HIDE

Other Publications

Insights

Publications

Insights Vol. 6 No. 2: Updates & Other Tidbits

Insights Vol. 6 No. 2: Updates & Other Tidbits

This month, Neha Rastogi and Nina Krauthamer look at interesting items of tax news from around the world: A new foreign investment law could ease the U.S.-China trade war, and another illegal State Aid investigation has been announced — this time over Dutch tax rulings issued to Nike and Converse.

Read More

Insights Vol. 5 No. 8: Updates & Other Tidbits

Insights Vol. 5 No. 8: Updates & Other Tidbits

This month, Rusudan Shervashidze, Neha Rastogi, and Nina Krauthamer look at several interesting updates and tidbits, including (i) potential tax reasons for Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Italy, (ii) a law suit brought by high-tax states against the U.S. Federal government in connection with the T.C.J.A. limitations on deductions for state and local taxes, (iii) the finding of the European Commission that the aid given to McDonalds by the Luxembourg government did not constitute illegal State Aid, and (iv) a successful F.A.T.C.A. prosecution against a former executive of Loyal Bank Ltd.

Read More

Insights Vol. 5 No. 3: Updates & Other Tidbits

Insights Vol. 5 No. 3: Updates & Other Tidbits

This month, Tomi Oguntunde, Sheryl Shah, and Nina Krauthamer look briefly at four recent developments in international tax: (i) the E.U. counteroffensive to U.S. tax reform involving stricter tax rules, (ii) the amendment of Form 1023-EZ, which is a streamlined application for non-profit entities applying for tax exempt status, (iii) Spain’s crackdown on celebrities attempting to evade tax, and (iv) Luxembourg’s continued pushback against the Amazon State Aid case.

Read More

Insights Vol. 4 No. 2: Updates & Other Tidbits

Insights Vol. 4 No. 2: Updates & Other Tidbits

This month, Astrid Champion and Nina Krauthamer look briefly at several timely issues, including (i) the expansion of the European Commission’s attack on illegal State Aid to the French multinational group Engie (formerly G.D.F. Suez), (ii) the request for review by the French Constitutional Court of the penalties imposed under Article 1736, IV bis of the French Tax Code, regarding the failure to disclose a connection with a foreign trust, and (iii) the decision of the European Commission in World Duty Free Group, which affirms the criteria for judging whether a measure by a Member State is selective in relation to certain companies and not others and, for that reason, constitutes illegal State Aid. 

Read More

European State Aid: The Makings of A Global Trade War

European State Aid: The Makings of A Global Trade War

This month, we reminisce on the best of 2016, with articles on the brewing transatlantic trade war disguised as European Commission attacks on illegal State Aid given to U.S.-based groups.

Read More

European Commission Rocking the Boat at Arm's Length

European Commission Rocking the Boat at Arm's Length

This month, transfer pricing economists Theo Elshof, Olaf Smits, and Mark van Mil of Quantera Global, Amsterdam, explore the European Commission’s definition of the term “arm’s length” in recent State Aid cases.  Tax advisers with experience in transfer pricing matters will be surprised to find that reliance on practices of global competitors in the same or similar industry is not relevant when the matter relates to tax rulings comprising State Aid.

Read More

Regulations Would Address Foreign Tax Credit Planning for E.U. State Aid Adjustments

Regulations Would Address Foreign Tax Credit Planning for E.U. State Aid Adjustments

Now that Apple, Starbucks, and other U.S. companies face significant tax adjustments in Europe, the I.R.S. is concerned with protection of the U.S. tax base.  In Notice 2016-52, the I.R.S. announced that the foreign tax credit splitter rules will be applied in future regulations to ensure that the increased taxes are not separated from the earnings and profits to which they relate.  Elizabeth V. Zanet and Stanley C. Ruchelman explain these preemptive steps to prevent the creation of imaginative financial products that monetize unused foreign tax credits of target companies.

Read More

European State Aid and W.T.O. Subsidies

Recent European Commission rulings have attacked tax rulings granted by Ireland and the Netherlands to Apple and Starbucks, respectively.  These rulings are not meaningfully different from those granted for decades by various E.U. Member States.  To the shock of these countries, the tax rulings distorted trade.  At the same time, the World Trade Organization (“W.T.O.”) determined that several E.U. Member States have granted actionable subsidies to Airbus in order to assist the company in a way that distorts trade among W.T.O. members.  Fanny Karaman, Stanley C. Ruchelman, and Astrid Champion explain (i) the basic internal procedures within the E.U. that outlaw State Aid and (ii) the applicable provisions of the global trade agreement embodied in the W.T.O. in connection with actionable subsidies.  In light of the W.T.O. ruling, the question to be answered is whether the E.U. is being disingenuous by not recovering the European subsidies given to Airbus.

Read More

Treasury Attacks European Commission on State Aid – What Next?

On August 30, 2016, the European Commission ordered Ireland to claw back €13 billion ($14.5 billion) plus interest from Apple after favorable Irish tax rulings were deemed to be illegal State Aid.  The U.S. Treasury Department issued a white paper shortly before the decision staking out the reasons why the European Commission crusade is unjustified, especially in relation to its retroactive effect.   This trans-Atlantic conflict is placed in context in an article by Kenneth Lobo and Beate Erwin.

Read More

Insights Vol. 3 No. 7: Updates & Other Tidbits

This month, “Tidbits” explores the following developments: (i) the extension of FinCEN reporting requirements by title companies involved in all-cash real estate transactions; (ii) a European Commission decision calling for Spain to recover over €30 million from seven Spanish soccer clubs that unlawfully received State Aid; (iii) other tax breaks involving Spain that are under consideration by the E.C.J. that could affect State Aid cases against U.S.-based companies; and (iv) new rules regarding the need to refresh I.T.I.N.’s issued to nonresident, non-citizen individuals.  Kenneth Lobo, Fanny Karaman, and Galia Antebi discuss these developments.

Read More

E.U. State Aid – The Saga Continues

For several years, the European Commission has been on a mission to raise on a retroactive basis the income tax of large corporations that received favorable tax rulings from national authorities. Using as its tool the rules prohibiting State Aid, the Commission has gone after Fiat Chrysler, McDonald’s, Starbucks, and others.  Christine Long and Beate Erwin explore the Commission’s latest push and the outcry it is causing on both sides of the Atlantic.  Luxembourg and the Netherlands have appealed recent rulings and the mood in Washington, D.C. is chilly, at best.

Read More

Insights Vol. 3 No. 3: Updates & Other Tidbits

In the March 2016 edition of Insights, Kenneth Lobo, Sheryl Shah, and Beate Erwin look at the following recent developments: (i) an A.B.A. recommendation for higher Cuban compensation for seized U.S. businesses, (ii) U.S. inversions and European State Aid investigations targeting U.S. companies, (iii) an increase in the stakes faced by Coca Cola in its transfer pricing dispute with the I.R.S., and (iv) the U.K. reaction to the Google Settlement tax payment.

Read More

Apple in Europe – The Uphill Battle Continues

U.S. multinationals are the target of a global trade war initiated by the European Commission, resulting from its attack on State Aid in the form of advance rulings. Christine Long and Beate Erwin explain the latest developments and the brewing response in the U.S. Congress.

Read More

Insights Vol. 2 No. 10: Updates & Other Tidbits

This month, "Updates & Tidbits" looks at two recent developments in the E.U. The first relates to findings of illegal State Aid in the form of private rulings given by Luxembourg and the Netherlands – Starbucks and Fiat plan to appeal. The second relates to double dipping of tax benefits when establishing I.P. box companies.

Read More

European Commission, State Aid, and Tax Transparency – More Steps in One Direction

The EDF experience in France demonstrates that State Aid in Europe comes in many forms, and it can be harshly treated when discovered. Beate Erwin looks at the case against France’s main electricity provider and other developments in the European Commission’s attack on State Aid through private tax rulings. She finds that the result in the EDF case is not an anomaly.

Read More

Tax Rulings in the European Union – State Aid as the European Commission's Sword Leading to Transparency Rulings

Read Publication

The European Union’s plan on putting an end to corporate tax breaks granted by means of letter rulings ran into German privacy concerns as E.U. Finance ministers met on June 19, 2015. The initiative, aimed at implementing an automatic exchange of letter rulings granted by E.U. Member States, will affect E.U. businesses as well as European operations of foreign multinationals, including those based in the United States. Examples of the latter are already under review by the E.U. Commission with regard to letter rulings issued by Ireland and the Netherlands, respectively, to local operations of Apple and Starbucks. Although the E.U. Commission, the executive body of the European Union, has no direct authority over national tax systems, it can investigate whether certain fiscal regimes, including those that issue advance private tax rulings, constitute an infringement of E.U. principles, in particular “unjustifiable” State Aid to companies. Such allegedly incompatible State Aid would comprise, inter alia, selective tax advantages granted by an E.U. Member State to companies with operations in its jurisdiction.

The Commission is very clear on its intent to use its powers and pursue its initiative vigorously. The financial press has widely reported a statement made by a spokesman for Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager that combating tax evasion and avoidance is a top priority of the Commission. In line with that concern, the Commission is taking a structured approach when using its State Aid enforcement powers to investigate selective tax advantages that distort fair competition.

The following provides an overview on the legislative framework with respect to State Aid, developments and an outlook on the future of tax rulings in an environment of increased tax transparency.

Ten Year Throwback

Read Publication

Two years ago, a U.S. Senate investigation accused Ireland of granting Apple Inc. special tax treatment. This accusation sparked a seemingly never-ending investigation into the state aid granted by certain European countries to specific multinational companies. More recently, Apple, Starbucks, Fiat, and various other companies exposed in the “Luxembourg Leaks” scandal were accused of having paid substandard taxes as a result of agreements between those companies and the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Ireland, which constituted illegal state aid.

Now, the European Commission (the “Commission”) is looking into the penalties that should be levied upon the income earned through these agreements. The Commission’s investigations into these advance rulings and advance pricing agreements (“A.P.A.’s”) between E.U. member-states and major U.S. multinationals could lead to tax adjustments dating as far back as ten years.

STATE AID

State aid is defined as “an advantage in any form whatsoever conferred on a selective basis to undertakings by national public authorities.” This does not include subsidies or tax breaks available to all entities. A measure of state aid constitutes an intervention by a state, or through state resources, that gives specific companies or industry sectors an advantage on a selective basis, thereby distorting competition and affecting trade between E.U. member states.