Tag: Switzerland

Denmark vs. Adecco A/S, June 2020, Supreme Court, Case no BS-42036/2019-HJR

Denmark vs. Adecco A/S, June 2020, Supreme Court, Case no BS-42036/2019-HJR

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 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
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 translation ECLI_NL_GHSHE_2020_968 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
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 effektivly 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 answere 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. 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 claimant to provide access ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
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. (more…) ... Continue to full case
Netherlands vs Restructuring BV, September 2017, Rechtbank ZWB, No BRE 15/5683

Netherlands vs 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 payment. 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 smelting companies ... Continue to full case

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 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case