Tag: Royalty

Payments of any kind received as consideration for the use of, or the right to use intellectual property, such as a copyright, patent, trade mark, design or model, plan, secret formula or process.

France vs Accor (Hotels), June 2022, CAA de Versailles, Case No. 20VE02607

France vs Accor (Hotels), June 2022, CAA de Versailles, Case No. 20VE02607

The French Accor hotel group was the subject of an tax audit related to FY 2010, during which the tax authorities found that Accor had not invoiced a fee for the use of its trademarks by its Brazilian subsidiary, Hotelaria Accor Brasil, in an amount of 8,839,047. The amount not invoiced was considered a deemed distribution of profits and the tax authorities applied a withholding tax rate of 25% to the amount which resulted in withholding taxes in an amount of EUR 2.815.153. An appeal was filed by Accor with the Administrative Court. In a judgment of 7 July 2020, the Administrative Court partially discharged Accor from the withholding tax up to the amount of the application of the conventional reduced rate of 15% (related to dividends), and rejected the remainder of the claim. The Administrative Court considered that income deemed to be distributed did not fall within the definition of dividends under article 10 of the tax treaty with ... Read more
McDonald’s has agreed to pay €1.25bn to settle a dispute with French authorities over excessive royalty payments to Luxembourg

McDonald’s has agreed to pay €1.25bn to settle a dispute with French authorities over excessive royalty payments to Luxembourg

On 16 June 2022 McDonald’s France entered into an settlement agreement according to which it will pay €1.245 billion in back taxes and fines to the French tax authorities. The settlement agreement resulted from investigations carried out by the French tax authorities in regards to abnormally high royalties transferred from McDonald’s France to McDonald’s Luxembourg following an intra group restructuring in 2009. McDonald’s France doubled its royalty payments from 5% to 10% of restaurant turnover, and instead of paying these royalties to McDonald’s HQ in the United States, going forward they paid them to a Swiss PE of a group company in Luxembourg, which was not taxable of the amounts. During the investigations it was discovered that McDonald’s royalty fees could vary substantially from one McDonald’s branch to the next without any justification other than tax savings for the group. This conclusion was further supported by statements of the managers of the various subsidiaries as well as documentation seized which ... Read more
France vs Société Planet, May 2022, Conseil d'État, Case No 444451

France vs Société Planet, May 2022, Conseil d’État, Case No 444451

In view of its purpose and the comments made on Article 12 of the OECD Model Convention, the Conseil d’État found that Article 12(2) of the Franco-New Zealand tax treaty was applicable to French source royalties whose beneficial owner resided in New Zealand, even if the royalties had been paid to an intermediary company established in a third country. The Supreme Court thus set aside the previous 2020 Judgement of the Administrative Court of Appeal. The question of whether the company in New Zealand actually qualified as the beneficial owner of the royalties for the years in question was referred to the Court of Appeal. Excerpt “1. It is clear from the documents in the file submitted to the judges of the court of first instance that the company Planet, which carries on the business of distributing sports programmes to fitness clubs, was subject to reminders of withholding tax in respect of sums described as royalties paid to the companies ... Read more
Poland vs "X-TM" sp. z o.o., March 2022, Administrative Court, SA/PO 1058/21

Poland vs “X-TM” sp. z o.o., March 2022, Administrative Court, SA/PO 1058/21

On 30 November 2012, X sold its trademarks to subsidiary C which in turn sold the trademarks to subsidiary D. X and D then entered into a trademark license agreement according to which X would pay license fees to D. These license fees were deducted by X in its 2013 tax return. The tax authorities claimed that X had understated its taxabel income as the license fees paid by X to D for the use of trademarks were not related to obtaining or securing a source of revenue. The decision stated that in the light of the principles of logic and experience, the actions taken by the taxpayer made no sense and were not aimed at achieving the revenue in question, but instead at generating costs artificially – only for tax purposes. An appeal was filed by X. Judgement of the Administrative Court The court set aside the assessment of the tax authorities and decided in favor of X. According ... Read more
Korea vs Microsoft, February 2022, Supreme Court, Case no. 2019두50946

Korea vs Microsoft, February 2022, Supreme Court, Case no. 2019두50946

In 2011 Samsung signed the contract with Microsoft for use of software-patent in Android-based smartphone and tablets, and for the years 2012-2015 Samsung paid royalties to a Microsoft subsidiary, MS Licensing GP, while saving 15 percent for withholding tax. The royalties paid by Samsung to Microsoft during these years amounted to 4.35 trillion won, of which 15%, or 653.7 billion won, was paid as withholding tax. In June 2016, Microsoft filed a claim for a tax refund in a amount of 634 billion won with the Tax Office. According to Microsoft royalty paid for patent rights not registered in Korea is not domestic source income, and should not be subject to withholding tax. The request was refused by the tax authorities. Microsoft then filed a lawsuit against the tax authorities in 2017. Microsoft argued that the withholding tax imposed on income from a patent unregistered in Korea resulted in double taxation. The Trail court issued a decision in favour of ... Read more
France vs Rayonnages de France, February 2022, CAA of Douai, No 19DA01682

France vs Rayonnages de France, February 2022, CAA of Douai, No 19DA01682

Rayonnages de France paid royalties and management fees to a related Portuguese company. Following an audit for FY 2010 – 2012 the French tax authorities denied tax deductions for the payments by reference to the the arm’s length principle. The court of first instance decided in favor of the tax authorities and Rayonnages de France then filed an appeal with the CAA of Douai. Judgement of the CAA The Court of appeal upheld the decision of the court of first instance and decided in favor of the tax authorities. Excerpt “However, as the Minister points out, in order to be eligible for deduction, the management services invoiced by VJ Trans.Fer to SARL Rayonnages de France must necessarily cover tasks distinct from those relating to the day-to-day management of the latter company, which were the responsibility of Mr B. as statutory manager of SARL Rayonnages de France, it being for the latter to determine, where appropriate, the remuneration to be paid ... Read more
Czech Republic vs Avon Cosmetics Ltd, February 2022, Municipal Court, Case No 6 Af 36/2020 - 42

Czech Republic vs Avon Cosmetics Ltd, February 2022, Municipal Court, Case No 6 Af 36/2020 – 42

In 2016 the British company Avon Cosmetics Limited (ACL) became the sole licensor of intellectual property rights for Europe, Africa and the Middle East within the Avon Cosmetics Group and was authorised to issue sub-licences to other group companies, including the Czech subsidiary, Avon Cosmetics spol. s r.o.. ACL charged a fee for issuing a sub-licence equal to an agreed-upon percentage of net sales but was then contractually obliged to pay a similar fee to the US companies, Avon Products Inc. and Avon Internetional Operations Inc. ACL applied for relief from WHT on the royalty payments from the Czech subsidiary. The tax authorities concluded that ACL was not the beneficial owner of the royalty income but only an conduit or intermediary. The legal conditions for granting the exemption were not met. ACL did not obtain any real benefit from the royalty fees and was not authorised to freely decide on use of the income as it was contractually obliged to ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter VI paragraph 6.144

The provisions of paragraph 2.10 related to the use of rules of thumb apply to determinations of a correct transfer price in any controlled transaction, including cases involving the use or transfer of intangibles. Accordingly, a rule of thumb cannot be used to evidence that a price or apportionment of income is arm’s length, including in particular an apportionment of income between a licensor and a licensee of intangibles ... Read more
Russia vs LLC OTIS LIFT, December 2021, Arbitration Court of Moscow, Case № А40-180523/20-140-3915

Russia vs LLC OTIS LIFT, December 2021, Arbitration Court of Moscow, Case № А40-180523/20-140-3915

The Russian company LLC OTIS LIFT carries out service and maintenance activities for lifts and escalators both under the registered trademarks and designations of Otis and lifts and escalators of other manufacturers. A License Agreement was in force between the Russian subsidiary and its US parent OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY (NJ) (Licensor). In accordance with the License Agreement, LLC OTIS LIFT should pay to OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY (NJ) an amount equal to three and a half percent (3.5%) of the net amount invoiced by Otis Lift for Goods and Services as payment for the right to manufacture, promote, sell, install, repair and maintain Goods under the registered trademarks and designations “Otis”. Hence, the License Agreement did not provide for charging royalties from the revenue for the services provided by LLC OTIS LIFT for the maintenance of lift equipment of third-party manufacturers. Following an audit it was established that in violation of the terms and conditions of the license agreement the royalties ... Read more
ResMed Inc has entered a $381.7 million tax settlement agreement with the Australian Tax Office

ResMed Inc has entered a $381.7 million tax settlement agreement with the Australian Tax Office

ResMed – a world-leading digital health company – in an October 2021 publication of results for the first quarter of FY 2022, informs that a $381.7 million tax settlement agreement has been entered with the Australian Tax Office. The dispute concerns the years 2009 through 2018, in which the ATO alleged that ResMed should have paid additional Australian taxes on income derived from the company’s Singapore operations. Excerpts from the announcement “Operating cash flow for the quarter was negative $65.7 million and was impacted by a payment to the Australian Tax Office of $284.8 million, which was the settlement amount of $381.7 million net of prior remittances.” “During the quarter, concluded the settlement agreement with the Australian Taxation Office (“ATO”), which fully resolves the transfer pricing dispute for all prior years since 2009. ResMed previously recognized a tax reserve in êscal year 2021 in anticipation of the settlement. The net impact of the settlement was $238.7 million ($381.7 million gross ... Read more
US vs Coca Cola, October 2021, US Tax Court, T.C. Docket 31183-15

US vs Coca Cola, October 2021, US Tax Court, T.C. Docket 31183-15

In a November 2020 opinion the US Tax Court agreed with the IRS that Coca-Cola’s US-based income should be increased by $9 billion in a dispute over royalties from its foreign-based licensees. Coca-Cola filed a Motion to Reconsider June 2, 2021 – 196 days after the Tax Court had served its opinion. Judgement of the tax court The Tax Court denied the motion to reconsider. There is a 30-day deadline to move for reconsideration and the court concluded that Coca-Cola was without a valid excuse for the late filing and that the motion would have failed on the merits in any event. 2021_10_26-Order-re-Motion-for-Leave-Coca-Cola-762 ... Read more
Denmark vs EAC Invest A/S, October 2021, High Court, Case No SKM2021.705.OLR

Denmark vs EAC Invest A/S, October 2021, High Court, Case No SKM2021.705.OLR

In 2019, the Danish parent company of the group, EAC Invest A/S, had been granted a ruling by the tax tribunal that, in the period 2008-2011, due to, inter alia, quite exceptional circumstances involving currency restrictions in Venezuela, the parent company should not be taxed on interest on a claim for unpaid royalties relating to trademarks covered by licensing agreements between the parent company and its then Venezuelan subsidiary, Plumrose Latinoamericana C.A. The Tax tribunal had also found that neither a payment of extraordinary dividends by the Venezuelan subsidiary to the Danish parent company in 2012 nor a restructuring of the group in 2013 could trigger a deferred taxation of royalties. The tax authorities appealed against the decisions to the High Court. Judgement of the High Court The High Court upheld the decisions of the tax tribunal with amended grounds and dismissed the claims of the tax authorities. Excerpts: Interest on unpaid royalty claim “The High Court agrees that, as ... Read more
Italy vs NEOPOST ITALIA s.r.l. (QUADIENT ITALY s.r.l.), September 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 25025/2021

Italy vs NEOPOST ITALIA s.r.l. (QUADIENT ITALY s.r.l.), September 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 25025/2021

Neopost Italia s.r.l. had paid service fees and royalties to its French parent. Following an audit, deductions for these intra-group transactions was adjusted by the tax authorities due to non compliance with the arm’s length principle and lack of documentation. However, for the purpose of determining an arm’s length remuneration a benchmark study had been performed by the tax authorities in which one of the comparables was not independent. The Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the tax authorities. Judgement of the Supreme Court The Supreme Court set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal and remanded the case to the court of first instance. In regards to the comparable company in the benchmark that was not independent, the Supreme Court found that: “it is entirely arbitrary, in comparing the two companies, to assert that the price charged by one of the two is the market price while the other is not”; this is a ruling that affects ... Read more
Finland vs A Oy, September 2021, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. KHO:2021:127

Finland vs A Oy, September 2021, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. KHO:2021:127

A Oy, the parent company of group A, had not charged a royalty (the so-called concept fee) to all local companies in the group. The tax authorities had determined the level of the local companies’ arm’s length results and thus the amounts of royalties not collected from them on the basis of the results of nine comparable companies. The comparable companies’ performance levels were -0,24 %, 0,60 %, 1,07 %, 2,90 %, 3,70 %, 5,30 %, 8,40 %, 12,30 % and 13,50 %. The interquartile range of the results had been 1.1-8.4% and the median 3.7%. The tax inspectors had set the routine rate of return for all local companies at 4,5 %, which was also used by A Ltd as the basis for the concept fee. A’s taxes had been adjusted accordingly to the detriment of the company. Before the Supreme Administrative Court, A Oy claimed that the adjustment point for taxable income should be the upper limit of ... Read more
France vs SA SACLA, December 2021, CAA of Lyon, Case No. 19MA04336

France vs SA SACLA, December 2021, CAA of Lyon, Case No. 19MA04336

SA SACLA, which trades in protective clothing and footwear, as well as small equipment, was the subject of an tax audit covering the FY 2007, 2008 and 2009. In a proposed assessment issued in December 2011, the tax authorities increased its taxable income, on the basis of Article 57 of the General Tax Code, by considering that SACLA, by selling, a set of brands held by it for EUR 90,000 to a Luxembourg company, Involvex, which benefited from a preferential tax regime, had carried out an indirect transfer of profits in the context of a reduction in the selling price. In a ruling of February 2020, the Lyon Administrative Court of Appeal, after dismissing the plea of irregularity in the judgment, decided that an expert would carry out an valuation to determine whether the sale price of the trademarks corresponded to their value. The valuation should take into consideration an agreed exemption from payment of royalties for a period of ... Read more
Israel vs Sephira & Offek Ltd and Israel Daniel Amram, August 2021, Jerusalem District Court, Case No 2995-03-17

Israel vs Sephira & Offek Ltd and Israel Daniel Amram, August 2021, Jerusalem District Court, Case No 2995-03-17

While living in France, Israel Daniel Amram (IDA) devised an idea for the development of a unique and efficient computerized interface that would link insurance companies and physicians and facilitate financial accounting between medical service providers and patients. IDA registered the trademark “SEPHIRA” and formed a company in France under the name SAS SEPHIRA . IDA then moved to Israel and formed Sephira & Offek Ltd. Going forward the company in Israel would provid R&D services to SAS SEPHIRA in France. All of the taxable profits in Israel was labled as “R&D income” which is taxed at a lower rate in Israel. Later IDA’s rights in the trademark was sold to Sephira & Offek Ltd in return for €8.4m. Due to IDA’s status as a “new Immigrant” in Israel profits from the sale was tax exempt. Following the acquisition of the trademark, Sephira & Offek Ltd licensed the trademark to SAS SEPHIRA in return for royalty payments. In the books ... Read more
France vs SA Compagnie Gervais Danone, June 2021, CAA, Case No. 19VE03151

France vs SA Compagnie Gervais Danone, June 2021, CAA, Case No. 19VE03151

SA Compagnie Gervais Danone was the subject of an tax audit at the end of which the tax authorities questioned, among other things, the deduction of a compensation payment of 88 million Turkish lira (39,148,346 euros) granted to the Turkish company Danone Tikvesli, in which the french company holds a minority stake. The tax authorities considered that the payment constituted an indirect transfer of profits abroad within the meaning of Article 57 of the General Tax Code and should be considered as distributed income within the meaning of Article 109(1) of the Code, subject to the withholding tax provided for in Article 119a of the Code, at the conventional rate of 15%. SA Compagnie Gervais Danone brought the tax assessment to the administrative court. In a decision of 9 July 2019 the Court discharged SA Compagnie Gervais Danone from the taxes in dispute. This decision was appealed to Administrative Court of Appeal by the tax authorities. Judgement of the Court ... Read more
Belgium vs "Uniclick B.V.", June 2021, Court of Appeal, Case No 2016/AR/455

Belgium vs “Uniclick B.V.”, June 2021, Court of Appeal, Case No 2016/AR/455

“Uniclick B.V.” had performed all the important DEMPE functions with regard to intangible assets as well as managing all risks related to development activities without being remunerated for this. Royalty-income related to the activities had instead been received by a foreign group company incorporated in Ireland and with its place of management in Luxembourg. In 2012, the administration sent notices of amendment to the tax return to the respondent for assessment years 2006 and 2010. The tax administration stated that “Uniclick B.V.”, through its director B.T. and employees M.C. and S.M., invented and developed the Uniclic technology in 1996 and continued to exploit it, and that the subsequent transfer of rights to the Uniclic invention to U.B. BV was simulated. The administration added the profits foregone annually by the “Uniclick B.V.”, i.e. the royalties received by F. from third party licensees less the costs borne by F., to “Uniclick B.V’s” taxable base. “Uniclick B.V.” disagreed with this and argued, among ... Read more
European Commission vs. Amazon and Luxembourg, May 2021, State Aid - European General Court, Case No T-816/17 and T-318/18

European Commission vs. Amazon and Luxembourg, May 2021, State Aid – European General Court, Case No T-816/17 and T-318/18

In 2017 the European Commission concluded that Luxembourg granted undue tax benefits to Amazon of around €250 million.  Following an in-depth investigation the Commission concluded that a tax ruling issued by Luxembourg in 2003, and prolonged in 2011, lowered the tax paid by Amazon in Luxembourg without any valid justification. The tax ruling enabled Amazon to shift the vast majority of its profits from an Amazon group company that is subject to tax in Luxembourg (Amazon EU) to a company which is not subject to tax (Amazon Europe Holding Technologies). In particular, the tax ruling endorsed the payment of a royalty from Amazon EU to Amazon Europe Holding Technologies, which significantly reduced Amazon EU’s taxable profits. This decision was brought before the European Court of Justice by Luxembourg and Amazon. Judgement of the EU Court  The European General Court found that Luxembourg’s tax treatment of Amazon was not illegal under EU State aid rules. According to a press release ” The ... Read more
St. Vincent & the Grenadines vs Unicomer (St. Vincent) Ltd., April 2021, Supreme Court, Case No SVGHCV2019/0001

St. Vincent & the Grenadines vs Unicomer (St. Vincent) Ltd., April 2021, Supreme Court, Case No SVGHCV2019/0001

Unicomer (St. Vincent) Ltd. is engaged in the business of selling household furniture and appliances. In FY 2013 and 2014 Unicomer entered into an “insurance arrangement” involving an unrelated party, United insurance, and a related party, Canterbury. According to the tax authorities United Insurance had been used as an intermediate/conduit to funnel money from the Unicomer to Canterbury, thereby avoiding taxes in St. Vincent. In 2017 the Inland Revenue Department issued an assessments of additional tax in the sum of $12,666,798.23 inclusive of interest and penalties. The basis of the assessment centered on Unicomer’s treatment of (1) credit protection premiums (hereinafter referred to as “CPI”) under the insurance arrangement, (2) tax deferral of hire-purchase profits and (3) deductions for royalty payments. Unicomer appealed the assessment to the Appeal Commission where a decision was rendered in 2018. The Appeal Commission held that the CPI payments were rightfully disallowed by the tax authorities and that withholding tax was chargeable on these payments; ... Read more
Loading...