Tag: Netherlands

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 ... Continue to full case
The European Commission vs. Nike and the Netherlands, July 2021, European Court of Justice Case No T-648/19

The European Commission vs. Nike and the Netherlands, July 2021, European Court of Justice Case No T-648/19

In 2016 the European Commission announced that it had opened an in-depth investigation to examine whether tax rulings (unilateral APA’s) granted by the Netherlands had given Nike an unfair advantage over its competitors, in breach of EU State aid rules. The formal investigation concerned the tax treatment in the Netherlands of two Nike group companies, Nike European Operations Netherlands BV and Converse Netherlands BV. These two operating companies develops, markets and records the sales of Nike and Converse products in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (the EMEA region). Nike European Operations Netherlands BV and Converse Netherlands BV obtained licenses to use intellectual property rights relating to Nike and Converse products in the EMEA region. The two companies obtained the licenses, in return for a tax-deductible royalty payment, from two Nike group entities, which are currently Dutch entities that are “transparent” for tax purposes (i.e., not taxable in the Netherlands). From 2006 to 2015, the Dutch tax authorities issued five ... Continue to full case
Germany vs Lender GmbH, June 2021, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No IR 4/17

Germany vs Lender GmbH, June 2021, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No IR 4/17

Applicable method for determining the arm’s length price in the case of a loan granted by a sister corporation domiciled abroad: (1) Are the three recognised methods for determining arm’s length prices (price comparison method, resale method and cost plus method) equally applicable? (2) Should the price comparison method be used if a comparable price can be determined on the basis of identical service relationships and conditions, and the cost-plus method if there are no comparable service relationships within or outside the group? (3) is an estimate of the appropriate transfer pricing to be made if the domestic borrower which receives a loan from the foreign sister corporation, in breach of its obligations to cooperate under section 90(2) sentence 1 AO, is unable to provide all the evidence necessary to determine a transfer pricing in accordance with arm’s length principles? Background In the specific facts of the case (I R 4/17), a domestic limited liability company (plaintiff) is held by ... Continue to full case
India vs Concentrix Services & Optum Global Solutions Netherlands B.V., March 2021, High Court, Case No 9051/2020 and 2302/2021

India vs Concentrix Services & Optum Global Solutions Netherlands B.V., March 2021, High Court, Case No 9051/2020 and 2302/2021

The controversy in the case of India vs Concentrix Services Netherlands B.V. & Optum Global Solutions International Netherlands B.V., was the rate of withholding tax to be applied on dividends paid by the Indian subsidiaries (Concentrix Services India Private Limited & Optum Global Solutions India Private Limited) to its participating (more than 10% ownership) shareholders in the Netherlands. The shareholders in the Netherlands held that withholding tax on dividends should be applied by a rate of only 5%, whereas the Indian tax authorities applied a rate of 10%. The difference in opinions relates to interpretation of a protocol to the tax treaty between India and the Netherlands containing an most favoured nation clause (MFN clause). MFN clauses provides that the parties to the treaty (here India and the Netherlands) are obliged to provide each other with a treatment no less favourable than the treatment they provide under other treaties in the areas covered by the MFN clause. The MFN Clause in ... Continue to full case
France vs Ferragamo France. November 2020, Supreme Administrative Court (CAA), Case No 425577

France vs Ferragamo France. November 2020, Supreme Administrative Court (CAA), Case No 425577

An assessment had been issued to Ferragamo France. The French tax authorities asserted that the French subsidiary had not been sufficiently remunerated for additional expenses and contributions to the value of the Ferragamo trademark. The French subsidiary had been remunerated on a gross margin basis, but had incurred losses in previous years and had indirect cost exceeding those of the selected comparable companies. The Administrative Court decided in favour of Ferragamo and dismissed the assessment. According to the Court the tax administration has not demonstrated the existence of an advantage granted by Ferragamo France to Salvatore Ferragamo SPA, nor the amount of this advantage. The Supreme Administrative Court (CAA) overturned the decision of the Administrative Court and upheld the decision of the tax authorities. “In ruling that the administration did not establish the existence of an advantage granted to the Italian company on the grounds that the French company’s results for the financial years ending from 2010 to 2015 had ... Continue to full case
Allegations of tax avoidance in Dutch Pharma Group Qiagen

Allegations of tax avoidance in Dutch Pharma Group Qiagen

According to investigations by SOMO – an independent center for Research on Multinational Corporations – the annual accounts of Pharma Group Qiagen shows that the group has avoided tax on profits by passing internal loans through an elaborate network of letterbox companies in European tax havens including Ireland, Luxembourg and Malta. It is estimated that, since 2010, the group has avoided at least  €93 million in taxes and has accumulated tax deduction in an amount of €49 million ... Continue to full case
Fiat Chrysler reaches a EUR 2.5 billion settelment with the Italien tax authorities

Fiat Chrysler reaches a EUR 2.5 billion settelment with the Italien tax authorities

Fiat Chrysler has reached a settlement with the Italian tax agency over taxable gains related to a transfer of the U.S. Chrysler business from Fiat SpA Italy to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (Netherlands). The Italian tax agency claimed that the value of the U.S. Chrysler business had been underestimated and issued a preliminary assessment with an additional taxable gain of 5.1 billion euros. The agency had valued Chrysler at 12.5 billion euros, while Fiat SpA had declared it to be worth less than 7.5 billion. Under the terms of the latter settlement the additional taxable gain has agreed at 2.5 billion euros ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
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, ... Continue to full case
European Commission vs. The Netherlands and Starbucks, September 2019, General Court of the European Union, Case No. T-760/15

European Commission vs. The Netherlands and Starbucks, September 2019, General Court of the European Union, Case No. T-760/15

In 2008, the Netherlands tax authorities concluded an advance pricing arrangement (APA) with Starbucks Manufacturing EMEA BV (Starbucks BV), part of the Starbucks group, which, inter alia, roasts coffees. The objective of that arrangement was to determine Starbucks BV’s remuneration for its production and distribution activities within the group. Thereafter, Starbucks BV’s remuneration served to determine annually its taxable profit on the basis of Netherlands corporate income tax. In addition, the APA endorsed the amount of the royalty paid by Starbucks BV to Alki, another entity of the same group, for the use of Starbucks’ roasting IP. More specifically, the APA provided that the amount of the royalty to be paid to Alki corresponded to Starbucks BV’s residual profit. The amount was determined by deducting Starbucks BV’s remuneration, calculated in accordance with the APA, from Starbucks BV’s operating profit. In 2015, the Commission found that the APA constituted aid incompatible with the internal market and ordered the recovery of that ... Continue to full case
Italy vs Agusta Holding BV, May 2019, Supreme Court, Case No 14527/2019

Italy vs Agusta Holding BV, May 2019, Supreme Court, Case No 14527/2019

A Dutch company, Agusta Holding BV, submitted a request regarding the reimbursement of withholding tax paid in Italy by its Italian subsidiary on dividends distributed for the fiscal year 2001. The request was initially accepted and the withholding tax paid back. But after an audit, the reimbursement was then challenged. The tax authorities found that Agusta Holding BV had been incorporated in the Netherlands only to benefit from the favourable fiscal dividend regime provided by the Italian-Netherland double tax treaty and from the Dutch tax regime concerning the exemption of dividends from taxable income. Agusta Holding BV appealed the decision of the tax office before the Provincial Tax Court which ruled in favor of Augusta Holding BV as the deadline to ask for the reimbursement of the withholding tax back had expired at the time of the audit conducted by local tax office. The local tax office appealed this decision before the Regional Tax Court. The Regional Tax Court overturned ... Continue to full case

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 ... Continue to full case
The European Commission opens in-depth investigation into tax treatment of Nike and Converse in the Netherlands

The European Commission opens in-depth investigation into tax treatment of Nike and Converse in the Netherlands

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to examine whether tax rulings granted by the Netherlands to Nike 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 complex structures that unduly reduce their taxable profits and give them an unfair advantage over competitors. The Commission will investigate carefully the tax treatment of Nike in the Netherlands, to assess whether it is in line with EU State aid rules. At the same time, I welcome the actions taken by the Netherlands to reform their corporate taxation rules and to help ensure that companies will operate on a level playing field in the EU.” Nike is a US based company involved worldwide in the design, marketing and manufacturing of footwear, clothing, equipment and accessories, in particular in the sports area. The formal investigation concerns ... Continue to full case
Korea vs CJ E&M Co., Ltd. , November 2018, Supreme Court Case no. 2017두33008

Korea vs CJ E&M Co., Ltd. , November 2018, Supreme Court Case no. 2017두33008

In 2011, a Korean company, CJ E&M Co., Ltd concluded a license agreement relating to the domestic distribution of Paramount films, etc. with Hungary-based entity Viacom International Hungary Kft (hereinafter “VIH”), which is affiliated with the global entertainment content group Viacom that owns the film producing company Paramount and music channel MTV. From around that time to December 2013, the Plaintiff paid VIH royalties amounting to roughly KRW 13.5 billion (hereinafter “pertinent royalty income”). CJ E&M Co., Ltd did not withhold the corporate tax regarding the pertinent royalty income according to Article 12(1) of the Convention between the Government of the Republic of Korea and the Government of the Hungarian People’s Republic for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income (hereinafter “Korea-Hungary Tax Treaty”). The Hungarian company was interposed between the Korean entertainment company and a Dutch company which previously licensed the rights to the Korean entertainment company. The Korean ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
France vs Philips, September 2018, Conseil d’État, Case No 405779

France vs Philips, September 2018, Conseil d’État, Case No 405779

Philips France SAS provides contract R&D to it’s Dutch parent. Compensation for the service was calculated as cost plus 10%. In the years 2003 to 2007 Philips France received government subsidies for performing R&D. These subsidies had been deducted by the company from the cost base before calculating of the cost plus remuneration. The French tax authorities issued a tax assessment where the deduction was denied and the remuneration calculated on the full cost base. The Supreme Administrative Court ruled that a deduction of subsidies from the cost base does not constitute a “transfer of profits abroad” and allowed the reduced cost base for calculation of the arm’s length remuneration.  Click here for English translation Click here for other translation CÉt_8ème_-_3ème_chambres_réunies_19_09_2018_405779 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
India vs. Vodafone India Services Pvt Ltd, Jan 2018, ITA No.565 Ahd 2017

India vs. Vodafone India Services Pvt Ltd, Jan 2018, ITA No.565 Ahd 2017

The 2018 Vodafone case from India – whether termination of option rights under an agreement can be treated as a “deemed international transaction” under section 92B(2) of the Income Tax Act. Vodafone India Services had a call option to buy shares in SMMS Investment Pvt Ltd — which held 5.11% equity capital of the Vodafone India through a web of holdings for 2.78 crore if the fair market value of these shares was less than 1,500 crore. If the fair market value was higher, it had to pay a little more. Under the same agreement, if Vodafone India Services terminated its right to acquire the share, the company would have to pay Rs 21.25 crore. Instead of exercising the call option and acquiring the valuable shares at a very low price, Vodafone India Service terminated the option and paid 21.25 crore. The tax administration held that the Vodafone India Service should have received a substantial consideration for not exercising the ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case