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LUND UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES

Ränteavdragsreglernas förenlighet med EU-rätten

Johansson, Jonas LU (2013) JURM02 20132
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Ränteavdragsreglerna har alltsedan de infördes år 2009 varit föremål för kritik, exempelvis vad gäller deras förenlighet med de i FEUF fastslagna fria rörligheterna. Trots att HFD har konstaterat att ränteavdragsreglerna är förenliga med de fria rörligheterna kvarstår kritiken. Reglernas syfte är att skydda den svenska bolagsskattebasen genom att begränsa den generella avdragsrätten för ränteutgifter i inkomstslaget näringsverksamhet. Ränteavdragsreglerna är konstruerade så att det föreligger ett generellt avdragsförbud för ränteutgifter avseende koncerninterna skulder. Från detta förbud stadgas sedan två undantag; tioprocentsregeln och ventilen.

Regler som utgör ett hinder mot någon av de fria rörligheterna får inte tillämpas, såvida... (More)
Ränteavdragsreglerna har alltsedan de infördes år 2009 varit föremål för kritik, exempelvis vad gäller deras förenlighet med de i FEUF fastslagna fria rörligheterna. Trots att HFD har konstaterat att ränteavdragsreglerna är förenliga med de fria rörligheterna kvarstår kritiken. Reglernas syfte är att skydda den svenska bolagsskattebasen genom att begränsa den generella avdragsrätten för ränteutgifter i inkomstslaget näringsverksamhet. Ränteavdragsreglerna är konstruerade så att det föreligger ett generellt avdragsförbud för ränteutgifter avseende koncerninterna skulder. Från detta förbud stadgas sedan två undantag; tioprocentsregeln och ventilen.

Regler som utgör ett hinder mot någon av de fria rörligheterna får inte tillämpas, såvida de inte kan rättfärdigas med stöd av den så kallade ”rule of reason”-doktrinen. Min uppfattning är att ränteavdragsreglerna utgör ett hinder mot etableringsfriheten. Kortfattat kan sägas att etableringsfriheten är aktuell eftersom ränteavdragsreglerna avser gränsöverskridande, koncerninterna transaktioner. Reglerna utgör ett hinder eftersom de, trots sin neutrala utformning, i praktiken tillämpas på ett sätt som innebär att utländska företag särbehandlas negativt i förhållande till svenska företag.

Vad gäller trängande allmänintressen har EUD utvecklat ett antal grunder som, var för sig eller i förening, kan anses rättfärdiga en konstaterat hindrade nationell reglering. Av dessa är behovet av att motverka skatteflykt och behovet av att bevara den väl avvägda fördelningen av beskattningsrätten mellan medlemsstaterna aktuella i förhållande till ränteavdragsreglerna. Tillämpning av den förstnämnda grunden förutsätter att regleringen enbart är tillämplig på konstlade upplägg, vilket exkluderar ränteavdragsreglerna från dess tillämpningsområde. Avseende den sistnämnda rättfärdigandegrunden framgår i princip endast att medlemsstaterna ska ges rätt att hindra den urholkning av skattebasen som uppstår när bolag flyttar vinster bortom medlemsstaternas beskattningssfär. Med anledning av detta och att grunden endast har tillämpats separat i ett fåtal situationer kan jag inte med säkerhet avgöra dess tillämplighet på ränteavdragsreglerna. Min bedömning är däremot att ränteavdragsreglerna kan rättfärdigas genom att dessa två grunder beaktas tillsammans.

Vid prövningen av ränteavdragsreglernas proportionalitet beaktas såväl den EU-rättsliga proportionalitetsprincipen som relevant rättspraxis från EUD avseende proportionalitetsbedömningen. Av proportionalitetsprincipens tre beståndsdelar uppfyller ränteavdragsreglerna inte kravet på nödvändighet eftersom en mindre ingripande reglering skulle kunna tillgodose det avsedda syftet med reglerna. Vid proportionalitetsbedömningen ställs enligt EUD:s rättspraxis tre olika typer av krav på nationell lagstiftning. Kraven avseende konstlade upplägg är inte tillämpliga i förhållande till ränteavdragsreglerna, medan reglerna uppfyller kraven på bevisning. Vad slutligen gäller kravet på rättssäkerhet är min uppfattning att ränteavdragsreglernas tillämpningsområde inte kan fastställas med tillräcklig precision i förhand, framför allt i fråga om betydelsen av begreppet "huvudsakligen affärsmässigt motiverat". Sammanfattningsvis innebär detta att ränteavdragsreglerna inte kan anses vara proportionerliga.

Således är min slutsats att ränteavdragsreglerna inte är förenliga med etableringsfriheten och att de därför inte borde få tillämpas i sin nuvarande utformning. (Less)
Abstract
Ever since the rules limiting the deductibility of interest expenses for intra-group loans (the interest deduction rules) were first adopted in 2009, they have been subject to criticism, for example concerning their consistency with the four freedoms of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Even though the matter has been settled by the Supreme Administrative Court the criticism still remains. The interest deduction rules aim to protect the base for corporate tax by limiting the general right for companies to deduct interest expenses. The interest deduction rules consist of a general prohibition on the deduction of interest expenses relating to intra group loans. The prohibition is, however, subject to two exceptions; the... (More)
Ever since the rules limiting the deductibility of interest expenses for intra-group loans (the interest deduction rules) were first adopted in 2009, they have been subject to criticism, for example concerning their consistency with the four freedoms of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Even though the matter has been settled by the Supreme Administrative Court the criticism still remains. The interest deduction rules aim to protect the base for corporate tax by limiting the general right for companies to deduct interest expenses. The interest deduction rules consist of a general prohibition on the deduction of interest expenses relating to intra group loans. The prohibition is, however, subject to two exceptions; the ten percent rule and the valve.

National regulations which restrict any of the four freedoms may not be applied, unless they can be justified by means of the so called “rule of reason”-doctrine. In my opinion, the interest deduction rules constitute a restriction of the freedom of establishment. The freedom of establishment is relevant since the interest deduction rules are applicable only in cross-border, intra-group situations. The interest deduction rules constitute a restriction due to the fact that they, despite their neutral wording, are applied in a manner which in effect places foreign companies in a less favorable position compared to Swedish companies.

Concerning imperative requirements in the general interest, the Court of Justice of the European Union has developed several bases which, either separately or in tandem, may justify a national regulation which has been found to constitute a restriction. Among these bases, only two are relevant for the interest deduction rules, namely the need to prevent tax avoidance and the need to maintain a balanced allocation of the power to impose taxes between the Member States. Application of the first mentioned basis requires the regulation to be applicable only on wholly artificial arrangements, which excludes the interest deduction rules from its scope. Regarding the last mentioned basis it is in principle only established that the Member States should be able to prevent the tax base erosion that arises when corporations move profits beyond the scope of the taxation rights of the Member States. In the light of this and the fact that the basis has only been applied separately in a few cases, I cannot with any certainty determine its applicability on the interest deduction rules. I am, however, of the opinion that the interest deduction rules can be justified by applying these two bases in tandem.

When assessing the proportionality of the interest deduction rules both the principle of proportionality and the proportionality test of the "rule of reason"-doctrine are considered. The interest deduction rules do not fulfill the requirement of necessity, which is one of three components of the principle of proportionality, due to the fact that a less invasive regulation would serve the purpose of the existing rules equally well. According to the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union the proportionality test of the "rule of reason"-doctrine comprises three different types of requirements. The requirements regarding wholly artificial arrangements are not applicable in relation to the interest deduction rules, while the rules fulfill the requirements concerning evidence. Finally, regarding the requirement relating to legal security, my opinion is that the scope of the interest deduction rules cannot be determined with a sufficient degree of certainty beforehand, primarily with regards to the meaning of the term "principally motivated by business purposes". In summary, this means that the interest deduction rules cannot be considered to be proportional.

Thus, I conclude that the interest deduction rules are not consistent with the freedom of establishment and that they therefore should not be allowed to be applied as they stand now. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Johansson, Jonas LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
The interest deduction rules' consistency with EU law
course
JURM02 20132
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
EU-rätt, skatterätt, räntebegränsningsregler, räntesnurra, etableringsfriheten
language
Swedish
id
4230613
date added to LUP
2014-01-24 11:00:30
date last changed
2014-01-24 11:00:30
@misc{4230613,
  abstract     = {Ever since the rules limiting the deductibility of interest expenses for intra-group loans (the interest deduction rules) were first adopted in 2009, they have been subject to criticism, for example concerning their consistency with the four freedoms of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Even though the matter has been settled by the Supreme Administrative Court the criticism still remains. The interest deduction rules aim to protect the base for corporate tax by limiting the general right for companies to deduct interest expenses. The interest deduction rules consist of a general prohibition on the deduction of interest expenses relating to intra group loans. The prohibition is, however, subject to two exceptions; the ten percent rule and the valve.

National regulations which restrict any of the four freedoms may not be applied, unless they can be justified by means of the so called “rule of reason”-doctrine. In my opinion, the interest deduction rules constitute a restriction of the freedom of establishment. The freedom of establishment is relevant since the interest deduction rules are applicable only in cross-border, intra-group situations. The interest deduction rules constitute a restriction due to the fact that they, despite their neutral wording, are applied in a manner which in effect places foreign companies in a less favorable position compared to Swedish companies.

Concerning imperative requirements in the general interest, the Court of Justice of the European Union has developed several bases which, either separately or in tandem, may justify a national regulation which has been found to constitute a restriction. Among these bases, only two are relevant for the interest deduction rules, namely the need to prevent tax avoidance and the need to maintain a balanced allocation of the power to impose taxes between the Member States. Application of the first mentioned basis requires the regulation to be applicable only on wholly artificial arrangements, which excludes the interest deduction rules from its scope. Regarding the last mentioned basis it is in principle only established that the Member States should be able to prevent the tax base erosion that arises when corporations move profits beyond the scope of the taxation rights of the Member States. In the light of this and the fact that the basis has only been applied separately in a few cases, I cannot with any certainty determine its applicability on the interest deduction rules. I am, however, of the opinion that the interest deduction rules can be justified by applying these two bases in tandem.

When assessing the proportionality of the interest deduction rules both the principle of proportionality and the proportionality test of the "rule of reason"-doctrine are considered. The interest deduction rules do not fulfill the requirement of necessity, which is one of three components of the principle of proportionality, due to the fact that a less invasive regulation would serve the purpose of the existing rules equally well. According to the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union the proportionality test of the "rule of reason"-doctrine comprises three different types of requirements. The requirements regarding wholly artificial arrangements are not applicable in relation to the interest deduction rules, while the rules fulfill the requirements concerning evidence. Finally, regarding the requirement relating to legal security, my opinion is that the scope of the interest deduction rules cannot be determined with a sufficient degree of certainty beforehand, primarily with regards to the meaning of the term "principally motivated by business purposes". In summary, this means that the interest deduction rules cannot be considered to be proportional.

Thus, I conclude that the interest deduction rules are not consistent with the freedom of establishment and that they therefore should not be allowed to be applied as they stand now.},
  author       = {Johansson, Jonas},
  keyword      = {EU-rätt,skatterätt,räntebegränsningsregler,räntesnurra,etableringsfriheten},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Ränteavdragsreglernas förenlighet med EU-rätten},
  year         = {2013},
}