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Uppfyller värdepappersfonder och specialfonder rekvisitet skattskyldig i skatteavtal?

Cartne, Elin LU (2015) LAGM01 20151
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
I art. 4 OECD:s modellavtal fastställs begreppet hemvist och i artikeln anges att en person anses ha hemvist om denne enligt lagstiftningen i denna stat är skattskyldig där på grund av hemvist, bosättning, plats för företagsledning eller annan liknande omständighet. Art. 4 fastställer därmed avtalets tillämpningsområde och artikeln är även av betydelse för ett antal andra artiklar som hänvisar till begreppet hemvist. Inom den internationella skatterätten har inte begreppet skattskyldig i hemvistartikeln en given innebörd och diskussion har således förts gällande dess tolkning.

Svenska värdepappersfonder och specialfonder är inte juridiska personer men utgör enligt 2 kap. 3 § andra stycket IL skattesubjekt och är obegränsat... (More)
I art. 4 OECD:s modellavtal fastställs begreppet hemvist och i artikeln anges att en person anses ha hemvist om denne enligt lagstiftningen i denna stat är skattskyldig där på grund av hemvist, bosättning, plats för företagsledning eller annan liknande omständighet. Art. 4 fastställer därmed avtalets tillämpningsområde och artikeln är även av betydelse för ett antal andra artiklar som hänvisar till begreppet hemvist. Inom den internationella skatterätten har inte begreppet skattskyldig i hemvistartikeln en given innebörd och diskussion har således förts gällande dess tolkning.

Svenska värdepappersfonder och specialfonder är inte juridiska personer men utgör enligt 2 kap. 3 § andra stycket IL skattesubjekt och är obegränsat skattskyldiga. Dock är fonderna sedan den 1 januari 2012 inte skattskyldiga för inkomst av tillgångar som ingår i fonden. Den förändrade lagstiftningen har gett upphov till ett oklart rättsläge och det kan diskuteras huruvida värdepappersfonder och specialfonder kan anses vara skattskyldiga enligt skatteavtal och därmed omfattas av avtalens tillämpningsområde.

Olika tolkningar av begreppet skattskyldig är möjliga. Svensk domstol har kommit fram till att det gällande lågbeskattade personer inte krävs någon faktisk beskattning för att uppfylla rekvisitet. Högsta domstolarna i Nederländerna och Kanada har kommit fram till motsatt slutsats och inte medgett fördelar enligt skatteavtal för personer som är undantagna beskattning. De olika slutsatserna kan bero på att domstolarna beaktat olika syften med skatteavtal. Inom doktrin råder en relativt stor enighet kring att faktisk beskattning inte krävs. Enligt doktrin kan därmed rekvisitet vara uppfyllt om en person har en sådan anknytning som normalt innebär en obegränsad skattskyldighet även om personen inte erlägger någon skatt på grund av att specifika villkor är uppfyllda. Inom doktrin diskuteras endast i begränsad utsträckning hur dessa villkor ska vara tolkas och vilket syfte de ska tillgodose. Beroende på vilken betydelse dessa villkor ges finns en risk för att tillämpningen av skatteavtal blir beroende av rent lagtekniska aspekter.

Begreppet skattskyldig bör tolkas som ett anknytningsrekvisit vilket förutsätter att personen i fråga har en sådan stark anknytning att denne normalt vore obegränsat skattskyldig. Utifrån RÅ 1996 ref. 84 fastslås att ett av syftena med skatteavtal är att uppnå en skälig fördelning av beskattningsunderlaget. Utifrån ett sådant syfte är det inte avgörande huruvida en stat faktiskt utkräver skatt eller inte. Värdepappersfonder och specialfonder har en sådan stark skattemässig anknytning till Sverige att de är obegränsat skattskyldiga. Att Sverige valt att undanta fonderna från beskattning innebär inte att denna anknytning upphör och eftersom fonderna inte är transparenta bör de anses vara skattskyldiga enligt skatteavtal. (Less)
Abstract
Article 4 of the OECD Model Tax Convention establishes the term ‘resident’ which refers to a person who, under the laws of that State, is liable to tax therein by reason of his domicile, residence, place of management or any other criterion of a similar nature. Thereby, article 4 defines the scope of the tax treaty and the article is also relevant for a number of other articles which refer to the term ‘resident’. The expression ‘liable to tax’ does not have a clear meaning in international tax law and this has given rise to discussions regarding its interpretation.

Swedish mutual funds and special funds are not legal entities but they are tax subjects according to section 2 article 3 second paragraph of the Swedish Income Tax Act and... (More)
Article 4 of the OECD Model Tax Convention establishes the term ‘resident’ which refers to a person who, under the laws of that State, is liable to tax therein by reason of his domicile, residence, place of management or any other criterion of a similar nature. Thereby, article 4 defines the scope of the tax treaty and the article is also relevant for a number of other articles which refer to the term ‘resident’. The expression ‘liable to tax’ does not have a clear meaning in international tax law and this has given rise to discussions regarding its interpretation.

Swedish mutual funds and special funds are not legal entities but they are tax subjects according to section 2 article 3 second paragraph of the Swedish Income Tax Act and they have a full liability to tax. However, since the 1st of January 2012 such funds are exempt from tax for income deriving from assets in the fund. The amended legislation has resulted in a legal uncertainty and it is unclear whether these funds can be regarded as ‘liable to tax’ according to tax treaties and thereby be entitled to the benefits of tax treaties.

There are different possible interpretations of the term ‘liable to tax’. The Supreme Court of Sweden has concluded that a person who is subject to a low taxation can be regarded as ‘liable to tax’ and the Court does not consider that an actual taxation is necessary to meet the requirement. However, the Supreme Courts of Netherlands and Canada have come to the opposite conclusion and they determined that a person who is exempt from tax cannot be regarded as ‘liable to tax’ and therefore has no right to claim benefits through tax treaties. The Courts may have come to different conclusions since they considered different purposes with the tax treaties. There is a relatively extensive consensus in the tax law literature that an actual taxation is not necessary to fulfil the requirement ‘liable to tax’. According to tax law literature, the requirement is fulfilled if a person has such a nexus with a state that he would normally be taxed there on his worldwide income. A person would thereby fulfil the requirement even if tax were not actually paid due specific conditions. The authors barely discuss how these conditions should be implemented and what their purpose is. Depending on the significance that these conditions are given there is a risk that the application of tax treaties depends purely on technical legal reasons.

The term ‘liable to tax’ should be regarded as a nexus, which require the person to have such a strong connection with the state that he would normally be subject to the most comprehensive taxation in that state. The case RÅ 1996 ref. 84, states that one of the purposes with tax treaties is to achieve a fair distribution of the tax base. Based on such a purpose, a person can be regarded as a ‘liable to tax’ regardless whether he is paying tax or not. Mutual funds and special funds have a strong fiscal nexus to Sweden and they have a full liability to tax. The fact that Sweden has chosen to exempt the funds from taxation does not mean that this nexus ceases and since the funds are not transparent they should be considered to be ‘liable to tax’ according to tax treaties. (Less)
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author
Cartne, Elin LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Does mutual funds and special funds meet the requirement 'liable to tax' in tax treaties?
course
LAGM01 20151
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
skatterätt
language
Swedish
id
5433959
date added to LUP
2015-06-16 17:01:06
date last changed
2015-06-16 17:01:06
@misc{5433959,
  abstract     = {Article 4 of the OECD Model Tax Convention establishes the term ‘resident’ which refers to a person who, under the laws of that State, is liable to tax therein by reason of his domicile, residence, place of management or any other criterion of a similar nature. Thereby, article 4 defines the scope of the tax treaty and the article is also relevant for a number of other articles which refer to the term ‘resident’. The expression ‘liable to tax’ does not have a clear meaning in international tax law and this has given rise to discussions regarding its interpretation. 

Swedish mutual funds and special funds are not legal entities but they are tax subjects according to section 2 article 3 second paragraph of the Swedish Income Tax Act and they have a full liability to tax. However, since the 1st of January 2012 such funds are exempt from tax for income deriving from assets in the fund. The amended legislation has resulted in a legal uncertainty and it is unclear whether these funds can be regarded as ‘liable to tax’ according to tax treaties and thereby be entitled to the benefits of tax treaties. 

There are different possible interpretations of the term ‘liable to tax’. The Supreme Court of Sweden has concluded that a person who is subject to a low taxation can be regarded as ‘liable to tax’ and the Court does not consider that an actual taxation is necessary to meet the requirement. However, the Supreme Courts of Netherlands and Canada have come to the opposite conclusion and they determined that a person who is exempt from tax cannot be regarded as ‘liable to tax’ and therefore has no right to claim benefits through tax treaties. The Courts may have come to different conclusions since they considered different purposes with the tax treaties. There is a relatively extensive consensus in the tax law literature that an actual taxation is not necessary to fulfil the requirement ‘liable to tax’. According to tax law literature, the requirement is fulfilled if a person has such a nexus with a state that he would normally be taxed there on his worldwide income. A person would thereby fulfil the requirement even if tax were not actually paid due specific conditions. The authors barely discuss how these conditions should be implemented and what their purpose is. Depending on the significance that these conditions are given there is a risk that the application of tax treaties depends purely on technical legal reasons. 

The term ‘liable to tax’ should be regarded as a nexus, which require the person to have such a strong connection with the state that he would normally be subject to the most comprehensive taxation in that state. The case RÅ 1996 ref. 84, states that one of the purposes with tax treaties is to achieve a fair distribution of the tax base. Based on such a purpose, a person can be regarded as a ‘liable to tax’ regardless whether he is paying tax or not. Mutual funds and special funds have a strong fiscal nexus to Sweden and they have a full liability to tax. The fact that Sweden has chosen to exempt the funds from taxation does not mean that this nexus ceases and since the funds are not transparent they should be considered to be ‘liable to tax’ according to tax treaties.},
  author       = {Cartne, Elin},
  keyword      = {skatterätt},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Uppfyller värdepappersfonder och specialfonder rekvisitet skattskyldig i skatteavtal?},
  year         = {2015},
}