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Tax & Legal

German exclusion from withholding tax relief in conflict with EU law?


The German anti- treaty shopping rule denying full or partial relief from withholding tax, as otherwise prescribed under a double tax treaty or applicable EU directive, is questioned by the Lower Tax Court of Cologne as being in violation of community law. The question has been referred to the ECJ in number of cases. Continue reading

Disallowance of discount on delivery of pharmaceuticals in breach of EU VAT law?


An ECJ advocate general has suggested that the court should rule that price rebates granted by manufacturing pharmaceutical companies on deliveries of pharmaceutical products to public health insurances and private health insurances must be treated equally for VAT purposes insofar as they both reduce the taxable basis for VAT. Continue reading

Country-by-Country Reports: German Ministry of Finance releases circular.


On 20 December 2016 legislation was passed introducing measures to combat base erosion and profit shifting. A part of this legislation – introduced in the new Section 138a of the General Tax Code – imposed an obligation on multinational enterprises to report annually for each tax jurisdiction in which they do business, so-called Country-by-Country (CbC) reports. On 11 July 2017 the German Ministry of Finance released a circular, which provides some guidelines on the completion of the CbC reports. Continue reading

Refusal to deduct French social security contributions not compatible with EU law


The German refusal of a deduction for social security contributions paid by a German resident French government official does not meet the EU-requirement for free movement of workers, since its effective exclusion under German law placed her at a comparative disadvantage vis-à-vis her German colleague. Continue reading

VAT grouping and input VAT deduction for holding companies


Following decisions of the European Court of Justice and the German Supreme Tax Court the Federal Finance Ministry has issued guidelines on the VAT grouping and the input VAT deduction for holding companies. In a special VAT Newsflash our tax experts take a closer look on the situation as a whole. Continue reading

Supreme Tax Court to refer question to European Court of Justice on whether the real estate transfer tax exemption on conversions constitutes illegal state aid.


On 30 May 2017 the Supreme Tax Court decided to refer to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) the question of whether the real estate transfer tax (RETT) exemption on conversions – in Section 6a Real Estate Transfer Tax Act –   constitutes illegal state aid. Continue reading

Multilateral Convention to counter aggressive tax avoidance arrangements has been signed.


On 7 June 2017 Germany together with the representatives of over 60 countries signed the multilateral convention, which should transpose the main recommendations of the G20/OECD Project against Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS Project) into existing bilateral tax treaties. Continue reading

Bundesrat approves legislation introducing restrictions on the deduction of royalty payments


In its sitting on 2 June 2017 the Bundesrat (the Upper House) approved the Act to Combat Harmful Tax Practices in connection with the Licensing of Rights. The new legislation is intended to prevent multinational businesses from transferring their royalty income to countries, which offer such income preferential treatment. Such preferential tax regimes (so-called Licence Boxes, Patent Boxes or IP-Boxes) are considered not to meet the demands of the OECD and G20 BEPS Project. The new provision should be applied to expenses arising after 31 December 2017 and is to be introduced by way of a new provision in the Income Tax Act (ITA). Continue reading