Tag: Switzerland

France vs SA Tropicana Europe Hermes, August 2022, CAA of DOUAI, Case No. 20DA01106

France vs SA Tropicana Europe Hermes, August 2022, CAA of DOUAI, Case No. 20DA01106

SA Tropicana Europe Hermes is a French permanent establishment of SA Tropicana Europe, located in Belgium. The French PE carried out the business of bottling fruit juice-based drinks. In 2009, a new distribution contract was concluded with the Swiss company FLTCE, which was accompanied by a restructuring of its business. Before 1 July 2009, Tropicana was engaged in the manufacture of fresh fruit juices in cardboard packs and purchased fresh fruit juices which it pasteurised. As of 1 July 2009, its activity was reduced to that of a contract manufacturer on behalf of FLTCE, which became the owner of the technology and intellectual property rights as well as the stocks. The re-organisation led to a significant reduction in the company’s turnover and profits. Tropicana Europe was subject to two audits, at the end of which the tax authorities notified it of tax reassessments in respect of corporate income tax, withholding tax and business value added contribution (CVAE) for the years ... 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
Malaysia vs Keysight Technologies Malaysia, May 2022, High Court, Case No WA-144-03-2020

Malaysia vs Keysight Technologies Malaysia, May 2022, High Court, Case No WA-144-03-2020

Keysight Technologies Malaysia Sdn Bhd (KTM) was incorporated in 1998 and active as a full-fledged manufacturer of various microwave devices and test instruments in which capacity it had also developed valuable intangibles. In 2008, KTM was converted into a contract manufacturer under an agreement with Agilent Technologies International s.a.r.l. and at the same time KLM purportedly transferred its intangibles to Agilent Technologies. KTM received an amount of RM 821 million which it reported as non-taxable gains form sale of intangibles in its tax return. Following an audit the tax authorities issued a notice of assessment for FY 2008 where the sum of RM 821 million had been considered revenue in nature and thus taxable under Section 4(f) of the ITA. This resulted in a claim of RM 311 million together with a 45% penalty. According to the tax authorities the transfer of technical knowhow was not actually a sale as KTM was still using the technical knowhow in its manufacturing ... Read more
Italy vs SKECHERS USA ITALIA SRL, January 2022, Supreme Court, Case No 02908/2022

Italy vs SKECHERS USA ITALIA SRL, January 2022, Supreme Court, Case No 02908/2022

Skechers USA ITALIA SRL – a company operating in the sector of the marketing of footwear and accessories – challenged a notice of assessment, relating to FY 2004, by which, at the outcome of a tax audit, its business income was adjusted as a result of the ascertained inconsistency of the transfer prices relating to purchases of goods from the parent company (and sole shareholder) resident in Switzerland. The tax authorities had contested the uneconomic nature of the taxpayer company’s operations, given the losses recognised in various financial years, attributing the uneconomic nature to the artificial manipulation of the transfer prices of the purchases of goods and recalculating, consequently, the negative income component constituted by the aforesaid costs pursuant to Article 110, paragraph 7 of the TUIR, with the consequent non-deductibility of the same to the extent exceeding the normal value of the price of the goods in question. Skechers held that the losses did not derive from the costs ... Read more
Netherlands - Crop Tax Advisers, January 2022, Court of Appeal, Case No. 200.192.332/01, ECLI:NL:GHARL:2022:343

Netherlands – Crop Tax Advisers, January 2022, Court of Appeal, Case No. 200.192.332/01, ECLI:NL:GHARL:2022:343

The question at issue was whether a Crop tax adviser had acted in accordance with the requirements of a reasonably competent and reasonably acting adviser when advising on the so-called royalty routing and its implementation. Judgement of the Court of Appeal “Crop is liable for the damages arising from the shortcoming. For the assessment of that damage, the case must be referred to the Statement of Damages, as the District Court has already decided. To answer the question of whether the likelihood of damage resulting from the shortcomings is plausible, a comparison must be made between the current situation and the situation in which business rates would have been applied. For the hypothetical situation, the rates to be recommended by the expert should be used. For the current situation, the Tax Authorities have agreed to adjusted pricing. The question whether and to what extent [the respondents] et al. can be blamed for insufficiently limiting their loss in the negotiations with ... Read more
Swiss UBS bank to pay € 1,8 billion fine for "facilitation of tax evasion and money laundering"

Swiss UBS bank to pay € 1,8 billion fine for “facilitation of tax evasion and money laundering”

The appeal court in Paris has confirmed that the Swiss UBS banking group is guilty of having facilitated tax evasion and money laundering in France, and on that basis the banking group was issued a €5,625 million fine plus confiscation of €1 billion and damages in the sum of €800 millions. Read the December 2021 judgement here ... Read more
France vs SAS Microchip Technology Rousset, December 2021, CAA of MARSEILLE, Case No. 19MA04336

France vs SAS Microchip Technology Rousset, December 2021, CAA of MARSEILLE, Case No. 19MA04336

SAS Microchip Technology Rousset (former SAS Atmel Rousset) is a French subsidiary of the American Atmel group, which designs, manufactures, develops and sells a wide range of semiconductor integrated circuits. It was subject to an audit covering the FY 2010 and 2011 and as a result of this audit, the tax authorities imposed additional corporate income tax and an additional assessments for VAT. The administration also subjected SAS Atmel Rousset to withholding tax due to income deemed to be distributed to one of the Atmel group companies. The authorities invoked the provisions of Article 57 of the General Tax Code as the new legal basis for the additional corporate tax contributions and the social contribution on corporate tax, resulting from the reintegration of the capital loss arising from the sale of SAS Fabco shares and the assumption of responsibility for SAS Fabco’s social plan, instead of the provisions of Article 38(1) and Article 39(1) of the same code. The tax ... Read more
France vs UBS AG and UBS SA, December 2021, CAA of Paris, Dossier No. 19/05566 Arrét No. 192/21

France vs UBS AG and UBS SA, December 2021, CAA of Paris, Dossier No. 19/05566 Arrét No. 192/21

Swiss banking group, UBS, had set up a system aimed at facilitating tax evasion and money laundering of wealthy French taxpayers. Judgement of the Court of Appeal By judgment of the Paris Court of Appeal dated 13 December 2021, the Swiss parent, UBS AG, was found guilty of banking and financial canvassing and of facilitating tax evasion and money laundering. The Court Sentenced UBS AG to a fine of €3,750,000.00 and confiscation of €1,000,000,000.00. Furthermore UBS AG was ordered to pay €800,000,000.00 for damages to the French State. UBS FRANCE SA, the French subsidiary, was found guilty of complicity in banking and financial canvassing and sentenced to a fine of €1,875,000.00. Click here for English translation France vs UBS Dec 2021 ... Read more
US vs Whirlpool, December 2021, U.S. Court of Appeals, Case No. Nos. 20-1899/1900

US vs Whirlpool, December 2021, U.S. Court of Appeals, Case No. Nos. 20-1899/1900

The US tax authorities had increased Whirlpool US’s taxable because income allocated to Whirlpool Luxembourg for selling appliances was considered taxable foreign base company sales income FBCSI/CFC income to the parent company in the U.S. under “the manufacturing branch rule” under US tax code Section 951(a). The income from sales of appliances had been allocated to Whirlpool Luxembourg  through a manufacturing and distribution arrangement under which it was the nominal manufacturer of household appliances made in Mexico, that were then sold to Whirlpool US and to Whirlpool Mexico. According to the arrangement the income allocated to Luxembourg was not taxable in Mexico nor in Luxembourg. Whirlpool challenged IRS’s assessment and brought the case to the US Tax Court. In May 2020 the Tax Court ruled in favor of the IRS. “If Whirlpool Luxembourg had conducted its manufacturing operations in Mexico through a separate entity, its sales income would plainly have been FCBSI [foreign base company sales income] under section 954(d)(1),”. The ... Read more
Pandora Papers - a new leak of financial records

Pandora Papers – a new leak of financial records

A new huge leak of financial records revealed by ICIJ, once again shows widespread use of offshore accounts, shell companies and trusts to hide wealth and/or avoid taxes. The new leak is known as the Pandora Papers and follows other recent leaks – lux leak, panama papers, paradise papers. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists obtained 11.9 million confidential documents from 14 separate legal and financial services firms, which the group said offered “a sweeping look at an industry that helps the world’s ultrawealthy, powerful government officials and other elites conceal trillions of dollars from tax authorities, prosecutors and others.” “The key players in the system include elite institutions – multinational banks, law firms and accounting practices – headquartered in the U.S. and Europe.” The Consortium said the 2.94 terabytes of financial and legal data shows the “offshore money machine operates in every corner of the planet, including the world’s largest democracies,” and involves some of the world’s most well-known ... Read more
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
France vs. SARL Cosi Immobilier, April 2021, CAA de LYON, Case No. 19LY00527

France vs. SARL Cosi Immobilier, April 2021, CAA de LYON, Case No. 19LY00527

SARL Cosi Immobilier, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Swiss company Compagnie de Services Immobiliers SA (Cosi SA). The group is engaged in sale of properties and real estate. Following a tax audit covering the FY 2011 and 2012, an assessment of additional corporate income tax was issued, together with penalties. According to the tax authorities service fees paid by SARL Cosi to its Swiss parent (50% of the the sales commission received) for online marketing of properties and real estates located in France had not been at arm’s length. The company requested the administrative court of Lyon to discharge the assessments, but this request was rejected by the court in a judgement issued 11 December 2018. This decision was then appealed by the company to the Supreme Administrative Court. Judgement of the Supreme Administrative Court The Appeal of Cosi Immobilier was rejected by the Court. Excerpts “In the present case, the company Cosi Immobilier concluded on 17 August ... Read more
Norway vs New Wave Norway AS, March 2021, Court of Appeal, Case No LB-2020-10664

Norway vs New Wave Norway AS, March 2021, Court of Appeal, Case No LB-2020-10664

New Wave Norway AS is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Swedish New Wave Group AB. The group operates in the wholesale market for sports and workwear and gift and promotional items. It owns trademark rights to several well-known brands. The sales companies – including New Wave Norway AS – pay a concept fee to New Wave Group AB, which passes on the fee to the concept-owning companies in the Group. All trademark rights owned by the group are located in a separate company, New Wave Group Licensing SA, domiciled in Switzerland. For the use of the trademarks, the sales companies pay royalties to this company. There is also a separate company that handles purchasing and negotiations with the Asian producers, New Wave Group SA, also based in Switzerland. For the purchasing services from this company, the sales companies pay a purchasing fee (“sourcing fee”). Both the payment of royalties and the purchase fee are further regulated in the group’s ... Read more
Canada vs Dow Chemical Canada ULC. Dec 2020, Tax Court, Case No. 2020 TCC 139

Canada vs Dow Chemical Canada ULC. Dec 2020, Tax Court, Case No. 2020 TCC 139

This decision is about the jurisdiction of the Tax Court of Canada, or perhaps more accurately about the scope of an appeal of an assessment. It arises in the context of an appeal by Dow Chemical Canada ULC of a reassessment of its 2006 taxation year. The reassessment increased Dow Chemical’s income under the transfer pricing provisions in section 247 of the Income Tax Act. In reassessing Dow Chemical for its 2006 and 2007 taxation years, the tax authorities had increased Dow Chemical’s income in respect of certain transactions with non-residents to which Dow Chemical is related. The authorities initially indicated that the transfer pricing provisions also would result in a downward adjustment to Dow Chemical’s income in those taxation years in respect of another transaction. However, the most recent reassessment of Dow Chemical’s 2006 taxation year did not reflect the downward adjustment, although the reassessment of its 2007 taxation year did. Dow Chemical has appealed the 2006 reassessment. The ... Read more
Denmark vs. Software A/S, September 2020, Tax Court, Case no SKM2020.387.LSR

Denmark vs. Software A/S, September 2020, Tax Court, Case no SKM2020.387.LSR

Software A/S was a fully fledged Danish distributor of software an related services up until 2010 where the company was converted into a commissionaire dealing on behalf of a newly established sales and marketing hub in Switzerland. Following an audit, the Danish tax authorities issued a assessment where additional taxable income from the transfer of intangibles to Switzerland in 2010 had been determined by application of the DCF valuation model. As no transfer pricing documentation had been prepared on the transfer, the assessment was issued on a discretionary basis. Software A/S filed a complaint to the Danish Tax Court. The Tax Court found that the tax authorities did not have the authority to make a discretionary assessment. It was emphasized that the company in its transfer pricing documentation had described the relevant circumstances for the restructuring. Furthermore, the company had analyzed functions and risks and prepared comparability analyzes for transactions before and after the restructuring. However, the Tax Court found ... Read more
Spain vs COLGATE PALMOLIVE ESPAÑA, S.A., September 2020, Supreme Court, Case No 1996/2019 ECLI:ES:TS:2020:3062

Spain vs COLGATE PALMOLIVE ESPAÑA, S.A., September 2020, Supreme Court, Case No 1996/2019 ECLI:ES:TS:2020:3062

The tax authorities had issued an assessment according to which royalty payments from Colgate Palmolive España S.A (CP España) to Switzerland were not considered exempt from withholding taxes under the Spanish-Swiss DTA since the company in Switzerland was not the Beneficial Owner of the royalty-income. The assessment was set aside by the National Court in a decision issued in November 2018. The Supreme court were to clarify the conformity with the law of the judgement of the Audiencia Nacional, following in the wake of the order of admission which, in a similar manner to that proposed in appeal no. 5448/2018, ruled in favour of the taxpayer on 3 February last, asks the following questions. a) to clarify the objective and temporal limits of the so-called dynamic interpretation of the DTAs signed by the Kingdom of Spain on the basis of the OECD Model Convention – as in this case the Spanish-Swiss DTA – when, despite the fact that the concept ... Read more
Denmark vs. Adecco A/S, June 2020, Supreme Court, Case No SKM2020.303.HR

Denmark vs. Adecco A/S, June 2020, Supreme Court, Case No SKM2020.303.HR

The question in this case was whether royalty payments from a loss making Danish subsidiary Adecco A/S (H1 A/S in the decision) to its Swiss parent company Adecco SA (G1 SA in the decision – an international provider of temporary and permanent employment services active throughout the entire range of sectors in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia – for use of trademarks and trade names, knowhow, international network intangibles, and business concept were deductible expenses for tax purposes or not. In  2013, the Danish tax authorities (SKAT) had amended Adecco A/S’s taxable income for the years 2006-2009 by a total of DKK 82 million. Adecco A/S submitted that the company’s royalty payments were operating expenses deductible under section 6 (a) of the State Tax Act and that it was entitled to tax deductions for royalty payments of 1.5% of the company’s turnover in the first half of 2006 and 2% up to and including 2009, as these ... Read more
US vs Whirlpool, May 2020, US tax court, Case No. 13986-17

US vs Whirlpool, May 2020, US tax court, Case No. 13986-17

The US tax authorities had increased Whirlpool US’s taxable because income allocated to Whirlpool Luxembourg for selling appliances was considered taxable foreign base company sales income/CFC income to the parent company in the U.S. under “the manufacturing branch rule” under US tax code Section 951(a). The income from sales of appliances had been allocated to Whirlpool Luxembourg  through a manufacturing and distribution arrangement under which it was the nominal manufacturer of household appliances made in Mexico, that were then sold to Whirlpool US and to Whirlpool Mexico. According to the arrangement the income allocated to Luxembourg was not taxable in Mexico nor in Luxembourg. Whirlpool challenged IRS’s assessment and brought the case to the US Tax Court. The tax court ruled in favor of the IRS. “If Whirlpool Luxembourg had conducted its manufacturing operations in Mexico through a separate entity, its sales income would plainly have been FCBSI [foreign base company sales income] under section 954(d)(1),”. The income should therefore be ... Read more
Netherlands vs Zinc Smelter B.V., March 2020, Court of Appeal, Case No ECLI:NL:GHSHE:2020:968

Netherlands vs Zinc Smelter B.V., March 2020, Court of Appeal, Case No ECLI:NL:GHSHE:2020:968

A Dutch company, Zinc Smelter B.V., transferred part of it’s business to a Swiss group company in 2010. In dispute was whether the payment for the transferred activities had been set at arm’s length, and whether the cost-plus remuneration applied to the Dutch company after the business restructuring constituted an arm’s length remuneration for the remaining activities in the company. The case had previously been presented before the lower court where a decision had been issued in October 2017. After hearings in the Court of Appeal, Zinc Smelter B.V. and the Dutch tax authorities reached a settlement which was laid down in the decision. According to the agreement the profit split method was the correct method for determining the arm’s length remuneration of the Dutch company after the restructuring. Click here for English translation ECLI_NL_GHSHE_2020_968 ... Read more
Australia vs BHP Biliton Limited, March 2020, HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA, Case No [2020] HCA 5

Australia vs BHP Biliton Limited, March 2020, HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA, Case No [2020] HCA 5

BHP Billiton Ltd, an Australian resident taxpayer, is part of a dual-listed company arrangement (“the DLC Arrangement”) with BHP Billiton Plc (“Plc”). BHP Billiton Marketing AG is a Swiss trading hub in the group which, during the relevant years, was a controlled foreign company (CFC) of BHP Billiton Ltd because BHP Billiton Ltd indirectly held 58 per cent of the shares in the Swiss trading hub. BHP Billiton Plc indirectly held the remaning 42 per cent. The Swiss trading hub purchased commodities from both BHP Billiton Ltd’s Australian subsidiaries and BHP Billiton Plc’s Australian entities and derived income from sale of these commodities into the export market. There was no dispute that BHP Billiton Marketing AG’s income from the sale of commodities purchased from BHP Billiton Ltd’s Australian subsidiaries was “tainted sales income” to be included in the assessable income of BHP Billiton Ltd under Australian CFC provisions. The question was whether sale of commodities purchased from BHP Billiton Plc’s ... Read more
Switzerland vs Swiss Investment AG, February 2020, Administrative Court Zurich, Case No SB.2018.00094 and SB.2018.00095

Switzerland vs Swiss Investment AG, February 2020, Administrative Court Zurich, Case No SB.2018.00094 and SB.2018.00095

Two Swiss investors had established a structure for the management of a private equity fund in the form of a Swiss “Investment Advisor” AG and a Jersey “Investment Mananger” Ltd. They each held 50% of the shares in the Swiss AG and 50% of the shares in the Jersey Ltd. Swiss AG and Jersey Ltd then entered an investment advisory agreement whereby the Swiss AG carried out all advisory activities on behalf of Jersey Ltd and Jersey Ltd assumed all the risk of the investments. Both investors were employed by Swiss AG and Jersey Ltd had no employees execpt two directors who each received a yearly payment of CFH 15,000. According to the investment advisory agreement Jersey Ltd would remunerate the Swiss AG with 66% of the gross fee income. The Swiss AG would carry out all relevant functions related to investment advisory and recommend to Jersey Ltd acquisition targets which the latter would then evaluate and subsequently decides on ... Read more
Uruguay vs Nestlé del Uruguay S.A., December 2019, Tribunal de lo Contencioso Administrativo, Case No 786/2019

Uruguay vs Nestlé del Uruguay S.A., December 2019, Tribunal de lo Contencioso Administrativo, Case No 786/2019

Nestlé del Uruguay S.A. had deducted royalty payments to its parent company located in Switzerland for the right to use certain local brands such as Águila, El Chaná, Vascolet, Bracafé and Copacabana. Royalties were calculated as 5% of sales, with the exception of payments for the Águila brand products, where royalties were calculated as 2% of sales. The tax administration (DGI) found that the royalty payments had not been at arm’s length. In defense of this position, it was argued that these local brands had been developed by Nestlé Uruguay itself, and then transferred to Nestlé Switzerland in 1999 for a sum of USD 1. Nestle Uruguay disagreed and argued that the tax administration was applying transfer pricing rules retroactively to a transaction concluded in 1999, when such rules did not yet exist. Judgement of the Court The Court considered that the Nestlé Uruguay should not pay 5% in royalties for the right to use trademarks it had developed itself ... 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
Russia vs PJSC Uralkali, November 2019, Supreme Court Review Panel, Case No. А40-29025/2017

Russia vs PJSC Uralkali, November 2019, Supreme Court Review Panel, Case No. А40-29025/2017

PJSC Uralkali, produced and sold fertilizers (“potassium chloride”) through a related Swiss trader. Uralkali had informed the authorities about the controlled transaction and submitted the required TP documentation. To substantiate the pricing of the transaction they had applied the transactional net margin method (TNMM) with the Swiss trader as the tested party. The Russian tax authorities disapproved of the choice of method and the way the method had been applied. They conducted an analysis, using the CUP method, and determined the the prices used in the controlled transaction deviated from price quotations of an independent pricing agency (Argus). Hence a tax assessment was issued. PJSC Uralkali disapproved of the assessment and brought the case to court. The court of first instance supported Uralkali’s position, and argued that the tax authority should have applied the same TP method as the Taxpayer. Failure of the tax authority to apply the same TP method or to provide sufficient evidence to justify use of ... Read more
Denmark vs Adecco A/S, Oct 2019, High Court, Case No SKM2019.537.OLR

Denmark vs Adecco A/S, Oct 2019, High Court, Case No SKM2019.537.OLR

The question in this case was whether royalty payments from a loss making Danish subsidiary Adecco A/S (H1 A/S in the decision) to its Swiss parent company Adecco SA (G1 SA in the decision – an international provider of temporary and permanent employment services active throughout the entire range of sectors in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia – for use of trademarks and trade names, knowhow, international network intangibles, and business concept were deductible expenses for tax purposes or not. In  2013, the Danish tax authorities (SKAT) had amended Adecco A/S’s taxable income for the years 2006-2009 by a total of DKK 82 million. “Section 2 of the Tax Assessment Act. Paragraph 1 states that, when calculating the taxable income, group affiliates must apply prices and terms for commercial or economic transactions in accordance with what could have been agreed if the transactions had been concluded between independent parties. SKAT does not consider it in accordance with section ... Read more
Spain vs "Lux Hold S.A.", October 2019, TEAC, Case No 00/02188/2017/00/00

Spain vs “Lux Hold S.A.”, October 2019, TEAC, Case No 00/02188/2017/00/00

There is an obligation to withhold tax on dividends paid to a holding company resident in an EU Member State, if the beneficial owner is resident abroad. Although the Parent-Subsidiary Directive 90/435 does not contain a beneficial owner clause, the exemption clause contained in Article 14.1.h) of the TRLIRNR is perfectly in line with EU law. It cannot be rejected as an incorrect transposition nor can it be considered to infringe the Community principles of freedom of movement or establishment. All this in accordance with the CJEU Judgment of 26 February 2019. The judgment of the CJEU in Cases C-116/16 and C-117/16 is analysed. In contrast to the judgment cited by the claimant: CJEU Judgment of 7 September 2017 Case C-6/16. SP vs Palmolive SAN_1128_2018 ENG NW”>Click here for English Translation Click here for other translation Spain BO - Resolución nº 00-2188-2017 081019 ... 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
Italy vs Christian Fishbacher S.p.A, May 2019, Corte di Cassazione No 9615 Anno 2019

Italy vs Christian Fishbacher S.p.A, May 2019, Corte di Cassazione No 9615 Anno 2019

According to the Tax Authorities, the content of Christian Fishbacher S.p.A’s contract with the Swiss parent of the Group, granting limited right of use of the trademark, did not justify a royalty of 3.5%, to which an additional 1.6% was added as a contribution to the investments for the promotion and development of the brand. The appellate judge held that exceeding the values taken as “normal” by the circular 32 of 09/22/1980 not it were justified in the light of the concrete elements of the case is that correctly the Office had re-determined the value of the services within 2%, following the aforementioned Circular, which incorporated the indications of the report drawn up by the OECD in 1979. The circular identifies three levels for assessing the normal value of royalties: the first, not suspected, up to 2%; the second from 2% to 5%, determined on the basis of technical data firm and to the content of the contract , in ... Read more
Russia vs PJSC Uralkali, April 2019, Court of Appeal, Case No. А40-29025/2017

Russia vs PJSC Uralkali, April 2019, Court of Appeal, Case No. А40-29025/2017

PJSC Uralkali, produced and sold fertilizers (“potassium chloride”) through a related Swiss trader. Uralkali had informed the authorities about the controlled transaction and submitted the required TP documentation. To substantiate the pricing of the transaction they had applied the transactional net margin method (TNMM) with the Swiss trader as the tested party. The Russian tax authorities disapproved of the choice of method and the way the method had been applied. They conducted an analysis, using the CUP method, and determined the the prices used in the controlled transaction deviated from price quotations of an independent pricing agency (Argus). Hence a tax assessment was issued. PJSC Uralkali disapproved of the assessment and brought the case to court. The court of first instance supported Uralkali’s position, and argued that the tax authority should have applied the same TP method as the Taxpayer. Failure of the tax authority to apply the same TP method or to provide sufficient evidence to justify use of ... Read more
Mexico vs "Drink Distributor S.A.", April 2019, TRIBUNAL FEDERAL DE JUSTICIA ADMINISTRATIVA, Case No 15378/16-17-09-2/1484/18-S2-08-04

Mexico vs “Drink Distributor S.A.”, April 2019, TRIBUNAL FEDERAL DE JUSTICIA ADMINISTRATIVA, Case No 15378/16-17-09-2/1484/18-S2-08-04

“Drinks Distributor S.A.” was involved in purchase, sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages in Mexico. “Drinks Distributor s.a” had entered into a non-exclusive trademark license agreement with a related party for the sale of its product. Following a restructuring process, the related party moved to Switzerland. Following an audit the Mexican tax administration, determined that deductions for marketing and advertising costs related to brands and trademarks used under the licensing agreement, were not “strictly indispensable” and therefore not deductible, cf. requirement established by the Income Tax Law in Mexico. Drinks Distributor S.A on its side held that the marketing and advertising costs were strictly indispensable and that the tax deductions should be accepted. The dispute ended up in the Federal Court of Administrative Justice. Judgement: The Court determined what should be understood as “strictly indispensable“. To establish this concept the purposes of the specific company and the specific costs must first be determined – in particular that the costs are ... 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
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
Spain vs COLGATE PALMOLIVE ESPAÑA, S.A., November 2018, Audiencia National, Case No 643/2015 - ECLI:EN:AN:2018:5203

Spain vs COLGATE PALMOLIVE ESPAÑA, S.A., November 2018, Audiencia National, Case No 643/2015 – ECLI:EN:AN:2018:5203

The tax authorities had issued an assessment according to which royalty payments from Colgate Palmolive España S.A. (CP España) to Switzerland were not considered exempt from withholding taxes under the Spanish-Swiss DTA since the company in Switzerland was not the Beneficial Owner of the royalty-income. Judgement of the National Court The court held in favour of Colgate and set aside the decision of the tax authorities. SP vs Palmolive SAN_1128_2018 ENG NW”>Click here for English Translation Click here for other translation SAN_5203_2018 ... Read more
Austria vs. "Sports Data GmbH", November 2018, Bundesfinanzgericht, Case No RV/2100386/2017

Austria vs. “Sports Data GmbH”, November 2018, Bundesfinanzgericht, Case No RV/2100386/2017

A GmbH (“Sport Data GmbH”) was founded in 2006 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of A Holding AG, which had been founded shortly before and had its registered office in Switzerland. A AG, Switzerland was also founded as a sister company of A GmbH. A AG is A GmbH´s only customer. The business of A GmbH is the development and support of software for A AG, the maintenance of hardware, the training of employees and the forwarding of information. A AG, Switzerland sells the information provided by A GmbH. For these services A GmbH receives a remuneration from A AG determined as actual costs plus a profit surcharge of 5 %. The tax authorities noted that A AG did not initially have any active business activities. Against this background, the tax office had doubts about the arm’s length nature of the transfer prices. The tax authorities concluded, there were also no “simple services” by A GmbH for which, according to international ... Read more
Canada vs Cameco Corp., October 2018, Tax Court of Canada, Case No 2018 TCC 195

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

Canadian mining company, Cameco Corp., sells uranium to a wholly owned trading hub, Cameco Europe Ltd., registred in low tax jurisdiction, Switzerland, which then re-sells the uranium to independent buyers. The parties had entered into a series of controlled transactions related to this activity and as a result the Swiss trading hub, Cameco Europe Ltd., was highly profitable. Following an audit, the Canadian tax authorities issued a transfer pricing tax assessment covering years 2003, 2005, 2006, and later tax assessments for subsequent tax years, adding up to a total of approximately US 1.5 bn in taxes, interest and penalties. The tax authorities first position was that the controlled purchase and sale agreements should be disregarded as a sham as all important functions and decisions were in fact made by Cameco Corp. in Canada. As a second and third position the tax authorities held that the Canadian transfer pricing rules applied to either recharacterise or reprice the transactions. The Tax Court concluded that the ... Read more
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
Spain vs. Zeraim Iberica SA, June 2018, Audiencia Nacional, Case No. ES:AN:2018:2856

Spain vs. Zeraim Iberica SA, June 2018, Audiencia Nacional, Case No. ES:AN:2018:2856

ZERAIM IBERICA SA, a Spanish subsidiary in the Swiss Syngenta Group (that produces seeds and agrochemicals), had first been issued a tax assessment relating to fiscal years 2006 and 2007 and later another assessment for FY 2008 and 2009 related to the arm’s length price of seeds acquired from Zeraim Gedera (Israel) and thus the profitability of the distribution activities in Spain. The company held that new evidence – an advance pricing agreement (APA) between France and Switzerland – demonstrated that the comparability analysis carried out by the Spanish tax authorities suffered from significant deficiencies and resulted in at totally irrational result, intending to allocate a net operating result or net margin of 32.79% in fiscal year 2008 and 30.81% in 2009 to ZERAIM IBERICA SA when the profitability of distribution companies in the sector had average net margins of 1.59%. The tax authorities on there side argued that the best method for pricing the transactions was the Resale Price ... Read more
Costa Rica vs Reca Química S.A., December 2017, Supreme Court, Case No 01586 - 2017

Costa Rica vs Reca Química S.A., December 2017, Supreme Court, Case No 01586 – 2017

Reca Química is active in industrial production of paints and synthetic resins. Its parent company is H.B. Fuller which is based in the United States. According to the “Transfer Pricing Policy” set by the parent company of the group and in place since 1992, a 10% margin on sales was applied to inventory transferred between affiliates. However, during the fiscal periods 2003 and 2004, the parent company changed the policy so that sales to related companies abroad were to be made with a profit margin of only 5%, while for local affiliates and independent parties, the margin would be 10%. The tax administration issued an assessment in which the margin of all the controlled transactions was set at 10% resulting in additional taxable income of ¢185,827,941.00. According to the tax administration the 5% margin was not even enough to cover the operating expenses for the transactions in question. In 2015 the Administrative Court of Appeal ruled in favor of Reca ... Read more
Netherland vs. A BV, October 2017, Lower Court, case no 2017: 5965

Netherland vs. A BV, October 2017, Lower Court, case no 2017: 5965

A Dutch parent company was providing support services to its foreign subsidiary on a cost-plus basis and received a compensation fee following a business restructuring where headquarter and strategic functions was transferred from the Dutch parent company to Switzerland. The Dutch tax authorities took the view that the compensation paid was insufficient, and that the Dutch parent company was still performing strategic functions for the group. The Court ruled that the taxpayer had fulfilled its legal obligations by preparing thorough transfer pricing documentation and that the burden of proof was on the Dutch tax authorities. The Court ruled that the tax authorities did not provide sufficient arguments to support the adjustment. The original assessment of € 188.342.906 was reduced to a calculated taxable profit of € 42,641,089 and a taxable amount of € 32,067,270. Click here for translation Netherland vs X BV 19 november 2017 Lower Court ... Read more
Netherlands vs "Zinc-Smelter Restructuring BV", September 2017, Rechtbank ZWB, No BRE 15/5683

Netherlands vs “Zinc-Smelter Restructuring BV”, September 2017, Rechtbank ZWB, No BRE 15/5683

A Dutch company was engaged in smelting of zinc. The business was then restructured, for which the company received a small compensation. Dutch tax authorities disagreed with both the amount of compensation payment and the arm’s-length remuneration of the post restructuring manufacturing activities. Until 2003 the Dutch Company was a fully fledged business. The company owned the assets and controlled the risks relating to the activities. In the years after 2003, the company was involved in several business restructurings: Activities other than the actual production activities were gradually transferred to other group companies, among others the global marketing and services team (GMS), took over purchasing, sales and deployment of personnel. After becoming part of another group in 2007, the company entered a consultancy agreement with another group company under witch strategic and business development, marketing, sales, finance, legal support, IT, staffing and environmental services was now provided on a cost plus 7.5% basis. Under ‘Project X’, a Belgian company was established in April 2009, which concluded both a business transfer agreement and a cooperation agreement with related ... Read more

US vs. Cameco, July 2017, Settlement of $122th.

Canadian mining company, Cameco Corp, has settled a tax dispute and will pay the IRS $122,000 for income years 2009-2012. Cameco’s dispute with tax authorities relates to its offshore marketing structure and transfer pricing. Cameco sells uranium to its marketing subsidiary in Switzerland, which re-sells it to buyers, incurring less tax than the company would through its Canadian office. Cameco says it has a marketing subsidiary in Switzerland because most customers are located outside Canada ... Read more
Uncovering Low Tax Jurisdictions and Conduit Jurisdictions

Uncovering Low Tax Jurisdictions and Conduit Jurisdictions

By Javier Garcia-Bernardo, Jan Fichtner, Frank W. Takes, & Eelke M. Heemskerk Multinational corporations use highly complex structures of parents and subsidiaries to organize their operations and ownership. Offshore Financial Centers (OFCs) facilitate these structures through low taxation and lenient regulation, but are increasingly under scrutiny, for instance for enabling tax avoidance. Therefore, the identifcation of OFC jurisdictions has become a politicized and contested issue. We introduce a novel data-driven approach for identifying OFCs based on the global corporate ownership network, in which over 98 million firms (nodes) are connected through 71 million ownership relations. This granular firm-level network data uniquely allows identifying both sink-OFCs and conduit-OFCs. Sink-OFCs attract and retain foreign capital while conduit-OFCs are attractive intermediate destinations in the routing of international investments and enable the transfer of capital without taxation. We identify 24 sink-OFCs. In addition, a small set of countries – the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Singapore and Switzerland – canalize the majority of corporate ... Read more
Russia vs Uralkaliy PAO, July 2017, Moscow Arbitration Court, Case No. A40-29025/17-75-227

Russia vs Uralkaliy PAO, July 2017, Moscow Arbitration Court, Case No. A40-29025/17-75-227

A Russian company, Uralkaliy PAO, sold potassium chloride to a related trading company in Switzerland , Uralkali Trading SA. Following an audit, the Russian tax authority concluded that Uralkaliy PAO had set the prices at an artificially low level. A decision was therefore issued, ordering the taxpayer to pay an additional tax of 980 million roubles and a penalty of 3 million roubles. Uralkaly PAO had used the transactional net margin method (TNMM). The reasons given for not using the CUP method was that no publicly accessible sources of information on comparable transactions between independent parties existed. The range of return on sales for 2012 under the TNMM was 1.83% – 5.59%, while Uralkali Trading SA’s actual profit margin was 1.81%. The court supported the taxpayer’s choice of pricing method (TNMM), and since the Swiss trader’s actual profit margin did not exceed the upper limit of the range, it was concluded that the controlled transactions were priced at arm’s length.  The court rejected ... Read more
Slovakia vs Coca-Cola s.r.o., April 2015, Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic No. 2Sžf/76/2014

Slovakia vs Coca-Cola s.r.o., April 2015, Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic No. 2Sžf/76/2014

At issue was deductions of management fees paid by a Coca-Cola s.r.o. – a Slovakian subsidiary of the Coca-Cola group – to Coca Cola Management Services GmbH & Co. AG. in Switzerland. The assessment sas issued by the tax authorities based on the OECD Guidelines on Transfer Pricing for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administration, which according to the tax authorities was a generally accepted supplementary interpretative tool to Art. 9 of the Treaty on the avoidance of double taxation within the meaning of the Vienna Convention on contract law. Documents and information submitted in the course of a tax inspection showed that in addition to the fee for the provision of management services, Coca-Cola s.r.o. also paid for the provision of employment services and IT services. In total, payments for provision of services in 2005 was € 1,463,385.46. In regards to MTC article 9 and application of the OECD Transfer pricing guidelines in Slovakia the Supreme Court stated: “… the ... Read more
Oxfam's list of Tax Havens, December 2016

Oxfam’s list of Tax Havens, December 2016

Oxfam’s list of Tax Havens, in order of significance are: (1) Bermuda (2) the Cayman Islands (3) the Netherlands (4) Switzerland (5) Singapore (6) Ireland (7) Luxembourg (8) Curaçao (9) Hong Kong (10) Cyprus (11) Bahamas (12) Jersey (13) Barbados, (14) Mauritius and (15) the British Virgin Islands. Most notably is The Netherlands placement as no. 3 on the list. Oxfam researchers compiled the list by assessing the extent to which countries employ the most damaging tax policies, such as zero corporate tax rates, the provision of unfair and unproductive tax incentives, and a lack of cooperation with international processes against tax avoidance (including measures to increase financial transparency). Many of the countries on the list have been implicated in tax scandals. For example Ireland hit the headlines over a tax deal with Apple that enabled the global tech giant to pay a 0.005 percent corporate tax rate in the country. And the British Virgin Islands is home to more ... Read more
Costa Rica vs Reca Química, September 2015, Administrative Court, Case No 00147 - 2015 Case File 11-006793-1027-CA

Costa Rica vs Reca Química, September 2015, Administrative Court, Case No 00147 – 2015 Case File 11-006793-1027-CA

Reca Química is active in industrial production of paints and synthetic resins. Its parent company is H.B. Fuller which is based in the United States. According to the “Transfer Pricing Policy” set by the parent company and in place since 1992, a 10% margin on sales was applied to inventory transferred between affiliates. However, during the fiscal periods 2003 and 2004, the parent company changed the policy so that sales to related companies abroad were to be made with a profit margin of only 5%, while for local affiliates and independent parties, the margin would be 10%. The tax administration issued an assessment in which the margin of all the controlled transactions was set at 10% resulting in additional taxable income of ¢185,827,941.00. According to the tax administration the 5% margin was not even enough to cover the operating expenses for the transactions in question. Judgement of the Administrative Court The court ruled in favour of Reca Quimica due to ... Read more
Nederlands vs. Corp, January 2014, Lower Court, Case nr. AWB11/3717, 11/3718, 11/3719, 11/3720, 11/3721

Nederlands vs. Corp, January 2014, Lower Court, Case nr. AWB11/3717, 11/3718, 11/3719, 11/3720, 11/3721

The case involved a Dutch mutual insurance company, DutchCo, which paid surpluses from the insurance activity back to the participating members in the form of premium restitution. Prior to 2002, DutchCo reinsured the majority of its risks with external reinsurers via an external reinsurance broker. DutchCo kept a small part of the risks for its own account. In 2001, DutchCo established a subsidiary in Switzerland, Captive, to act as a captive reinsurance provider. DutchCo stated that the business rationale to establish Captive goes back to “9/11.” The resulting worldwide turmoil significantly impacted the reinsurance market. In an extremely nervous market, premiums increased and conditions were sharpened. From 2002 onward, all the reinsurance contracts of DutchCo were concluded with Captive (in exchange for payment of premiums), whereby Captive reinsured a vast majority of these risks with external reinsurers and kept a limited part of the risk for itself. As mentioned above, Captive did not employ any personnel, but made use of ... Read more
Costa Rica vs Nestlé, October 2013, Court of Appeal, Case No Nº 01365 - 2013 Case File 09-002823-1027-CA

Costa Rica vs Nestlé, October 2013, Court of Appeal, Case No Nº 01365 – 2013 Case File 09-002823-1027-CA

Nestlé de Costa Rica S.A. had been issued a tax assessment in which the taxable income for FY 2005 and 2006 was adjusted with an additional amount of ¢60,609,096.00 and ¢75,663,084.00. According to the tax authorities, the sales made by Nestlé to its related companies located in Chile, Switzerland and Puerto Rico had a profit margin different from those made to third parties. The margin on the unrelated transactions was 88% whereas the margins on comparable related party transactions was only 7%. The adjustments was determined based on internal CUPs. Judgement of the Court The Court dismissed the appeal of Nestlé. Excerpts “This Chamber agrees with the Tribunal, in the sense that the expert witness Luna Ramírez, during her testimony, does not manage to disprove the system applied by the Tax Administration, since she rejects the method used, however, she also states that it is difficult to resort to any other method. What is clear from this testimony is that ... Read more
Norway vs Accenture, May 2013, Borgarting lagmannsrett, Case No 11-190854ASD-BORG/01

Norway vs Accenture, May 2013, Borgarting lagmannsrett, Case No 11-190854ASD-BORG/01

In this case, the royalty payments of Accenture Norway to the Accenture Groups Swiss IP owner was at issue. The Norwegian tax authorities held that the royalty payments to Accenture Global Services in Switzerland had been excessive. The Court disagreed and decided in favor of Accenture. Click here for translation BORGARTING LAGMANNSRETT 11-190854ASD-BORG ... Read more
Italy vs Take Two Interactive Italia s.r.l., July 2012, Supreme Court, no 11949/2012

Italy vs Take Two Interactive Italia s.r.l., July 2012, Supreme Court, no 11949/2012

In this case the Italien company, T. S.r.l. is entirely controlled by H. S.A., registered in Switzerland, and is part of the American multinational group T., being its only branch in Italy for the exclusive marketing of its software products (games for personal computers, play station, etc.). T. S.r.l. imports these products through T. Ltd (which is also part of the same multinational group and controlled by the same parent company), which is registered in the United Kingdom and is the sole supplier of the products that are marketed by the Italian branch. On 31st October 2004 (the last day of the financial year), T. S.r.l. posted an invoice that the British company T. Ltd had issued on that date for £ 947,456. This accounts document referred to “Price adjustment to product sold during FY 2003/2004”, and charges the Italian company with adjustment increases to previously applied prices relative to certain software products the company had purchased during the aforesaid ... Read more