Tag: Permanent establishment

Term used in double taxation agreement (although it may also be used in national tax legislation) to refer to a situation where a non-resident entrepreneur is taxable in a country; that is, an enterprise in one country will not be liable to the income tax of the other country unless it has a “permanent establishment” thorough which it conducts business in that other country. Even if it has a PE, the income to be taxed will only be to the extent that it is ‘attributable’ to the PE. See article 7 of the OECD double tax treaty

Netherlands vs "Fertilizer BV", April 2022, Court of Appeal, Case No. ECLI:NL:GHSHE:2022:1198

Netherlands vs “Fertilizer BV”, April 2022, Court of Appeal, Case No. ECLI:NL:GHSHE:2022:1198

In 2016 Fertilizer BV had been issued a tax assessment for FY 2012 in which the tax authorities had imposed additional taxable income of €133,076,615. In November 2019 the district court ruled predominantly in favor of the tax authorities but reduced the adjustment to €78.294.312. An appel was filed by Fertilizer BV with the Court of Appeal. Judgement of the Court of Appeal Various issues related to the assessment was disputed before the Court. Dispute 1: Allocation of debt and equity capital to a permanent establishment in Libya in connection with the application of the object exemption. More specifically, the dispute is whether the creditworthiness of the head office was correctly taken as a starting point and a sufficient adjustment was made for the increased risk profile of the permanent establishment. The Court of Appeal answered this question in the affirmative, referring to the capital allocation approach that is regarded as the preferred method for the application of Article 7 ... Read more
Kenya vs PE of Man Diesel, August 2021, High Court of Kenya, Income Tax Appeal No. E125 OF 2020

Kenya vs PE of Man Diesel, August 2021, High Court of Kenya, Income Tax Appeal No. E125 OF 2020

A Permanent Establishment (PE) in Kenya of MAN Diesel and Turbo SE Germany (MAN) entered into a consortium with a firm called MPG Services to engineer, procure and construct an 87 MW generating capacity thermal power plant on behalf of Thika Power Ltd. The role of MAN’s Kenyan PE in the project was mobilization, engineering and design, reservation of the diesel sets, and steam turbine and other start-up costs associated with its part of the works which included supervision of the assembly and installation of engines and commissioning the engines. MAN Germany was to provide for the materials up to the port of export and the PE was to assist in the onshore part which included supervision of the assembly and installation work as well as commissioning the work but did not include supply of equipment. In 2015, the tax authorities initiated an audit which resulted in a final tax assessment issued in 2017. According to the assessment MAN’s Kenyan ... Read more
UK vs G E Financial Investments Ltd., June 2021, First-tier Tribunal, Case No [2021] UKFTT 210 (TC), TC08160

UK vs G E Financial Investments Ltd., June 2021, First-tier Tribunal, Case No [2021] UKFTT 210 (TC), TC08160

The case concerned a complex financing structure within the General Electric Group. The taxpayer, GE Financial Investments Ltd (GEFI Ltd), a UK resident company was the limited partner in a Delaware limited partnership, of which, GE Financial Investments Inc (GEFI Inc) a Delaware corporation was the general partner. GEFI Ltd filed UK company tax returns for FY 2003-2008 in which the company claimed a foreign tax credit for US federal income tax. In total, US federal income taxes amounted to $ 303 millions and exceeded the amount of tax due in the UK. The tax authorities opened an enquiry into each of GEFI’s company tax returns for the relevant period, and subsequently issued an assessment where the claims for foreign tax credits was denied in their entirety. Judgement of the Tax Tribunal The tribunal dismissed the appeal of GEFI Ltd and ruled that the UK company did not carry on business in the US. Hence GEFI Ltd was not entitled ... Read more
France vs Valueclick Ltd. Dec 2020, Supreme Administrative Court (CAA), Case No 420174

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

The issue in the case before the Supreme Administrative Court was whether an Irish company had a PE in France in a situation where employees of a French company in the same group carried out marketing, representation, management, back office and administrative assistance services on behalf of the group. The following facts were used to substantiate the presence of a French PE: French employees negotiated the terms of contracts and were involved in drafting certain contractual clauses with the customers. Contracts were automatically signed by the Irish company – whether this action corresponded to a simple validation of the contracts negotiated and drawn up by the managers and employees in France. Local advertising programs were developed and monitored by employees in France. French employees acted to third parties as employees of the Irish company. Customers did not distinguish between the Irish and the French company. In a 2018 decision the Administrative Court had found that none of these factors established that employees in France ... Read more
Austria vs S GmbH, November 2020, Verwaltungsgerichtshof, Case No Ra 2019/15/0162-3

Austria vs S GmbH, November 2020, Verwaltungsgerichtshof, Case No Ra 2019/15/0162-3

S GmbH was an Austrian trading company of a group. In the course of business restructuring, the real estate division of the Austrian-based company was initially separated from the “trading operations/brands” division on the demerger date of 31 March 2007. The trademark rights remained with the previous trading company, which was the parent company of the group, now M GmbH. On 25 September 2007, M GmbH transferred all trademark rights to a permanent establishment in Malta, which was set up in the same year, to which it also moved its place of management on 15 January 2008. Licence agreements were concluded between S GmbH and M GmbH, which entitle S GmbH to use the trademarks of M GmbH for advertising and marketing measures in connection with its business operations in return for a (turnover-dependent) licence fee. The tax authorities (re)assessed the corporate income tax for the years 2008 and 2009. The audit had shown that the licence fees were to ... Read more
Spain vs. VAT PE of Ashland Industries Europe GMBH, November 2020, Supreme Court, Case no 1.500/2020

Spain vs. VAT PE of Ashland Industries Europe GMBH, November 2020, Supreme Court, Case no 1.500/2020

A Swiss company, Ashland Industries Europe GmbH, had not declared a presence in Spain for VAT purposes and did not charge VAT for local sales. However, the Swiss company used the resources of its Spanish subsidiary when performing these local sales of goods in Spain. On that basis, the Spanish tax authorities found that the company had a permanent establishment for in Spain for VAT purposes and issued an assessment. An appeal was filed by Ashland Industries, but the appeal was dismissed by the courts. The Spanish Supreme Court concluded that: “First. To determine whether a permanent establishment can be deemed to exist in the Spanish territory of application of VAT where the only transactions carried out subject to that tax are supplies of goods other than supplies of gas, electricity, heat or refrigeration. Second. If the answer to the previous question is in the affirmative, what conditions are necessary to establish that a Spanish subsidiary constitutes a permanent establishment ... Read more
Italy vs Gulf Shipping & Trading Corporation Ltd Inc, October 2020, Supreme Court, Case No 21693/2020

Italy vs Gulf Shipping & Trading Corporation Ltd Inc, October 2020, Supreme Court, Case No 21693/2020

The Italian Revenue Agency had notified to Gulf Shipping & Trading Corporation Ltd Inc. several notices of assessment, relating to the tax years 1999 to 2006, contesting undeclared taxable income, having ascertained that the aforesaid company had a permanent establishment in Italy through which it traded in construction materials. The company had lodged separate appeals against the above tax assessments, which were partially upheld by the Tax Commission, which, in particular, had partially recalculated the taxable income in relation solely to transactions involving the sale of stone materials to Italian clients The tax authorities appealed the sentence of the court of first instance. According to the Revenue Agency in regards to “permanent establishment”, what needs to be verified is the fact that, through the fixed place of business, the company based abroad carries out its activity in the Italian territory, i.e. an economically relevant activity for the subject to which it is referable, to be understood, however, in a broad ... Read more
Tanzania vs African Barrick Gold PLC, August 2020, Court of Appeal, Case No. 144 of 2018, [2020] TZCA 1754

Tanzania vs African Barrick Gold PLC, August 2020, Court of Appeal, Case No. 144 of 2018, [2020] TZCA 1754

AFRICAN BARRICK GOLD PLC (now Acacia Mining Plc), the largest mining company operating in Tanzania, was issued a tax bill for unpaid taxes, interest and penalties for alleged under-declared export revenues. As a tax resident in Tanzania, AFRICAN BARRICK GOLD was asked to remit withholding taxes on dividend payments amounting to USD 81,843,127 which the company allegedly made for the years 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 (this sum was subsequently reduced to USD 41,250,426). AFRICAN BARRICK GOLD was also required to remit withholding taxes on payments which the mining entities in Tanzania had paid to the parent, together with payments which was made to other non-resident persons (its shareholders) for the service rendered between 2010 up to September 2013. AFRICAN BARRICK GOLD argued that, being a holding company incorporated in the United Kingdom, it was neither a resident company in Tanzania, nor did it conduct any business in Tanzania to attract the income tax demanded according to the tax assessment ... Read more
UK vs Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited and Irish Nationwide Building Society, August 2020, Court of Appeal , Case No [2020] EWCA Civ 1128

UK vs Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited and Irish Nationwide Building Society, August 2020, Court of Appeal , Case No [2020] EWCA Civ 1128

This case concerned deductibility of notional interest paid in 2003-7 by two permanent establishments in the UK to their Irish HQs. The loans – and thus interest expenses – had been allocated to the PEs as if they were separate entities. The UK tax authorities held that interest deductibility was restricted by UK tax law, which prescribed that PE’s has such equity and loan capital as it could reasonably be expected to have as a separate entity. The UK taxpayers, refered to  Article 8 of the UK-Ireland tax treaty. Article 8 applied the “distinct and separate enterprise” principle found in Article 7 of the 1963 OECD Model Tax Convention, which used the language used in section 11AA(2). Yet nothing was said in the treaty about assumed levels of equity and debt funding for the PE. In 2017, the First-tier Tribunal found in favour of the tax authority, and in October 2019 the Upper Tribunal also dismissed the taxpayers’ appeals. Judgement ... Read more
Switzerland vs A GmbH und B GmbH, August 2020, Federal Supreme Court, Case No 2C_1116/2018

Switzerland vs A GmbH und B GmbH, August 2020, Federal Supreme Court, Case No 2C_1116/2018

Two Swiss companies, A GmbH und B GmbH, belonged to a multinational group under a Dutch parent. The group provided food and fuel to military troops and civilian in areas of crises and armed conflicts. A group company located in the United Arab Emirates provided services to the Swiss companies primarily in relation to activities in Afghanistan. A GmbH und B GmbH had a permanent establishment in Afghanistan. As there are no tax treaties between Switzerland and Afghanistan, for Swiss tax purposes the allocation of income between the two companies and the permanent establishment in Afghanistan was governed by Swiss domestic law. A tax assessment was issued by the authorities which was brought to the Swiss courts by the companies. In 2018 the case ended up in the Swiss Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled that according to Swiss law, the profit allocation has to start from the total global income of the companies. Hence, the assessment was partially incorrect, ... Read more
India vs Samsung Heavy Industries, July 2020, Supreme Court, Case No 12183 OF 2016

India vs Samsung Heavy Industries, July 2020, Supreme Court, Case No 12183 OF 2016

At issue was if the activities carried out by Samsung Heavy Industries’ Mumbai project office constituted a permanent establishment or if the activities were of a preparatory and auxiliary nature. The Indian Supreme Court decided in favor of Samsung Heavy Industries. Under the Tax Treaty, the condition for application of Article 5(1) of the Tax Treaty and there by constituting PE is that there should be a place ‘through which the business of an enterprise’ is wholly or partly carried on, and furthermore that these activities are not of a preparatory and auxiliary nature, cf. Article 5(4)(e). Board Resolution documents showed that the Mumbai project office was established to coordinate and execute “delivery documents in connection with construction of offshore platform modification of existing facilities for Oil and Natural Gas Corporation”. The office was not involved in the core activity of execution of the Project. No expenditure was incurred by the office in India – only 2 employees. The burden ... Read more
Uganda vs East African Breweries International Ltd. July 2020, Tax Appeals Tribunal, Case no. 14 of 2017

Uganda vs East African Breweries International Ltd. July 2020, Tax Appeals Tribunal, Case no. 14 of 2017

East African Breweries International Ltd (applicant) is a wholly owned subsidiary of East African Breweries Limited, and is incorporated in Kenya. East African Breweries International Ltd was involved in developing the markets of the companies in countries that did not have manufacturing operations. The company did not carry out marketing services in Uganda but was marketing Ugandan products outside Uganda. After sourcing customers, they pay to the applicant. A portion is remitted to Uganda Breweries Limited and East African Breweries International Ltd then adds a markup on the products obtained from Uganda Breweries Limited sold to customers in other countries. East African Breweries International Ltd would pay a markup of 7.5 % to Uganda Breweries and then sell the items at a markup of 70 to 90%. In July 2015 the tax authorities (respondent) audited Uganda Breweries Limited, also a subsidiary of East African Breweries Limited, and found information relating to transactions with the East African Breweries International Ltd for ... Read more
Italy vs Citybank, April 2020, Supreme Court, Case No 7801/2020

Italy vs Citybank, April 2020, Supreme Court, Case No 7801/2020

US Citybank was performing activities in Italy by means of a branch/permanent establishment. The Italian PE granted loan agreements to its Italian clients. Later on, the bank decided to sell these agreements to a third party which generated losses attributed to the PE’s profit and loss accounts. Following an audit of the branch concerning FY 2003 in which the sale of the loan agreements took place, a tax assessment was issued where the tax authorities denied deduction for the losses related to the transfer of the agreements. The tax authorities held that the losses should have been attributed to the U.S. parent due to lack of financial capacity to assume the risk in the Italien PE. First Citybank appealed the assessment to the Provincial Tax Court which ruled in favor of the bank. This decision was then appealed by the tax authorities to the Regional Tax Court which ruled in favor of the tax authorities. Finally Citybank appealed this decision ... Read more
Sweden vs Flir Commercial Systems AB, March 2020, Stockholm Administrative Court, Case No 28256-18

Sweden vs Flir Commercial Systems AB, March 2020, Stockholm Administrative Court, Case No 28256-18

In 2012, Flir Commercial Systems AB sold intangible assets from a branch in Belgium and subsequently claimed a tax relief of more than SEK 2 billion in fictitious Belgian tax due to the sale. The Swedish Tax Agency decided not to allow relief for the Belgian “tax”, and issued a tax assessment where the relief of approximately SEK 2 billion was denied and a surcharge of approximately SEK 800 million was added. The Administrative Court concluded that the Swedish Tax Agency was correct in not allowing relief for the fictitious Belgian tax. A double taxation agreement applies between Sweden and Belgium. In the opinion of the Administrative Court, the agreement prevents Belgium from taxing the assets. Consequently, any fictitious tax cannot be deducted. The Administrative Court also considers that the Swedish Tax Agency was correct in imposing a tax surcharge and that there is no reason to reduce the surcharge. The company’s appeal is therefore rejected. Click here for translation ... Read more
Netherlands vs "Fertilizer BV", November 2019, District Court, Case No. ECLI:NL:RBZWB:2019:4920

Netherlands vs “Fertilizer BV”, November 2019, District Court, Case No. ECLI:NL:RBZWB:2019:4920

In 2016 Fertilizer BV had been issued a tax assessment for FY 2012 in which the tax authorities had imposed additional taxable income of €162,506,660. Fertilizer BV is the parent company of a fiscal unity for corporation tax (hereinafter: FU). It is a limited partner in a limited partnership under Dutch law, which operates a factory in [Country 1]. The interested party borrowed the money for the capital contribution to the limited partnership from a wholly-owned subsidiary. The share in profits from the limited partnership was expressed as profit from a permanent establishment. In dispute was the amount of interest attributable to the permanent establishment. The court followed the inspector in allocating – in connection with the [circumstances] in [Country 1] – 75% equity and 25% loan capital to the PE. Furthermore, the FU had deposits and loans in USD. These positions were partly hedged by forward exchange contracts. Fertilizer BV valued these deposits and loans at the historical acquisition ... Read more
Netherlands vs. Swiss Corp, November 2019, Rechtbank Noord-Nederland, Case No. 2019:1492

Netherlands vs. Swiss Corp, November 2019, Rechtbank Noord-Nederland, Case No. 2019:1492

For the purpose of determining whether a Swiss Corporation had effectively been managed from the Netherlands or had a permanent establishment in the Netherlands, the Dutch tax authorities send a request for information. The Swiss Corp was not willing to answer the request and argued that the request was disproportionate and that the concepts of “documents concerning decision-making with regard to important decisions” and “e-mail files” was and did not fit into the powers that an inspector has under Article 47 of the AWR. Judgement of the Court The court ruled in favor of the tax authorities. The court did not find the tax authorities’ request for information disproportionate. Article 47 of the Awr requires the provision of factual information and information that may be relevant to taxation with respect to the taxpayer (cf. Supreme Court October 20, 2017, ECLI: NL: HR: 2017: 2654). In the opinion of the court, the defendant remained within those limits with his request to ... Read more
Sweden vs Branch of Yazaki Europe Ltd, October 2019, Court of Appeal, Case No 2552–2555-17, 2557–2558-17, 3422-18

Sweden vs Branch of Yazaki Europe Ltd, October 2019, Court of Appeal, Case No 2552–2555-17, 2557–2558-17, 3422-18

The Swedish Branch of Yazaki Europe Ltd had been heavily lossmaking for more than five years. The Branch only had a limited number of customers in Sweden and where it acted as a simple information exchange provider. The branch had limited risks, as all risk related to R&D functions were located outside Sweden. Excerpt from the Judgement of the Court “…the District Court finds that the branch has had limited opportunities to influence the costs of the products, the choice of suppliers and service providers regarding the development of the products in the projects run in collaboration with the Swedish customers, and price to the customer. Furthermore, the branch has been referred to make purchases in the currencies that result from the group structure. The branch states that…the work done by the branch has been of such scope and importance that significant people functions are to be considered in the branch for virtually all risks that can be associated with ... Read more
UK vs Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited and Irish Nationwide Building Society, October 2019, UK Upper Tribunal, UKUT 0277 (TCC)

UK vs Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited and Irish Nationwide Building Society, October 2019, UK Upper Tribunal, UKUT 0277 (TCC)

This case concerned deductibility of notional interest paid in 2003-7 by two permanent establishments in the UK to their Irish HQs. The loans – and thus interest expenses – had been allocated to the PEs as if they were separate entities. The UK tax authorities held that interest deductibility was restricted by UK tax law, which prescribed that PE’s has such equity and loan capital as it could reasonably be expected to have as a separate entity. The UK taxpayers, refered to  Article 8 of the UK-Ireland tax treaty. Article 8 applied the “distinct and separate enterprise” principle found in Article 7 of the 1963 OECD Model Tax Convention, which used the language used in section 11AA(2). Yet nothing was said in the treaty about assumed levels of equity and debt funding for the PE. In 2017, the First-tier Tribunal found in favour of the tax authority, and in October 2019 the Upper Tribunal also dismissed the taxpayers’ appeals. Irish_Nationwide_Building_Society_and_anor_v_HMRC ... Read more
Sweden vs Branch of Technology Partners International Europe Ltd, October 2019, Court of Appeal, Case No 3701-18

Sweden vs Branch of Technology Partners International Europe Ltd, October 2019, Court of Appeal, Case No 3701-18

The Swedish branch of Technology Partners International Europe Ltd. was loss-making. The branch had no significant people functions but only two employees performing low value-added services. From the Judgement of the Court of Appeal “The distribution of revenue and costs between a British company and its Swedish branch is regulated for the current tax years in Article 7 of the 1983 double taxation agreement with the United Kingdom. Further guidance on the application of this issue can be obtained in the 2008 OECD report on profit allocation. A two-step test according to the so-called functional separate entity approach, as described in the administrative law, must be done. The Court of Appeal agrees, in light of the information provided by the branch during the Swedish Tax Agency’s investigation and because the Nordic manager cannot be linked to the branch, in the administrative court’s assessment that the branch has in the current years lacked so-called significant people functions. Nor has the branch ... Read more
Italy vs HSBC Milano, September 2019, Supreme Court, Case No 23355

Italy vs HSBC Milano, September 2019, Supreme Court, Case No 23355

HBP is a company resident in the United Kingdom, which also carries on banking business in Italy through its Milan branch (‘HSBC Milano’), which, for income tax purposes, qualifies as a permanent establishment (‘PE’ or ‘branch’) and grants credit facilities to Italian companies and industrial groups, including (from 1996) Parmalat Spa. HBP brought separate actions before the Milan Provincial Tax Commission challenging two notices of assessment for IRPEG and IRAP for 2003 and for IRES and IRAP for 2004, which taxed interest expense (147,634 euros for 2003 and 143,302 euros for 2004) on loans to Parmalat Spa. (€ 147,634, for 2003; € 143,302, for 2004) on loans from the ‘parent company’ in favour of the ‘PE’, and losses on receivables (€ 9,609,545, for 2003, and € 3,330,382, for 2004), as negative components unduly deducted by the permanent establishment, even though they related to revenues and activities attributable to the ‘parent company’. According to the Office, the PE is considered, from ... Read more
France vs Google, September 2019, Court approval of CJIP Agreement - Google agrees to pay EUR 1 billion in fines and taxes to end Supreme Court Case

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

The district court of Paris has approved a  “convention judiciaire d’intérêt public” negotiated between the French state and Google for an amount of € 500 million plus another agreement with the French tax authorities which amounts to 465 million euros. The agreement puts an end to the French lawsuits against Google for aggressive tax evasion, and litigation with the tax administration relating to adjustments for the periods going from 2005 to 2018. The CJIP “convention judiciaire d’intérêt public“, was established by Article 22 of Law No. 2016-1691 of 9 December 2016 in France on transparency and fight against corruption. By Law No. 2018-898 of October 23, 2018 the law was extended to cover cases for tax evasion. According to the CJIP legal actions can be ended in return for the payment of a fine. The dispute concerned the existence of a permanent establishment of Google Ireland in France. In Googles European headquarters in Ireland the corporate tax rate is (12.5%). However, ... Read more
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
France vs. Google, April 2019, Administrative Court of Appeal, Case N° 17PA03065

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

The French tax administration argued that Google had a permenent establishment in France because the parent company in the US and its subsidiary in Ireland had been selling a service – online ads – to customers in France. In 2017 the administrative court found that Google France did not have the capability to carry out the advertising activities on its own. Google Ireland Limited therefore did not have a permanent establishment in France. The same conclution was reached i 2019 by the Administrative court of appeal. Click here for translation France vs Google April 2019, No 17PA03065, ... Read more
Glencore in $680 million Transfer Pricing Dispute with HMRC

Glencore in $680 million Transfer Pricing Dispute with HMRC

In a publication of preliminary results for 2018 mining giant Glencore reports a major tax assessment issued by HMRC in December 2018. “UK Tax Audit In December 2018, HMRC issued formal transfer pricing, permanent establishment and diverted profits tax assessments for the 2008 – 2017 tax years, amounting to $680 million. The Group intends to appeal and vigorously contest these assessments, following, over the years, various legal opinions received and detailed analysis conducted, supporting its positions and policies applied, and therefore the Group has not provided for the amount assessed. Management does not anticipate a significant risk of material changes in estimates in this matter in the next financial year.“ ... Read more
European Commission vs McDonald, December 2018, European Commission Case no. SA.38945

European Commission vs McDonald, December 2018, European Commission Case no. SA.38945

The European Commission found that Luxembourg did not grant illegal State aid to McDonald’s as a consequence of the exemption of income attributed to a US branch. ...it is not established that the Luxembourg tax authorities misapplied the Luxembourg – US double taxation treaty. Therefore, on the basis of the doubts raised in the Opening Decision and taking into account its definition of the reference system, the Commission cannot establish that the contested rulings granted a selective advantage to McD Europe by misapplying the Luxembourg – US double taxation treaty ... Read more
Netherlands vs NL PE, October 2018, Amsterdam Court of Appeal, case no. 17/00407 to 17/00410

Netherlands vs NL PE, October 2018, Amsterdam Court of Appeal, case no. 17/00407 to 17/00410

The issue in this case was attribution of profits to a permanent establishment in the Netherlands. Click here for translation ECLI_NL_GHAMS_2018_2438, Gerechtshof Amsterdam, 17_00407 tm 17_00410N ... Read more
Denmark vs Bevola, June 2018, European Court of Justice, Case No C-650/16

Denmark vs Bevola, June 2018, European Court of Justice, Case No C-650/16

The Danish company Bevola had a PE in Finland. The PE incurred a loss when it was closed in 2009 that could not be utilized in Finland. Instead, Bevola claimed a tax deduction in its Danish tax return for 2009 for the loss suffered in Finland. A deduction of the loss was disallowed by the tax authorities because section 8(2) of the Danish Corporate Tax Act stipulates that the taxable income does not include profits and losses of foreign PEs (territoriality principle). Bevola would only be entitled to claim a tax deduction for the Finnish loss in the Danish tax return by making an election of international joint taxation under section 31 A. However, such an election means that all foreign entities must be included in the Danish tax return and the election is binding for a period of 10 years. The decision of the tax authorities was confirmed by the National Tax Tribunal on 20 January 2014. The taxpayer ... Read more
India vs Mastercard, June 2018, AAR No 1573 of 2014

India vs Mastercard, June 2018, AAR No 1573 of 2014

The issue was whether Mastercard Asien Pasific Ltd has a permanent establishment in India as regards the use of a global network and infrastructure to process card payment transactions for customers in India and as regards other related activities. India’s Authority for Advance Rulings found that that Mastercard’s activities in India created a permanent establishment under several different theories. The AAR also concluded that processing fees paid to Mastercard’s regional headquarters in Singapore by Indian banks and other financial institutions were royalty income, but would be taxable as business profits in India under Article 7 in the DTT between India and Singapore for being effectively connected with a PE of Mastercard Asia Pacific in India. AAR ruling: India-vs-Mastercard-asia-pacific-ltd-6-June-2018-AAR-No-1573-of-2014 ... Read more
Nokia paid 202 million euro to settle a long running dispute with the tax authorities in India

Nokia paid 202 million euro to settle a long running dispute with the tax authorities in India

Under the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP), Finland and India have settled a long running tax dispute involving Nokia. The tax authorities in India issued a tax assessment to Nokia for violating withholding tax regulations in India while making royalty payments to its parent company in Finland. An additional assessment was then issued by the tax authorities in India to the parent company in Finland for the same transaction as – according to the tax authorities – the company had a permanent establishment in India. According to the MAP settlement Nokia will pay 102 million euro in addition to the 100 million euro already paid in India during 2013-2015 ... Read more
France vs PetO Ferrymasters Ltd. April 2018, Conseil d’État N° 399884

France vs PetO Ferrymasters Ltd. April 2018, Conseil d’État N° 399884

The French Supreme Court issued a decision on 4 April 2018, concluding that a permanent establishment (PE) existed in France for purposes of determining nonresident companies’ exposure to French VAT in a case involving a transport commissionaire arrangement. The decisions clarify the criteria for determining whether a service provider will be considered to have sufficient substance in France to enable the services to be performed in an independent manner, and thus constitute a PE. A UK sea carriage commissionaire signed a client assignment contract with a French company carrying out the same activity, as well as a contract for the French company to organize and provide transport services. The UK company was required to approve any new clients or suppliers. The UK company also managed the reservation systems for clients to book the transport and communicated with the clients regarding the transport and the insurance linked to the business. The French company was responsible for the overall development of the ... Read more
Additional guidance on the attribution of profits to permanent establishments

Additional guidance on the attribution of profits to permanent establishments

The OECD has released additional guidance on the attribution of profits to permanent establishments. This additional guidance sets out high-level general principles for the attribution of profits to permanent establishments arising under Article 5(5), in accordance with applicable treaty provisions, and includes examples of a commissionnaire structure for the sale of goods, an online advertising sales structure, and a procurement structure. It also includes additional guidance related to permanent establishments created as a result of the changes to Article 5(4), and provides an example on the attribution of profits to permanent establishments arising from the anti-fragmentation rule included in Article 5(4.1). See also the 2008 Guidance and 2010 Guidance. additional-guidance-attribution-of-profits-to-permanent-establishments-BEPS-action-7 ... Read more
France vs Valueclick Ltd. March 2018, Administrative Court, Case no 17PA01538

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

The issue in the case before the Administrative Court of Appeal of Paris was whether an Irish company had a PE in France in a situation where employees of a French company in the same group carried out marketing, representation, management, back office and administrative assistance services on behalf of the group. The following facts were used to substantiate the presence of a French PE: French employees negotiated the terms of contracts and were involved in drafting certain contractual clauses with the customers. Contracts were automatically signed by the Irish company – whether this action corresponded to a simple validation of the contracts negotiated and drawn up by the managers and employees in France. Local advertising programs were developed and monitored by employees in France. French employees acted to third parties as employees of the Irish company. Customers did not distinguish between the Irish and the French company. However, the Administrative Court found that none of these factors established that employees in France had been ... Read more
Czech Republic vs. FK Teplice, a. s., November 2017, Supreme Administrative Court , Case No 1 Afs 239/2017 – 37

Czech Republic vs. FK Teplice, a. s., November 2017, Supreme Administrative Court , Case No 1 Afs 239/2017 – 37

According to the Regional Court, it follows from Section 2 of the Income Tax Act that a footballer is subject to tax in the Czech Republic by reason of his residence, permanent home or other similar criteria if he had resided in the Czech Republic (continuously or in several periods) for at least 183 days in 2011 or if he had a permanent home in the Czech Republic in circumstances from which it can be inferred that he intended to reside there permanently. If at least one of these conditions is met, the footballer would be a Czech tax resident within the meaning of Article 2(2) of the Income Tax Act and would be liable to tax on the basis of that (i.e. residence, permanent home or similar criteria). He would therefore also be a resident of the Czech Republic within the meaning of Article 4(1) of the Double Taxation Treaty. The Regional Court did not find any reason to ... Read more
France vs. Google, July 2017, Administrative Court

France vs. Google, July 2017, Administrative Court

The French tax administration argued that Google had a permenent establishment in France because the parent company in the US and its subsidiary in Ireland had been selling a service – online ads – to customers in France. The administrative court found that Google France did not have the capability to carry out the advertising activities on its own. Google Ireland Limited therefore did not have a permanent establishment in France. Click here for translation France-vs-Google-July-2017 ... Read more

Indonesia vs Google, June 2017, Settlement PE

In June 2017, the Indonesian government announced that it had settled a lengthy tax dispute with Google for 2016. While the settlement sum has not been disclosed, it is perceived as setting a new tone in the interpretation of permanent establishment status for tech companies ... Read more
Sweden vs S BV, 16 June 2017, Administrative Court, case number 2385-2390-16

Sweden vs S BV, 16 June 2017, Administrative Court, case number 2385-2390-16

S BV was not granted deductions in its Swedish PE for interest on debt relating to the acquisition of subsidiaries. The Court of Appeal considers that it is clear that key personnel regarding acquisition, financing and divestment of the shares in the subsidiary and the associated risks have not existed in the PE. It is also very likely that the holding of the shares has not been necessary for and conditioned by the PE’s operations. Therefore, there is no support for allocating the shares and the related debt to the PE. Click here for translation Sweden vs Corp 30 June 2017 KRNS, mål nr 2385—2390-16 ... Read more
India vs Formula One World Championship Ltd, April 2017, India's Supreme Court

India vs Formula One World Championship Ltd, April 2017, India’s Supreme Court

India’s Supreme Court found that Formula One World Championship which conducts Formula One racing events, has a permanent establishment (PE) for its business in India and income accruing from it is taxable. “We are of the opinion that the test laid down by the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Visakhapatnam Port Trust case fully stands satisfied. Not only the Buddh International Circuit is a fixed place where the commercial/economic activity of conducting F-1 Championship was carried out, one could clearly discern that it was a virtual projection of the foreign enterprise, namely, Formula-1 (i.e. FOWC) on the soil of this country. It is already noted above that as per Philip Baker, a PE must have three characteristics: stability, productivity and dependence. All characteristics are present in this case. Fixed place of business in the form of physical location, i.e. Buddh International Circuit, was at the disposal of FOWC through which it conducted business. Aesthetics of law and taxation jurisprudence leave no doubt ... Read more
Denmark vs. Corp, December 2016, Tax Tribunal, SKM2017.115

Denmark vs. Corp, December 2016, Tax Tribunal, SKM2017.115

The case relates to controlled transactions between a Danish company and its permanent establishment, as well as the calculation of taxable income of the permanent establishment. The Danish Tax Administration was entitled to make tax assessment in accordance with applicable Tax Law. The transfer pricing-documentation provided by the Company lacked a comparability analysis. The assessment was in line with the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines, but some corrections to the tax assessment were made. Click here for translation Denmark-2016-Tax-Tribunal-SKM2017-115-LSR ... Read more
Spain vs Dell, June 2016, Supreme Court, Case No. 1475/2016

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

Dell Spain is part of a multinational group (Dell) that manufactures and sells computers. Dell Ireland, operates as distribution hub for most of Europe. Dell Ireland has appointed related entities to operate as its commissionaires in several countries; Dell Spain and Dell France are part of this commissionaire network. The group operates through a direct sales model and sales to private customers in Spain are conducted by Dell France, through a call centre and a web page. Dell Spain use to operate as a full-fledged distributor, but after entering into a commissionaire agreement Dell Spain now served large customers on behalf of Dell Ireland. A tax assessment was issued by the tax authorities. According to the assessment the activities in Spain constituted a Permanent Establishment of Dell Ireland to which profits had to allocated for FY 2001-2003. Judgement of the Supreme Court The Supreme Court concludes that the activities of Dell Spain constitutes a Permanent Establishment of Dell Ireland under ... Read more
Spain vs. branch of ING Direct Bank, July 2015, Spanish High Court, Case No 89/2015 2015:2995

Spain vs. branch of ING Direct Bank, July 2015, Spanish High Court, Case No 89/2015 2015:2995

In the INC bank case the tax administration had characterised part of the interest-bearing debt of a local branch of a Dutch bank, ING DIRECT B.V,  as “free” capital, in “accordance” with EU minimum capitalisation requirements and consequently reduced the deductible interest expenses in the taxabel income of the local branch for FY 2002 and 2003. The adjustment had been based on interpretation of the Commentaries to the OECD Model Convention, article 7, which had first been approved in 2008. Judgement of the National Court The court did not agree with the “dynamic interpretation” of Article 7 applied by the tax administration in relation to “free” capital, and ruled in favor of the branch of ING Direct. “In short, in accordance with the terms of the aforementioned DGT Consultation of 1272-98 of 13 July, “Consequently, to the extent that the branch or establishment is that of a banking institution, the interest paid to the head office will be deductible”, the ... Read more
South Africa vs. AB LLC and BD Holdings LLC, May 2015, Tax Court, Case No: 13276

South Africa vs. AB LLC and BD Holdings LLC, May 2015, Tax Court, Case No: 13276

US companies, AB LLC and BD Holdings LLC, came to South Africa in 2007 to perform certain services for X, a company based in and operating from South Africa. To perform these services they concluded a contract with X. There only purpose for coming to South Africa was to perform the services and earn income or profits in terms of the contract. Having achieved this objective they left the country in 2008. Furthermore in 2009 they recieved a succes bonus for the work performed in 2007 and 2008. On 14 June 2011 they were assessed for taxation purposes for the 2007, 2008 and 2009 years by the Revenue Service. The total taxable amount for these years, although only earned during the period February 2007 to May 2008, according to the respondent, was R 63.990.639. The assessment was based on the provisions of Articles 7(1), 5(1) and 5(2)(k) of the DTA. According to these assessments the US companies were liable for ... Read more
Spain vs. Roche, January 2012, Supreme Court case nr. 1626/2008

Spain vs. Roche, January 2012, Supreme Court case nr. 1626/2008

Prior to a business restructuring in 1999, the Spanish subsidiary, Roche Vitaminas S.A., was a full-fledged distributor, involved in manufacturing, importing, and selling the pharmaceutical products in the Spanish and Portuguese markets. In 1999 the Spanish subsidiary and the Swiss parent, Roche Vitamins Europe Ltd., entered into a manufacturing agreement and a distribution agreement. Under the manufacturing agreement, the Spanish subsidiary manufactured products  according to directions and using formulas, know-how, patents, and trademarks from the Swiss parent. These manufacturing activities were remunerated at cost plus 3.3 percent. Under the distribution (agency) agreement, the Spanish subsidiary would “represent, protect and promote” the products. These activities were remunerated at 2 percent of sales. The Spanish subsidiary was now characterized as a contract manufacturer and commission agent and the taxable profits in Spain were much lower than before the business restructuring. The Spanish tax authorities argued that the activities constituted a PE in Spain according to article 5 of DTT between Spain and ... Read more
Norge vs. Dell Norge. December 2011, HRD saknr 2011-755

Norge vs. Dell Norge. December 2011, HRD saknr 2011-755

The Irish company Dell Products was taxable in Norway for years 2003-2006. The issue was whether Dell Products had a permenent establishment in Norway, cf. Article 5. 5 in the tax treaty between Ireland and Norway from 2000. Dell Products sold PC’s and equipment by a commission agreement in which the Irish company was Principal and the Norwegian company Dell AS was commissioner. Both the companies are part of the Dell group. Dell AS sold to customers who were large enterprises and the public sector. It was not disputed that the agreement was not legally binding on Dell Products in relation to customers. Dell Products would have a permanent establishment in Norway and may be taxable Norway, if Dell Norway had acted “on behalf of” and had the “authority to conclude contracts on behalf of the” Dell, ref. Tax Treaty Article 5. 5. Unlike the District Court and the Court of Appeal the Supreme Court did not wote in favor of the tax authorities. The ... Read more
Spain vs. Borex, February 2011, National Court case nr. 80-2008

Spain vs. Borex, February 2011, National Court case nr. 80-2008

A Spanish subsidiary of a UK Group (Borex), which imported, processed and sold the materials to third parties, was transformed into a a contract manufacturer. The Spanish subsidiary signed two separate contracts with the UK parent – one for warehousing and the provision of services and the other in respect of an sales agency. Under the first contract, the minerals purchased by the parent would be stored and processed by the subsidiary, which would also provide other relevant services. Under the second contract, the Spanish subsidiary would promote sales of the minerals in Spain, but, as the prices and conditions were fixed by the UK parent, the subsidiary would only send orders to the parent, which according to the contract was not bound to accept them. The subsidiary could not accept orders in the name of the parent or receive payment. The tax authorities argued that there was a high degree of overlapping between the activities carried out by the parent and the ... Read more

Guidance on the attribution of profits to permanent establishments 2010

On 22 July 2010 a new report on the attribution of profits to permanent establishments was published. The 2008 Report will serve as background guidance to the 2008 revised Commentary‘s interpretation of the pre-2010 Article 7 for as long as bilateral tax treaties that are based on the text of that version of Article 7 are in force. However, because the 2008 Report included a number of references to the text of the pre-2010 Article 7, and because the Committee revised the text of Article 7 in the 2010 update to the Model Tax Convention, the Committee believed it would be advisable to prepare a modified version of the 2008 Report which would delete obsolete references to the text of the pre-2010 Article 7 and which would align the Report‘s wording with the wording of the new Article 7, thus making the modified Report available as a future reference for guidance on the interpretation of future treaties based on the new Article 7. The Committee decided to prepare ... Read more
France vs. Zimmer Ltd., March 2010, Conseil D'Etat No. 304715, 308525

France vs. Zimmer Ltd., March 2010, Conseil D’Etat No. 304715, 308525

The French company, Zimmer SAS, distributed products for Zimmer Limited. In 1995 the company was converted into a commissionaire (acting in its own name but on behalf of Zimmer Ltd.). The French tax authorities argued that the commissionaire was taxable as a permanent establishment of the principal, because the commissionaire could bind the principal. The Court ruled that the commissionaire could not bind the principal. Therefore, the French commissionaire could not be a permanent establishment of the principal. Click here for English translation France-vs-Zimmer-March-2010-case-nr-304715 ... Read more

Guidance on the attribution of profits to permanent establishments 2008

On 17 July 2008, the OECD Council approved the release the Report on the Attribution of Profits to Permanent Establishments . The Report includes a preface and four Parts. Part I sets out general considerations for attributing profits to permanent establishments, regardless of the business sector in which they operate. Part II describes the application of the approach to enterprises carrying on a banking business through a permanent establishment. Part III addresses the situation of permanent establishments of enterprises carrying on global trading in financial instruments. Part IV deals with the application of the approach to PE of enterprises carrying on insurance activities. REPORT-ON-THE-ATTRIBUTION-OF-PROFITS-TO-PE-2008 ... Read more
Italy vs “Philip Morris”, May 2002, Supreme Court, Cases No 7682/2002

Italy vs “Philip Morris”, May 2002, Supreme Court, Cases No 7682/2002

At issue in the Philip Morris case was the scope of the definition of permanent establishments – whether or not activities in Italy performed by Intertaba s.p.a. constituted a permanent establishment of the Philip Morris group. According to the tax authorities the taxpayer had tried to conceal the P.E. in Italy by disguising the fact that the Italian company was also acting in the exclusive interest of the Philip Morris group. The Court of Appeal set aside the assessment issued by the tax authorities, and the tax authorities in turn filed an appeal with the Supreme Court. Judgement of the Supreme Court The supreme court set aside the decision of the court of first instance and remanded the case with the following instructions: “…According to Art. 5(5) of the OECD Model, structures having the authority to conclude contracts in the name of the enterprise cannot be regarded as independent persons. This power, according to the Commentary (sub-article 5(5)(33)), must not ... Read more
Italy vs “Philip Morris”, March 2002, Supreme Court, Cases No 3368/2002

Italy vs “Philip Morris”, March 2002, Supreme Court, Cases No 3368/2002

At issue in the Philip Morris case was the scope of the definition of permanent establishments – whether or not activities in Italy performed by Intertaba s.p.a. constituted a permanent establishment of the Philip Morris group. According to the tax authorities the taxpayer had tried to conceal the P.E. in Italy by disguising the fact that the Italian company was also acting in the exclusive interest of the Philip Morris group. On the basis of a tax audit report the Revenue Department – VAT office of Milan, by means of separate adjustment notices for the years 1992 to 1995, charged AAA, and on its behalf BBB s.p.a, for having failed to invoice the amounts paid by the State Monopolies Administration for the supply-distribution in the national territory of cigarettes under the CCC brand. In addition, according to the Administration, the company had failed to self-invoice the amounts for transport and distribution of the tobacco in the national territory. The Court ... Read more