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Förfarandemissbruk eller verklig etablering - vad avgör?

Salmén, Anna LU (2011) JURM01 20111
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
EU-domstolen har i sin praxis utvecklat principen om förfarandemissbruk. Principen innebär ett förbud mot missbruk av EU-rätten. För att principen ska bli tillämplig krävs att ordalydelsen i viss bestämmelse följts men att resultatet strider mot bestämmelsens syfte. Dessutom krävs att syftet med vidtagna åtgärder var att uppnå detta resultat. I Halifax-målet konstaterade EU-domstolen att principen gäller även på skatteområdet.

Huruvida principen är direkt tillämplig i medlemsländernas rättsordning är dock oklart. Beträffande ”friheterna” i EUF-fördraget och skatterätten kan dock sägas att principen kommer till uttryck genom att en skattskyldig inte kan åberopa en frihet för att undvika nationell inskränkande lagstiftning i de fall... (More)
EU-domstolen har i sin praxis utvecklat principen om förfarandemissbruk. Principen innebär ett förbud mot missbruk av EU-rätten. För att principen ska bli tillämplig krävs att ordalydelsen i viss bestämmelse följts men att resultatet strider mot bestämmelsens syfte. Dessutom krävs att syftet med vidtagna åtgärder var att uppnå detta resultat. I Halifax-målet konstaterade EU-domstolen att principen gäller även på skatteområdet.

Huruvida principen är direkt tillämplig i medlemsländernas rättsordning är dock oklart. Beträffande ”friheterna” i EUF-fördraget och skatterätten kan dock sägas att principen kommer till uttryck genom att en skattskyldig inte kan åberopa en frihet för att undvika nationell inskränkande lagstiftning i de fall missbruk föreligger. Ett uppmärksammat mål beträffande just detta är Cadbury Schweppes-domen . Målet rörde den brittiska CFC-lagstiftningen och EU-domstolen konstaterade att regler för att hindra skatteflykt utgör legitima inskränkningar till fördragets friheter. Detta förutsätter dock att skatteflyktsreglerna enbart träffar de situationer där ”rent konstlade upplägg” föreligger. I de fall ett företag är ”verkligt etablerat” kan en medlemsstat inte hindra den fria etableringen genom att upprätthålla diskriminerande skatteregler.

Domen har föranlett ändringar i svensk CFC-lagstiftning genom intagandet av 7a§ i 39a kap. IL som stadgar ett undantag från CFC-beskattning för dotterbolag etablerade i CFC-länder inom EU och där det inte är fråga om ett konstlat upplägg. Enligt lagstiftningen ska denna bedömning utgå från huruvida ”affärsmässigt motiverade skäl” för etableringen föreligger och denna prövning ska ske utifrån företagets resurser samt personalens behörighet och kompetens. Med tanke på att regeringen i propositionen till lagrummet utgått från Cadbury Schweppes-domen torde de krav som uppställts i lagtexten vara alltför långtgående och i strid med EU-rätten enligt min mening.

Trots att begreppet ”verklig etablering” i Cadbury-schweppes-domen diskuterats i samband med CFC-lagstiftningen torde begreppet få betydelse även på andra skatteområden, vilket belyses Bland annat genom Kammarrätten i Göteborgs dom, mål nr. 2895-09 där begreppet tas upp till diskussion i samband med de svenska uttagsbeskattningsreglerna.

Det är inte helt okomplicerat att förstå innebörden av begreppet ”verklig etablering” i svensk gällande rätt. Utgångspunkten för bedömningen bör dock ligga i EU-domstolens praxis. EU-domstolen har i ovan nämnda dom angett att bedömningen ska göras utifrån resurser såsom lokal, utrustning och personal. Domstolens ordval i domen indikerar att det krävs ett stort mått av missbruk för att etableringen ska betraktas som ett konstlat upplägg och således inte anses verklig. Även vid bedömning av andra EU-domar på området nås samma resultat. En sammanfattning av rättsläget torde bli att företag som bedriver någon form av ekonomisk verksamhet ska anses verkligt etablerade. EU-domstolen nämner brevlådeföretag som exempel på ”rent konstlade upplägg” och tycks ha avsett att ge begreppet en mycket snäv innebörd. Någon detaljerad definition av begreppet ”verklig etablering” finns dock inte i dagsläget. (Less)
Abstract
The EU court has in its rulings developed the principle of prohibiting abusive practices. The principle is existing to prohibit abuse of European Union law. In order to apply the principle requires that the wording of a certain provision have been followed but the outcome is contrary to the purpose of that provision. It is also required that the purpose of the action taken was to achieve this result. In the Halifax case the EU court stated that the principle also applies to tax law.

Whether the principle is directly applicable in the legal system of a member state is though unclear. It can be said though, that regarding “the freedoms” within the treaty and tax law the principle is expressed by a taxpayer not being able to rely on a... (More)
The EU court has in its rulings developed the principle of prohibiting abusive practices. The principle is existing to prohibit abuse of European Union law. In order to apply the principle requires that the wording of a certain provision have been followed but the outcome is contrary to the purpose of that provision. It is also required that the purpose of the action taken was to achieve this result. In the Halifax case the EU court stated that the principle also applies to tax law.

Whether the principle is directly applicable in the legal system of a member state is though unclear. It can be said though, that regarding “the freedoms” within the treaty and tax law the principle is expressed by a taxpayer not being able to rely on a freedom in order to avoid national restrictive laws in the case there is abuse. One notable case on that subject is the Cadbury Schweppes ruling. The case concerned the UK CFC legislation and the EU Court found that the rules to prevent tax avoidance are legitimate restrictions to “the freedoms” within the treaty. However, this requires that the tax rules only cover those situations where "wholly artificial arrangements" is at hand. In cases where a company is “truly established” a Member state may not impede the freedom of establishment by maintaining discriminatory tax legislation.

The above mentioned judgment has led to changes in Swedish CFC legislation. The appeal has driven the establishment of the 7a § 39a Chap. IL which provides an exemption from the CFC-taxation of subsidiaries based in CFC countries within the EU and where there is not an artificial arrangement. The assessment of the law is based on whether "commercially meaningful reasons” for establishing exists and that must be based on company resources and personnel competence and skills. Given that the government in the preceding to the law assumed Cadbury Schweppes ruling, the requirements in the law are excessive and in breach of EU law in my opinion.

Although the term "actual establishment" in the Cadbury Schweppes ruling discussed in connection with the CFC legislation should the term have an impact on other tax areas, as highlighted in particular by the Court of Appeal in Gothenburg, Case No. 2895-09 in which the concept be discussed in connection with the Swedish rules on levying taxes.

However, it is not easy to understand the meaning of the term "actual establishment" in the Swedish legislation in force. The assessment should though be based on practice from the EU Court. The EU court stated that the assessment should be based on local resources such as equipment and personnel. Judgment of the vocabulary of appeal indicates that it requires a great deal of abuse for the establishment to be considered as an artificial arrangement, and therefore not considered genuine. The evaluation of other EU decisions in the field has reached the same result. A summary of the legal situation must be that companies that carry out any economic activity shall be considered truly established. The EU court refers to letterbox companies as an example of “wholly artificial arrangement”, and seems to have intended to give the concept a very narrow meaning. However, a detailed definition of the term ”actual establishment” does not yet exist. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Salmén, Anna LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Abusive practices or actual establishment – what decides?
course
JURM01 20111
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Skatterätt
language
Swedish
id
1974728
date added to LUP
2011-06-14 10:29:31
date last changed
2011-06-14 10:29:31
@misc{1974728,
  abstract     = {The EU court has in its rulings developed the principle of prohibiting abusive practices. The principle is existing to prohibit abuse of European Union law. In order to apply the principle requires that the wording of a certain provision have been followed but the outcome is contrary to the purpose of that provision. It is also required that the purpose of the action taken was to achieve this result. In the Halifax case the EU court stated that the principle also applies to tax law. 

Whether the principle is directly applicable in the legal system of a member state is though unclear. It can be said though, that regarding “the freedoms” within the treaty and tax law the principle is expressed by a taxpayer not being able to rely on a freedom in order to avoid national restrictive laws in the case there is abuse. One notable case on that subject is the Cadbury Schweppes ruling. The case concerned the UK CFC legislation and the EU Court found that the rules to prevent tax avoidance are legitimate restrictions to “the freedoms” within the treaty. However, this requires that the tax rules only cover those situations where "wholly artificial arrangements" is at hand. In cases where a company is “truly established” a Member state may not impede the freedom of establishment by maintaining discriminatory tax legislation.

The above mentioned judgment has led to changes in Swedish CFC legislation. The appeal has driven the establishment of the 7a § 39a Chap. IL which provides an exemption from the CFC-taxation of subsidiaries based in CFC countries within the EU and where there is not an artificial arrangement. The assessment of the law is based on whether "commercially meaningful reasons” for establishing exists and that must be based on company resources and personnel competence and skills. Given that the government in the preceding to the law assumed Cadbury Schweppes ruling, the requirements in the law are excessive and in breach of EU law in my opinion. 

Although the term "actual establishment" in the Cadbury Schweppes ruling discussed in connection with the CFC legislation should the term have an impact on other tax areas, as highlighted in particular by the Court of Appeal in Gothenburg, Case No. 2895-09 in which the concept be discussed in connection with the Swedish rules on levying taxes.

However, it is not easy to understand the meaning of the term "actual establishment" in the Swedish legislation in force. The assessment should though be based on practice from the EU Court. The EU court stated that the assessment should be based on local resources such as equipment and personnel. Judgment of the vocabulary of appeal indicates that it requires a great deal of abuse for the establishment to be considered as an artificial arrangement, and therefore not considered genuine. The evaluation of other EU decisions in the field has reached the same result. A summary of the legal situation must be that companies that carry out any economic activity shall be considered truly established. The EU court refers to letterbox companies as an example of “wholly artificial arrangement”, and seems to have intended to give the concept a very narrow meaning. However, a detailed definition of the term ”actual establishment” does not yet exist.},
  author       = {Salmén, Anna},
  keyword      = {Skatterätt},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Förfarandemissbruk eller verklig etablering - vad avgör?},
  year         = {2011},
}