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Ett neutralt bolagsskattesystem

Rosenhall, Josefin LU (2014) LAGM01 20142
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Skatteplanering genom så kallade räntesnurror har skapat snedvridningar inom bolagssektorn där företag med stora räntekostnader har kunnat minska den beskattningsbara vinsten genom avdrag. Avsaknaden av en tydlig reglering medförde att Skatteverket lade fram en promemoria år 2008 med förslag om en särskild reglering med begränsning av ränteavdrag som främst motiverades av skatteskäl. Ränteavdragsbegränsningsreglerna blev ett faktum och trädde i kraft år 2009 samt reviderades år 2013. Syftet med reglerna kan till viss del anses uppfyllt genom att rent skattemotiverade upplägg inte längre ger rätt till avdrag. Det finns emellertid fortfarande risk för snedvridningar inom bolagssektorn till följd av att lånefinansierade företag får en lägre... (More)
Skatteplanering genom så kallade räntesnurror har skapat snedvridningar inom bolagssektorn där företag med stora räntekostnader har kunnat minska den beskattningsbara vinsten genom avdrag. Avsaknaden av en tydlig reglering medförde att Skatteverket lade fram en promemoria år 2008 med förslag om en särskild reglering med begränsning av ränteavdrag som främst motiverades av skatteskäl. Ränteavdragsbegränsningsreglerna blev ett faktum och trädde i kraft år 2009 samt reviderades år 2013. Syftet med reglerna kan till viss del anses uppfyllt genom att rent skattemotiverade upplägg inte längre ger rätt till avdrag. Det finns emellertid fortfarande risk för snedvridningar inom bolagssektorn till följd av att lånefinansierade företag får en lägre skattekostnad genom avdragsgilla räntekostnader och gynnas framför företag som väljer att finansiera med eget kapital.

Lagstiftaren strävar efter neutralitet i skattesystemet och den asymmetri som finns mellan lånat och eget kapital riskerar att påverka företagens ekonomiska val. Den nuvarande regleringen gynnar företag med höga skulder medan lågbelånade företag med hög soliditet i realiteten får en högre skattekostnad. För att skapa ett neutralt bolagsskattesystem har regeringen tillsatt en Företagsskattekommitté som nyligen presenterat två förslag till lösning av rådande asymmetri: huvudförslaget och alternativförslaget. Syftet med denna studie är främst att redogöra för förslagen med fokus på huvudförslaget samt analysera lämpligheten av ett sådant nytt neutralt bolagsskattesystem. Studien har genomförts enligt en rättsdogmatisk metod för att utreda gällande rätt med ett de lege ferenda perspektiv för att utreda konsekvenserna av att förslaget blir verklighet.

Huvudförslaget är troligtvis det som kommer att ligga till grund för eventuell lagstiftning och därför det som till övervägande del kommer att behandlas i detta arbete. Enligt förslaget ska ränteavdrag helt slopas för företag med ett negativt finansnetto. Vidare ska ett finansieringsavdrag införas som tillåter ett avdrag på 25 % av det skattemässiga resultatet, vilket medför en indirekt skattesänkning med 5,5 % motsvarande en skattesats på 16,5 %. Nuvarande ränteavdragsbegränsningsregler kan således slopas och skatteplanering med ränteavdrag är inte längre möjlig. Samtidigt försvinner snedvridningen som asymmetrin mellan lånat och eget kapital ger upphov till.

Alternativförslaget innebär i likhet med huvudförslaget att finansiella kostnader som motsvaras av finansiella intäkter är avdragsgilla, därutöver får även ett avdrag göras med högst 20 % av företagets rörelseresultat. Samtidigt införs en bolagsskattesänkning med 3,5 % motsvarande en skattesats på 18,5 % istället för ett finansieringsavdrag. Alternativförslaget medför således inget fullständigt ränteavdragsförbud och ränteavdragsbegränsningsregler behöver finnas kvar.

Huvudförslaget har fördelar jämfört med nuvarande reglering vid en teoretisk genomgång av underlaget. Samtidigt finns det oklarheter och det är inte säkert hur den föreslagna skattereformen kommer att påverka bolagssektorn i realiteten. Att räntekostnader är avdragsgilla utgör en grundläggande princip i dagens skattesystem och flera branscher har byggt upp sin verksamhet under förutsättning att rådande reglering ska gälla. Exempelvis blir lånefinansiering ofta nödvändigt för företag inom fastighetsbranschen. Vissa investeringar som nyproduktion av fastigheter kommer troligtvis inte att genomföras när kapitalkostnaden ökar genom skattehöjningen och avkastningskravet kan inte längre uppfyllas.

Ur ett samhällsperspektiv kan det medföra negativa konsekvenser där vissa företag försätts i konkurs om bostadsproduktionen minskar samtidigt som behovet av nya bostäder ökar. Företagsskattekommittén motiverar förslaget av neutralitetsskäl och av att den nuvarande regleringen leder till en snedvridning ur konkurrenshänseende. Motiven har klargjorts, samtidigt kan lämpligheten ifrågasättas då förutsättningarna förändras under en kort övergångsperiod och medför oönskade samhälleliga effekter. En alternativ modell kan därför vara motiverad med lättnadsregler som beviljar avdrag under vissa förutsättningar.

För att avgöra huvudförslagets lämplighet i förhållande till ränteavdragsbegränsningsreglerna är ett komparativt inslag motiverat. Skatteplanering med så kallade räntesnurror är inget renodlat svenskt fenomen och har varit ett problem i länder vars lagstiftning tillåter avdrag för räntor. En komparativ studie har därför gjorts med fokus på den tyska regleringen för att undersöka hur den har hanterat problematiken. Även om skattepolitiken är en nationell angelägenhet, har flera europeiska länder haft problem med att vinster flyttats till lågskattejurisdiktioner för att undvika beskattning, och en internationell modell för att hantera räntesnurror kan bli aktuell. (Less)
Abstract
Tax planning through interest deduction has created inequality on the market where companies with high interest cost have been able to reduce the taxable income through interest deduction. The lack of a clear regulation resulted in a memorandum from the Swedish Tax Authority presented in 2008 with the suggestion of a certain regulation with limitations regarding the possibility of interest deduction motivated by tax purposes. The current Swedish regulation regarding limitation of the interest deduction entered into force in 2009 and was adjusted in 2013. The purpose of the regulation is partly fulfilled where transactions motivated by tax planning purposes do not permit interest deduction. Hence there is still a chance for inequality in... (More)
Tax planning through interest deduction has created inequality on the market where companies with high interest cost have been able to reduce the taxable income through interest deduction. The lack of a clear regulation resulted in a memorandum from the Swedish Tax Authority presented in 2008 with the suggestion of a certain regulation with limitations regarding the possibility of interest deduction motivated by tax purposes. The current Swedish regulation regarding limitation of the interest deduction entered into force in 2009 and was adjusted in 2013. The purpose of the regulation is partly fulfilled where transactions motivated by tax planning purposes do not permit interest deduction. Hence there is still a chance for inequality in the market where debt financed companies have a lower tax cost because of the interest deduction and are privileged compared to companies financed by equity.

The legislator tries to achieve neutrality in the tax system and the current asymmetry between debt and equity tends to influence the financial decisions of the companies. The current regulation favour companies with high debts while companies with reduced debt and high financial strength in reality get a higher tax cost. In order to achieve a neutral tax system the government has appointed a committee which recently presented two suggestions to remove the current asymmetric: the main suggestion and the alternative suggestion. The purpose of this essay is to give an account of the suggestions with focus on the main suggestion and analyse the adequacy of a new neutral tax system. The essay has been accomplished through a legal method in order to present the rule of law with a de lege ferenda perspective to clarify the potential consequences if the suggestion becomes reality.

The main suggestion is probably the foundation of a potential new framework and the suggestion mainly considered in this essay. According to the suggestion interest deduction should no longer be possible for companies with negative net interest income. Furthermore a finance deduction should be implemented which allows a deduction of the taxable income with 25 %, similar to an indirect tax deduction of 5,5 % comparable to a tax rate of 16,5 %. The current Swedish regulation regarding limitation of the interest deduction can be replaced and tax planning through interest deduction is no longer possible at the same time as the inequity caused by the asymmetry between debt and equity is reduced.

The alternative suggestion implies in accordance with the main suggestion that financial costs equal to financial incomes are deductible, besides that deduction is allowed with 20 % of the company’s business result. At the same time a tax reduction of 3,5 % is implemented comparable to a tax rate of 18,5 % instead of the finance deduction presented in the main suggestion. The alternative suggestion does not imply an interest deduction prohibition and the current Swedish regulation regarding limitation in the interest deduction has to be kept.

The main suggestion has advantages compared to the current regulation after a theoretical view of the material. At the same time there are uncertainties and it is not clear how the proposed tax reform is actually going to affect the market in reality. It is a fundamental principle in today’s tax system that interest costs are deductible and many industries have built up their business under the current conditions. For example is debt financing usually necessary for companies within the real estate industry. Certain investments including new production of real estate are probably impossible to finance if the capital cost increases through a higher tax cost and the required rate of return can not be met.

There can be negative consequences from a community perspective where certain companies are forced into bankruptcy if the new production of real estate decreases at the same time as the request of new real estate from the public increases. The committee has motivated the suggestion on neutral grounds and the current regulation creates inequality from a competition point of view. The incentives have been clarified, at the same time the adequacy of the changed conditions under a limited period of time can be put into question. It is therefore possible to argue for an alternative model where certain exceptions can be motivated under certain conditions.

In order to determine the expediency of the main suggestion in relation to the current regulation regarding limitation of the interest deduction, a comparative perspective is motivated. Tax planning through interest deduction is not a Swedish phenomenon and has been an issue in countries whose regulation allows interest deduction. A comparative research has therefore been presented with focus on the German regulation in order to determine how they have handled the situation. Even if the fiscal policy is a national interest, many European countries have had an issue with tax planning where profits have been moved to low tax jurisdictions in order to avoid taxation. It could therefore be relevant with an international model to handle the situation with tax planning through interest deduction. (Less)
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author
Rosenhall, Josefin LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
A neutral corporate tax system
course
LAGM01 20142
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
ränteavdrag, neutralt bolagsskattesystem, lånat kapital, eget kapital, finansieringsavdrag
language
Swedish
id
4896969
date added to LUP
2015-01-12 13:04:26
date last changed
2015-01-12 13:04:26
@misc{4896969,
  abstract     = {Tax planning through interest deduction has created inequality on the market where companies with high interest cost have been able to reduce the taxable income through interest deduction. The lack of a clear regulation resulted in a memorandum from the Swedish Tax Authority presented in 2008 with the suggestion of a certain regulation with limitations regarding the possibility of interest deduction motivated by tax purposes. The current Swedish regulation regarding limitation of the interest deduction entered into force in 2009 and was adjusted in 2013. The purpose of the regulation is partly fulfilled where transactions motivated by tax planning purposes do not permit interest deduction. Hence there is still a chance for inequality in the market where debt financed companies have a lower tax cost because of the interest deduction and are privileged compared to companies financed by equity. 

The legislator tries to achieve neutrality in the tax system and the current asymmetry between debt and equity tends to influence the financial decisions of the companies. The current regulation favour companies with high debts while companies with reduced debt and high financial strength in reality get a higher tax cost. In order to achieve a neutral tax system the government has appointed a committee which recently presented two suggestions to remove the current asymmetric: the main suggestion and the alternative suggestion. The purpose of this essay is to give an account of the suggestions with focus on the main suggestion and analyse the adequacy of a new neutral tax system. The essay has been accomplished through a legal method in order to present the rule of law with a de lege ferenda perspective to clarify the potential consequences if the suggestion becomes reality. 

The main suggestion is probably the foundation of a potential new framework and the suggestion mainly considered in this essay. According to the suggestion interest deduction should no longer be possible for companies with negative net interest income. Furthermore a finance deduction should be implemented which allows a deduction of the taxable income with 25 %, similar to an indirect tax deduction of 5,5 % comparable to a tax rate of 16,5 %. The current Swedish regulation regarding limitation of the interest deduction can be replaced and tax planning through interest deduction is no longer possible at the same time as the inequity caused by the asymmetry between debt and equity is reduced. 

The alternative suggestion implies in accordance with the main suggestion that financial costs equal to financial incomes are deductible, besides that deduction is allowed with 20 % of the company’s business result. At the same time a tax reduction of 3,5 % is implemented comparable to a tax rate of 18,5 % instead of the finance deduction presented in the main suggestion. The alternative suggestion does not imply an interest deduction prohibition and the current Swedish regulation regarding limitation in the interest deduction has to be kept. 

The main suggestion has advantages compared to the current regulation after a theoretical view of the material. At the same time there are uncertainties and it is not clear how the proposed tax reform is actually going to affect the market in reality. It is a fundamental principle in today’s tax system that interest costs are deductible and many industries have built up their business under the current conditions. For example is debt financing usually necessary for companies within the real estate industry. Certain investments including new production of real estate are probably impossible to finance if the capital cost increases through a higher tax cost and the required rate of return can not be met. 

There can be negative consequences from a community perspective where certain companies are forced into bankruptcy if the new production of real estate decreases at the same time as the request of new real estate from the public increases. The committee has motivated the suggestion on neutral grounds and the current regulation creates inequality from a competition point of view. The incentives have been clarified, at the same time the adequacy of the changed conditions under a limited period of time can be put into question. It is therefore possible to argue for an alternative model where certain exceptions can be motivated under certain conditions. 

In order to determine the expediency of the main suggestion in relation to the current regulation regarding limitation of the interest deduction, a comparative perspective is motivated. Tax planning through interest deduction is not a Swedish phenomenon and has been an issue in countries whose regulation allows interest deduction. A comparative research has therefore been presented with focus on the German regulation in order to determine how they have handled the situation. Even if the fiscal policy is a national interest, many European countries have had an issue with tax planning where profits have been moved to low tax jurisdictions in order to avoid taxation. It could therefore be relevant with an international model to handle the situation with tax planning through interest deduction.},
  author       = {Rosenhall, Josefin},
  keyword      = {ränteavdrag,neutralt bolagsskattesystem,lånat kapital,eget kapital,finansieringsavdrag},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Ett neutralt bolagsskattesystem},
  year         = {2014},
}