Loss Relief, Impact of Relocating Your Company
A recent opinion by Advocate General Kokott in the AURES Holdings case (C-405/18) serves as a warning to those considering the relocation of their companies pursuant to the freedom of establishment granted under Articles 49 and 54 TFEU. As background to this case, AURES Holdings (Aures) suffered a tax loss whilst it was established in the Netherlands in 2007. On 1 January 2008, it set up an organisational entity in the Czech Republic. Following the move, it remained a taxable entity in the Netherlands but did not carry on any economic activity. As such, it could no longer take the loss into account when calculating its tax liability in the Netherlands. Aures, therefore, looked to offset these losses against its tax liability in the Czech Republic. However, the tax authority for the Czech Republic refused this relief on the basis that the loss had not been suffered in the Czech Republic. Following proceedings brought by Aures to challenge this decision, the ECJ has been asked to determine (a) whether such circumstances fall within the remit of freedom of establishment and (b) if so, is it contrary to freedom of establishment to deny claims for a tax loss incurred in another member state before the relocation of the claiming company? The Advocate General made three key findings. First, she confirmed that Aures relocation should fall within the scope of freedom of establishment. Second, and most importantly, she considered that whilst there was a restriction imposed by the Czech Republic, this restriction was justified on the basis of the balanced allocation of taxing powers. Third, she found that the restriction was proportionate as no less severe restriction was evident. It is also interesting to note that AG Kokott referenced the contentious nature of the Marks & Spencer decision, which led her to conclude that the principle contained therein (that a subsidiary or a permanent establishment's final losses could be used by the parent) should not be extended.
An Assessment to Tax is never ‘stale’, but it might be out of date: HMRC v Tooth
This article briefly discusses the key points arising out of the decision of the UK Supreme Court in HMRC v Tooth  UKSC 17. The case considered (1) whether a discovery assessment could become “stale” and (2) the meaning of the phrase “deliberate inaccuracy”.
VATA 1994 s.47, Agency, Onward Supply Relief, & Double Taxation
On 12 July 2021, the First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) (“FTT”) released its decision in Scanwell Logistics (UK) Limited v HMRC  UKFTT 261 (TC), rejecting the taxpayer’s claim for onward supply relief (“OSR”).
Whilst OSR is now limited, post-Brexit, to goods imported into Northern Ireland for onward supply to the EU, the FTT’s discussion of agency under section 47 of the Value Added Tax Act 1994 (“VATA”) is of broader interest.
The case serves as a reminder of the significant financial consequences that can result from errors in tax planning, as Scanwell was ultimately held liable for £5.7 million in unpaid import VAT despite the fact that the imported goods almost immediately left the UK (which, if properly planned, could have meant Scanwell was relieved from liability to import VAT).
Draft Finance Bill 2022—tax avoidance measures
Helen McGhee, senior associate at Joseph Hage Aaronson LLP, considers the draft Finance Bill 2022 clauses published on 20 July 2021 in relation to tax avoidance and recent updates to the tax avoidance regime.
Getting Closer: A Global Minimum Tax on Corporations
On 1 July 2021, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced that countries representing over 90% of global GDP had agreed to a global minimum tax on corporations (“GMCT”). The GMCT seeks to put a floor on tax competition on corporate income through the introduction of a minimum corporate tax of at least 15%. Whilst certain elements give rise to positive expectations, some caveats should be noted. Much will depend on (1) the outcome of future political negotiations and (2) the detail of the drafting at international and national levels.
The DBKAG & K (CJEU) decision: an opportunity for investment funds?
On 17 June 2021, the European Court decided the joint cases K (C-58/20) and DBKAG (C-59/20) regarding whether the supply of certain services constituted the “management of special investment funds”, benefiting from the VAT exemption enshrined in Article 135(1)(g) of Council Directive 2006/112/EC.