Tag: Oil and gas

Ukrain vs PJSP Gals-K, July 2021, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 620/1767/19

Ukrain vs PJSP Gals-K, July 2021, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 620/1767/19

Ukrainian company “PJSP Gals-K” had been involved in various controlled transactions – complex technological drilling services; sale of crude oil; transfer of fixed assets etc. The tax authority found, that prices had not been determined in accordance with the arm’s length principle and issued a tax assessment. Gals-K disagreed and filed a complaint. The Administrative Court dismissed the tax assessment and this decision was later upheld by the Administrative Court of Appeal. Judgement of the Supreme Administrative Court The Supreme Court set aside the decisions of the Court of Appeal and remanded the case to the court of first instance for a new hearing. The court considered that breaches of procedural and substantive law by both the Court of Appeal and the Court of First Instance have been committed, and the case should therefore be referred to the Court of First Instance for a new hearing. Excerpts “Thus, in order to properly resolve the dispute in this part, the courts ... Read more
Malaysia vs Ensco Gerudi Malaysia SDN. BHD., July 2021, Juridical Review, High Court, Case No. WA-25-233-08-2020

Malaysia vs Ensco Gerudi Malaysia SDN. BHD., July 2021, Juridical Review, High Court, Case No. WA-25-233-08-2020

Ensco Gerudi provided offshore drilling services to the petroleum industry in Malaysia, including leasing drilling rigs, to oil and gas operators in Malaysia. In order to provide these services, the Ensco entered into a Master Charter Agreement dated 21.9.2006 (amended on 17.8.2011) (“Master Charter Agreement”) with Ensco Labuan Limited (“ELL”), a third-party contractor, to lease drilling rigs from ELL. Ensco then rents out the drilling rigs to its own customers. As part of the Master Charter Agreement, Ensco agreed to pay ELL a percentage of the applicable day rate that Ensco earns from its drilling contracts with its customers for the drilling rigs. By way of a letter dated 12.10.2018, the tax authorities initiated its audit for FY 2015 to 2017. The tax authorities issued its first audit findings letter on 23.10.2019 where it took the position that the pricing of the leasing transactions between the Applicant and ELL are not at arm’s length pursuant to s 140A of the ... Read more
Netherlands vs "Related Party B.V.", July 2021, District Court, Case No ECLI:NL:RBGEL:2021:3382

Netherlands vs “Related Party B.V.”, July 2021, District Court, Case No ECLI:NL:RBGEL:2021:3382

In 2013 “Related Party B.V” entered into an agreement with “X BV” for the provision of transportation- and support services for oil and gas. The Dutch tax authority suspected that the parties were affiliated within the meaning of Section 8b of the Corporate Income Tax Act 1969. Decision of Court The Court decided in favor of the tax authority. Based on the documents in the case, the tax authority rightly suspected that there was an affiliation within the meaning of Section 8b of the Corporate Income Tax Act. The tax authority was therefore entitled to reasonably issue information decisions for the Vpb for 2013 to 2016 inclusive. Nemo Tenetur Principle – self incrimination “Related Party B.V” argued that it’s right not to incriminate itself had been violated because the information decision(s) had been issued to examine the possibility of imposing a fine. In this regard, the court observed that pursuant to the law a taxpayer is obliged to provide the ... Read more
Norway vs Petrolia Noco AS, March 2021, Court of Appeal, Case No LB-2020-5842

Norway vs Petrolia Noco AS, March 2021, Court of Appeal, Case No LB-2020-5842

In 2011, Petrolia SE established a wholly owned subsidiary in Norway – Petrolia Noco AS – to conduct oil exploration activities on the Norwegian shelf. From the outset, Petrolia Noco AS received a loan from the parent company Petrolia SE. The written loan agreement was first signed later on 15 May 2012. The loan limit was originally MNOK 100 with an agreed interest rate of 3 months NIBOR with the addition of a margin of 2.25 percentage points. When the loan agreement was formalized in writing in 2012, the agreed interest rate was changed to 3 months NIBOR with the addition of an interest margin of 10 percentage points. The loan limit was increased to MNOK 150 in September 2012, and then to MNOK 330 in April 2013. In the tax return for 2012 and 2013, Petrolia Noco AS demanded a full deduction for actual interest costs on the intra-group loan to the parent company Petrolia SE. Following an audit ... Read more
Ukrain vs PJSC "Azot", January 2021, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 826/17841/17

Ukrain vs PJSC “Azot”, January 2021, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 826/17841/17

Azot is a producer of mineral fertilizers and one of the largest industrial groups in Ukraine. Following an audit the tax authorities concluded that Azot’s export of mineral fertilizers to a related party in Switzerland, NF Trading AG, had been priced significantly below the arm’s length price, and moreover that Azot’s import of natural gas from Russia via a related party in Cyprus, Ostchem Holding Limited, had been priced significantly above the arm’s length price. On that basis, an assessment of additional corporate income tax in the amount of 43 million UAH and a decrease in the negative value by 195 million UAH was issued. In a decision from 2019 the Administrative Court ruled in favor of the tax authorities. This decision was then appealed by Azot to the Supreme Administrative Court. The Supreme Administrative Court dismissed the appeal and decided in favor of the tax authorities. Click here for translation Єдиний державний реєстр судових рішень ... Read more
Romania vs "GAS distributor" SC A, December 2020, Court of Appeal, Case No 238/12.03.2020

Romania vs “GAS distributor” SC A, December 2020, Court of Appeal, Case No 238/12.03.2020

The disputed issue concerns the purchase prices of natural gas by SC A from an affiliated company SC B. By orders of the National Energy Regulatory Authority (NERA), the prices of supply of natural gas to domestic and non-domestic consumers were regulated and fixed, but not the price at which SC A purchased it from the SC B. The tax authority issued an assessment where the price of the controlled gas transaction was determined by reference to profit level indicators of comparable businesses. SC A brought the decision to the Romanian courts. Judgement of the Court of Appeal The appeal of SC A was dismissed and the assessment of the tax authorities upheld. Excerpt “In the present case, in order to adjust the expenses for the cost of the goods purchased from SC “B.” SRL, based on the level of the central market trend, the tax body used the information provided by the ORBIS and FISCNET applications. Following the comparative ... Read more
UK vs Total E&P North Sea UK Ltd, October 2020, Court of Appeal, Case No A3/2019/1656

UK vs Total E&P North Sea UK Ltd, October 2020, Court of Appeal, Case No A3/2019/1656

Companies carrying on “oil-related activities” are subject to both corporation tax and a “supplementary charge”. “Oil-related activities” are treated as a separate trade and the income from them represents “ring fence profits” on which corporation tax is charged. The “supplementary charge” is levied on “adjusted” ring fence profits, in calculating which financing costs are left out of account. Between 2006 and 2011, the supplementary charge amounted to 20% of adjusted ring fence profits. On 23 March 2011, however, it was announced that the supplementary charge would be increased to 32% from midnight. The change in rate was subsequently carried into effect by section 7 of the Finance Act 2011, which received the royal assent on 19 July 2011. Total E&P, previously Maersk Oil North Sea UK Limited and Maersk Oil UK Limited, carried on “oil-related activities” and so were subject to the supplementary charge. The question raised by the appeal is how much of each company’s adjusted ring fence profits ... Read more
Norway vs A/S Norske Shell, May 2020, Supreme Court, Case No HR-2020-1130-A

Norway vs A/S Norske Shell, May 2020, Supreme Court, Case No HR-2020-1130-A

A / S Norske Shell runs petroleum activities on the Norwegian continental shelf. By the judgment of the Court of Appeal in 2019, it had been decided that there was a basis for a discretionary tax assessment pursuant to section 13-1 of the Tax Act, based on the fact that costs for research and development in Norway should have been distributed among the other group members. According to section 13-1 third paragraph of the Norwegian Tax Act the Norwegian the arms length provisions must take into account OECD’s Transfer pricing guidelines. And according to the Court of Appeal the Petroleum Tax Appeals Board had correctly concluded – based on the fact – that this was a cost contribution arrangement. Hence the income determination then had to be in accordance with what follows from the OECD guidelines for such arrangements (TPG Chapter VIII). The question before the Supreme Court was whether this additional income assessment should also include the part of ... Read more
Norway vs Petrolia Noco AS, November 2019, Oslo Court -2019-48963 – UTV-2020-104

Norway vs Petrolia Noco AS, November 2019, Oslo Court -2019-48963 – UTV-2020-104

In 2011, Petrolia SE established a wholly owned subsidiary in Norway – Petrolia Noco AS – to conduct oil exploration activities on the Norwegian shelf. From the outset Petrolia Noco AS received a loan from the parent company Petrolia SE. The written loan agreement was first signed later on 15 May 2012. The loan limit was originally MNOK 100 with an agreed interest rate of 3 months NIBOR with the addition of a margin of 2.25 percentage points. When the loan agreement was formalized in writing in 2012, the agreed interest rate was changed to 3 months NIBOR with the addition of an interest margin of 10 percentage points. The loan limit was increased to MNOK 150 in September 2012, and then to MNOK 330 in April 2013. In the tax return for 2012 and 2013, Petrolia Noco AS demanded a full deduction for actual interest costs on the intra-group loan to the parent company Petrolia SE. Following an audit ... Read more
Panama vs Chevron Panama Fuels Limited, October 2019, Administrative Court of Appeals, Case no 1060 (559-19)

Panama vs Chevron Panama Fuels Limited, October 2019, Administrative Court of Appeals, Case no 1060 (559-19)

The Transfer Pricing Department of the General Directorate of Revenue of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, through Resolution 201-1429 of 24 October 2014, decided to sanction the taxpayer Chevron Products Antilles, LTD, now Chevron Panama Fuels Limited, with a fine of one million balboas (B/. 1,000,000.00), for failure to file the Transfer Pricing Report-Form 930 for the 2012 tax period. As a result of the issuance of the resolution mentioned in the previous paragraph, Chevron’s legal representative filed an appeal for reconsideration with the tax authority, which was resolved by Resolution 201-1321 of 1 March 2016, through which the accused act was maintained in all its parts. This resolution was notified to the taxpayer on 8 April 2016. Chevron then filed an appeal before the Administrative Tax Court, which by Resolution TAT-RF-057 of 22 May 2019, confirmed the provisions of the main administrative act and its confirmatory act, being notified of this appeal ruling on 18 June 2019, thus ... Read more
Ukrain vs Rivneazot, September 2019, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 817/1737/17

Ukrain vs Rivneazot, September 2019, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 817/1737/17

The Ukrainian group Rivneazot imports natural gas from – and exports mineral to – foreign related companies. The tax authority carried out an audit and concluded that the controlled prices of these transactions had not been determined in accordance with the arm’s length principle, which had resulted in an understatement of taxable income. Rivneazot disagreed. According to the company the CUP method had correctly been applied to the controlled natural gas import transactions and the TNMM had correctly been applied to the controlled export transactions. In 2018 the Administrative Court decided in favor of Rivneazon and set aside the tax assessment. The court concluded that information provided by the company were sufficient to use the preferred CUP method with a defined market price range for natural gas. The decision was then appealed to the Administrative Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the Administrative court. This decision was then appealed by the tax authorities to the ... Read more
Norway vs Saipem Drilling Norway AS, August 2019, Borgarting lagmannsrett, Case No LB-2018-55099 – UTV-2019-698

Norway vs Saipem Drilling Norway AS, August 2019, Borgarting lagmannsrett, Case No LB-2018-55099 – UTV-2019-698

In the Saipem case the Norwegian tax authorities found that the price paid by a related party for an oil rig had not been at arm’s length and issued an assessment. The majority of judges in the Court of Appeal found that the tax assessment was valid. The tax authorities had made sound and well-reasoned assessments and concluded that the price was outside the arm’s length range. According to the decision courts may show reluctance in testing discretionary assessments, thus giving the authorities a reasonable room for pricing transactions where the value is highly uncertain. An appeal of the case to the Supreme Court was not allowed (HR-2019-2428-U). Click here for translation Norway vs Saipem August 2019 ... Read more
Ukrain vs PJSC "Azot", March 2019, Administrative Court of Appeal, Case No 826/17841/17

Ukrain vs PJSC “Azot”, March 2019, Administrative Court of Appeal, Case No 826/17841/17

Azot is a producer of mineral fertilizers and one of the largest industrial groups in Ukraine. Following an audit the tax authorities concluded that Azot’s export of mineral fertilizers to a related party in Switzerland, NF Trading AG, had been priced significantly below the arm’s length price, and moreover that Azot’s import of natural gas from Russia via a related party in Cyprus, Ostchem Holding Limited, had been priced significantly above the arm’s length price. On that basis, an assessment of additional corporate income tax in the amount of 43 million UAH and a decrease in the negative value by 195 million UAH was issued. The Court ruled in favor of the tax authorities. Click here for translation UK v Az 2019 ... Read more
Transfer Pricing in the Mining Industry

Transfer Pricing in the Mining Industry

Like other sectors of the economy, there are base erosion and profit shifting risks in the mining sector. Based on the ongoing work on BEPS, the IGF (Intergovernmental Forum on Mining) and OECD has released guidance for source countries on transfer pricing in the mining sector. The transfer pricing and tax avoidance issues identified in the sector are: 1. Excessive Interest Deductions Companies may use related-party debt to shift profit offshore via excessive interest payments to related entities. “Debt shifting” is not unique to mining, but it is particularly significant for mining projects that require high levels of capital investment not directly obtainable from third parties, making substantial related-party borrowing a frequent practice. 2. Abusive Transfer Pricing Transfer pricing occurs when one company sells a good or service to another related company. Because these transactions are internal, they are not subject to market pricing and can be used by multinationals to shift profits to low-tax jurisdictions. Related-party transactions in mining ... Read more
Russia vs Togliattiazot, September 2018, Russian Arbitration Court, Case No. No. А55-1621 / 2018

Russia vs Togliattiazot, September 2018, Russian Arbitration Court, Case No. No. А55-1621 / 2018

A Russian company, Togliattiazot, supplied ammonia to the external market through a Swiss trading hub, Nitrochem Distribution AG. The tax authority found that the selling price of the ammonia to Nitrochem Distribution AG had not been determined by Togliattiazot in accordance with the arm’s length principle but had been to low. Hence, a transfer pricing assessment was issued where the CUP method was applied. At first, the company argued that Togliattiazot and Nitrochem Distribution AG were not even affiliates. Later, the company argued that transfer prices had been determined in accordance with the TNM-method. The court ruled in favor of the Russian tax authority. Based on information gathered by the tax authorities – SPARK-Interfax and Orbis Bureau Van Djik bases, Switzerland’s trade register, Internet sites, and e-mail correspondence etc – the tax authorities were able to prove in court, the presence of actual control between Togliattiazot and Nitrochem. The TNMM method applied by Togliattiazot was rejected by the court because ... Read more

TPG2018 Chapter II paragraph 2.167

One possible approach is to split the relevant profits based on the division of profits that actually is observed in comparable uncontrolled transactions. Examples of possible sources of information on uncontrolled transactions that might usefully assist the determination of criteria to split the profits, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, include joint-venture arrangements between independent parties under which profits are shared, such as development projects in the oil and gas industry; pharmaceutical collaborations, co-marketing or co-promotion agreements; arrangements between independent music record labels and music artists; uncontrolled arrangements in the financial services sector, etc ... Read more
Tax avoidance in Australia

Tax avoidance in Australia

In May 2018 the final report on corporate tax avoidance in Australia was published by the Australian Senate. The report contains the findings, conclusions and recommendations based on 4 years of hearings and investigations into tax avoidance practices by multinationals in Australia. Australian-final-report-on-tax-avoidance ... Read more

South Africa vs. Sasol, Oct. 2017, $878 million tax case

A tax dispute over a potential 11.6 billion rand ($878 million) charge between South Africa -based international chemicals and energy company Sasol and the Revenue Service will play out in South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal within the next 12 months. June 30. 2017 a R1.2-billion tax liability was approved by the Tax Court in a case against Sasol by SARS relating to the company’s international crude oil procurement activities between 2005 and 2012. The Tax Court further reported that the final tax amount along with other tax principles raised by SARS in relation to Sasol Oil’s crude purchases in 2013 and 2014, would result in a further tax exposure of R11.6-billion, thus uplifting the total tax liability to R12.8-billion. Aug. 14. 2017 the supreme court granted Sasol’s application for leave to appeal the tax court ruling. Sasol’s dispute with the tax authority comes after Kumba Iron Ore, Anglo American’s iron ore producer, announced it had settled a tax dispute ... Read more
South Africa vs Sasol, 30 June 2017, Tax Court, Case No. TC-2017-06 - TCIT 13065

South Africa vs Sasol, 30 June 2017, Tax Court, Case No. TC-2017-06 – TCIT 13065

The taxpayer is registered and incorporated in the Republic of South Africa and carries on business in the petrochemical industry. It has some of its subsidiaries in foreign jurisdictions. Business activities include the importation and refinement of crude oil. This matter concerns the analysis of supply agreements entered into between the XYZ Corp and some of its foreign subsidiaries. It thus brings to fore, inter alia the application of the South African developing fiscal legal principles, namely, residence based taxation, section 9D of the Income Tax Act 58 of 1962 and other established principles of tax law, such as anti-tax avoidance provisions and substance over form. Tax avoidance is the use of legal methods to modify taxpayer’s financial situation to reduce the amount of tax that is payable SARS’s ground of assessment is that the XYZ Group structure constituted a transaction, operation or scheme as contemplated in section 103(1) of the Act. The structure had the effect of avoiding liability ... Read more
Russia vs Dulisma Oil, January 2017, Russian Court Case No. A40-123426 / 16-140-1066

Russia vs Dulisma Oil, January 2017, Russian Court Case No. A40-123426 / 16-140-1066

This case relates to sales of crude oil from the Russian company, Dulisma Oil,  to an unrelated trading company, Concept Oil Ltd, registered in Hong Kong. The Russian tax authorities found that the price at which oil was sold deviated from quotations published by the Platts price reporting agency. They found that the prices for particular deliveries had been lower than the arm’s length price and issued a tax assessment and penalties of RUB 177 million. Dulisma Oil had set the prices using quotations published by Platts, which is a common practice in crude oil trading. The contract price was determined as the mean of average quotations for Dubai crude on publication days agreed upon by the parties, minus a differential determined before the delivery date “on the basis of the situation prevailing on the market”. Transfer pricing documentation had not been prepared, and the company also failed to explain the method by which the price had been calculated and how the price ... Read more