Tag: Netherlands

Uber-files - Tax Avoidance promoted by the Netherlands

Uber-files – Tax Avoidance promoted by the Netherlands

Uber files – confidential documents, leaked to The Guardian newspaper shows that Uber in 2015 sought to deflect attention from its Dutch conduits and Caribbean tax shelters by helping tax authorities collect taxes from its drivers. At that time, Uber’s Dutch subsidiary received payments from customers hiring cars in cities around the world (except US and China), and after paying the drivers, profits were routed on as royalty fees to Bermuda, thus avoiding corporate income tax. In 2019, Uber took the first steps to close its Caribbean tax shelters. To that end, a Dutch subsidiary purchased the IP that was previously held by the Bermudan subsidiary, using a $16 billion loan it had received from Uber’s Singapore holding company. The new setup was also tax driven. Tax depreciations on the IP acquired from Bermuda and interest on the loan from Singapore will significantly reduce Uber’s effective tax rate in years to come. Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability and Research ... Read more
France vs Ferragamo France, June 2022, Administrative Court of Appeal (CAA), Case No 20PA03601

France vs Ferragamo France, June 2022, Administrative Court of Appeal (CAA), Case No 20PA03601

Ferragamo France, which was set up in 1992 and is wholly owned by the Dutch company Ferragamo International BV, which in turn is owned by the Italian company Salvatore Ferragamo Spa, carries on the business of retailing shoes, leather goods and luxury accessories and distributes, in shops in France, products under the ‘Salvatore Ferragamo’ brand, which is owned by the Italian parent company. An assessment had been issued to Ferragamo France in which 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. In 2017 the Administrative Court decided in favour of Ferragamo and dismissed the assessment issued by the tax authorities. According to the Court the tax administration had not demonstrated the existence of ... Read more
Bulgaria vs CBS, March 2022, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 3012

Bulgaria vs CBS, March 2022, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 3012

By judgment of 22 May 2020, the Administrative Court set aside a tax assessment in which CBS International Netherlands B.V. had been denied reimbursement of withholding tax in the amount of BGN 156 830,27 related to royalties and license payments. An appeal was filed by the tax authorities with the Supreme Administrative Court. In the appeal the tax authorities held that the beneficial owner of the licence and royalty payments was not CBS International Netherlands B.V. but instead CBS CORPORATION, a company incorporated and domiciled in New York, USA. According to the tax authorities the main function of CBS International Netherlands B.V. was that of an intermediary between the end customers and the beneficial owner. This was further supported by the transfer pricing documentation, according to which the US company that bears the risk of the development activity, the market risk is borne equally by the two companies, and the only risks borne by the Dutch company are the currency, ... Read more
Italy vs BenQ Italy SRL, March 2021, Corte di Cassazione, Sez. 5 Num. 1374 Anno 2022

Italy vs BenQ Italy SRL, March 2021, Corte di Cassazione, Sez. 5 Num. 1374 Anno 2022

BenQ Italy SRL is part of a multinational group headed by the Taiwanese company BenQ Corporation that sells and markets technology products, consumer electronics, computing and communications devices. BenQ Italy’s immediate parent company was a Dutch company, BenQ Europe PV. Following an audit the tax authorities issued a notice of assessment for FY 2003 in which the taxpayer was accused of having procured goods from companies operating in countries with privileged taxation through the fictitious interposition of a Dutch company (BenQ Europe BV), the parent company of the taxpayer, whose intervention in the distribution chain was deemed uneconomic. On the basis of these assumptions, the tax authorities found that the recharge of costs made by the interposed company, were non-deductible. The tax authorities also considered that, through the interposition of BenQ BV, the prices charged by the taxpayer were aimed at transferring most of the taxable income to the manufacturing companies of the BenQ Group located in countries with privileged ... Read more
Belgium, December 2021, Constitutional Court, Case No 184/2021

Belgium, December 2021, Constitutional Court, Case No 184/2021

By a notice of December 2020, the Court of Appeal of Brussels referred the following question for a preliminary ruling by the Constitutional Court : “ Does article 207, second paragraph, ITC (1992), as it applies, read together with article 79 ITC (1992), in the interpretation that it also applies to abnormal or gratuitous advantages obtained by a Belgian company from a foreign company, violate articles 10, 11 and 172 of the Constitution? “. The Belgian company “D.W.B.”, of which Y.S. and R.W. were the managers, was set up on 4 October 2006 by the Dutch company “W.”. On 25 October 2006, the latter also set up the Dutch company “D.W.” On 9 November 2006, bv “W.” sold its shareholdings in a number of subsidiaries of the D.W. group to its subsidiary nv ” D.W. “. It was agreed that 20 % of the selling price would be contributed by e.g. “W.” to the capital of the latter and that ... Read more
Hungary vs G.K. Ktf, December 2021, Court of Appeals, Case No. Kfv.V.35.306/2021/9

Hungary vs G.K. Ktf, December 2021, Court of Appeals, Case No. Kfv.V.35.306/2021/9

G.K. Ktf was a subsidiary of a company registered in the United Kingdom. On 29 December 2010 G.K. Ktf entered into a loan agreement with a Dutch affiliate, G.B. BV, under which G.B. BV, as lender, granted a subordinated unsecured loan of HUF 3 billion to G.K. Ktf. Interest was set at a fixed annual rate of 11.32%, but interest was only payable when G.K. Ktf earned a ‘net income’ from its activities. The maturity date of the loan was 2060. The loan was used by G.K. Ktf to repay a debt under a loan agreement concluded with a Dutch bank in 2006. The bank loan was repaid in 2017/2018. The interest paid by G.K. Ktf under the contract was deducted as an expense of HUF 347,146,667 in 2011 and HUF 345,260,000 in 2012. But, in accordance with Dutch tax law – the so called participation exemption – G.B BV did not include the interest as taxable income in its ... 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
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 ... Read more
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 ... Read more
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 ... Read more
France vs Ferragamo France, November 2020, Conseil d'Etat, Case No 425577

France vs Ferragamo France, November 2020, Conseil d’Etat, Case No 425577

Ferragamo France, which was set up in 1992 and is wholly owned by the Dutch company Ferragamo International BV, which in turn is owned by the Italian company Salvatore Ferragamo Spa, carries on the business of retailing shoes, leather goods and luxury accessories and distributes, in shops in France, products under the ‘Salvatore Ferragamo’ brand, which is owned by the Italian parent company. An assessment had been issued to Ferragamo France in which 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 ... Read more
Bulgaria vs CBS, October 2020, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 12349

Bulgaria vs CBS, October 2020, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 12349

By judgment of 22 May 2020, the Administrative Court set aside a tax assessment in which CBS International Netherlands B.V. had been denied reimbursement of withholding tax related to royalties and license payments. An appeal was filed by the tax authorities with the Supreme Administrative Court. In the appeal the tax authorities held that the beneficial owner of the licence and royalty payments was not CBS International Netherlands B.V. but instead CBS CORPORATION, a company incorporated and domiciled in New York, USA. According to the tax authorities the main function of CBS International Netherlands B.V. was that of an intermediary between the end customers and the beneficial owner. This was further supported by the transfer pricing documentation, according to which the US company that bears the risk of the development activity, the market risk is borne equally by the two companies, and the only risks borne by the Dutch company are the currency, operational and credit risks, which in turn ... Read more
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 ... Read more
Panama vs X S.A., September 2020, Administrative Tax Court, Case No TAT-RF-065

Panama vs X S.A., September 2020, Administrative Tax Court, Case No TAT-RF-065

An assessment was issued where the tax administration denied the application treaty benefits, understanding that the dividends distributed by X S.A. a company with tax residence in Panama, to its shareholder NL Corp in the Netherlands did not qualify for the reduced rate provided for in the DTA because the latter was not the “beneficial owner” of the dividends. Judgement of the Tax Court The court upheld the assessment. “By virtue of the above, we consider that the possibility that the tax administration of the State in which the benefits of the Convention are requested, in this case Panama, also depends on the analysis of the body of evidence, and it is not apparent that the taxpayer has provided, in a timely manner, documentation related to the elements described above, therefore, we do not consider the request to be admissible, as it has not been duly supported by the taxpayer. By virtue of the foregoing considerations, and the fact that ... Read more
Greece vs "G Pharma Ltd", july 2020, Tax Court, Case No 1582/2020

Greece vs “G Pharma Ltd”, july 2020, Tax Court, Case No 1582/2020

“G Pharma Ltd” is a distributor of generic and specialised pharmaceutical products purchased exclusively from affiliated suppliers. It has no significant intangible assets nor does it assume any significant risks. However for 17 consecutive years it has had losses. Following an audit, the tax authorities issued an assessment, where the income of G Pharma Ltd was determined by application of the Transactional Net Margin Method (TNMM). According to the tax authorities a limited risk distributor such as G Pharma Ltd would be expected to be compensated with a small, guaranteed, positive profitability. G Pharma Ltd disagreed with the assessment and filed an appeal. Judgement of the Court The court dismissed the appeal of G Pharma Ltd and upheld the assessment issued by the tax authorities. Excerpts “First, the reasons for the rejection of the final comparable sample of two companies were set out in detail and then the reasons for using the net profit margin as an appropriate indicator of ... Read more
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 ... 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
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 ... Read more
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 ... Read more
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