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LUND UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES

Några problem vid beskattning av hybridinstrument

Wann-Hansson, Linus LU (2013) JURM02 20131
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
I en allt mer globaliserad värld präglad av konstant gränsöverskridande handel är det av yttersta vikt att beskattningen av gränsöverskridande transaktioner fungerar tillfredsställande. Detta gäller även de fall då avkastning på finansiella instrument korsar länders gränser.
I svensk rätt liksom i många andra länders rätt saknas klara definitioner för vad som är ränta och vad som är utdelning. Detta har stora mutltinationella företag lärt sig att utnyttja, och genom att skapa skuldebrev med villkor väldigt lika de hos en delägarrätt alternativt delägarrätter med villkor mycket lika ett skuldebrev har de uppnått betydande skattearbitrage. Detta då källstaten medgivit avdrag för en utgift de klassificerat som ränta medan hemviststaten... (More)
I en allt mer globaliserad värld präglad av konstant gränsöverskridande handel är det av yttersta vikt att beskattningen av gränsöverskridande transaktioner fungerar tillfredsställande. Detta gäller även de fall då avkastning på finansiella instrument korsar länders gränser.
I svensk rätt liksom i många andra länders rätt saknas klara definitioner för vad som är ränta och vad som är utdelning. Detta har stora mutltinationella företag lärt sig att utnyttja, och genom att skapa skuldebrev med villkor väldigt lika de hos en delägarrätt alternativt delägarrätter med villkor mycket lika ett skuldebrev har de uppnått betydande skattearbitrage. Detta då källstaten medgivit avdrag för en utgift de klassificerat som ränta medan hemviststaten undantagit från beskattning vad de klassificerat som skattefri utdelning.

Såväl ränta som utdelning har i Sverige visat sig helt sakna definition i skatterätten. Ränta finns delvis definierat i praxis, och ett fåtal fall behandlar även utdelning på ett sätt som tillåter slutsatser om vad som skiljer det från ränta, men i övrigt måste stöd för hur gränsdragningen ska göras hämtas från doktrin och redovisningsrätten. Detta ger emellertid mer än ett svar på hur gränsdragningen ska göras, och inget av dem förmår motverka sådant skattearbitrage uppsatsen syftar till att utreda.

I en gränsöverskridande situation måste även tas hänsyn till internationell rätt. EU-rätten inverkar dels genom att via moder/dotterbolags-direktivet garantera skattefrihet för gränsöverskridande utdelning även vid ganska låga ägarandelar (endast 10% av kapitalet), och dels genom att försvåra införandet av interna motverkansåtgärder på grund av fördragsfriheterna. Inget av detta förminskar möjligheten till skattearbitrage.

Även skatteavtalen är relevanta. Vid tillämpningen av ett avtal föreligger alltid en risk för dubbel icke-beskattning om två stater klassificerar en inkomst olika. Dessa kvalifikationskonflikter får dock i alla för uppsatsen relevanta avseenden anses lösta sedan 2000 års uppdatering till OECD:s modellavtal och dess kommentarer.

Då internationell rätt såväl som traditionell intern rätt inte förmår komma åt skattearbitraget har interna motverkansåtgärder införts såväl i Sverige som internationellt. Dessa är emellertid samtliga i något avseende bristfälliga och ofta i riskzonen för att underkännas av EU-domstolen.

Därför konstateras att roten till problemet inte ligger i definitionen av ränta respektive utdelning, utan i att definitionen alls måste göras. Således förespråkas en långsiktig lösning där en övergång görs till ett system där olikheterna i behandlingen av ränta och utdelning i beskattningen elimineras. På så vis kan skattearbitrage inte längre uppnås då distinktionen förlorar sin betydelse för beskattningsresultatet. (Less)
Abstract
In a progressively more globalized world featuring constant cross-border trade it is imperative that the taxation of cross-border transactions is carried out in a satisfactory manner. This is also true regarding periodic income from financial instruments.
In Swedish tax law as well as in many other countries there is no clear definition of what constitutes interest and dividends. Large multinational corporations has learned to use this in their favour, and by creating either bonds with terms closely resembling those of a share or shares with terms closely resembling those of a bond they have achieved considerable tax arbitrage. This when the state of source allows a deduction for an expense they have cathegorized as interest while the... (More)
In a progressively more globalized world featuring constant cross-border trade it is imperative that the taxation of cross-border transactions is carried out in a satisfactory manner. This is also true regarding periodic income from financial instruments.
In Swedish tax law as well as in many other countries there is no clear definition of what constitutes interest and dividends. Large multinational corporations has learned to use this in their favour, and by creating either bonds with terms closely resembling those of a share or shares with terms closely resembling those of a bond they have achieved considerable tax arbitrage. This when the state of source allows a deduction for an expense they have cathegorized as interest while the state of residence exempts from tax what they cathegorized as a tax free dividend.

In Swedish tax law there is no definition of neither interest nor dividends. Interest is partly defined in case law. A few cases also deal with dividends in a way that permits some conlusions of what separates it from interest, but mostly the definition must be sought in juridical doctrine and accounting law. This does however permit more than one answer, and none of them are capable of preventing the tax arbitrage that is the focus of this paper.

Consideration must also be given to international law in a cross-border situation. EU law plays a part by demanding that cross-border dividens be tax exempt if the recieving company meets a fairly low holding requriement of 10% in the paying company via the parent/subsidiary directive. Also, the treaty freedoms limits the possibilites of implementing effective countermeasure provisions in internal law. None of this reduces the opportunity for tax arbitrage.

The tax conventions are also relevant. When applying a convention there is always a risk for double non-taxation if two states cathegorize an income differently. These so called conflicts of qualification must however be considered solved in any aspect relevant for this paper since the 2000 update to the OECD Model Tax Convention and its commentaries.

Since international as well as internal law has failed to counter this tax arbitrage, Sweden as well as many other countries have implemented internal countermeasure provisions. They are however all found lacking in some respect, and also often at risk of being rejected by the ECJ.

Therefore it is concluded in that the root of this problem lies not in the definitions of interest and dividends, but in the fact that they must be defined. A long term solution is consequently proposed where a transition is made to a tax system where the differenses in treatment between interest and dividends are eliminated.This way, tax arbitrage may no longer be achieved since the distinction has no tax effect. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Wann-Hansson, Linus LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Som aspects of the taxation of hybrid instruments
course
JURM02 20131
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
finansrätt, EU-rätt, skatterätt, skatteavtal, hybridinstrument, hybridbeskattning, kvalifikationskonflikt, ränta, utdelning, ränteavdrag
language
Swedish
id
3789270
date added to LUP
2013-06-04 08:51:56
date last changed
2013-06-04 08:51:56
@misc{3789270,
  abstract     = {In a progressively more globalized world featuring constant cross-border trade it is imperative that the taxation of cross-border transactions is carried out in a satisfactory manner. This is also true regarding periodic income from financial instruments.
In Swedish tax law as well as in many other countries there is no clear definition of what constitutes interest and dividends. Large multinational corporations has learned to use this in their favour, and by creating either bonds with terms closely resembling those of a share or shares with terms closely resembling those of a bond they have achieved considerable tax arbitrage. This when the state of source allows a deduction for an expense they have cathegorized as interest while the state of residence exempts from tax what they cathegorized as a tax free dividend.

In Swedish tax law there is no definition of neither interest nor dividends. Interest is partly defined in case law. A few cases also deal with dividends in a way that permits some conlusions of what separates it from interest, but mostly the definition must be sought in juridical doctrine and accounting law. This does however permit more than one answer, and none of them are capable of preventing the tax arbitrage that is the focus of this paper.

Consideration must also be given to international law in a cross-border situation. EU law plays a part by demanding that cross-border dividens be tax exempt if the recieving company meets a fairly low holding requriement of 10% in the paying company via the parent/subsidiary directive. Also, the treaty freedoms limits the possibilites of implementing effective countermeasure provisions in internal law. None of this reduces the opportunity for tax arbitrage.

The tax conventions are also relevant. When applying a convention there is always a risk for double non-taxation if two states cathegorize an income differently. These so called conflicts of qualification must however be considered solved in any aspect relevant for this paper since the 2000 update to the OECD Model Tax Convention and its commentaries.

Since international as well as internal law has failed to counter this tax arbitrage, Sweden as well as many other countries have implemented internal countermeasure provisions. They are however all found lacking in some respect, and also often at risk of being rejected by the ECJ.

Therefore it is concluded in that the root of this problem lies not in the definitions of interest and dividends, but in the fact that they must be defined. A long term solution is consequently proposed where a transition is made to a tax system where the differenses in treatment between interest and dividends are eliminated.This way, tax arbitrage may no longer be achieved since the distinction has no tax effect.},
  author       = {Wann-Hansson, Linus},
  keyword      = {finansrätt,EU-rätt,skatterätt,skatteavtal,hybridinstrument,hybridbeskattning,kvalifikationskonflikt,ränta,utdelning,ränteavdrag},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Några problem vid beskattning av hybridinstrument},
  year         = {2013},
}