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Kommisionen på krigsstigen - En rättsanalys av kommissionens tillämpning av statsstödsreglerna i skattemål

Sutalo, Ivana LU (2018) JURM02 20181
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Att multinationella koncerner ägnar sig åt aggressiv skatteplanering har under det senaste decenniet blivit en självklarhet. De kan genom att utnyttja olikheter i ländernas skattelagstiftning planera sin beskattning och allokera kostnader till ett högskatteland och intäkter till ett lågskatteland för att på så vis behålla en större del av vinsten inom koncernen. Det har uppdagats i flertalet journalistiska läckor och sedan 2013 varit en hjärtefråga för kommissionen. Ett verktyg som många multinationella koncerner tillämpat vid deras skatteplanering är prissättningsbesked, så kallade advanced pricing agreements. Med hjälp av dessa har bolagen på förhand fått ett besked om hur deras transaktioner kommer bedömas enligt armlängdsprincipen vid... (More)
Att multinationella koncerner ägnar sig åt aggressiv skatteplanering har under det senaste decenniet blivit en självklarhet. De kan genom att utnyttja olikheter i ländernas skattelagstiftning planera sin beskattning och allokera kostnader till ett högskatteland och intäkter till ett lågskatteland för att på så vis behålla en större del av vinsten inom koncernen. Det har uppdagats i flertalet journalistiska läckor och sedan 2013 varit en hjärtefråga för kommissionen. Ett verktyg som många multinationella koncerner tillämpat vid deras skatteplanering är prissättningsbesked, så kallade advanced pricing agreements. Med hjälp av dessa har bolagen på förhand fått ett besked om hur deras transaktioner kommer bedömas enligt armlängdsprincipen vid tillämpning av nationell lag samt eventuella gällande skatteavtal.

Kommissionen har därför sedan 2015 riktat in sig på dessa prissättningsbesked för att sätta stopp för den typen av skatteplanering som hotar den inre marknadens fria konkurrens. Kommissionen har genom att tillämpa sin kompetens inom området av olagligt statsstöd angripit denna typ av skatteplanering. Hittills har kommissionen fattat beslut om återkrav av skatt i fem mål avseende prissättningsbesked, genomgående i målen har prövningen utmynnat i en bedömning av huruvida den ansvariga myndigheten i staten tillämpat armlängdsprincipen på ett korrekt sätt.

Syftet med förevarande uppsats är att presentera de grundläggande rättsliga principerna som råder inom skatterätten och därutöver analysera kommissionens angreppssätt i relation till dessa principer för att utvärdera den juridiska hållbarheten i angreppssättet.

Sammanfattningsvis kan konstateras att kommissionens metod inte är juridiskt hållbar. Huvudsakligen då skatterätten är ett område som präglas av lagpositivism och förutsägbarhet. Armlängdsprincipen är dessutom inte en rättsligt bindande norm och inte heller en fast vetenskap vilket innebär att ett mått av felmarginal normalt får anses acceptabelt. Vidare har kommissionen format sin metod vid selektivitetsbedömningen, som utgör den huvudsakliga prövningen vid tillämpningen av artikel 107.1 FEUF, för att passa utfallet de eftersträvar. De har därigenom frångått allmän praxis kring vad som utgör en jämförbar situation och ersatt det med en tillämpning av armlängdsprincipen. (Less)
Abstract
The fact that Multinational enterprises (hereinafter only referred to as MNE's) engage in aggressive tax planning has become a matter of course in the last decade. This is usually possible due to the fact that they are active in many countries. By exploiting differences in the tax law of the different countries in which they operate they can plan their taxation in order to retain a greater profit within the group by allocating profits to a low-tax country and costs to a high-tax country. This pattern has been detected in various document-leaks and has since 2013 been one of the main issues that the Commission strives to solve. A tool used by the MNE's in their tax planning has been through Advance pricing agreements (hereinafter only... (More)
The fact that Multinational enterprises (hereinafter only referred to as MNE's) engage in aggressive tax planning has become a matter of course in the last decade. This is usually possible due to the fact that they are active in many countries. By exploiting differences in the tax law of the different countries in which they operate they can plan their taxation in order to retain a greater profit within the group by allocating profits to a low-tax country and costs to a high-tax country. This pattern has been detected in various document-leaks and has since 2013 been one of the main issues that the Commission strives to solve. A tool used by the MNE's in their tax planning has been through Advance pricing agreements (hereinafter only referred to as APA). Through the use of APA's the companies are notified in advance of how their transactions will be assessed in accordance to the arm's length principle, the national law and any applicable tax treaty.

The Commission has therefore focused on these APA's since 2015 in an attempt to put an end to this type of tax planning that threatens the internal free market competition. The Commission has thus applied its competence in their area of illegal state aid to combat this type of tax planning. So far, the Commission has announced decisions in five cases regarding APA's received by MNE's. Throughout the cases, the trial has resulted in an assessment of whether the responsible authority in the state has correctly applied the arm's length principle in the transactions at hand.

The purpose of this paper has therefore been to present the basic legal principles in the area of taxation and, in addition, analyze the Commission's approach to these principles and assess the legal sustainability of the approach.

In conclusion, it can be seen that the Commission's approach is not legally sustainable. First of all, tax law is an area characterized by legal certainty and predictability. Moreover, the arm's length principle is not primarily a legally binding norm nor is it a confirmed science. This means that a margin of error is usually accepted. Furthermore, the Commission has formulated its method of selectivity assessment, which is the main test for the application of the article, to suit its purpose and wanted outcome. They have thus abandoned the general practice of what constitutes a legal and factual comparable situation and replaced it with an application of the arm's length principle. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Sutalo, Ivana LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
The Commission's warpath - A legal study of the Commission's use of state aid rules in tax matters
course
JURM02 20181
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
skatterätt, internationell beskattning, EU-rätt, olagligt statsstöd
language
Swedish
id
8941180
date added to LUP
2018-06-10 15:29:12
date last changed
2018-06-10 15:29:12
@misc{8941180,
  abstract     = {The fact that Multinational enterprises (hereinafter only referred to as MNE's) engage in aggressive tax planning has become a matter of course in the last decade. This is usually possible due to the fact that they are active in many countries. By exploiting differences in the tax law of the different countries in which they operate they can plan their taxation in order to retain a greater profit within the group by allocating profits to a low-tax country and costs to a high-tax country. This pattern has been detected in various document-leaks and has since 2013 been one of the main issues that the Commission strives to solve. A tool used by the MNE's in their tax planning has been through Advance pricing agreements (hereinafter only referred to as APA). Through the use of APA's the companies are notified in advance of how their transactions will be assessed in accordance to the arm's length principle, the national law and any applicable tax treaty. 
 
The Commission has therefore focused on these APA's since 2015 in an attempt to put an end to this type of tax planning that threatens the internal free market competition. The Commission has thus applied its competence in their area of illegal state aid to combat this type of tax planning. So far, the Commission has announced decisions in five cases regarding APA's received by MNE's. Throughout the cases, the trial has resulted in an assessment of whether the responsible authority in the state has correctly applied the arm's length principle in the transactions at hand.
 
The purpose of this paper has therefore been to present the basic legal principles in the area of taxation and, in addition, analyze the Commission's approach to these principles and assess the legal sustainability of the approach. 
 
In conclusion, it can be seen that the Commission's approach is not legally sustainable. First of all, tax law is an area characterized by legal certainty and predictability. Moreover, the arm's length principle is not primarily a legally binding norm nor is it a confirmed science. This means that a margin of error is usually accepted. Furthermore, the Commission has formulated its method of selectivity assessment, which is the main test for the application of the article, to suit its purpose and wanted outcome. They have thus abandoned the general practice of what constitutes a legal and factual comparable situation and replaced it with an application of the arm's length principle.},
  author       = {Sutalo, Ivana},
  keyword      = {skatterätt,internationell beskattning,EU-rätt,olagligt statsstöd},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Kommisionen på krigsstigen - En rättsanalys av kommissionens tillämpning av statsstödsreglerna i skattemål},
  year         = {2018},
}