Tag: Ireland

The European Commission vs Fiat Chrysler Finance Europe, November 2022, European Court of Justice, Case No C-885/19 P and C-898/19 P

The European Commission vs Fiat Chrysler Finance Europe, November 2022, European Court of Justice, Case No C-885/19 P and C-898/19 P

In 2012, the Luxembourg tax authorities issued a tax ruling in favour of Fiat Chrysler Finance Europe (‘FFT’), an undertaking in the Fiat group that provided treasury and financing services to the group companies established in Europe. The tax ruling at issue endorsed a method for determining FFT’s remuneration for these services, which enabled FFT to determine its taxable profit on a yearly basis for corporate income tax in Luxembourg. In October 2015, the Commission concluded that the tax ruling constituted State aid under Article 107 TFEU and that it was operating aid that was incompatible with the internal market. The Commission found that the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was required to recover the unlawful and incompatible aid from FFT. FFT brought an action before the General Court for annulment of the Commission’s decision. In it’s Judgement of September 2019, the General Court dismissed the actions brought by FFT and confirmed the validity of the Commission’s decision. This decision was ... Read more
India vs Google India Private Limited, Oct. 2022, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, 1513/Bang/2013, 1514/Bang/2013, 1515/Bang/2013, 1516/Bang/2013

India vs Google India Private Limited, Oct. 2022, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, 1513/Bang/2013, 1514/Bang/2013, 1515/Bang/2013, 1516/Bang/2013

Google Ireland licenses Google AdWords technology to its subsidiary in India and several other countries across the world. The Tax Tribunal in India found that despite the duty of Google India to withhold tax at the time of payment to Google Ireland, no tax was withheld. This was considered tax evasion, and Google was ordered to pay USD 224 million. The case was appealed by Google to the High Court, where the case was remanded to the Income Tax Appellate Authority for re-examination. Judgement of the ITAT After re-examining the matter on the orders of the Karnataka High Court, the Income Tax Appellate Authority concluded that the payments made by the Google India to Google Ireland between 2007-08 and 2012-13 was not royalties and therefore not subject to withholding tax. Excerpts “30. On a consideration of all the above agreements and the facts on record, we find that none of the rights as per section 14(a)/(b) and section 30 of ... Read more
Denmark vs. Codan Forsikring A/S, August 2022, Eastern High Court, Case no BS-11370/2020

Denmark vs. Codan Forsikring A/S, August 2022, Eastern High Court, Case no BS-11370/2020

This case concerns pricing of four reinsurance agreements concluded between Codan Forsikring A/S (Codan) and a controlled Irish company, RSA Reinsurance Ireland Ltd. for FY 2010-2013. The tax authorities had increased Codan’s taxable income for FY 2010, 2011 and 2012 by DKK 23 million, DKK 25 million, and DKK 18 million and reduced the taxable income for FY 2013 by DKK 4 million. At issue was whether the expenses incurred by Codan under the reinsurance agreements with RSA Ireland were commercially justified and thus deductible. If so, there were questions as to whether the reinsurance agreements had been concluded at arm’s length. By decision of 26 June 2019 the Tax Court reduced the assessment to DKK 0 for the 2010-2012 tax years and upheld Codan’s taxable income for FY 2013. An appeal was filed by the tax authorities. Judgement of the Eastern High Court The High Court upheld the decision of the Tax Court and set aside the assessment of ... Read more
France vs SAS Oakley Holding, May 2022, CAA of Lyon, No 19LY03100

France vs SAS Oakley Holding, May 2022, CAA of Lyon, No 19LY03100

SNC Oakley Europe, a subsidiary of SAS Oakley Holding, which belonged to the American group Oakley Inc. until its takeover in 2007 by the Italian group Luxottica, carried on the business of distributing clothing, footwear, eyewear and accessories of the Oakley brand on European territory. Following the takeover SNC Oakley Europe in 2008 transferred its distribution activity on the French market to another French company, Luxottica France, and its distribution activity on the European market to companies incorporated in Ireland, Luxottica Trading and Finance and Oakley Icon, and deducted restructuring costs in an amount of EUR 15,544,267. The tax authorities qualified these costs as an advantage granted without consideration to its sister companies, constituting, on the one hand, an abnormal management act and, on the other hand, an indirect transfer of profits within the meaning of Article 57 of the General Tax Code on the grounds that its costs had not been re-invoiced to the Italian company, the head of ... Read more
The European Commission vs. Ireland, December 2021, European Court of Justice Case, AG Opinion, No C-898/19 P (ECLI:EU:C:2021:1029)

The European Commission vs. Ireland, December 2021, European Court of Justice Case, AG Opinion, No C-898/19 P (ECLI:EU:C:2021:1029)

At issue in this case is whether the arm’s length principle as described in the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines can be applied by the EU in determining if state aid had been granted. In 2012, the Luxembourg tax authorities issued a tax ruling in favour of Fiat Chrysler Finance Europe (‘FFT’), an undertaking in the Fiat group that provided treasury and financing services to the group companies established in Europe. The tax ruling at issue endorsed a method for determining FFT’s remuneration for these services, which enabled FFT to determine its taxable profit on a yearly basis for corporate income tax in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. In 2015, the Commission concluded that the tax ruling constituted State aid under Article 107 TFEU and that it was operating aid that was incompatible with the internal market. The Commission found that the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was required to recover the unlawful and incompatible aid from FFT. FFT brought an action ... Read more
The European Commission vs. Fiat Chrysler Finance Europe, December 2021, European Court of Justice Case, AG Opinion, No C-885/19 P (ECLI:EU:C:2021:1028)

The European Commission vs. Fiat Chrysler Finance Europe, December 2021, European Court of Justice Case, AG Opinion, No C-885/19 P (ECLI:EU:C:2021:1028)

In 2012, the Luxembourg tax authorities issued a tax ruling in favour of Fiat Chrysler Finance Europe (‘FFT’), an undertaking in the Fiat group that provided treasury and financing services to the group companies established in Europe. The tax ruling at issue endorsed a method for determining FFT’s remuneration for these services, which enabled FFT to determine its taxable profit on a yearly basis for corporate income tax in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. In 2015, the Commission concluded that the tax ruling constituted State aid under Article 107 TFEU and that it was operating aid that was incompatible with the internal market. The Commission found that the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was required to recover the unlawful and incompatible aid from FFT. FFT brought an action before the General Court for annulment of the Commission’s decision. In it’s Judgement of September 2019 Union , the General Court dismissed the actions brought by FFT and confirmed the validity of the ... Read more
Pandora Papers - a new leak of financial records

Pandora Papers – a new leak of financial records

A new huge leak of financial records revealed by ICIJ, once again shows widespread use of offshore accounts, shell companies and trusts to hide wealth and/or avoid taxes. The new leak is known as the Pandora Papers and follows other recent leaks – lux leak, panama papers, paradise papers. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists obtained 11.9 million confidential documents from 14 separate legal and financial services firms, which the group said offered “a sweeping look at an industry that helps the world’s ultrawealthy, powerful government officials and other elites conceal trillions of dollars from tax authorities, prosecutors and others.” “The key players in the system include elite institutions – multinational banks, law firms and accounting practices – headquartered in the U.S. and Europe.” The Consortium said the 2.94 terabytes of financial and legal data shows the “offshore money machine operates in every corner of the planet, including the world’s largest democracies,” and involves some of the world’s most well-known ... Read more

Luxembourg vs “Lux PPL SARL”, July 2021, Administrative Tribunal, Case No 43264

Lux PPL SARL received a profit participating loan (PPL) from a related company in Jersey to finance its participation in an Irish company. The participation in the Irish company was set up in the form of debt (85%) and equity (15%). The profit participating loan (PPL) carried a fixed interest of 25bps and a variable interest corresponding to 99% of the profits derived from the participation in the Irish company, net of any expenses, losses and a profit margin. After entering the arrangement, Lux PPL SARL filed a request for an binding ruling with the Luxembourg tax administration to verify that the interest charged under the PPL would not qualify as a hidden profit distribution subject to the 15% dividend withholding tax. The tax administration issued the requested binding ruling on the condition that the ruling would be terminate if the total amount of the interest charge on the PPL exceeded an arm’s length charge. Later, Lux PPL SARL received a dividend ... 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
Belgium vs "Uniclick B.V.", June 2021, Court of Appeal, Case No 2016/AR/455

Belgium vs “Uniclick B.V.”, June 2021, Court of Appeal, Case No 2016/AR/455

“Uniclick B.V.” had performed all the important DEMPE functions with regard to intangible assets as well as managing all risks related to development activities without being remunerated for this. Royalty-income related to the activities had instead been received by a foreign group company incorporated in Ireland and with its place of management in Luxembourg. In 2012, the administration sent notices of amendment to the tax return to the respondent for assessment years 2006 and 2010. The tax administration stated that “Uniclick B.V.”, through its director B.T. and employees M.C. and S.M., invented and developed the Uniclic technology in 1996 and continued to exploit it, and that the subsequent transfer of rights to the Uniclic invention to U.B. BV was simulated. The administration added the profits foregone annually by the “Uniclick B.V.”, i.e. the royalties received by F. from third party licensees less the costs borne by F., to “Uniclick B.V’s” taxable base. “Uniclick B.V.” disagreed with this and argued, among ... Read more
Bristol-Myers Squibb in Dispute with IRS over "Abusive Offshore Scheme"

Bristol-Myers Squibb in Dispute with IRS over “Abusive Offshore Scheme”

According to the IRS, Bristol-Myers Squibb reduces its U.S. taxes by holding valuable intangibles in an Irish subsidiary. In a legal analysis, the IRS concluded that the Irish scheme saves Bristol-Myers Squibb up to $1.38 billion in US taxes. From Bristol-Myers Squibb’s 2019 10-K form, “Note 7. Income Taxes” “BMS is currently under examination by a number of tax authorities which have proposed or are considering proposing material adjustments to tax positions for issues such as transfer pricing, certain tax credits and the deductibility of certain expenses. It is reasonably possible that new issues will be raised by tax authorities which may require adjustments to the amount of unrecognized tax benefits; however, an estimate of such adjustments cannot reasonably be made at this time. It is also reasonably possible that the total amount of unrecognized tax benefits at December 31, 2019 could decrease in the range of approximately $290 million to $330 million in the next twelve months as a ... Read more
France vs Valueclick Ltd. Dec 2020, Supreme Administrative Court (CAA), Case No 420174

France vs Valueclick Ltd. Dec 2020, Supreme Administrative Court (CAA), Case No 420174

The issue in the case before the Supreme Administrative Court was whether an Irish company had a PE in France in a situation where employees of a French company in the same group carried out marketing, representation, management, back office and administrative assistance services on behalf of the group. The following facts were used to substantiate the presence of a French PE: French employees negotiated the terms of contracts and were involved in drafting certain contractual clauses with the customers. Contracts were automatically signed by the Irish company – whether this action corresponded to a simple validation of the contracts negotiated and drawn up by the managers and employees in France. Local advertising programs were developed and monitored by employees in France. French employees acted to third parties as employees of the Irish company. Customers did not distinguish between the Irish and the French company. In a 2018 decision the Administrative Court had found that none of these factors established that employees in France ... Read more
European Commission vs. Ireland and Apple, September 2020, Appeal of the Judgement of the General Court on the Apple tax State aid case in Ireland

European Commission vs. Ireland and Apple, September 2020, Appeal of the Judgement of the General Court on the Apple tax State aid case in Ireland

The European Commission has decided to appeal the decision of the EU General Court in the State Aid case of Apple and Ireland. According to the European Commission Ireland gave illegal tax benefits to Apple worth up to €13 billion, because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. In a decision issued july 2020 the General Court held in favor of Apple and Ireland. This decision will now be reviewed by the European Court of Justice. “Statement by Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager on the Commission’s decision to appeal the General Court’s judgment on the Apple tax State aid case in Ireland Brussels, 25 September 2020 “The Commission has decided to appeal before the European Court of Justice the General Court’s judgment of July 2020 on the Apple State aid case in Ireland, which annulled the Commission’s decision of August 2016 finding that Ireland granted illegal State aid to Apple through selective tax breaks. The General Court ... Read more
European Commission vs. Ireland and Apple, July 2020, General Court of the European Union, Case No. T-778/16 and T-892/16

European Commission vs. Ireland and Apple, July 2020, General Court of the European Union, Case No. T-778/16 and T-892/16

In a decision of 30 August 2016 the European Commission concluded that Ireland’s tax benefits to Apple were illegal under EU State aid rules, because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. The decision of the Commission concerned two tax rulings issued by Ireland to Apple, which determined the taxable profit of two Irish Apple subsidiaries, Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe, between 1991 and 2015. As a result of the rulings, in 2011, for example, Apple’s Irish subsidiary recorded European profits of US$ 22 billion (c.a. €16 billion) but under the terms of the tax ruling only around €50 million were considered taxable in Ireland. Ireland appealed the Commission’s decision to the European Court of Justice. The Judgement of the European Court of Justice The General Court annuls the Commission’s decision that Ireland granted illegal State aid to Apple through selective tax breaks because the Commission did not succeed in showing to the requisite ... Read more
Google - Taxes and Transfer Pricing

Google – Taxes and Transfer Pricing

Google’s tax affairs are back in the spotlight after filings in the Netherlands have showed that billions of dollars were moved to Bermuda in 2016 using the “double Irish Dutch sandwich”. According to the Washington Post, Google’s cash transfers to Bermuda reached $27b in 2016. Google uses the double Irish Dutch sandwich structure to shield the majority of it’s international profits from taxation. The setup involves shifting revenue from one Irish subsidiary to a Dutch company with no employees, and then on to a Bermuda-mailbox owned by another company registered in Ireland. US According to US filings, Google’s global effective tax rate in 2016 was 19.3%. New US tax law will give companies such as Google an incentive to repatriate much of that cash by offering them a “one-time”, 15.5% tax rate on offshore funds. After that, foreign earnings will be taxed at 10.5%, with companies allowed to deduct foreign tax liabilities from this amount. The law will also impose ... Read more
Microsoft - Taxes and Transfer Pricing

Microsoft – Taxes and Transfer Pricing

Microsoft’s tax affairs have been in the spotlight of tax authorities all over the World during the last decade. Why? The setup used by Microsoft involves shifting profits from sales in the US, Europe and Asia to regional operating centers placed in low tax jurisdictions (Bermuda, Luxembourg, Ireland, Singapore and Puerto Rico). The following text has been provided by Microsoft in a US filing concerning effective tax and global allocation of income: “Our effective tax rate for the three months ended September 30, 2017 and 2016 was 18% and 17%, respectively. Our effective tax rate was lower than the U.S. federal statutory rate primarily due to earnings taxed at lower rates in foreign jurisdictions resulting from producing and distributing our products and services through our foreign regional operations centers in Ireland, Singapore, and Puerto Rico.“ “In fiscal year 2017, our U.S. income before income taxes was $6.8 billion and our foreign income before income taxes was $23.1 billion. In fiscal year 2016, ... Read more
France vs Google, September 2019, Court approval of CJIP Agreement - Google agrees to pay EUR 1 billion in fines and taxes to end Supreme Court Case

France vs Google, September 2019, Court approval of CJIP Agreement – Google agrees to pay EUR 1 billion in fines and taxes to end Supreme Court Case

The district court of Paris has approved a  “convention judiciaire d’intérêt public” negotiated between the French state and Google for an amount of € 500 million plus another agreement with the French tax authorities which amounts to 465 million euros. The agreement puts an end to the French lawsuits against Google for aggressive tax evasion, and litigation with the tax administration relating to adjustments for the periods going from 2005 to 2018. The CJIP “convention judiciaire d’intérêt public“, was established by Article 22 of Law No. 2016-1691 of 9 December 2016 in France on transparency and fight against corruption. By Law No. 2018-898 of October 23, 2018 the law was extended to cover cases for tax evasion. According to the CJIP legal actions can be ended in return for the payment of a fine. The dispute concerned the existence of a permanent establishment of Google Ireland in France. In Googles European headquarters in Ireland the corporate tax rate is (12.5%). However, ... Read more
Perrigo facing billion dollar tax assessments in both Ireland and the US

Perrigo facing billion dollar tax assessments in both Ireland and the US

In July 2013 the Irish pharma company Elan was acquired by the US based Perrigo group for $8.6 billion (£5.6 billion). Ireland’s corporation tax rate was one of the main attractions for Perrigo and the deal was said to give Perrigo substantial tax savings due to a corporate tax inversion. The Irish 12.5 % corporate tax rate compared US rate of 30 % was further augmented by the trading losses built up over a number of years by Elan in its business as a drug development group. That meant that even with a $3.25 billion transaction like Elan’s sale of the rights to the multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri the company would still not have to pay any tax. The low-tax scenario envisioned by Perrigo did not last for long. First Perrigo was issued a $1.9 billion tax bill (excluding interest and penalties) by the Irish tax authorities for incorrect transfer pricing related to its sale of a 50% interest in Tysabri ... Read more
France vs. Google, April 2019, Administrative Court of Appeal, Case N° 17PA03065

France vs. Google, April 2019, Administrative Court of Appeal, Case N° 17PA03065

The French tax administration argued that Google had a permenent establishment in France because the parent company in the US and its subsidiary in Ireland had been selling a service – online ads – to customers in France. In 2017 the administrative court found that Google France did not have the capability to carry out the advertising activities on its own. Google Ireland Limited therefore did not have a permanent establishment in France. The same conclution was reached i 2019 by the Administrative court of appeal. Click here for translation France vs Google April 2019, No 17PA03065, ... Read more
Facebook in billion dollar dispute with the IRS related to transfers of intangibles to Ireland

Facebook in billion dollar dispute with the IRS related to transfers of intangibles to Ireland

In the annual report for 2018 Facebook Inc. has included the following statement on current tax disputes with the IRS. “…The tax laws applicable to our business, including the laws of the United States and other jurisdictions, are subject to interpretation and certain jurisdictions are aggressively interpreting their laws in new ways in an effort to raise additional tax revenue from companies such as Facebook. The taxing authorities of the jurisdictions in which we operate may challenge our methodologies for valuing developed technology or intercompany arrangements, which could increase our worldwide effective tax rate and harm our financial position, results of operations, and cash flows. For example, in 2016, the IRS issued us a formal assessment relating to transfer pricing with our foreign subsidiaries in conjunction with the examination of the 2010 tax year, and although we disagree with the IRS’s position and are contesting this issue, the ultimate resolution is uncertain and, if resolved in a manner unfavorable to ... Read more
Western Digital in $549 million transfer pricing dispute with the IRS

Western Digital in $549 million transfer pricing dispute with the IRS

Western Digital has been issued a $549 million tax assessment for fiscal years 2008 – 2012 by the IRS relating to transfer pricing with the Company’s foreign subsidiaries and intercompany payable balances. In the Annual Report for 2018 the following is stated by Western Digital on the case: “The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) previously completed its field examination of the Company’s federal income tax returns for fiscal years 2008 through 2012 and proposed certain adjustments. As previously disclosed, the Company received Revenue Agent Reports from the IRS for fiscal years 2008 through 2009, proposing adjustments relating to transfer pricing with the Company’s foreign subsidiaries and intercompany payable balances. The Company disagrees with the proposed adjustments and in September 2015, filed a protest with the IRS Appeals Office and received the IRS rebuttal in July 2016. The Company and the IRS Appeals Office did not reach a settlement on the disputed matters. On June 28, 2018, the IRS issued a statutory ... Read more

EU report on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance

In March 2018 a special EU committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance (TAX3) was established. Now, one year later, The EU Parliament has approved a controversial report from the committee. According to the report close to 40 % of MNEs’ profits are shifted to tax havens globally each year with some European Union countries appearing to be the prime losers of profit shifting, as 35 % of shifted profits come from EU countries. About 80 % of the profits shifted from EU Member States are channelled to or through a few other EU Member States. The latest estimates of tax evasion within the EU point to a figure of approximately EUR 825 billion per year. Tax avoidance via six EU Member States results in a loss of EUR 42,8 billion in tax revenue in the other 22 Member States, which means that the net payment position of these countries can be offset against the losses they inflict ... Read more
US vs SIH Partners LLLP, May 2019, US Third Circuit of Appeal, Case No 18-1862

US vs SIH Partners LLLP, May 2019, US Third Circuit of Appeal, Case No 18-1862

The Third Circuit of Appeal upheld the tax courts prior decision in a $377 million dispute involving the affiliate of a US based commodities trader. The Court found that SIH Partners LLLP, an affiliate of Pennsylvania-based commodities trader Susquehanna International Group LLP, owed taxes on approximately $377 million in additional income. The extra earnings stemmed from a $1.5 billion loan from Bank of America brokerage Merrill Lynch, which was guaranteed by SIH’s subsidiaries in Ireland and the Cayman Islands. The Tax Court’s ruling was based on regulations under Section 956 of the Internal Revenue Code, which states that U.S. shareholders must include their controlled foreign corporations’ applicable earnings, up to the amount of such a loan, in their own income when the foreign units invest in U.S. property. US vs SIH Partners LLLP181862p ... Read more
Commission opens in-depth investigation into tax treatment of Huhtamäki in Luxembourg

Commission opens in-depth investigation into tax treatment of Huhtamäki in Luxembourg

The European Commission has now opened an in-depth investigation to examine whether tax rulings granted by Luxembourg to Finnish food and drink packaging company Huhtamäki may have given the company an unfair advantage over its competitors, in breach of EU State Aid rules. Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner in charge of competition policy, said: “Member States should not allow companies to set up arrangements that unduly reduce their taxable profits and give them an unfair advantage over their competitors. The Commission will carefully investigate Huhtamäki’s tax treatment in Luxembourg to assess whether it is in line with EU State aid rules.” The Commission’s formal investigation concerns three tax rulings issued by Luxembourg to the Luxembourg-based company Huhtalux S.à.r.l. in 2009, 2012 and 2013. The 2009 tax ruling was disclosed as part of the “Luxleaks” investigation led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in 2014. Huhtalux is part of the Huhtamäki group, which is headquartered in Finland. Huhtamäki is a company active ... Read more
European Commission vs Belgium and Ireland, February 2019, General Court Case No 62016TJ0131

European Commission vs Belgium and Ireland, February 2019, General Court Case No 62016TJ0131

In 2016, the Commission requested that Belgium reclaim around €700 million from multinational corporations in what the Commission found to be illegal state aid provided under the Belgian “excess profit” tax scheme. The tax scheme allowed selected multinational corporations to exempt “excess profits” from the tax base when calculating corporate tax in Belgium. The European Court of Justice concludes that the Commission erroneously considered that the Belgian excess profit system constituted an aid scheme and orders that decision must be annulled in its entirety, in as much as it is based on the erroneous conclusion concerning the existence of such a scheme. For state aid to constitute an ‘aid scheme’, it must be awarded without requiring “further implementing measures.” According to court, “the Belgian tax authorities had a margin of discretion over all of the essential elements of the exemption system in question.” Belgium could influence the amount and the conditions under which the exemption was granted, which precludes the ... Read more
Denmark vs Microsoft Denmark, January 2019, Danish Supreme Court, Case No SKM2019.136.HR

Denmark vs Microsoft Denmark, January 2019, Danish Supreme Court, Case No SKM2019.136.HR

The Danish tax authorities were of the opinion that Microsoft Denmark had not been properly remunerated for performing marketing activities due to the fact that OEM sales to Danish customers via MNE OEM’s had not been included in the calculation of local commissions. According to the Market Development Agreement (MDA agreement) concluded between Microsoft Denmark and MIOL with effect from 1 July 2003, Microsoft Denmark received the largest amount of either a commission based on sales invoiced in Denmark or a markup on it’s costs. Microsoft Denmark’s commission did not take into account the sale of Microsoft products that occurred through the sale of computers by multinational computer manufacturers with pre-installed Microsoft software to end users in Denmark – (OEM sales). In court, Microsoft required a dismissal. In a narrow 3:2 decision the Danish Supreme Court found in favor of Microsoft. “…Microsoft Denmark’s marketing may have had some derivative effect, especially in the period around the launch in 2007 of ... Read more
Switzerland vs R&D Pharma, December 2018, Tribunal fédéral suisse, 2C_11/2018

Switzerland vs R&D Pharma, December 2018, Tribunal fédéral suisse, 2C_11/2018

The Swiss company X SA (hereinafter: the Company or the Appellant), is part of the multinational pharmaceutical group X, whose parent holding is X BV (hereinafter referred to as the parent company) in Netherlands, which company owns ten subsidiaries, including the Company and company X France SAS (hereinafter: the French company). According to the appendices to the accounts, the parent company did not employ any employees in 2006 or in 2007, on the basis of a full-time employment contract. In 2010 and 2011, an average of three employees worked for this company. By agreement of July 5, 2006, the French company undertook to carry out all the works and studies requested by the parent company for a fee calculated on the basis of their cost, plus a margin of 15%. The French company had to communicate to the parent company any discoveries or results relating to the work entrusted to it. It should also keep the parent company informed of ... Read more
Analog Devices hit by $52m tax demand in Ireland

Analog Devices hit by $52m tax demand in Ireland

Analog Devices has been issued a $52m tax demand from the Revenue Commissioners in Ireland. The assessment is related to inter-company transfers back in 2013, where – according to the tax authorities – the Irish entity has failed to conform to OECD transfer pricing guidelines. Analog Devices specialises in data converters and chips that translate a button press or sound – into electronic signals. The company was established in Ireland in 1977, where today about 1,200 people is employed at its original and main hub in Limerick, in addition to its design facility in Cork. Analog Devises 10K filing “The Company has numerous audits ongoing at any time throughout the world, including an Internal Revenue Service income tax audit for Linear’s pre-acquisition fiscal 2015 and fiscal 2016, various U.S. state and local tax audits, and transfer pricing audits in Spain, the Philippines and Ireland. With the exception of the Linear pre-acquisition audit, the Company’s U.S. federal tax returns prior to fiscal ... Read more
Netherlands vs X B.V., November 2018, Supreme Court, Case No 17/03918

Netherlands vs X B.V., November 2018, Supreme Court, Case No 17/03918

Company X B.V. held all the shares in the Irish company A. The Tax Agency in the Netherlands claimed that the Irish company A qualified as a “low-taxed investment participation”. The court agreed, as company A was not subject to a taxation of 10 per cent or more in Ireland. The Tax Agency also claimed that X B.V.’s profit should include a hidden dividend due to company A’s providing an interest-free loan to another associated Irish company E. The court agreed. Irish company E had benefited from the interest-free loan and this benefit should be regarded as a dividend distribution. It was then claimed by company X B.V, that the tax treaty between the Netherlands and Ireland did not permit including hidden dividends in X’s profit. The Supreme Court disagreed and found that the hidden dividend falls within the scope of the term “dividends” in article 8 of the tax treaty. Click here for other translation ECLI-NL-HR-2018-2034 ... Read more
Pharma and Tax Avoidance, Report from Oxfam

Pharma and Tax Avoidance, Report from Oxfam

New Oxfam research shows that four pharmaceutical corporations — Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and Pfizer — systematically allocate super profits in overseas tax havens. In eight advanced economies, pharmaceutical profits averaged 7 percent, while in seven developing countries they averaged 5 percent. In comparison, profits margins averaged 31 percent in countries with low or no corporate tax rates – Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands and Singapore. The report exposes how pharmaceutical corporations uses sophisticated tax planning to avoid taxes. cr-prescription-for-poverty-pharma-180918-en ... Read more
Major US MNE's in Ireland

Major US MNE’s in Ireland

Major US MNE’s with regional Headquarters in Ireland for European business activities. The corporation tax rate in Ireland is only 12.5%. However to further sweeten the deal for MNE’s, Ireland has been known to offer special tax deals to MNE’s resulting in much lower effective tax rates. Ireland provides MNEs with both low tax centers for European activities and conduit holding companies serving as hubs for transferring profits and capital to low tax jurisdictions such as Cyprus and Bermuda. Especially MNEs within the IT sector have been known to use a combination of subsidiaries in Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Bermuda to reduce their taxes (“Double Duch Irish sandwich”). Ireland has been involved in investigations concerning corporate taxes in both the EU and US. An investigation of Apple discovered that two of the company’s Irish subsidiaries were not classified as tax residents in the U.S. nor Ireland, despite being incorporated in Ireland. Ireland offers low tax, many tax treaties, low ... Read more
European Commission's investigations into member state transfer pricing and tax ruling practices

European Commission’s investigations into member state transfer pricing and tax ruling practices

Since June 2013, the European Commission has been investigating tax ruling practices of EU Member States. A Task Force was set up in summer 2013 to follow up on allegations of favourable tax treatment of certain companies, in particular in the form of unilateral tax rulings. The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”) provides that “any aid granted by a Member State or through State resources in any form whatsoever which distorts or threatens to distort competition by favouring certain undertakings or the production of certain goods shall, in so far as it affects trade between Member States, be incompatible with the internal market.”. The State aid rules ensures that the functioning of the internal market is not distorted by anticompetitive behavior favouring some to the detriment of others. In June 2014 the Commission initiated a series of State aid investigations on Multinational Corporations related to transfer pricing practices and rulings. Final decisions now have been published ... Read more
Apple - Taxes and Transfer Pricing

Apple – Taxes and Transfer Pricing

Apple’s tax affairs have been in the spotlight of tax authorities for decades – and still are! Settlements have been entered with numerous European Countries, among others – Italy, the UK and France. Apple has also been investigated by the EU and a State Aid ruling was issued in August 2016. According to the ruling “Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple” and the European Commission ordered Apple to pay €13 billion, plus interest, in unpaid Irish taxes from 2004–14 to the Irish state. U.S. Senate scrutiny of Apple Inc.’s tax strategies back in 2009 turned the spotlight on a stateless entity with $30 billion in profit since 2009 that’s incorporated in Ireland, controlled by a board in California, and didn’t pay taxes in either place ... Read more
Denmark vs Microsoft Denmark, March 2018, Danish National Court, SKM2018.416.ØLR

Denmark vs Microsoft Denmark, March 2018, Danish National Court, SKM2018.416.ØLR

The Danish Tax Ministry and Microsoft meet in Court in a case where the Danish tax authorities had issued an assessment of DKK 308 million. The Danish tax authorities were of the opinion that Microsoft had not been properly remunerated for performing marketing activities due to the fact that OEM sales to Danish customers via MNE OEM’s had not been included in the calculation of local commissions. In court, Microsoft required a dismissal with reference to the fact that Sweden, Norway and Finland had either lost or resigned similar tax cases against Micorosoft. The National Court ruled in favor of Microsoft. The decision was later confirmed by the Supreme Court. Click here for translation DK vs MS Marketing-and Sales Commissioner ... Read more
France vs Valueclick Ltd. March 2018, Administrative Court, Case no 17PA01538

France vs Valueclick Ltd. March 2018, Administrative Court, Case no 17PA01538

The issue in the case before the Administrative Court of Appeal of Paris was whether an Irish company had a PE in France in a situation where employees of a French company in the same group carried out marketing, representation, management, back office and administrative assistance services on behalf of the group. The following facts were used to substantiate the presence of a French PE: French employees negotiated the terms of contracts and were involved in drafting certain contractual clauses with the customers. Contracts were automatically signed by the Irish company – whether this action corresponded to a simple validation of the contracts negotiated and drawn up by the managers and employees in France. Local advertising programs were developed and monitored by employees in France. French employees acted to third parties as employees of the Irish company. Customers did not distinguish between the Irish and the French company. However, the Administrative Court found that none of these factors established that employees in France had been ... Read more
UK vs. Apple, Jan. 2018, Payment of £136 million

UK vs. Apple, Jan. 2018, Payment of £136 million

Apple has paid an additional £136m taxes in a settlement with the UK. The settlement is revealed in Apple Europe’s 2017 accounts. “Following an extensive audit by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) the Company agreed to pay a corporate income tax adjustment of £136m covering prior years up to September 26, 2015. This payment of additional tax and interest reflects the Company’s increased activity and is recognized in the current financial period which ended on 1 April 2017. As a result of this adjustment the Company’s corporate income tax payments will increase going forward.” Most likely, the HMRC has found that the UK subsidiary had not received a large enough sales- and marketing commission from the Irish Apple sales hub ... Read more
Africa - Mining and Transfer Pricing

Africa – Mining and Transfer Pricing

Most Sub Saharan African jurisdictions see the area of mineral transfers/sales as the main transfer pricing risk, but only few have systems in place to check if prices applied to minerals transferred to related parties comply with the arm’s length principle. Studies highlights a strong need for capacity strengthening in the area of transfer pricing throughout the African continent and for enhancing the knowledge of mining industry within tax authorities. South Africa has, for many years, been the leader in transfer pricing audits among the African countries. But emerging countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, are now making a concerted effort to develop transfer pricing capability. In Tanzania, for example, the Acasia Mining Plc. was recently  issued a USD 190 billion tax bill. The assessment demonstrates a strong political will in Africa to address transfer pricing non-compliance. A paper commissioned by the World Bank highlights transfer pricing issues within the African Mining industry. Not surprisingly, it seems that most of the transfer pricing problems relates ... Read more
Canada vs. AGF Management Ltd, Nov. 2017, Dispute settlement $71.9-million in back taxes

Canada vs. AGF Management Ltd, Nov. 2017, Dispute settlement $71.9-million in back taxes

Mutual-fund seller AGF Management Ltd. has settled a federal tax case over income shifted from Canada to an overseas subsidiary. The company has recently disclosed that the Canada Revenue Agency sought a total of $71.9-million in back taxes, interest and penalties related to the period spanning 2005-10. An agreement has since been reached, but the terms were not disclosed. In its latest quarterly report, AGF said the disagreement over taxes owed relates to transfer pricing with a foreign jurisdiction. The AGF disclosures do not mention whether the issues relate to operations in Ireland or Singapore. AGF is one of the largest independent investment managers in Canada with approximately $37-billion in total assets under management ... Read more
India vs Google, Oct. 2017, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal

India vs Google, Oct. 2017, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal

Google Ireland licenses Google AdWords technology to its subsidiary in India and several other countries across the world. The Tax Tribunal in India found that despite the duty of Google India to withhold tax at the time of payment to Google Ireland, no tax was withheld. This was considered tax evasion, and Google was ordered to pay USD 224 million. The case has now been appealed by Google to the Supreme Court of India. India-vs-Google-28-oct-2017-TAX-APPELLATE-TRIBUNAL ... Read more
Australian Parliament Hearings - Tax Avoidance

Australian Parliament Hearings – Tax Avoidance

In a public hearing held 22 August 2017 in Sydney Australia by the Economics References Committee, tech companies IBM, Microsoft, and Apple were called to the witnesses stand to explain about tax avoidance schemes – use of “regional headquarters” in low tax jurisdictions (Singapore, Ireland and the Netherlands) to avoid or reduce taxes. Follow the ongoing Australian hearings into corporate tax avoidance on this site: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Economics/Corporatetax45th Transcript from the hearing: Tax Avoidance, Australian Senate Hearing, 22 August 2017 ... Read more
Uncovering Low Tax Jurisdictions and Conduit Jurisdictions

Uncovering Low Tax Jurisdictions and Conduit Jurisdictions

By Javier Garcia-Bernardo, Jan Fichtner, Frank W. Takes, & Eelke M. Heemskerk Multinational corporations use highly complex structures of parents and subsidiaries to organize their operations and ownership. Offshore Financial Centers (OFCs) facilitate these structures through low taxation and lenient regulation, but are increasingly under scrutiny, for instance for enabling tax avoidance. Therefore, the identifcation of OFC jurisdictions has become a politicized and contested issue. We introduce a novel data-driven approach for identifying OFCs based on the global corporate ownership network, in which over 98 million firms (nodes) are connected through 71 million ownership relations. This granular firm-level network data uniquely allows identifying both sink-OFCs and conduit-OFCs. Sink-OFCs attract and retain foreign capital while conduit-OFCs are attractive intermediate destinations in the routing of international investments and enable the transfer of capital without taxation. We identify 24 sink-OFCs. In addition, a small set of countries – the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Singapore and Switzerland – canalize the majority of corporate ... Read more
Italy vs Veneto Banca, July 2017, Regional Tax Court, Case No 2691/2017

Italy vs Veneto Banca, July 2017, Regional Tax Court, Case No 2691/2017

In 2014, the tax authorities issued the Italien Bank a notice of assessment with which it reclaimed for taxation IRAP for 2009 part of the interest expense paid by the bank to a company incorporated under Irish law, belonging to the same group which, according to the tax authorities, it also controlled. In particular, the tax authorities noted that the spread on the bond was two points higher than the normal market spread. The Bank appealed the assessment, arguing that there was no subjective requirement, because at the time of the issue of the debenture loan it had not yet become part of the group of which the company that had subscribed to the loan belonged. It also pleaded that the assessment was unlawful because it applied a provision, Article 11(7) TUIR, provided for IRES purposes, the extension of which to IRAP purposes was provided for by Article 1(281) of Law 147/13, a provision, however, of an innovative nature, the ... Read more
France vs. Google, July 2017, Administrative Court

France vs. Google, July 2017, Administrative Court

The French tax administration argued that Google had a permenent establishment in France because the parent company in the US and its subsidiary in Ireland had been selling a service – online ads – to customers in France. The administrative court found that Google France did not have the capability to carry out the advertising activities on its own. Google Ireland Limited therefore did not have a permanent establishment in France. Click here for translation France-vs-Google-July-2017 ... Read more
US vs. Amazon, March 2017, US Tax Court, Case No. 148 T.C. No 8

US vs. Amazon, March 2017, US Tax Court, Case No. 148 T.C. No 8

Amazon is an online retailer that sells products through Amazon.com and related websites. Amazon also sells third-party products for which it receives a commissions. In a series of transactions  in 2005 and 2006, Amazon US transferred intangibles to Amazon Europe, a newly established European HQ placed in Luxembourg. A Cost Sharing Arrangement (“CSA”), whereby Amazon US and Amazon Europe agreed to share costs of further research, development, and marketing in proportion to the benefits A License Agreement, whereby Amazon US granted Amazon Europe the right to Amazon US’s Technology IP An Assignment Agreement, whereby Amazon US granted Amazon Europe the right to Amazon US’s Marketing IP and Customer Lists. For these transfers Amazon Europe was required to make an upfront buy-in payment and annual payments according to the cost sharing arrangement for ongoing developments of the intangibles. In the valuation, Amazon had considered the intangibles to have a lifetime of 6 to 20 years. On that basis, the buy-in payment for pre-existing ... Read more
Spain vs McDonald's, March 2017, Spanish Tribunal Supremo, Case no 961-2017

Spain vs McDonald’s, March 2017, Spanish Tribunal Supremo, Case no 961-2017

An adjustments had been made by the tax authorities to a series of loans granted by GOLDEN ARCHES OF SPAIN SA (GAOS), domiciled in Ireland, to RESTAURANTES MC DONALDS, S.A. (RMSA), throughout the period 2000/2004 for amounts ranging between 10,000,000 and 86,650,000 €, at interest rates between 3,450% and 6,020%. The tax administration held that GAOS “has no structure or means to grant the loan and monitor compliance with its conditions … it does not have its own funds to lend, it receives them from other companies in the group”. The Administration refers to a loan received by GAOS from the parent company at a rate of 0%, which is paid in advance to receive another with an interest rate of 3.3%. The Administration indicates that “nobody, under normal market conditions, cancels a loan to constitute another one under clearly worse conditions”. The arm’s length interest rate was determined by reference to the interest rate RMSA would have paid to ... Read more
Oxfam's list of Tax Havens, December 2016

Oxfam’s list of Tax Havens, December 2016

Oxfam’s list of Tax Havens, in order of significance are: (1) Bermuda (2) the Cayman Islands (3) the Netherlands (4) Switzerland (5) Singapore (6) Ireland (7) Luxembourg (8) Curaçao (9) Hong Kong (10) Cyprus (11) Bahamas (12) Jersey (13) Barbados, (14) Mauritius and (15) the British Virgin Islands. Most notably is The Netherlands placement as no. 3 on the list. Oxfam researchers compiled the list by assessing the extent to which countries employ the most damaging tax policies, such as zero corporate tax rates, the provision of unfair and unproductive tax incentives, and a lack of cooperation with international processes against tax avoidance (including measures to increase financial transparency). Many of the countries on the list have been implicated in tax scandals. For example Ireland hit the headlines over a tax deal with Apple that enabled the global tech giant to pay a 0.005 percent corporate tax rate in the country. And the British Virgin Islands is home to more ... Read more
Accenture settles Swiss tax claim for $200m

Accenture settles Swiss tax claim for $200m

The Accenture settlement with the Swiss tax authorities results from a significant discrepancy in the valuation of intangibles in a 2010 inter-company transfer from Switzerland to Ireland via Luxembourg that was disclosed in 2014 as a result of Lux Leaks. The Lux Leaks documents show that in the 48 hours it took to complete the inter-company transfer, the value of the intangibles had increased by almost 600 percent from $1.2 billion to $7 billion. In a document to the Luxembourg authorities detailing the tax treatment on the transaction, PwC confirmed the re-evaluation, describing the $7 billion as “fair market value”. Accenture was the first known user of the “CAIA-tax scheme” in a U.S. corporate tax inversion to Ireland. Accenture-2010-Tax-Ruling ... Read more
US Treasury response to European Commission for recent State Aid Actions, 2016

US Treasury response to European Commission for recent State Aid Actions, 2016

The US Treasury in 2016 strongly criticized the European Commission for it’s state aid actions relating to US Corporations; Apple, Starbucks, Amazon, and McDonald’s. US Treasury white paper of August 2016 US White-Paper-EC-State-Aid August 24, 2016 US Treasury letter of February 2016 US Treasury letter of February 2016 EC state aid rulings ... Read more
European Commission vs. Ireland and Apple, August 2016, State Aid Decision

European Commission vs. Ireland and Apple, August 2016, State Aid Decision

According to the European Commission Ireland gave illegal tax benefits to Apple worth up to €13 billion The European Commission has concluded that Ireland granted undue tax benefits of up to €13 billion to Apple. This is illegal under EU state aid rules, because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. Ireland must now recover the illegal aid. EU-Commission-Apple ... Read more
Spain vs Dell, June 2016, Supreme Court, Case No. 1475/2016

Spain vs Dell, June 2016, Supreme Court, Case No. 1475/2016

Dell Spain is part of a multinational group (Dell) that manufactures and sells computers. Dell Ireland, operates as distribution hub for most of Europe. Dell Ireland has appointed related entities to operate as its commissionaires in several countries; Dell Spain and Dell France are part of this commissionaire network. The group operates through a direct sales model and sales to private customers in Spain are conducted by Dell France, through a call centre and a web page. Dell Spain use to operate as a full-fledged distributor, but after entering into a commissionaire agreement Dell Spain now served large customers on behalf of Dell Ireland. A tax assessment was issued by the tax authorities. According to the assessment the activities in Spain constituted a Permanent Establishment of Dell Ireland to which profits had to allocated for FY 2001-2003. Judgement of the Supreme Court The Supreme Court concludes that the activities of Dell Spain constitutes a Permanent Establishment of Dell Ireland under ... Read more