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Utländska motsvarigheter till svenska aktiebolag vid tillämpningen av bestämmelserna om näringsbetingade andelar i 24 kap. IL

Holmström, Hanna LU (2015) LAGM01 20152
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Reglerna om näringsbetingade andelar medger skattefrihet på utdelning och kapitalvinst. Genom lagstiftning 2003 utvidgades regelverket som tidigare endast hade omfattat utdelning under vissa givna förutsättningar, till att även omfatta kapitalvinster. Syftet med regeländringen var framför allt att undvika kedjebeskattning i bolagssektorn. En andel är näringsbetingad om den ägs av en association som räknas upp i 24 kap. 13 § IL och avser en andel i ett aktiebolag eller en ekonomisk förening. I kombination med bestämmelsen i 2 kap. 2 § IL medför reglernas utformning att även andelar i utländska motsvarigheter till svenska aktiebolag omfattas av bestämmelserna om skattefrihet på näringsbetingade andelar. Vilka utländska associationsformer som... (More)
Reglerna om näringsbetingade andelar medger skattefrihet på utdelning och kapitalvinst. Genom lagstiftning 2003 utvidgades regelverket som tidigare endast hade omfattat utdelning under vissa givna förutsättningar, till att även omfatta kapitalvinster. Syftet med regeländringen var framför allt att undvika kedjebeskattning i bolagssektorn. En andel är näringsbetingad om den ägs av en association som räknas upp i 24 kap. 13 § IL och avser en andel i ett aktiebolag eller en ekonomisk förening. I kombination med bestämmelsen i 2 kap. 2 § IL medför reglernas utformning att även andelar i utländska motsvarigheter till svenska aktiebolag omfattas av bestämmelserna om skattefrihet på näringsbetingade andelar. Vilka utländska associationsformer som ska anses motsvara ett svenskt aktiebolag har dock visat sig vålla stora tillämpningsproblem.

Eftersom förarbetena inte ger någon närmare vägledning avseende hur en jämförelse mellan en utländsk associationsform och ett svenskt aktiebolag ska gå till, har de omständigheter som är av betydelse främst kommit att utvecklas genom praxis. I RÅ 2009 ref. 100 tog Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen ställning till om ett ryskt OOO-bolag kunde anses motsvara ett svenskt aktiebolag. Vid bedömningen gjorde domstolen såväl en civilrättslig jämförelse som en skatterättslig jämförelse. Vid den civilrättsliga jämförelsen fäste domstolen avgörande vikt vid delägarnas begränsade ansvar för bolaget förpliktelser, medan det vid den skatterättsliga jämförelsen var avgörande att det utländska bolaget var ett eget skattesubjekt i hemlandet.

Efter domen har även svenska handelsbolag och dess utländska motsvarighet, i utlandet delägarbeskattade juridiska personer, infogats i systemet med skattefrihet på näringsbetingade andelar. Trots att delägare i svenska handelsbolag har obegränsat ansvar för handelsbolagets förpliktelser, har både Skatterättsnämnden och Skatteverket i den praktiska tillämpningen fortsatt att tillmäta delägarnas ansvar för det utländska bolagets förpliktelser avgörande betydelse vid bedömningen av om det utländska bolaget kan anses motsvara ett svenskt aktiebolag.

Tillämpningen har medfört att en tredje kategori utländska bolag har skapats, vilka utgör en hybrid mellan ett svenskt aktiebolag och ett svenskt handelsbolag. Delägarna i de utländska associationsformer som faller inom denna tredje kategori bolag har liksom delägare i ett svenskt handelsbolag obegränsat ansvar för bolaget förpliktelser, samtidigt som det utländska bolaget likt ett svenskt aktiebolag utgör ett eget skattesubjekt i hemlandet. Den praktiska tillämpningen medför således att dessa utländska associationsformer varken kan anses motsvara ett svenskt aktiebolag eller ett svenskt handelsbolag. Utdelning och kapitalvinst på dessa andelar blir därmed, till skillnad från andelar i svenska aktiebolag och svenska handelsbolag, fullt skattepliktig.

Konsekvensen av att dessa utländska associationsformer varken kan anses motsvara ett svenskt aktiebolag eller ett svenskt handelsbolag blir att kedjebeskattning på andelar i dessa bolag uppstår. Detta står helt i strid med syftet bakom reglerna om näringsbetingade andelar. Sedan handelsbolagen infogades i systemet med skattefrihet på näringsbetingade andelar finns det inte längre anledning att tillmäta delägarnas obegränsade ansvar för bolagets förpliktelser avgörande betydelse. Istället borde reglernas syfte få genomslagskraft, och avgörande för bedömningen av den utländska associationsformen borde vara huruvida denna utgör ett eget skattesubjekt i hemlandet. (Less)
Abstract
Under the Swedish participation exemption regime, dividends and capital gains are tax-exempt under the assumption that the shares are held for business reasons. Shares will be considered held for business reasons provided that the holding meets certain requirements while the shares are held in either a corporation or an economic association. The purpose behind the participation exemption regime is to avoid double taxation in the business sphere. As the Swedish Income Tax Act in general includes foreign equivalences, shares held in foreign companies similar to Swedish corporations are also covered by the participation exemption regime. However, what types of foreign associations that can be considered similar to Swedish corporations has... (More)
Under the Swedish participation exemption regime, dividends and capital gains are tax-exempt under the assumption that the shares are held for business reasons. Shares will be considered held for business reasons provided that the holding meets certain requirements while the shares are held in either a corporation or an economic association. The purpose behind the participation exemption regime is to avoid double taxation in the business sphere. As the Swedish Income Tax Act in general includes foreign equivalences, shares held in foreign companies similar to Swedish corporations are also covered by the participation exemption regime. However, what types of foreign associations that can be considered similar to Swedish corporations has turned out to cause major implications in the practical application of the rules.

Preparatory work behind the participation exemption rules do not offer much guidance on how a comparison between a foreign association and a Swedish corporation is to be concluded. Instead, circumstances of relevance have been outlaid through case law. In a case from 2009, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled that a Russian OOO-company was similar to a Swedish corporation. The court examined the Russian company through a civil perspective as well as through a tax-perspective. Under the civil comparison, the court paid crucial attention to the shareholders’ limited liability for company obligations. Decisive for the tax comparison was the foreign company’s status as subject to taxation in the foreign jurisdiction.

Since the case in 2009, legislative changes have occurred, resulting in Swedish partnerships and its foreign equivalence being incorporated in the participation exemption regime. Despite the fact that owners of Swedish partnerships have unlimited liability for partnership obligations, the Swedish Tax Authority has continued to appraise liability for company obligations crucial significance when comparing foreign associations to Swedish corporations.

The Swedish Tax Authority’s application of the rules has resulted in the creation of a third category of foreign companies, which constitutes a hybrid between a Swedish corporation and a Swedish partnership. As a Swedish partnership, the owners of the foreign company have unlimited liability for partnership obligations. However, the foreign company resembles a Swedish corporation, as it is subject to taxation in the foreign jurisdiction. Thus, the foreign company can neither be considered to correspond to a Swedish corporation, nor a Swedish partnership. This results in full taxation on dividends and capital gains on shares held in these foreign companies.

Despite the fact that the purpose behind the participation exemption regime is to avoid double taxation in the business sphere, today’s application of the rules results in such double taxation. After the incorporation of Swedish partnerships in the participation exemption regime, the reason to appraise unlimited liability for company obligation no longer exists. Instead, the purpose behind the participation exemption regime should be given decisive impact. Determinative for the assessment of whether a foreign association is considered similar to a Swedish corporation should be whether the foreign company is subject to taxation in the foreign jurisdiction. (Less)
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author
Holmström, Hanna LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Tax-exemption on shares held in foreign companies under the Swedish participation exemption regime
course
LAGM01 20152
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
skatterätt
language
Swedish
id
8513972
date added to LUP
2016-01-27 14:49:14
date last changed
2016-02-08 10:37:14
@misc{8513972,
  abstract     = {Under the Swedish participation exemption regime, dividends and capital gains are tax-exempt under the assumption that the shares are held for business reasons. Shares will be considered held for business reasons provided that the holding meets certain requirements while the shares are held in either a corporation or an economic association. The purpose behind the participation exemption regime is to avoid double taxation in the business sphere. As the Swedish Income Tax Act in general includes foreign equivalences, shares held in foreign companies similar to Swedish corporations are also covered by the participation exemption regime. However, what types of foreign associations that can be considered similar to Swedish corporations has turned out to cause major implications in the practical application of the rules. 
 
Preparatory work behind the participation exemption rules do not offer much guidance on how a comparison between a foreign association and a Swedish corporation is to be concluded. Instead, circumstances of relevance have been outlaid through case law. In a case from 2009, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled that a Russian OOO-company was similar to a Swedish corporation. The court examined the Russian company through a civil perspective as well as through a tax-perspective. Under the civil comparison, the court paid crucial attention to the shareholders’ limited liability for company obligations. Decisive for the tax comparison was the foreign company’s status as subject to taxation in the foreign jurisdiction.

Since the case in 2009, legislative changes have occurred, resulting in Swedish partnerships and its foreign equivalence being incorporated in the participation exemption regime. Despite the fact that owners of Swedish partnerships have unlimited liability for partnership obligations, the Swedish Tax Authority has continued to appraise liability for company obligations crucial significance when comparing foreign associations to Swedish corporations. 

The Swedish Tax Authority’s application of the rules has resulted in the creation of a third category of foreign companies, which constitutes a hybrid between a Swedish corporation and a Swedish partnership. As a Swedish partnership, the owners of the foreign company have unlimited liability for partnership obligations. However, the foreign company resembles a Swedish corporation, as it is subject to taxation in the foreign jurisdiction. Thus, the foreign company can neither be considered to correspond to a Swedish corporation, nor a Swedish partnership. This results in full taxation on dividends and capital gains on shares held in these foreign companies. 

Despite the fact that the purpose behind the participation exemption regime is to avoid double taxation in the business sphere, today’s application of the rules results in such double taxation. After the incorporation of Swedish partnerships in the participation exemption regime, the reason to appraise unlimited liability for company obligation no longer exists. Instead, the purpose behind the participation exemption regime should be given decisive impact. Determinative for the assessment of whether a foreign association is considered similar to a Swedish corporation should be whether the foreign company is subject to taxation in the foreign jurisdiction.},
  author       = {Holmström, Hanna},
  keyword      = {skatterätt},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Utländska motsvarigheter till svenska aktiebolag vid tillämpningen av bestämmelserna om näringsbetingade andelar i 24 kap. IL},
  year         = {2015},
}