Tag: Switzerland

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
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 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 found in favor of Accenture. Click here for translation Accenture Norway p ... Continue to full case
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 ... Continue to full case
Spain vs. Roche, January 2012, Supreme Court case nr. 1626/2008

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

This case is about the consequences of converting a manufacturer and full-fledged distributor into a toll manufacturer and commissionaire, without actually changing the underlying operations. The Supreme Court decided that the restructured Spanish entity acted as a manufacturing agent that created a PE. The profits attributed to the PE included not only the manufacturing profits but also the profits from the distribution activity on behalf of Roche Vitamins Europe Ltd. in Switzerland. Prior to a business restructuring in 1999, the Spanish subsidiary was a full-fledged distributor, involved in manufacturing, importing, and selling the pharmaceutical products in the Spanish and Portuguese markets. In 1999 the Spanish subsidiary and the Swiss parent entered into two agreements. Under the manufacturing agreement, the Spanish subsidiary manufactored products  according to directions and using formulas, know-how, patents, and trademarks from the Swiss parent. These manufacturing activities were remunerated at cost plus 3.3 percent. Under the distribution (agancy) agreement, the Spanish subsidiary would “represent, protect and promote” the products. These activities were remunerated at 2 percent of sales. After entering the ... Continue to full case
Sweden vs Ferring AB, June 2011, Swedish Court, Case no 2627-09

Sweden vs Ferring AB, June 2011, Swedish Court, Case no 2627-09

In connection with a restructuring, Ferring Sweden (a Scandinavian pharmaceutical) had transferred intangible assets to a group company in Switzerland. Among the assets transferred was an exclusive worldwide license to manufacture and sell a drug and a number of ongoing R&D projects. The question in the case was whether the price agreed between the Group companies was consistent with the arm’s length principle. The Ferring’s position was that the price was consistent with the arm’s length principle, while the Swedish Tax Agency believed that an arm’s-length price was significantly higher. In support of its pricing, the company had submitted a valuation made by the audit company A, where the value of Ferring after the transfer (the residual company) was compared with the value of the company if it had continued to operate as a full-fledged company (the original company). These values ​​were determined through a present value calculation of the future cash flows in each unit. The difference in value ... Continue to full case