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The European Commission opens in-depth investigation into tax treatment of Nike and Converse in the Netherlands

The European Commission opens in-depth investigation into tax treatment of Nike and Converse in the Netherlands

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to examine whether tax rulings granted by the Netherlands to Nike may have given the company an unfair advantage over its competitors, in breach of EU State aid rules. Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner in charge of competition policy, said: “Member States should not allow companies to set up complex structures that unduly reduce their taxable profits and give them an unfair advantage over competitors. The Commission will investigate carefully the tax treatment of Nike in the Netherlands, to assess whether it is in ...
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Wheaton Precious Metals Reaches Settlement on Canadian Tax Dispute Regarding Foreign Income

Wheaton Precious Metals Reaches Settlement on Canadian Tax Dispute Regarding Foreign Income

Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. has reached a settlement with the Canada Revenue Agency which provides for a final resolution of Wheaton’s tax appeal in connection with the reassessment under transfer pricing rules of the 2005 to 2010 taxation years related to income generated by the Company’s wholly-owned foreign subsidiaries, Wheaton International, outside of Canada. Wheaton is the leading company in the precious metals streaming business, essentially providing up-front financing to mining companies looking to build mines. In return, it earns the right to buy silver and gold output from those ...
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The Australian Taxation Office and Mining Giant BHP have settled an ongoing Transfer Pricing Dispute

The Australian Taxation Office and Mining Giant BHP have settled an ongoing Transfer Pricing Dispute

The Australian Taxation Office has agreed on a settlement with BHP Mining Group to resolve a transfer pricing dispute relating to transfer pricing treatment of commodities sold to a Singapore marketing hub. BHP had originally been assessed with over AUD 1 billion in additional taxes. According to the settlement BHP will pay additional tax of AUD 529 million to resolve the dispute, covering the years 2003–18. According to the settlement BHP Group will also increase its ownership of BHP Billiton Marketing AG, the company conducting BHP’s Singapore marketing business, from ...
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Preferential Tax Regimes - Harmful Tax Practices

Preferential Tax Regimes – Harmful Tax Practices

On 13 November 2018, the Inclusive Framework on BEPS approved updates to the results of reviews of preferential tax regimes conducted in connection with BEPS Action 5. The data below presents the conclusions of the work on regime reviews. The results are a consolidated update of the regimes reported in Harmful Tax Practices – 2017 Progress Report on Preferential Regimes. The Inclusive Framework on BEPS has decided to resume the application of the substantial activities requirement for no or only nominal tax jurisdictions. Originally a criteria set out in the ...
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/ Transfer Pricing News
Transfer Pricing in the Mining Industry

Transfer Pricing in the Mining Industry

Like other sectors of the economy, there are base erosion and profit shifting risks in the mining sector. Based on the ongoing work on BEPS, the IGF (Intergovernmental Forum on Mining) and OECD has released guidance for source countries on transfer pricing in the mining sector. The transfer pricing and tax avoidance issues identified in the sector are: 1. Excessive Interest Deductions Companies may use related-party debt to shift profit offshore via excessive interest payments to related entities. “Debt shifting” is not unique to mining, but it is particularly significant ...
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Marketing and Procurement Hubs - Tax Avoidance

Marketing and Procurement Hubs – Tax Avoidance

The Australian Taxation Office has issued new guidance for multinational groups using offshore marketing- and procurment hubs for tax avoidance purposes. The guidance adresses tax schemes where MNEs uses offshore hubs to shift profits and thereby avoid Australian taxes. Offshore hub arrangements are catagorised by the ATO as white, green, blue, yellow, amber, or red – based on the risk assesment for tax purposes of the transfer pricing setup. The new guidance is a result of recent Australian investigations and hearings into tax avoidance schemes used by Multinational Groups. Tax ...
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Pharma and Tax Avoidance, Report from Oxfam

Pharma and Tax Avoidance, Report from Oxfam

New Oxfam research shows that four pharmaceutical corporations — Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and Pfizer — systematically allocate super profits in overseas tax havens. In eight advanced economies, pharmaceutical profits averaged 7 percent, while in seven developing countries they averaged 5 percent. In comparison, profits margins averaged 31 percent in countries with low or no corporate tax rates – Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands and Singapore. The report exposes how pharmaceutical corporations uses sophisticated tax planning to avoid taxes. cr-prescription-for-poverty-pharma-180918-en ...
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European Commission concludes on investigation into Luxembourg's tax treatment of McDonald's under EU state aid regulations, September 2018

European Commission concludes on investigation into Luxembourg’s tax treatment of McDonald’s under EU state aid regulations, September 2018

Following an investigation into Luxembourg’s tax treatment of McDonald’s under EU state aid regulations since 2015, the EU Commission concluded that the tax rulings granted by Luxembourg to McDonald’s in 2009 did not provide illegal state aid. According to the Commission, the law allowing McDonald’s to escape taxation on franchise income in Luxembourg – and the US – did not amount to an illegal selective advantage under EU law. The double non-taxation of McDonald’s franchise income was due to a mismatch between the laws of the United States and Luxembourg ...
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Major US MNE's in Ireland

Major US MNE’s in Ireland

Major US MNE’s with regional Headquarters in Ireland for European business activities. The corporation tax rate in Ireland is only 12.5%. However to further sweeten the deal for MNE’s, Ireland has been known to offer special tax deals to MNE’s resulting in much lower effective tax rates. Ireland provides MNEs with both low tax centers for European activities and conduit holding companies serving as hubs for transferring profits and capital to low tax jurisdictions such as Cyprus and Bermuda. Especially MNEs within the IT sector have been known to use ...
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European Commission's investigations into member state transfer pricing and tax ruling practices

European Commission’s investigations into member state transfer pricing and tax ruling practices

Since June 2013, the European Commission has been investigating tax ruling practices of EU Member States. A Task Force was set up in summer 2013 to follow up on allegations of favourable tax treatment of certain companies, in particular in the form of unilateral tax rulings. The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”) provides that “any aid granted by a Member State or through State resources in any form whatsoever which distorts or threatens to distort competition by favouring certain undertakings or the production of certain goods ...
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/ Disputes and Settelments
US vs Boston Scientific, June 2018, IRS and Boston Scientific finalize a $608m settlement

US vs Boston Scientific, June 2018, IRS and Boston Scientific finalize a $608m settlement

Boston Scientific and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service have finalized a settlement of $610 million in taxes and interest dating back to the $26 billion acquisition of Guidant in 2006. Boston will pay $303 million in taxes and $305 million in interest to the IRS within the next three months. In 2016, Boston Scientific agreed to pay the IRS $275 million plus interest in a dispute over transfer pricing, plus charges related to a 2006 deal in which Abbott bought Guidant’s stent business from Boston Scientific ...
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Tax avoidance in Australia

Tax avoidance in Australia

In May 2018 the final report on corporate tax avoidance in Australia was published by the Australian Senate. The report contains the findings, conclusions and recommendations based on 4 years of hearings and investigations into tax avoidance practices by multinationals in Australia. Australian-final-report-on-tax-avoidance ...
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Nokia paid 202 million euro to settle a long running dispute with the tax authorities in India

Nokia paid 202 million euro to settle a long running dispute with the tax authorities in India

Under the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP), Finland and India have settled a long running tax dispute involving Nokia. The tax authorities in India issued a tax assessment to Nokia for violating withholding tax regulations in India while making royalty payments to its parent company in Finland. An additional assessment was then issued by the tax authorities in India to the parent company in Finland for the same transaction as – according to the tax authorities – the company had a permanent establishment in India. According to the MAP settlement Nokia ...
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Amazon has settled a 200 million Euro tax dispute with France

Amazon has settled a 200 million Euro tax dispute with France

The dispute between Amazon and the French tax authorities relates to transfer pricing in fiscal years 2006 to 2010. Amazon has been accused of tax avoidance in the EU by channeling all local sales through Luxembourg. This set up has been changed in France, where Amazon in 2015 established a branch where all retail sales, charges and profits in France are booked. In October 2017 the EU commission decided that Luxembourg’s arrangement with Amazon is in conflict with EU State Aid regulations and ordered Luxembourg to recover 250 million euros ...
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Google - Taxes and Transfer Pricing

Google – Taxes and Transfer Pricing

Google’s tax affairs are back in the spotlight after filings in the Netherlands have showed that billions of dollars were moved to Bermuda in 2016 using the “double Irish Dutch sandwich”. According to the Washington Post, Google’s cash transfers to Bermuda reached $27b in 2016. Google uses the double Irish Dutch sandwich structure to shield the majority of it’s international profits from taxation. The setup involves shifting revenue from one Irish subsidiary to a Dutch company with no employees, and then on to a Bermuda-mailbox owned by another company registered ...
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UK vs. Apple, Jan. 2018, Payment of £136 million

UK vs. Apple, Jan. 2018, Payment of £136 million

Apple has paid an additional £136m taxes in a settlement with the UK. The settlement is revealed in Apple Europe’s 2017 accounts. “Following an extensive audit by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) the Company agreed to pay a corporate income tax adjustment of £136m covering prior years up to September 26, 2015. This payment of additional tax and interest reflects the Company’s increased activity and is recognized in the current financial period which ended on 1 April 2017. As a result of this adjustment the Company’s corporate income tax ...
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Africa - Mining and Transfer Pricing

Africa – Mining and Transfer Pricing

Most Sub Saharan African jurisdictions see the area of mineral transfers/sales as the main transfer pricing risk, but only few have systems in place to check if prices applied to minerals transferred to related parties comply with the arm’s length principle. Studies highlights a strong need for capacity strengthening in the area of transfer pricing throughout the African continent and for enhancing the knowledge of mining industry within tax authorities. South Africa has, for many years, been the leader in transfer pricing audits among the African countries. But emerging countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, ...
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OECD’s interactive map of tax jurisdictions

Try OECD’s interactive map of tax jurisdictions here: ...
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EU blacklist of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions

EU blacklist of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions

On December 5, 2017, the EU published it’s blacklist of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions (tax havens). 1. American Samoa American Samoa does not apply any automatic exchange of financial information, has not signed and ratified, including through the jurisdiction they are dependent on, the OECD Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance as amended, does not apply the BEPS minimum standards and did not commit to addressing these issues by 31 December 2018. 2. Bahrain Bahrain does not cover all EU Member States for the purpose of automatic exchange of information, has ...
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Canada vs Cameco, November 2017, Pending case – C$2.2bn in taxes

Several mining companies are beeing audited by the Canadian Revenue Agency for aggressive tax planning and tax evasion schemes. Among the high-profile companies that have filed pleadings with the Canadian Tax Court are Cameco, Silver Wheaton, Burlington Resources, Conoco Funding Company and Suncor Energy. The CRA says, the companies inappropriately ran international transactions through subsidiary companies in low-tax foreign jurisdictions. In the Cameco case the Revenue Agency has audited years 2003 to 2015 and challenged Cameco Canada’s arrangements with a Swiss subsidiary. Cameco sells uranium to its marketing subsidiary in ...
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