Tag: Thin Capitalisation (Thin Cap)

Thin Cap rules are limitation of interest deductions in companies that are “thinly capitalised”. A company is said to be “thinly capitalised” when its equity capital is small in comparison to its debt capital.

Norway vs Petrolia Noco AS, March 2021, Court of Appeal, Case No LB-2020-5842

Norway vs Petrolia Noco AS, March 2021, Court of Appeal, Case No LB-2020-5842

In 2011, Petrolia SE established a wholly owned subsidiary in Norway – Petrolia Noco AS – to conduct oil exploration activities on the Norwegian shelf. From the outset, Petrolia Noco AS received a loan from the parent company Petrolia SE. The written loan agreement was first signed later on 15 May 2012. The loan limit was originally MNOK 100 with an agreed interest rate of 3 months NIBOR with the addition of a margin of 2.25 percentage points. When the loan agreement was formalized in writing in 2012, the agreed interest rate was changed to 3 months NIBOR with the addition of an interest margin of 10 percentage points. The loan limit was increased to MNOK 150 in September 2012, and then to MNOK 330 in April 2013. In the tax return for 2012 and 2013, Petrolia Noco AS demanded a full deduction for actual interest costs on the intra-group loan to the parent company Petrolia SE. Following an audit ... Read more

TPG2020 Chapter X paragraph 10.9

Accordingly, this guidance is not intended to prevent countries from implementing approaches to address the balance of debt and equity funding of an entity and interest deductibility under domestic legislation, nor does it seek to mandate accurate delineation under Chapter I as the only approach for determining whether purported debt should be respected as debt ... Read more
Norway vs Petrolia Noco AS, November 2019, Oslo Court -2019-48963 – UTV-2020-104

Norway vs Petrolia Noco AS, November 2019, Oslo Court -2019-48963 – UTV-2020-104

In 2011, Petrolia SE established a wholly owned subsidiary in Norway – Petrolia Noco AS – to conduct oil exploration activities on the Norwegian shelf. From the outset Petrolia Noco AS received a loan from the parent company Petrolia SE. The written loan agreement was first signed later on 15 May 2012. The loan limit was originally MNOK 100 with an agreed interest rate of 3 months NIBOR with the addition of a margin of 2.25 percentage points. When the loan agreement was formalized in writing in 2012, the agreed interest rate was changed to 3 months NIBOR with the addition of an interest margin of 10 percentage points. The loan limit was increased to MNOK 150 in September 2012, and then to MNOK 330 in April 2013. In the tax return for 2012 and 2013, Petrolia Noco AS demanded a full deduction for actual interest costs on the intra-group loan to the parent company Petrolia SE. Following an audit ... Read more
Poland vs L S.A, June 2019, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. II FSK 1808/17 - Wyrok NSA

Poland vs L S.A, June 2019, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. II FSK 1808/17 – Wyrok NSA

A Polish subsidiary in a German Group had taken out a significant inter-company loan resulting in a significantly reduced income due to interest deductions. At issue was application of the Polish arm’s length provisions and the arm’s length nature of the interest rate on the loan. The tax authorities had issued an assessment where the interest rate on the loans had been adjusted and the taxable income increased. On that basis, a complaint was filed by the company to the Administrative Court. The administrative court rejected the complaint and ruled in favor of the tax authorities. An appeal was then brought before the Supreme Administrative Court. The Supreme Administrative Court rejected the appeal, although it did not share some of the conclusions and statements of the Court of first instance. The key issue in the case was to determine is whether the provisions of Art. 11 (Containing the Polish arm’s length provisions), allowing the authority to determine the income of ... Read more
Germany vs. "Loss and Limitation Gmbh", November 2015, Supreme Tax Court judgment I R 57/13

Germany vs. “Loss and Limitation Gmbh”, November 2015, Supreme Tax Court judgment I R 57/13

There are a number of exceptions to the German interest limitation rule essentially limiting the annual interest deduction to 30% of EBITDA as shown in the accounts. One of these is the equity ratio rule exempting a subsidiary company from the interest limitation provided its equity ratio (ratio of shareholder’s equity to the balance sheet total) is no more than two percentage points lower than that of the group and no more than 10% of its net interest cost was paid to any one significant shareholder (a shareholder owning more than 25% of the share capital). A loss-making company paying slightly less than 10% of its total net interest cost to each of two significant shareholders claimed exemption from the interest limitation as its equity ratio was better than that of the group. The tax office applied the limitation as the two significant shareholders together received more than 10% of the net interest cost. The finance ministry decree on the ... Read more
Germany - Constitutionality of interest limitation provisions, October 2015, Supreme Tax Court decision I R 20/15

Germany – Constitutionality of interest limitation provisions, October 2015, Supreme Tax Court decision I R 20/15

The Supreme Tax Court has requested the Constitutional Court to rule on the conformity of the interest limitation with the constitutional requirement to tax like circumstances alike. The interest limitation disallows net interest expense in excess of 30% of EBITDA. However, the rule does not apply to companies with a total net annual interest cost of no more than €3 m or to those that are not part of a group. There are also a number of other exemptions, but the overall effect is to render the actual impact somewhat arbitrary. In particular, the asserted purpose of the rule – prevention of profit shifts abroad through deliberate under-capitalisation of the German operation – seemed somewhat illusory to the Supreme Tax Court in the light of the relatively high threshold and of the indiscriminate application to cases without foreign connotations. The court also pointed out that interest, as such, is a legitimate business expense and that the limitation rule can penalise ... Read more
Spain vs. branch of ING Direct Bank, July 2015, Spanish High Court, Case No 89/2015 2015:2995

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

In the INC bank case the tax administration had characterised part of the interest-bearing debt of a local branch of a Dutch bank, ING DIRECT B.V,  as “free” capital, in “accordance” with EU minimum capitalisation requirements and consequently reduced the deductible interest expenses in the taxabel income of the local branch for FY 2002 and 2003. The adjustment had been based on interpretation of the Commentaries to the OECD Model Convention, article 7, which had first been approved in 2008. Judgement of the National Court The court did not agree with the “dynamic interpretation” of Article 7 applied by the tax administration in relation to “free” capital, and ruled in favor of the branch of ING Direct. “In short, in accordance with the terms of the aforementioned DGT Consultation of 1272-98 of 13 July, “Consequently, to the extent that the branch or establishment is that of a banking institution, the interest paid to the head office will be deductible”, the ... Read more
Russia vs British American Tobacco, Aug. 2014, Russian High Court

Russia vs British American Tobacco, Aug. 2014, Russian High Court

A russian subsidiary of British American Tobacco was found by the russian tax administration to have overpaid interest on loans from an affiliate in the Netherlands. The Court ruled in favor of the tax administration British-American-Tobacco russian case aug 21 2014 on intercompany loans 2008 and 2009 ... Read more
US vs PepsiCo, September 2012, US Tax Court, 155 T.C. Memo 2012-269

US vs PepsiCo, September 2012, US Tax Court, 155 T.C. Memo 2012-269

PepsiCo had devised hybrid securities, which were treated as debt in the Netherlands and equity in the United States. Hence, the payments were treated as tax deductible interest expenses in the Netherlands but as tax free dividend income on equity in the US. The IRS held that the payments received from PepsiCo in the Netherlands should also be characterised as taxable interest payments for federal income tax purposes and issued an assessment for FY 1998 to 2002. PepsiCo brought the assessment before the US Tax Court. Based on a 13 factors-analysis the Court concluded that the payments made to PepsiCo were best characterised as nontaxable returns on capital investment and set aside the assessment. Factors considered were: (1) names or labels given to the instruments; (2) presence or absence of a fixed maturity date; (3) source of payments; (4) right to enforce payments; (5) participation in management as a result of the advances; (6) status of the advances in relation ... Read more
France vs. Banca di Roma, Dec. 2010. CAA no 08PA05096

France vs. Banca di Roma, Dec. 2010. CAA no 08PA05096

In the Banca di Roma case, the Court of Appeals reiterated that the FTA is not allowed to decide whether a business is to be financed through debt or equity. The terms of Article 57 of the French Tax Code (FTC) do not have the purpose, nor the effect, of allowing the administration to assess the ‘normal’ nature of the choice made by a foreign company to finance through a loan, rather than equity, the activity of an owned or controlled French company, and to deduce, if the need arises, tax consequences (cf. Article 212 of the FTC – thin capitalisation). Click here for translation France vs Banca di Roma 16_12_2010_CAA 08PA05096 ... Read more