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New Developments on the E.U. V.A.T. Regime of Holding Companies

New Developments on the E.U. V.A.T. Regime of Holding Companies

Like state and local tax in the U.S., where tax exposure can be underestimated by many corporate tax planners, the V.A.T. rules in the E.U. contain many pitfalls. This is especially true when it comes to recovery of V.A.T. input taxes by holding companies. A corporate tax adviser may presume that all V.A.T. input taxes paid by a holding company are recoverable. Yet, despite abundant jurisprudence, debate continues regarding the V.A.T. recovery rights of holding companies. The starting point in the analysis is easy to state: Holding companies that actively manage subsidiaries can recover V.A.T., while holding companies that passively hold shares cannot. The problem is in the application of the theory, where the line between active and passive behavior is blurred by seemingly inconsistent decisions. Bruno Gasparotto and Claire Schmitt of Arendt & Medernach, Luxembourg, explain the rules and how they have been applied by the C.J.E.U.

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2019 Welcomes New Finnish Interest Deduction Limitations

2019 Welcomes New Finnish Interest Deduction Limitations

Changes to the Finnish interest barrier regime have come into effect in 2019. They have been expected since 2016, when the E.U. released its Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (“A.T.A.D.”), which sets forth the minimum standards for interest deduction restrictions within the E.U. The limitations affect E.B.I.T.D.A.-based rules (i.e., addressing earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization) adopted in 2014, which include the specific interest barrier rule affecting the deductibility of intra-group interest payments. Antti Lehtimaja and Sanna Lindqvist of Krogerus Ltd., Helsinki, explain the key elements of the new restrictions, including some considerations regarding the impact on Finnish taxpayers and investments in Finland.

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The U.K. Digital Sales Tax – It Could Be You

The U.K. Digital Sales Tax – It Could Be You

On November 7, 2018, the U.K. government confirmed that it will proceed with the introduction of a digital services tax ("D.S.T.") on large businesses. The tax will be charged beginning April 2020. It will apply to three key areas, which the government has concluded derive a huge value from the participation of U.K. users and are largely untaxed. Eloise Walker of Pinsent Masons, London, provides an overview of the D.S.T., cautioning that problems exist in identifying both the revenue to which the D.S.T. will apply and the hallmarks of jurisdiction that must exist in order for the tax to be imposed.

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Revised Swiss Corporate Tax Reform Will Keep Switzerland a Top Corporate Location

Revised Swiss Corporate Tax Reform Will Keep Switzerland a Top Corporate Location

Beginning in 2015, Switzerland has struggled over the adoption of a tax system that is consistent with B.E.P.S. Many different stakeholders are involved, ranging from the Swiss Federal government to the cantons, various political parties, and the E.U. At last, a version of tax reform has been adopted by the Swiss Federal National Assembly. Known as the Federal Act on Tax Reform and A.H.V. Financing ("T.R.A.F."), it contains provisions designed to please all participants while maintaining Switzerland's global reputation as an attractive jurisdiction for multinational enterprises. Danielle Wenger and Manuel Vogler of Prager Dreifuss AG, Zurich, guide the reader through the various iterations of the reform and the provisions of the T.R.A.F.

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Alta Energy Affirms Treaty Benefits: A Canadian Case Study for Applying the M.L.I.

Alta Energy Affirms Treaty Benefits: A Canadian Case Study for Applying the M.L.I.

As part of its attack on B.E.P.S., the O.E.C.D. published its Multilateral Instrument, a device that revised more than 1,200 income tax treaties. One of the provisions of the M.L.I. targets treaty shopping by the adoption of, among other things, a principal purpose test ("P.P.T."). In simple terms, the P.P.T. disallows a treaty benefit when a principal purpose of a transaction is to obtain that benefit. Transactions in accordance with the object and purpose of the provisions of a treaty are not affected by the P.P.T. Many North American tax advisers know that the P.P.T. is based on a provision of Canadian law known as the General Anti-Avoidance Rule or G.A.A.R. A recent decision of the Tax Court of Canada addresses the application of G.A.A.R. to a cross-border tax plan set up by a U.S. financial institution designed specifically to obtain enhanced Canadian tax benefits by rechanneling a U.S. investment in Canada into a U.S. investment into Luxembourg that was then invested into Canada. The Canada Revenue Agency ("C.R.A.") attacked the Luxembourg company's entitlement to treaty benefits relying heavily on G.A.A.R. Kristy J. Balkwill and Benjamin Mann of Miller Thomson L.L.P., Toronto, explain the decision and its potential impact on the P.P.T. The case has been appealed by C.R.A.

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