“Royalty Restrictions“ in Germany

11 July 2017

Germany has recently introduced new rules that will restrict the tax deductibility of related-party cross-border royalty payments if these payments are benefiting from a low taxation triggered by a harmful preferential tax regime in the country of the recipient.

Based on these new rules, such royalty expenses incurred after 31 December 2017 will no longer be fully deductible in Germany if the relevant income is subject to an effective tax rate of less than 25%:

In detail

For example, if the royalty income is subject to a preferential 10% effective tax rate, 60% of the royalty payments would not be deductible at the German taxpayer level.

However, if a recipient of cross-border royalty payments is subject to the regular tax rate (i.e. no preferential tax regime applies), the royalty restriction rule is not applicable, even if the effective tax rate is less than 25%.

Furthermore, patent box regimes which comply with the OECD “nexus” approach (i.e. under foreign law the preferential tax rate is only granted following an OECD-compliant “nexus” approach) are exempt from the new rule. A patent box of this kind is likely to be introduced in Switzerland in the context of tax package 17 (former corporate tax reform III).

It should however be noted that tax package 17 and therefore an
OECD-compliant Swiss patent box will probably not be introduced before 2020. Consequently, German royalty payments incurred between 1 January 2018 and the introduction of such a patent box in Switzerland could be subject to the new German royalty restriction rule if such royalties benefit from a Swiss preferential tax regime. The following regimes in Switzerland should be investigated in particular to establish whether or not they qualify as harmful preferential tax regimes:

  • Nidwalden IP Box
  • Mixed companies
  • Holding companies
  • Principal companies

An investigation into the impact of the new German limitation rules is recommended in order to determine their impact and to decide whether restructuring should be conducted before 1 January 2018.

In summary, there is still some uncertainty about how the new rules will be interpreted and applied. However, for now it can be assumed that all Swiss preferential regimes may potentially cause issues under the German royalty restriction rule.

There are, however, certain planning ideas which can help mitigate and/or reduce such issues. These solutions may depend on the very specific circumstances of your group and we advise you to have them analysed by your PwC tax consultant on a case-by-case basis.

For a more detailed discussion of how this might affect your business, please contact:

Armin Marti
Partner, Leader Corporate Tax
Tel. +41 58 792 43 43
armin.marti@ch.pwc.com

Stefan Schmid
Partner, Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 44 82
stefan.schmid@ch.pwc.com

Roman Brunner
Partner, Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 72 66
roman.brunner@ch.pwc.com

Urs Brügger
Partner, Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 45 10
urs.bruegger@ch.pwc.com

Reto Inauen
Senior Manager, Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 42 16
reto.inauen@ch.pwc.com

Cooperation between PwC and Noveras Tax Reporting for international Banking Clients

PwC and Noveras Services AG have agreed to cooperate in providing offshore tax reports for banks located in Switzerland and in foreign countries. This cooperation results in the following benefits:

Benefits for Banks:

  • Able to offer truly country-specific, high-quality tax reports to clients
  • No need to build up and maintain tax reporting infrastructure
  • No need to follow tax laws around the world
  • Tax reporting provided even for small numbers of clients
  • Flexible, cost-efficient cooperation

Benefits for Clients:

  • Client receives a high-quality tax report for their offshore account
  • Reports deliver all of the necessary information for client’s tax return in their country
  • Overall lower costs for the client due to saving the expense of local tax support

Statement by the Leaders

  • This unique cooperation ensures several high-quality services (such as highly skilled tax reporting products).
  • The synergy between PwC as leading expert advisor in tax-related topics and a practice-oriented boutique with profound knowledge of wealth management / cross-border banking, IT and international tax law creates a unique market solution.

Find out more

Contact

Dieter Wirth
Partner
+41 58 792 4488
dieter.wirth@ch.pwc.com

Michael Taschner
Senior Manager
+41 58 792 1087
michael.taschner@ch.pwc.com

Tax Package 17: Federal Council presents basic parameters of the planned reform

At its meeting on 9 June 2017 the Federal Council confirmed the basic parameters of the planned reform of Swiss corporate taxes, which the Steering Committee sent as a recommendation to the Federal Council and already introduced in a press release on 1 June 2017. The Tax Package 17 (SV 17) has three main objectives: first the aim is to secure Switzerland’s attractive status as a business location. In addition the reform intends, in view of the changed international environment, also to continue to preserve the acceptance of the Swiss tax system. Finally SV 17 is intended to secure sufficient tax revenues at all levels. These objectives are in principle identical with those of Corporate Tax Reform III (CTR III), which was rejected by the Swiss voters on 12 February 2017 with a share of the vote of almost 60%. SV 17 will therefore be more balanced. Compared with CTR III the special rules will be drawn up more restrictively and the interests of the cities and communes will carry more weight.

Continue to read in detail in our current newsletter.

If you have questions, please contact your usual PwC contact person or one of PwC Switzerland´s experts named below.

Contacts

Andreas Staubli
Partner
Leader TLS Schweiz
Tel. +41 58 792 44 72
Send E-mail
Armin Marti
Partner
Leader CT Schweiz
Tel. +41 58 792 43 43
Send E-mail
Benjamin Koch
Partner
Leader TP and VCT
+41 58 792 43 34
Send E-mail
Daniel Gremaud
Partner
Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 81 23
Send E-mail
Claude-Alain Barke
Partner
Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 83 17
Send E-mail
Remo Küttel
Partner
Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 68 69
Send E-mail
Laurenz Schneider
Director
Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 59 38
Send E-mail

Switzerland publishes recommendations for new corporate tax proposal 17

After rejection by popular vote of the Swiss corporate tax reform III (CTR III) package in February 2017, a Swiss governmental working group comprised of federal and cantonal members (the steering body) has been working on a revised package (tax proposal 17).

The steering body on June 1, 2017, published its recommended contents for tax proposal 17. The Federal Council now will consider the draft proposal and is expected to publish a final proposal for consultation by end of June 2017. Thereafter, parlamentary discussions are expected to start in spring 2018 and entry into force is expected to take effect January 1, 2020.

Continue to read in detail in our current newsletter.

If you have questions, please contact your usual PwC contact person or one of PwC Switzerland´s experts named below.

Contacts

Andreas Staubli
Partner
Leader TLS Schweiz
Tel. +41 58 792 44 72
Send E-mail
Armin Marti
Partner
Leader CT Schweiz
Tel. +41 58 792 43 43
Send E-mail
Benjamin Koch
Partner
Leader TP and VCT
+41 58 792 43 34
Send E-mail
Daniel Gremaud
Partner
Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 81 23
Send E-mail
Claude-Alain Barke
Partner
Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 83 17
Send E-mail
Remo Küttel
Partner
Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 68 69
Send E-mail
Laurenz Schneider
Director
Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 59 38
Send E-mail

EUDTG Newsletter March – April 2017

EU direct tax law is a fast developing area. This presents taxpayers, in particular groups and multinational corporations that have an EU or European Economic Area (EEA) presence, with various challenges.

The following topics are covered in this issue of EU Tax News:

CJEU Cases

  • Belgium: CJEU judgment on interpretation of the subject-to-tax requirement of the Parent-Subsidiary Directive: Wereldhave
  • Belgium: AG Opinion on interest deduction limitation in light of the Parent-Subsidiary Directive: Argenta
  • Germany: CJEU referral on the German CFC rules: X

National Developments

  • Belgium: Supreme Court does not allow withholding tax refunds for dividends received by investment companies before 12 June 2003
  • Belgium: CJEU referral by the Commission of Belgium over the discriminatory tax treatment of foreign real estate income
  • Finland: Supreme Administrative Court confirms tax treatment of dividend income from third countries to be in line with Articles 63 and 65 TFEU
  • Italy: Amendments to the NID and Patent Box Regime
  • Norway: Government’s response to ESA’s decision on the compatibility of the Norwegian interest limitation rules with the freedom of establishment
  • Poland: Supreme Administrative Court judgment on the settlement of foreign branch losses
  • Spain: Supreme Court judgment on State aid recovery procedure
  • United Kingdom: England and Wales High Court judgment regarding repayment of stamp duty reserve tax: Jazztel plc v The Commissioners for HMRC
  • United Kingdom: The Great Repeal Bill White Paper

EU Developments

  • EU: European Parliament clears way for formal adoption of ATAD II by the ECOFIN Council
  • EU: Update on EU proposal for public country-by-country reporting
  • EU: Council adopts conclusions on EU relations with the Swiss Confederation
  • EU: Informal ECOFIN Council held in Malta in early April

Fiscal State aid

  • Greece: CJEU judgment on State aid implemented by Greece: Ellinikos Chrysos AE
  • Italy: CJEU judgment on Italian bankruptcy procedure: Marco Identi

Read the full newsletter here.

This EU Tax Newsletter is prepared by members of PwC’s international EU Direct Tax Group (EUDTG).

Further information about our service offerings in EU taxes: www.pwc.com/eudtg

Webinar: How US tax reform impacts Switzerland

Wednesday, 3 May 2017, 4–5pm CET

US tax reform is one of the key topics in the US under the Trump administration. Various proposals are being discussed and prepared − notably measures with the common goal of making the US corporate tax system more competitive. Given the potential magnitude of the proposed changes and the short timeframe within which legal changes are usually implemented in the US, it’s time to consider what US tax reform could mean for Switzerland and Swiss-based companies that do business in the US.

This webinar addresses questions such as:

  • How is the US tax system unique?
  • What’s involved in the process of transforming tax reform into US law?
  • What are the options for tax reform, and how do they compare and contrast (Camp plan, Trump proposal, Republican blueprint)?
  • What are the consequences for Swiss companies doing business in the US (e.g. interest deducibility, treatment of intangibles, state taxes and border adjustment tax)?
  • What impact will US tax reform have on the Swiss tax reform?

To register for the online event, please click on the link below.

WEBEX LINK

Once you have registered, you will receive the WebEx access details. The WebEx will be recorded and you will receive a link to the recording via e-mail after the event using the same details. There will be time for questions and answers with your speakers during the WebEx. Questions can also be sent in advance of the WebeX session to the following email address: rolf.j.roellin@us.pwc.com.

We do hope that you will join us online!

If you have questions, please contact your usual PwC contact person or one of our US tax experts named below.

Matina M. Walt
Partner
Swiss Tax Desk
PwC New York / Switzerland
martina.m.walt@us.pwc.com

Bernard Moens
Principal
PwC US
bernard.e.moens@us.pwc.com

 

EUDTG Newsletter January – February 2017

EU direct tax law is a fast developing area. This presents taxpayers, in particular groups and multinational corporations that have an EU or European Economic Area (EEA) presence, with various challenges.

The following topics are covered in this issue of EU Tax News:

CJEU Cases

  • Netherlands: CJEU judgment on pro-rata personal deductions for non-resident taxpayers: X
  • Netherlands:  CJEU judgment on the application of Article 64 (1) TFEU concerning the extended recovery period for foreign assets: X

    National Developments
  • Belgium: New Innovation Income Deduction replaces the Patent Income Deduction
  • Finland: Supreme Administrative Court confirms withholding tax treatment for non-UCITS and non-listed Maltese SICAV
  • Hungary:  Hungarian implementation of ATAD’s CFC rules
  • Italy: Italian Tax Court of First Instance judgment on the compatibility of withholding tax levied on dividends distributed to a US pension fund with EU law
  • Sweden: Swedish Supreme Administrative Court judgments on the denial of refund of Swedish withholding tax
  • Switzerland: Corporate Tax Reform III rejected by the Swiss voters
  • United Kingdom: Supreme Court judgment in R (on the application of Miller and another) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

EU Developments

  • EU: ECOFIN Council agreement on ATAD II
  • EU: European Parliament Resolution of 14 February 2017 on the annual report on EU competition policy
  • EU: Public CBCR: European Parliament’s joint ECON & JURI Committee issues draft report
  • EU: EU Member States send letter to non-EU 92 countries in context of common EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions
  • Spain European Commission requests Spain to amend its law implementing reporting obligations for certain assets located outside of Spain

Fiscal State aid

  • Luxembourg: Non-confidential version of the European Commission’s State aid opening decision in GDF Suez
  • Spain: AG Opinion on tax exemptions for Church-run schools

Read the full newsletter here.

This EU Tax Newsletter is prepared by members of PwC’s international EU Direct Tax Group (EUDTG).

Further information about our service offerings in EU taxes: www.pwc.com/eudtg

Group financing: changes to the withholding tax ordinance designed to facilitate intragroup financing activities out of Switzerland

  1. Current group financing environment in Switzerland

Interest payments on bonds and client credit balances are generally subject to Swiss withholding tax at a rate of 35%. This may have far-reaching consequences on both the external and internal financing of Swiss-based groups and widely impedes both types of financing activity in Switzerland.

  • With respect to external financing, the withholding tax levied on interest payments makes the issuance of bonds in Switzerland rather unattractive. For this reason, groups established in Switzerland often carry out financing activities abroad.
  • With respect to intragroup financing, the crucial point is whether a particular intragroup obligation (note payable) qualifies as a bond/client credit balance or not. Generally, obligations qualify as bonds if they are issued by a Swiss obligor to more than 10 (if the terms are identical) or 20 (if the terms are similar) non-bank creditors and the total credit amount is at least CHF 500,000. Moreover, if a Swiss company has more than 100 non-bank creditors and a loan volume of at least CHF 5 million, such obligations are deemed to be a client credit balance with the corresponding withholding tax consequences for interest payments. These limitations are generally known as the 10/20/100 non-bank lender rules.

The legislator is aware of these disadvantages and introduced an exemption in the withholding tax ordinance in 2010. From that point on, intragroup obligations between fully consolidated group companies have not qualified either as bonds or client credit balances, provided that no Swiss group company guarantees a bond of a foreign group company by way of a downstream guarantee.

As a result of this constraint, the intragroup financing activities of Swiss groups with foreign-issued bonds outstanding and a Swiss downstream guarantee in place need to take account of the 10/20/100 non-bank rules, which substantially hinders the settlement of intragroup financing and treasury activities in Switzerland. If the 10/20/100 non-bank rule is not observed, there is a risk that interest payments to other group companies will be subject to Swiss WHT.

 

  1. Improved group financing opportunities due to changes to the withholding tax ordinance

In order to facilitate group financing in Switzerland, the federal council has decided to amend the Swiss withholding tax ordinance with effect 1 April 2017. Under this amendment, a downstream guarantee issued by a Swiss group company no longer automatically leads to a situation where the above-mentioned exemption for intragroup obligations is not applicable. The amended withholding tax ordinance states that the intercompany exemption introduced in 2010 shall also be applicable for groups with a foreign bond guaranteed through a downstream guarantee of a Swiss guarantor, provided that the funds that are forwarded by the foreign bond issuer to Swiss group companies do not exceed the equity of the foreign bond issuer.

In addition, the current provision under which the exemption is only applicable to fully consolidated group companies is to be extended to include partially consolidated group companies (for example a joint venture in which an interest of least 50% is held).

 

  1. Expected implications in practice

The amendment of the withholding tax ordinance is a step in the right direction, and will facilitate group financing activities in Switzerland. The main benefit of the change in the withholding tax ordinance is the fact that group of companies with bonds issued abroad with a Swiss downstream guarantee can also benefit from the intercompany exemption under the 10/20/100 non-bank rule. The fact that partially consolidated group companies also qualify for the exemption is helpful as well.

However, the general statement that the financing of Swiss entities from a foreign bond issued does not create a harmful flowback, provided that the financing does not exceed the foreign issuer’s equity, will hardly have a lasting positive impact on intragroup financing activities in Switzerland. This is mainly due to the fact that foreign bond issuing entities generally do not require substantial equity, so the permitted flowback to Switzerland will be minimal.

If the legislator is serious about fostering the settlement of intragroup financing activities in Switzerland, additional measures should be taken quickly.

Contacts:

Martin Bueeler
Partner
Tax and Legal Services
+41 58 792 4392
martin.bueeler@ch.pwc.com

Martin Burri
Manager
Tax and Legal Services
+41 58 792 4500
martin.burri@ch.pwc.com

 

Swiss Withholding Tax: Relieved requirements for the notification procedure

On 1 February 2017, the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (“SFTA”) informed that the relieved requirements for the notification procedure will enter into force on 15 February 2017.

Companies which have paid late payment interest on delayed notification applications and meet below reflected further requirements are entitled to claim back such late payment interest within 1 year.

Background

On 30 September 2016, both chambers of the Swiss parliament approved an amendment of the Swiss Withholding Tax Act, for which no referendum was called. As a result of the amended Swiss Withholding Tax Act, the notification procedure for withholding tax on dividend distributions shall – even in case the 30-days-filing-deadline was/is not met – be granted by the Swiss Tax Authorities, if the relevant material conditions for the notification procedure are/were fulfilled at the due date of the distribution.

Based on the transition rules, the amended law will also be applicable to cases which occurred prior to the enactment of the law changes, unless (i) the tax liability or the late payment interest is/are time-barred or (ii) was/were already finally assessed prior to 1 January 2011.

Kindly note that – despite of the amended Withholding Tax Act – we continuously recommend to strictly adhere to the 30-days-deadline for filing the relevant forms (e.g. 102/103 and 106/108) to avoid potential fines.

In case you have refrained from paying a late payment interest claim and your case was either suspended by the SFTA or an appeal is currently pending, we recommend analysing what next steps shall be taken.

Next Steps / Call to Action

If your company had missed the 30-day-deadline for the notification procedure, we recommend that you contact your PwC tax adviser who will be happy to help you analyse whether your company may be entitled to a refund or how to best deal with your pending.

Our contacts:

Stefan Schmid
Partner, Tax & Legal Services
+41 58 792 44 82
stefan.schmid@ch.pwc.com

Dr. Remo Küttel
Partner, Tax Services
+41 58 792 68 69
remo.kuettel@ch.pwc.com

Dr. Sarah Dahinden
Senior Manager, Tax & Legal Services
+41 58 792 44 25
sarah.dahinden@ch.pwc.com

EUDTG Newsletter November – December 2016

EU direct tax law is a fast developing area. This presents taxpayers, in particular groups and multinational corporations that have an EU or European Economic Area (EEA) presence, with various opportunities.

The following topics are covered in this issue of EU Tax News:

CJEU Cases

  • Belgium: AG’s Opinion on the Belgian fairness tax: X
  • Denmark: CJEU Judgment on the Danish thin capitalisation rules: Masco Denmark ApS
  • Portugal: CJEU Judgment on the taxation of profits distributed by entities in third countries: SECIL
  • United Kingdom: AG’s Opinion regarding UK trust exit taxation: Trustees of the P Panayi Accumulation & Maintenance Settlements v HMRC
  • United Kingdom: AG’s Opinion on UK FID regime: The Trustees of the BT Pension Scheme v HMRC

National Developments

  • Netherlands: Dutch AG’s Opinion regarding Dutch dividend withholding tax on foreign investment funds
  • Spain: National High Court of Justice upholds insurance company claims
  • United Kingdom: Court of Appeal judgment on remedies in the franked investment income (FII) group litigation

EU Developments

  • EU: ECOFIN Council of 8 November 2016 adopts criteria for screening of third country jurisdictions
  • EU: ECOFIN Council of 6 December 2016 – results
  • EU: European Commission’s public CBCR proposal’s legal basis challenged
  • EU: European Commission welcomes the entry into force of new transparency rules for tax rulings

Fiscal State aid

  • Hungary: European Commission publishes its final decision on the Hungarian advertisement tax
  • Ireland: Non-confidential version of the European Commission’s final State aid Decision on Apple
  • Spain: CJEU Judgments on the Spanish financial goodwill amortisation scheme: Autogrill v Commission and Banco Santander and Santusa v Commission

This EU Tax Newsletter is prepared by members of PwC’s international EU Direct Tax Group (EUDTG).

Read the full newsletter here.

Further information about our service offerings in EU taxes: www.pwc.com/eudtg