Tag: Non-recognition and re-characterisation

UK vs BlackRock, July 2022, Upper Tribunal, Case No [2022] UKUT 00199 (TCC)

UK vs BlackRock, July 2022, Upper Tribunal, Case No [2022] UKUT 00199 (TCC)

In 2009 the BlackRock Group acquired Barclays Global Investors for a total sum of $13,5bn. The price was paid in part by shares ($6.9bn) and in part by cash ($6.6bn). The cash payment was paid by BlackRock Holdco 5 LLC – a US Delaware Company tax resident in the UK – but funded by the parent company by issuing $4bn loan notes to the LLC. In the years following the acquisition Blackrock Holdco 5 LLC claimed tax deductions in the UK for interest payments on the intra-group loans. Following an audit in the UK the tax authorities disallowed the interest deductions. The tax authorities held that the transaction would not have happened between independent parties. They also found that the loans were entered into for an unallowable tax avoidance purpose. A UK taxpayer can be denied a deduction for interest where a loan has an unallowable purpose i.e, where a tax advantage is the company’s main purpose for entering into ... Read more
Poland vs "Fertilizer Licence SA", April 2022, Provincial Administrative Court, Case No I SA/Po 788/21

Poland vs “Fertilizer Licence SA”, April 2022, Provincial Administrative Court, Case No I SA/Po 788/21

“Fertilizer Licence SA” (“A”) transferred its trademarks to “B” in 2013, previously financed the transfer through a cash contribution, and then, following the transfer, paid royalties to “A” in exchange for the ability to use the assets. According to the tax authorities, a situation where an entity transfers its assets to another entity, finances the transfer and then pays for access to use those assets does not reflect the conditions that unrelated parties would establish. An unrelated party, in order to obtain such licence fees from another unrelated party, would first have to incur the costs of manufacturing or acquiring the trademarks and to finance these costs itself without the involvement of the licensee. An independent entity which has finances the creation or purchase of an intangible asset, should not incur further costs for the use of that asset. Furthermore, in determining the licence fee to “B” for the use of trademarks, “A” relied on formal legal ownership, granting “B” ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.10

Although countries may have different views on the application of Article 9 to determine the balance of debt and equity funding of an entity within an MNE group, the purpose of this section is to provide guidance for countries that use the accurate delineation under Chapter I to determine whether a purported loan should be regarded as a loan for tax purposes (or should be regarded as some other kind of payment, in particular a contribution to equity capital) ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.7

Where it is considered that the arrangements made in relation to the transaction, viewed in their totality, differ from those which would have been adopted by independent enterprises behaving in a commercially rational manner in comparable circumstances, the guidance at Section D.2 of Chapter I may also be relevant ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.5

Commentary to Article 9 of the OECD Model Tax Convention notes at paragraph 3(b) that Article 9 is relevant “not only in determining whether the rate of interest provided for in a loan contract is an arm’s length rate, but also whether a prima facie loan can be regarded as a loan or should be regarded as some other kind of payment, in particular a contribution to equity capital.” ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter IX paragraph 9.35

Business restructurings often lead MNE groups to implement global business models that are hardly if ever found between independent enterprises, taking advantage of the very fact that they are MNE groups and that they can work in an integrated fashion. For instance, MNE groups may implement global supply chains or centralised functions that may not be found between independent enterprises. This lack of comparables does not mean that the implementation of such global business models is not arm’s length. Every effort should be made to determine the pricing for the restructured transactions as accurately delineated under the arm’s length principle. A tax administration should not disregard part or all of the restructuring or substitute other transactions for it unless the exceptional circumstances described in paragraph 1.142 are met. In those cases, the guidance in Section D.2 of Chapter I may be applicable. The structure that for transfer pricing purposes, replaces that actually adopted by the taxpayers should comport as closely ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter VIII paragraph 8.40

As indicated in paragraph 8.33, the guidance in Chapter VI on hard-to-value intangibles may equally apply in situations involving CCAs. This will be the case if the objective of the CCA is to develop a new intangible that is hard to value at the start of the development project, but also in valuing contributions involving pre-existing intangibles. Where the arrangements viewed in their totality lack commercial rationality in accordance with the criteria in Section D.2 of Chapter I, the CCA may be disregarded ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter VI paragraph 6.114

It will often be the case that a price for a transaction involving intangibles can be identified that is consistent with the realistically available options of each of the parties. The existence of such prices is consistent with the assumption that MNE groups seek to optimise resource allocations. If situations arise in which the minimum price acceptable to the transferor, based on its realistically available options, exceeds the maximum price acceptable to the transferee, based on its realistically available options, it may be necessary to consider whether the actual transaction should be disregarded under the criterion for non-recognition set out in Section D.2 of Chapter I, or whether the conditions of the transaction should otherwise be adjusted. Similarly, if situations arise in which there are assertions that either the current use of an intangible, or a proposed realistically available option (i.e. an alternative use of the intangible), does not optimise resource allocations, it may be necessary to consider whether such ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter I paragraph 1.148

Company S1 conducts research activities to develop intangibles that it uses to create new products that it can produce and sell. It agrees to transfer to an associated company, Company S2, unlimited rights to all future intangibles which may arise from its future work over a period of twenty years for a lump sum payment. The arrangement is commercially irrational for both parties since neither Company S1 nor Company S2 has any reliable means to determine whether the payment reflects an appropriate valuation, both because it is uncertain what range of development activities Company S1 might conduct over the period and also because valuing the potential outcomes would be entirely speculative. Under the guidance in this section, the structure of the arrangement adopted by the taxpayer, including the form of payment, should be modified for the purposes of the transfer pricing analysis. The replacement structure should be guided by the economically relevant characteristics, including the functions performed, assets used, and ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter I paragraph 1.147

Under the guidance in this section, the transaction should not be recognised. S1 is treated as not purchasing insurance and its profits are not reduced by the payment to S2; S2 is treated as not issuing insurance and therefore not being liable for any claim ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter I paragraph 1.146

Company S1 carries on a manufacturing business that involves holding substantial inventory and a significant investment in plant and machinery. It owns commercial property situated in an area prone to increasingly frequent flooding in recent years. Third-party insurers experience significant uncertainty over the exposure to large claims, with the result that there is no active market for the insurance of properties in the area. Company S2, an associated enterprise, provides insurance to Company S1, and an annual premium representing 80% of the value of the inventory, property and contents is paid by Company S1. In this example S1 has entered into a commercially irrational transaction since there is no market for insurance given the likelihood of significant claims, and either relocation or not insuring may be more attractive realistic alternatives. Since the transaction is commercially irrational, there is not a price that is acceptable to both S1 and S2 from their individual perspectives ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter I paragraph 1.144

The structure that for transfer pricing purposes, replaces that actually adopted by the taxpayers should comport as closely as possible with the facts of the actual transaction undertaken whilst achieving a commercially rational expected result that would have enabled the parties to come to a price acceptable to both of them at the time the arrangement was entered into ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter I paragraph 1.143

The key question in the analysis is whether the actual transaction possesses the commercial rationality of arrangements that would be agreed between unrelated parties under comparable economic circumstances, not whether the same transaction can be observed between independent parties. The non-recognition of a transaction that possesses the commercial rationality of an arm’s length arrangement is not an appropriate application of the arm’s length principle. Restructuring of legitimate business transactions would be a wholly arbitrary exercise the inequity of which could be compounded by double taxation created where the other tax administration does not share the same views as to how the transaction should be structured. It should again be noted that the mere fact that the transaction may not be seen between independent parties does not mean that it does not have characteristics of an arm’s length arrangement ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter I paragraph 1.142

This section sets out circumstances in which the transaction between the parties as accurately delineated can be disregarded for transfer pricing purposes. Because non-recognition can be contentious and a source of double taxation, every effort should be made to determine the actual nature of the transaction and apply arm’s length pricing to the accurately delineated transaction, and to ensure that non-recognition is not used simply because determining an arm’s length price is difficult. Where the same transaction can be seen between independent parties in comparable circumstances (i.e. where all economically relevant characteristics are the same as those under which the tested transaction occurs other than that the parties are associated enterprises) non-recognition would not apply. Importantly, the mere fact that the transaction may not be seen between independent parties does not mean that it should not be recognised. Associated enterprises may have the ability to enter into a much greater variety of arrangements than can independent enterprises, and may conclude ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter I paragraph 1.141

Every effort should be made to determine pricing for the actual transaction as accurately delineated under the arm’s length principle. The various tools and methods available to tax administrations and taxpayers to do so are set out in the following chapters of these Guidelines. A tax administration should not disregard the actual transaction or substitute other transactions for it unless the exceptional circumstances described in the following paragraphs 1.142-1.145 apply ... Read more
Germany vs "HQ Lender GmbH", January 2022, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No IR 15/21

Germany vs “HQ Lender GmbH”, January 2022, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No IR 15/21

“HQ Lender GmbH” is the sole shareholder and at the same time the controlling company of A GmbH. The latter held 99.98% of the shares in B N.V., a corporation with its seat in Belgium. The remaining shares in B N.V. were held by HQ Lender GmbH itself. A GmbH maintained a clearing account for B N.V., which bore interest at 6% p.a. from 1 January 2004. No collateralisation was agreed in regards of the loan. In the year in dispute (2005), the interest rate on a working capital loan granted to the plaintiff by a bank was 3.14%. On 30 September 2005, A GmbH and B N.V. concluded a contract on a debt waiver against a debtor warrant (… €). The amount corresponded to the worthless part of the claims against B N.V. from the clearing account in the opinion of the parties to the contract. Although it was deducted from the balance sheet of A GmbH to reduce ... Read more
Finnish TP-Legislation updated to include non-recognition and recharacterisation

Finnish TP-Legislation updated to include non-recognition and recharacterisation

Effective as of 1. January 2022 Finnish Transfer Pricing legislation has been updated to align the rules with the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines in regards to non-recognition and recharacterisation. Going forward the arm’s length provision in the Tax Procedure Act, section 31, will include the possibility for non-recognition and recharacterisation which according to Finnish Case Law has not been possible under the previous wording of the provision. Case NameDescriptionDateCountriesKeywords Unofficial Translation of New Finnish Transfer Pricing Legislation on Non recognition and Recharacterisation in Section 31 of the Tax Procedure Act ... Read more
Albania vs Energji Ashta sh.p.k., September 2021, High Court, Case No. 00-2021-1426

Albania vs Energji Ashta sh.p.k., September 2021, High Court, Case No. 00-2021-1426

At issue was whether a payments for an intra group loan guarantee was deductible. In 2008 an agreement was concluded between Verbund AG and the former Albanian Ministry of Economy, Trade and Energy, with the object of construction, operation, maintenance and transfer of the project of a new hydropower plant in Ashta. Based on this agreement, the local company Energji Ashta received a loan in the amount of 140 million euros from two Austrian banks. Having no assets to guarantee the loan, the foreign banks have accepted guarantees for the fulfillment of obligations by Energji Ashta from two group companies EVN AG and Verbund AG. The guarantee for Energji Ashta was made against a commission of 2% of the disbursed amount. Following a tax audit Energji Ashta was informed that the commission paid to EVN AG and Verbund AG would not be allowed as a deductible expense. Not agreeing with the above decision Energji Ashta appealed. Judgement of the Supreme ... Read more
Poland vs A S.A., June 2021, Provincial Administrative Court, Case No I SA/Gl 1649/20

Poland vs A S.A., June 2021, Provincial Administrative Court, Case No I SA/Gl 1649/20

The business activity of A S.A. was wholesale of pharmaceutical products to external pharmacies, hospitals, wholesalers (including: to affiliated wholesalers). The tax authority had noted that the company’s name had been changed in FY 2013, and a loss in the amount of PLN […] had been reported in the company’s tax return. An audit revealed that the Company had transferred significant assets (real estate) to a related entity on non-arm’s length terms. The same real estate was then going forward made available to the company on a fee basis under lease and tenancy agreements. The tax authority issued an assessment where a “restructuring fee” in the amount of PLN […] was added to the taxable income, reflecting the amount which would have been achieved if the transaction had been agreed between independent parties. According to the company the tax authority was not entitled at all to examine the compliance of the terms of these transactions with the terms that would ... Read more
Canada vs Cameco Corp., February 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 39368.

Canada vs Cameco Corp., February 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 39368.

Cameco, together with its subsidiaries, is a large uranium producer and supplier of the services that convert one form of uranium into another form. Cameco had uranium mines in Saskatchewan and uranium refining and processing (conversion) facilities in Ontario. Cameco also had subsidiaries in the United States that owned uranium mines in the United States. The Canadian Revenue Agency found that transactions between Cameco Corp and the Swiss subsidiary constituted a sham arrangement resulting in improper profit shifting. Hence, a tax assessment was issued for FY 2003, 2005, and 2006. Cameco disagreed with the Agency and brought the case to the Canadian Tax Court. In 2018 the Tax Court ruled in favor of Cameco and dismissed the assessment. This decision was appealed by the tax authorities to the Federal Court of Appeal. The Federal Court of Appeal in 2020 dismissed the appeal and also ruled in favor of Cameco A application for leave to appeal from the judgment of the ... Read more
Portugal vs "B Lender S.A", January 2021, Supremo Tribunal Administrativo, Case No JSTA000P26984

Portugal vs “B Lender S.A”, January 2021, Supremo Tribunal Administrativo, Case No JSTA000P26984

In 2005 “B Lender S.A” transferred a supplementary capital contributions to company C. The capital was to be paid back in 31 October 2009 and was provided interest-free. Tax Authorities adjusted the taxable income of “B Lender S.A” with an amount of EUR 1,586,272.23, of which EUR 1,575,958.86 was attributable to interest on capital transactions, which it reclassified as interest-bearing loan under the arm’s length provisions of article 58 of the CIRC. The assessment of additional income was upheld by a decision from the tax court. An appeal was then filed by “B Lender S.A.” Decision of Supreme Administrative Court The Supreme Administrative Court set aside the decision of the tax court and decided in favour of A “B Lender S.A.” Experts “The question translates, in short, into knowing whether the arm’s length principle requires or imposes that a transaction of performance of ancillary services, within the scope of a group of companies be taxed as if it earned interest, ... Read more
Spain vs JACOBS DOUWE EGBERTS ES, SLU., November 2020, Tribunal Superior de Justicia, Case No STSJ M 7038/2019 - ECLI:EN:TS:2020:3730

Spain vs JACOBS DOUWE EGBERTS ES, SLU., November 2020, Tribunal Superior de Justicia, Case No STSJ M 7038/2019 – ECLI:EN:TS:2020:3730

At issue in this case was whether or not it is possible to regularize transactions between companies by directly applying art. 9.1 of DTA between Spain and French, without resorting to the transfer pricing methods provided for in local Spanish TP legislation. Application of article 9 and taxing according to local tax legislation is often a question of determining the arm’s length price. But sometimes other rules will apply regardless of the value – for instance anti avoidance legislation where the question is not the price but rather the justification and substance of the transaction. In the present case the arm’s length price of the relevant transaction was not discussed, but rather whether or not transaction of shares had sufficient economic substance to qualify for application of Spanish provisions for tax depreciation of the shares in question. The National Court understood that the share acquisition lacked substance and only had a tax avoidance purpose. It could not be understood that ... Read more
UK vs Blackrock, November 2020, First-tier Tribunal, Case No TC07920

UK vs Blackrock, November 2020, First-tier Tribunal, Case No TC07920

In 2009 the BlackRock Group acquired Barclays Global Investors for a total sum of $13,5bn . The price was paid in part by shares ($6.9bn) and in part by cash ($6.6bn). The cash payment was paid by BlackRock Holdco 5 LLC – a US Delaware Company tax resident in the UK – but funded by the parent company by issuing $4bn loan notes to the LLC. In the years following the acquisition Blackrock Holdco 5 LLC claimed tax deductions in the UK for interest payments on the intra-group loans. Following an audit in the UK the tax authorities disallowed the interest deductions. The tax authorities held that the transaction would not have happened between independent parties. They also found that the loans were entered into for an unallowable tax avoidance purpose. A UK taxpayer can be denied a deduction for interest where a loan has an unallowable purpose i.e, where a tax advantage is the company’s main purpose for entering ... Read more
Canada vs AgraCity Ltd. and Saskatchewan Ltd. August 2020, Tax Court, 2020 TCC 91

Canada vs AgraCity Ltd. and Saskatchewan Ltd. August 2020, Tax Court, 2020 TCC 91

AgraCity Canada had entered into a Services Agreement with a group company, NewAgco Barbados, in connection with the sale by NewAgco Barbados directly to Canadian farmer-users of a glyphosate-based herbicide (“ClearOut”) a generic version of Bayer-Monsanto’s RoundUp. In reassessing the taxable income of AgraCity for 2007 and 2008 the Canada Revenue Agency relied upon the transfer pricing rules in paragraphs 247(2)(a) and (c) of the Income Tax Act (the “Act”) and re-allocated an amount equal to all of NewAgco Barbados’ profits from these sales activities to the income of AgraCity. According to the Canadian Revenue Agency the value created by the parties to the transactions did not align with what was credited to AgraCity and NewAgco Barbados. Hence, 100% of the net sales profits realized from the ClearOut sales by NewAgco Barbados to FNA members – according to the Revenue Agency – should have been AgraCity’s and none of those profits would have been NewAgco’s had they been dealing at ... Read more
Canada vs Cameco Corp., June 2020, Federal Court of Appeal, Case No 2020 FCA 112.

Canada vs Cameco Corp., June 2020, Federal Court of Appeal, Case No 2020 FCA 112.

Cameco, together with its subsidiaries, is a large uranium producer and supplier of the services that convert one form of uranium into another form. Cameco had uranium mines in Saskatchewan and uranium refining and processing (conversion) facilities in Ontario. Cameco also had subsidiaries in the United States that owned uranium mines in the United States. In 1993, the United States and Russian governments executed an agreement that provided the means by which Russia could sell uranium formerly used in its nuclear arsenal. The net result of this agreement was that a certain quantity of uranium would be offered for sale in the market. Cameco initially attempted to secure this source of uranium on its own but later took the lead in negotiating an agreement for the purchase of this uranium by a consortium of companies. When the final agreement was signed in 1999, Cameco designated its Luxembourg subsidiary, Cameco Europe S.A. (CESA), to be the signatory to this agreement. The ... Read more
Finland vs A Group, April 2020, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. KHO:2020:35

Finland vs A Group, April 2020, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. KHO:2020:35

In 2008, the A Group had reorganized its internal financing function so that the Group’s parent company, A Oyj, had established A Finance NV in Belgium. Thereafter, A Oyj had transferred to intra-group long-term loan receivables of approximately EUR 223,500,000 to A Finance NV. In return, A Oyj had received shares in A Finance NV. The intra-group loan receivables transferred in kind had been unsecured and the interest income on the loan receivables had been transferred to A Finance NV on the same day. A Finance NV had entered the receivables in its balance sheet as assets. In addition, A Oyj and A Finance NV had agreed that target limits would be set for the return on investment achieved by A Finance NV through its operations. A Finance NV has reimbursed A Oyj for income that has exceeded the target limit or, alternatively, invoiced A Oyj for income that falls below the target limit. Based on the functional analysis prepared ... Read more

TPG2020 Chapter X paragraph 10.10

Although countries may have different views on the application of Article 9 to determine the balance of debt and equity funding of an entity within an MNE group, the purpose of this section is to provide guidance for countries that use the accurate delineation under Chapter I to determine whether a purported loan should be regarded as a loan for tax purposes (or should be regarded as some other kind of payment, in particular a contribution to equity capital) ... Read more

TPG2020 Chapter X paragraph 10.7

Where it is considered that the arrangements made in relation to the transaction, viewed in their totality, differ from those which would have been adopted by independent enterprises behaving in a commercially rational manner in comparable circumstances, the guidance at Section D.2 of Chapter I may also be relevant ... Read more

TPG2020 Chapter X paragraph 10.5

Commentary to Article 9 of the OECD Model Tax Convention notes at paragraph 3(b) that Article 9 is relevant “not only in determining whether the rate of interest provided for in a loan contract is an arm’s length rate, but also whether a prima facie loan can be regarded as a loan or should be regarded as some other kind of payment, in particular a contribution to equity capital.” ... Read more
India vs Gulbrandsen Chemicals Ltd., February 2020, High Court, Case No 751 of 2019

India vs Gulbrandsen Chemicals Ltd., February 2020, High Court, Case No 751 of 2019

Gulbrandsen Chemicals manufactures chemicals for industrial customers in the petrochemical and pharmaceutical industry. The Indian Subsidiary, Gulbrandsen India also sold these products to its affiliated enterprises, namely Gulbrandsen Chemicals Inc, USA, and Gulbrandsen EU Limited. In regards of the controlled transactions, the tax authorities noticed that Gulbrandsen India had shifted from use of the internal CUP method to pricing based on the Transactional Net Margin Method (TNMM). The tax authorities were of the view that, given the facts of the case, the internal CUP was the most appropriate method. It was noted that Gulbrandsen India had sold 40% of its products to the associated enterprises, and earned a margin of PBIT/Cost at 2.07%, as against the sale of 70% of its products in the prior year and earning margin of PBIT/Cost at 3.26%. Following a decision of the Tax Tribunal, where the assessment of the tax authorities was set aside, the tax authorities filed an appeal with the High Court, ... Read more
Argentina vs Transportadora de Energía SA, December 2019, Supreme Court, Case No CAF 39109/2014/3/RH2

Argentina vs Transportadora de Energía SA, December 2019, Supreme Court, Case No CAF 39109/2014/3/RH2

The tax authorities had recharacterized debt to equity and disallowed deductions for interest payments etc. Decision of the Supreme Court The Court decided in favour of Transportadora de Energía SA and set aside the debt to equity re-characterisation. The court also points to the relevance of transfer pricing studies. The Court noted that the tax authorities had failed to properly review the transfer pricing documentation and benchmarking of the intra-group financing for transfer pricing purposes, and on that basis set aside the assessment. Click here for English Translation Argentina 26 dec 2FALLO CAF 039109_2014_3_RH002 ... Read more
Israel vs Broadcom, Aug 2019, Israeli Supreme Court, Case No 2454/19

Israel vs Broadcom, Aug 2019, Israeli Supreme Court, Case No 2454/19

In 2012 Broadcom Corporation acquired all the shares of Broadlight Inc, another US corporation which owned a subsidiary in Israel, for around $200 million. Three months later, the subsidiary in Israel sold its IP to a group company for $59.5m and then an agreement was entered according to which the subsidiary going forward would supply R&D, marketing and support services to the other group companies for a cost plus fee. Based on these facts the Israeli tax authorities issued an assessment equivalent to $168.5m. The tax authorities found that the full value of the company in Israel had been transferred. The tax assessment was brought to court where Broadcom claimed that the tax authorities had re-characterised the transaction and that the onus of proof was on the tax authorities to justify the value of $168.5m. The District Court held that all the values in the Israeli subsidiary had been transferred and ruled in favor of the tax authorities. This ruling ... Read more
The Kering Group - owner of Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent and Pomellato - has settled an Italian Tax Case for an Amount of 1.250 Billion Euro

The Kering Group – owner of Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent and Pomellato – has settled an Italian Tax Case for an Amount of 1.250 Billion Euro

The Kering group – owner of Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent and Pomellato –  has settled a case with the Italian tax agency for an amount of euro 1.250 billion in taxes and penalties relating to fiscal years 2011-2017. The case was started by the Italian tax police in 2017 and resulted in a recommendation to charge the president and chief executive officer of the Italian company Guccio Gucci S.p.A. with the crimes of tax evasion and failure to file Italian income tax return. Guccio Gucci S.p.A., the Italian operating company of the group and owner of the GUCCI brand, had licensed the brand to a Swiss affiliate company, Luxury Goods International S.A., together with the rights to exploit and manage the brand for the purpose of the global marketing, commercialization and sale of GUCCI products in Italy and worldwide. However, most of the marketing activities for the distribution and sale of the GUCCI products actually took place at the ... Read more
Germany vs "Waiver KG", February 2019, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No I R 51/17

Germany vs “Waiver KG”, February 2019, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No I R 51/17

Waiver KG had an outstanding (non-interest-bearing and unsecured) trade receivable of EUR 2,560,000 from a wholly-owned subsidiary in China related to deliveries made in FY 2004 and 2005. Waiver KG had first issued a partial waiver (EUR 560,000) on the receivable and then a complete waiver in December 2008, after a partial write-down had previously been made in the commercial balance sheet. The initial partial write-down had not been given effect to the taxable income, but in the course of a tax audit Waiver AG requested that the partial write-off be taken into account for tax purposes as well. The tax office refused to do so and instead applied an interest rate of 3% on the outstanding receivable. A complaint was then filed by Waiver KG to the tax court. The tax court issued a decision in favour of Waiver KG with reference to German jurisprudence on the blocking effect of Art. 9 OECD-MA. However, at the same time, the tax ... Read more
Germany vs "C A GmbH", February 2019, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No I R 73/16

Germany vs “C A GmbH”, February 2019, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No I R 73/16

C A GmbH managed an unsecured clearing account for a Belgian subsidiary. After financial difficulties in the Belgian subsidiary, C A GmbH waived their claim from the clearing account and booked this in their balance sheet as a loss. However, the tax office disallowed the loss according to § 1 Abs. 1 AStG. Up until now, the Bundesfinanzhof has assumed for cases that are subject to a double taxation agreement (DTA), that Art. 9 para. 1 OECD was limited to so-called price corrections, while the non-recognition of a loan claim or a partial depreciation was excluded (so-called Blocking effect). The Bundesfinanzhof overturned the previous judgment of the FG. According to the court it was not necessary to determine whether it was really a tax credit or a contribution of equity to the Belgian subsidiary. However, this could be left out, since the profit-reducing waiver by C A GmbH should be corrected in any case according to § 1 Abs. 1 AStG. A ... Read more
India vs Aegis Ltd, January 2018, High Court of Bombay, Case No 1248 of 2016

India vs Aegis Ltd, January 2018, High Court of Bombay, Case No 1248 of 2016

Aegis Ltd had advanced money to an assosiated enterprice (AE)  and recived preference shares carrying no dividend in return. The Indian Transfer Pricing Officer (TPO) held that the “acqusition of preference shares” were in fact equivalent to an interest free loan advanced by Aegis Ltd to the assosiated enterprice and accordingly re-characterised the transaction and issued an assessment for 2009 and 2010 where interest was charged on notional basis. Aegis Ltd disagreed with the assessment of the TPO and brought the case before the Tax Tribunal. The Tribunal did not accept the conclusions of the TPO. “The TPO cannot disregard the apparent transaction and substitute the same without any material of exceptional circumstances pointing out that the assessee had tried to conceal the real transaction or that the transaction in question was sham. The Tribunal observed that the TPO cannot question the commercial expediency of the assessee entered into such transaction.” The Indian Revenue Service then filed an appeal to the High ... Read more
Canada vs Cameco Corp., October 2018, Tax Court of Canada, Case No 2018 TCC 195

Canada vs Cameco Corp., October 2018, Tax Court of Canada, Case No 2018 TCC 195

Canadian mining company, Cameco Corp., sells uranium to a wholly owned trading hub, Cameco Europe Ltd., registred in low tax jurisdiction, Switzerland, which then re-sells the uranium to independent buyers. The parties had entered into a series of controlled transactions related to this activity and as a result the Swiss trading hub, Cameco Europe Ltd., was highly profitable. Following an audit, the Canadian tax authorities issued a transfer pricing tax assessment covering years 2003, 2005, 2006, and later tax assessments for subsequent tax years, adding up to a total of approximately US 1.5 bn in taxes, interest and penalties. The tax authorities first position was that the controlled purchase and sale agreements should be disregarded as a sham as all important functions and decisions were in fact made by Cameco Corp. in Canada. As a second and third position the tax authorities held that the Canadian transfer pricing rules applied to either recharacterise or reprice the transactions. The Tax Court concluded that the ... Read more
UK vs CJ Wildbird Foods Limited, June 2018, First-tier Tribunal, case no. UKFTT0341 (TC06556)

UK vs CJ Wildbird Foods Limited, June 2018, First-tier Tribunal, case no. UKFTT0341 (TC06556)

In the transfer pricing case of C J Wildbird Foods Limited the issue was whether a related party loan should be treated as such for tax purposes. There was a loan agreement between the parties and the agreement specified that there was an obligation to repay the loan and interest. However, no interest had actually been paid and a tax deduction had also been claimed by the tax payer on the basis that the debt was unlikely to be repaid. The tax authorities argued that the loan did not have the characteristics of a loan. The borrower was loss making  and did not have the financial capacity to pay any interest. The tribunal found that there was a legal obligation to repay the loan and interest. Whether the loan or interest was actually repaid was irrelevant. “The modern business world has many famous examples of companies, especially in the technology sector, with no cash and no immediate prospect of generating ... Read more
Finland vs Loss Corp, December 2017, Administrative Court, Case no 17/0979/4

Finland vs Loss Corp, December 2017, Administrative Court, Case no 17/0979/4

The Finnish tax authorities had made a transfer pricing adjustment to a Finnish marketing and sales subsidiary with continuous losses. The tax authorities had identified a “hidden” services transaction between the Finnish subsidiary and an unidentified foreign group company. The Administrative Court ruled in favor of the tax authorities. The adjustment was not considered by the Court as a recharacterisation. Reference was made to TPG 2010, paragraphs 1.34, 1.42 to 1.49, 1.64, 1.65 and 1.70 to 1.72. Click here for translation Finland vs Loss Corp 29 December 2017 Administrative Court 17-0979-4 ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter IX paragraph 9.35

Business restructurings often lead MNE groups to implement global business models that are hardly if ever found between independent enterprises, taking advantage of the very fact that they are MNE groups and that they can work in an integrated fashion. For instance, MNE groups may implement global supply chains or centralised functions that may not be found between independent enterprises. This lack of comparables does not mean that the implementation of such global business models is not arm’s length. Every effort should be made to determine the pricing for the restructured transactions as accurately delineated under the arm’s length principle. A tax administration should not disregard part or all of the restructuring or substitute other transactions for it unless the exceptional circumstances described in paragraph 1.122 are met. In those cases, the guidance in Section D.2 of Chapter I may be applicable. The structure that for transfer pricing purposes, replaces that actually adopted by the taxpayers should comport as closely ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter VIII paragraph 8.40

As indicated in paragraph 8.33, the guidance in Chapter VI on hard-to-value intangibles may equally apply in situations involving CCAs. This will be the case if the objective of the CCA is to develop a new intangible that is hard to value at the start of the development project, but also in valuing contributions involving pre-existing intangibles. Where the arrangements viewed in their totality lack commercial rationality in accordance with the criteria in Section D.2 of Chapter I, the CCA may be disregarded ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter VI paragraph 6.114

It will often be the case that a price for a transaction involving intangibles can be identified that is consistent with the realistically available options of each of the parties. The existence of such prices is consistent with the assumption that MNE groups seek to optimise resource allocations. If situations arise in which the minimum price acceptable to the transferor, based on its realistically available options, exceeds the maximum price acceptable to the transferee, based on its realistically available options, it may be necessary to consider whether the actual transaction should be disregarded under the criterion for non-recognition set out in Section D.2 of Chapter I, or whether the conditions of the transaction should otherwise be adjusted. Similarly, if situations arise in which there are assertions that either the current use of an intangible, or a proposed realistically available option (i.e. an alternative use of the intangible), does not optimise resource allocations, it may be necessary to consider whether such ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.128

Company S1 conducts research activities to develop intangibles that it uses to create new products that it can produce and sell. It agrees to transfer to an associated company, Company S2, unlimited rights to all future intangibles which may arise from its future work over a period of twenty years for a lump sum payment. The arrangement is commercially irrational for both parties since neither Company S1 nor Company S2 has any reliable means to determine whether the payment reflects an appropriate valuation, both because it is uncertain what range of development activities Company S1 might conduct over the period and also because valuing the potential outcomes would be entirely speculative. Under the guidance in this section, the structure of the arrangement adopted by the taxpayer, including the form of payment, should be modified for the purposes of the transfer pricing analysis. The replacement structure should be guided by the economically relevant characteristics, including the functions performed, assets used, and ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.127

Under the guidance in this section, the transaction should not be recognised. S1 is treated as not purchasing insurance and its profits are not reduced by the payment to S2; S2 is treated as not issuing insurance and therefore not being liable for any claim ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.126

Company S1 carries on a manufacturing business that involves holding substantial inventory and a significant investment in plant and machinery. It owns commercial property situated in an area prone to increasingly frequent flooding in recent years. Third-party insurers experience significant uncertainty over the exposure to large claims, with the result that there is no active market for the insurance of properties in the area. Company S2, an associated enterprise, provides insurance to Company S1, and an annual premium representing 80% of the value of the inventory, property and contents is paid by Company S1. In this example S1 has entered into a commercially irrational transaction since there is no market for insurance given the likelihood of significant claims, and either relocation or not insuring may be more attractive realistic alternatives. Since the transaction is commercially irrational, there is not a price that is acceptable to both S1 and S2 from their individual perspectives ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.124

The structure that for transfer pricing purposes, replaces that actually adopted by the taxpayers should comport as closely as possible with the facts of the actual transaction undertaken whilst achieving a commercially rational expected result that would have enabled the parties to come to a price acceptable to both of them at the time the arrangement was entered into ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.123

The key question in the analysis is whether the actual transaction possesses the commercial rationality of arrangements that would be agreed between unrelated parties under comparable economic circumstances, not whether the same transaction can be observed between independent parties. The non-recognition of a transaction that possesses the commercial rationality of an arm’s length arrangement is not an appropriate application of the arm’s length principle. Restructuring of legitimate business transactions would be a wholly arbitrary exercise the inequity of which could be compounded by double taxation created where the other tax administration does not share the same views as to how the transaction should be structured. It should again be noted that the mere fact that the transaction may not be seen between independent parties does not mean that it does not have characteristics of an arm’s length arrangement ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.122

This section sets out circumstances in which the transaction between the parties as accurately delineated can be disregarded for transfer pricing purposes. Because non-recognition can be contentious and a source of double taxation, every effort should be made to determine the actual nature of the transaction and apply arm’s length pricing to the accurately delineated transaction, and to ensure that non-recognition is not used simply because determining an arm’s length price is difficult. Where the same transaction can be seen between independent parties in comparable circumstances (i.e. where all economically relevant characteristics are the same as those under which the tested transaction occurs other than that the parties are associated enterprises) non-recognition would not apply. Importantly, the mere fact that the transaction may not be seen between independent parties does not mean that it should not be recognised. Associated enterprises may have the ability to enter into a much greater variety of arrangements than can independent enterprises, and may conclude ... Read more