec. 4377-2018

Spain vs “XZ SA”, March 2022, TEAC, Case No Rec. 4377-2018

“XZ SA” is a Spanish parent of a tax consolidation group which is part of a multinational group. The Spanish group participates in the group’s cash pooling system, both as a borrower and as a provider of funds. The objective of cash pooling agreements is to manage the cash positions of the participating entities, optimising the group’s financial results by channelling the excess liquidity of the group companies that generate it to the group companies that need financing, resorting to third-party financing when the group itself is not able to finance itself. This achieves greater efficiency in the use of the group’s funds, as well as improving their profitability and reducing the administrative and general financial costs of the entities participating in the agreement. The tax authorities issued an assessment in which the interest rates on deposits and withdraws had been aligned and determined based on a group credit rating. A complaint was filed with the TEAC by XZ SA ... Read more
France vs Electricité de France, January 2022, CAA de VERSAILLES, Case No 20VE00792

France vs Electricité de France, January 2022, CAA de VERSAILLES, Case No 20VE00792

In 2009 the English company EDF Energy UK Ltd (EDFE), a wholly-owned subsidiary of SAS Electricité de France International (SAS EDFI), issued 66,285 bonds convertible into shares (OCAs) for a unit nominal value of EUR 50,000. SAS EDFI subscribed to all of these OCAs for their nominal value, i.e. a total subscription price of EUR 3,314,250,000. The OCAs had a maturity of five years, i.e. until October 16, 2014, and could be converted into new EDFE shares at the instigation of the subscriber at any time after a three-year lock-up period, i.e. from October 16, 2012. Each bond entitled the holder to receive 36,576 EDFE shares after conversion. The annual coupon for the OCAs was set at 1.085%. In this respect, SAS EDFI determined, on the basis of a panel of bond issues of independent comparables, the arm’s length rate that should be applied to conventional bonds, i.e. 4.41% (mid-swap rate and premium of 1.70%), 490 million according to the ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.108

Such an approach would represent a departure from an arm’s length approach based on comparability since it is not based on comparison of actual transactions. Furthermore, it is also important to bear in mind the fact that such letters do not constitute an actual offer to lend. Before proceeding to make a loan, a commercial lender will undertake the relevant due diligence and approval processes that would precede a formal loan offer. Such letters would not therefore generally be regarded as providing evidence of arm’s length terms and conditions ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.107

In some circumstances taxpayers may seek to evidence the arm’s length rate of interest on an intra-group loan by producing written opinions from independent banks, sometimes referred to as a “bankability” opinion, stating what interest rate the bank would apply were it to make a comparable loan to that particular enterprise ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.106

The reliability of economic models’ outcomes depends upon the parameters factored into the specific model and the underlying assumptions adopted. In evaluating the reliability of economic models as an approach to pricing intra-group loans it is important to note that economic models’ outcomes do not represent actual transactions between independent parties and that, therefore, comparability adjustments would be likely required. However, in situations where reliable comparable uncontrolled transactions cannot be identified, economic models may represent tools that can be usefully applied in identifying an arm’s length price for intra-group loans, subject to the same constraints regarding market conditions discussed in paragraph 10.98 ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.105

In their most common variation, economic models calculate an interest rate through a combination of a risk-free interest rate and a number of premiums associated with different aspects of the loan – e.g. default risk, liquidity risk, expected inflation or maturity. In some instances, economic models would also include elements to compensate the lender’s operational expenses ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.104

Certain industries rely on economic models to price intra-group loans by constructing an interest rate as a proxy to an arm’s length interest rate ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.103

Accordingly, the use of credit default swaps to approximate the risk premium associated to intra- group loans will require careful consideration of the above-mentioned circumstances to arrive at an arm’s length interest rate ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.102

As financial instruments traded in the market, credit default swaps may be subject to a high degree of volatility. This volatility may affect the reliability of credit default swaps as proxies to measure the credit risk associated to a particular investment in isolation, since the credit default spreads may reflect not only the risk of default but also other non-related factors such as the liquidity of the credit default swaps contracts or the volume of contracts negotiated. Those circumstances could lead to situations where, for instance, the same instrument may have different credit default swaps spreads ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.101

Credit default swaps reflect the credit risk linked to an underlying financial asset. In the absence of information regarding the underlying asset that could be used as a comparable transaction, taxpayers and tax administrations may use the spreads of credit default swaps to calculate the risk premium associated to intra-group loans ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.100

In some intra-group transactions, the cost of funds approach may be used to price loans where capital is borrowed from an unrelated party which passes from the original borrower through one or more associated intermediary enterprises, as a series of loans, until it reaches the ultimate borrower. In such cases, where only agency or intermediary functions are being performed, as noted at paragraph 7.34, “it may not be appropriate to determine the arm’s length pricing as a mark-up on the costs of the services but rather on the costs of the agency function itself.” ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.99

The application of the cost of funds approach requires consideration of the options realistically available to the borrower. On prevailing facts and circumstances, a borrowing MNE would not enter into a transaction priced under the cost of funds approach if it could obtain the funding under better conditions by entering into an alternative transaction ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.98

One consideration to be kept in mind with the cost of funds approach is that it should be applied by considering the lender’s cost of funds relative to other lenders operating in the market. The cost of funds can vary between different prospective lenders, so the lender cannot simply charge based on its cost of funds, particularly if there is a potential competitor who can obtain funds more cheaply. A lender in a competitive market may seek to price at the lowest possible rate in order to win business. In the commercial environment, this will mean that lenders drive operating costs as low as possible and seek to minimise the cost of obtaining funds to lend ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.97

In the absence of comparable uncontrolled transactions, the cost of funds approach could be used as an alternative to price intra-group loans in some circumstances. The cost of funds will reflect the borrowing costs incurred by the lender in raising the funds to lend. To this would be added the expenses of arranging the loan and the relevant costs incurred in servicing the loan, a risk premium to reflect the various economic factors inherent in the proposed loan, plus a profit margin, which will generally include the lender’s incremental cost of the equity required to support the loan ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.96

In considering arm’s length pricing of loans, the issue of fees and charges in relation to the loan may arise. Independent commercial lenders will sometimes charge fees as part of the terms and conditions of the loan, for example arrangement fees or commitment fees in relation to an undrawn facility. If such charges are seen in a loan between associated enterprises, they should be evaluated in the same way as any other intra-group transaction. In doing so, it must be borne in mind that independent lenders’ charges will in part reflect costs incurred in the process of raising capital and in satisfying regulatory requirements, which associated enterprises might not incur ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.95

Whereas it is unlikely that an MNE group’s average interest rate paid on its external debt meets the comparability requirements to be considered as an internal CUP, it may be possible to identify potential comparable loans within the borrower’s or its MNE group’s financing with an independent lender as the counterparty. As with external CUPs, it may be necessary to make appropriate adjustments to improve comparability. See Example 1 at 1.164 – 1.166 ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.93

Arm’s length interest rates can also be based on the return of realistic alternative transactions with comparable economic characteristics. Depending on the facts and circumstances, realistic alternatives to intra-group loans could be, for instance, bond issuances, loans which are uncontrolled transactions, deposits, convertible debentures, commercial papers, etc. In the evaluation of those alternatives as potential comparables it is important to bear in mind that, based on facts and circumstances, comparability adjustments may be required to eliminate the material effects of differences between the controlled intra-group loan and the selected alternative in terms of, for instance, liquidity, maturity, existence of collateral or currency ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.92

In the search for comparability data, a comparable is not necessarily restricted to a stand-alone entity. In examining commercial loans, where the potentially comparable borrower is a member of an MNE group and has borrowed from an independent lender, provided all other economically relevant conditions are sufficiently similar, a loan to a member of a different MNE group or between members of different MNE groups could be a valid comparable ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.91

The arm’s length interest rate for a tested loan can be benchmarked against publicly available data for other borrowers with the same credit rating for loans with sufficiently similar terms and conditions and other comparability factors. With the extent of competition often present within lending markets, it might be expected that, given the characteristics of the loan (amount, maturity, currency, etc.) and the credit rating of the borrower or the rating of the specific issuance (see Section C.1.1.2.), there would be a single rate at which the borrower could obtain funds and a single rate at which a lender could invest funds to obtain an appropriate reward. In practice, however, there is unlikely to be a single “market rate” but a range of rates although competition between lenders and the availability of pricing information will tend to narrow the range ... Read more