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See detailGeneral Anti-Avoidance Rules in EU Law (EU Report IFA Congress 2018)
Haslehner, Werner UL; García Prats, Alfredo; Heydt, Volker et al

in IFA (Ed.) Cahiers de droit fiscal international, Volume 103A (2018)

While the EU Treaties do not contain a general anti-abuse rule, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) uses the concept of abuse of law when interpreting the EU Treaties in multiple substantive ... [more ▼]

While the EU Treaties do not contain a general anti-abuse rule, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) uses the concept of abuse of law when interpreting the EU Treaties in multiple substantive areas of law, including direct taxation. Current EU mechanisms for protection against abusive practices have that case law as a common root. This Report therefore starts by evaluating the emergence of the concept of abuse in the case law of the ECJ with regard to the fundamental freedoms. In this respect, the Court has accepted that discriminatory anti-avoidance rules can be justified by overriding reasons in the general interest but only where such rule specifically relates to wholly artificial arrangements aimed at circumventing the application of the legislation of the Member State concerned. Moreover, general and special anti-abuse provisions are enshrined in secondary EU law instruments. This concerns the general anti-avoidance rule for the area of corporate taxation, which was introduced by the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD) and will be effective from 1 January 2019, and the more specific rules in the Parent-Subsidiary Directive (PSD), the Merger Directive (MD) and the Interest-Royalty Directive (IRD). This Report explains the scope of these provisions, their interpretation and application, and their relationship with primary EU law, tax treaties and national law. Finally, this Report provides a brief outlook on the impact of EU law on domestic tax systems in this field, stressing that general anti-abuse measures might create tensions with fundamental taxpayers’ rights, such as the right to legal certainty and the freedom to arrange one’s economic affairs. [less ▲]

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See detailTaxing where value is created in a post-BEPS (digitalized) world?
Haslehner, Werner UL

in Kluwer International Tax Blog (http://kluwertaxblog.com/) (2018)

As international tax reform aims to ensure "taxation where value is created", it is crucial to ask questions about the relationship between taxation and value creation, in particular with respect to ... [more ▼]

As international tax reform aims to ensure "taxation where value is created", it is crucial to ask questions about the relationship between taxation and value creation, in particular with respect to increased digitalisation. As the notions of value creation and substance are inextricably linked to a functional analysis of business activity, further the challenges arising from artificial intelligence taking independent decisional control over key business functions will also need to be considered. This brief note outlines some of the existing developments in the relationship between these factors. The blog is available at http://kluwertaxblog.com/2018/05/30/taxing-value-created-post-beps-digitalized-world/ [less ▲]

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See detailInvestment Fund Taxation - Domestic Law, EU Law, and Double Taxation Treaties
Haslehner, Werner UL

Book published by Kluwer Law International (2018)

The book covers the central questions arising in national law and tax policy, explores the regulatory and tax framework of the European Union (EU), and discusses the multifaceted interactions of both ... [more ▼]

The book covers the central questions arising in national law and tax policy, explores the regulatory and tax framework of the European Union (EU), and discusses the multifaceted interactions of both national and EU law with bilateral tax treaties. Through fourteen chapters following the editor's introduction, leading academic experts and practising specialists provide insights into all the most relevant aspects of funds taxation. [less ▲]

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See detailEU-US Relations in the Field of Direct Taxes from the EU Perspective: A BEPS-induced Transformation?
Haslehner, Werner UL

in Pistone, Pasquale; Weber, Dennis (Eds.) The Implementation of Anti-BEPS Rules in the EU: A Comprehensive Study (2018)

This chapter attempts to cover a range of interrelated questions that are all inextricably linked to the EU-US relationship in direct tax matters. Its main theme is the potential influence of legal and ... [more ▼]

This chapter attempts to cover a range of interrelated questions that are all inextricably linked to the EU-US relationship in direct tax matters. Its main theme is the potential influence of legal and political developments within the EU on this external relationship. Shining a critical light on the legality of some of the recent changes made to EU legislation and enforcement in the context of the global fight against BEPS, it argues that the US government's newly assumed active role with respect to EU tax policy may inadvertently strengthen tendencies to bring direct tax matters more comprehensively into the range of power of the Commission – including at the international level – as it creates an interest on the US side to negotiate directly with the 'rela decision makers' rather than intermediaries without sovereign power over the entirety of the issues. It concludes, however, that in the current state of integration of direct taxation within the EU, such a bilateral relationship and the conclusion of an EU-US DTA is not yet legally possible. This would likely change, however, if the EU were to adopt a comprehensive corporate taxation regime along the lines of the Commission's CCTB proposal. At the same time, the Commission can no longer be kept entirely on the sidelines in Member States' DTC negotiations. [less ▲]

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See detailMacht die Bekanntmachung zum Beihilfebegriff Steuerbeihilfen transparenter?
Haslehner, Werner UL; Schwarz, Paloma

in Jaeger, Thomas; Haslinger, Birgit (Eds.) Jahrbuch Beihilferecht 18 (2018)

The Commission's 2016 Notice on the Notion of Aid extensively covers the issue of tax measures constituting aid. This is a welcome development as it gives vital guidance to tax practice, which had been ... [more ▼]

The Commission's 2016 Notice on the Notion of Aid extensively covers the issue of tax measures constituting aid. This is a welcome development as it gives vital guidance to tax practice, which had been subject to increasing uncertainty in recent years in the area of tax aid. Due to the one-sided binding value of the notice, protected legitimate expectations are created for taxpayers to the extent that the Notice provides clear delimiting statements. Nevertheless, many of the interpretations of the Commission in the Notice are not based on case law, but rather the Commission's own views, which requires a critical examination of the positions taken by the Commission and their backing by the Court of Justice. [less ▲]

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See detailOpinion Statement ECJ-TF 4/2017 on the Decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 9 February 2017 in X (Case C-283/15 “Pro-Rata Personal Deductions”), Concerning Personal and Family Tax Benefits in Multi-State Situations
Haslehner, Werner UL; García Prats, Alfredo; Heydt, Volker et al

in European Taxation (2018)

The CFE welcomes the pro-rata approach to personal and family deductions developed in the X decision. In doing so, the Court contributes to the establishment of the internal market. Indeed, the pro-rata ... [more ▼]

The CFE welcomes the pro-rata approach to personal and family deductions developed in the X decision. In doing so, the Court contributes to the establishment of the internal market. Indeed, the pro-rata approach supports an open market economy with free competition, an efficient allocation of production factors, tax neutrality, a level playing field, international tax neutrality, the ability-to-pay principle, the direct benefit principle and origin-based taxation. The CFE, however, also notes that implementation of the principles established by X will pose a number of technical and policy issues for domestic legislators that have not yet been addressed by the Court. These include the calculation of the relevant proportions of income and possible mechanisms to avoid “cherry picking” by non-residents. [less ▲]

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See detailLuxembourg: Taxation of Flight Personnel in Triangular Situations and Article 15(3) of the OECD Model
Haslehner, Werner UL

in Lang, Michael; Rust, Alexander; Owens, Jeffrey (Eds.) et al Tax Treaty Case Law Around the Globe 2017 (2018)

The case discussed in this note concerns an issue arising before the Cour administrative on the taxation of flight personnel of a Belgian airline. The individuals resided in Belgium, France, Germany, and ... [more ▼]

The case discussed in this note concerns an issue arising before the Cour administrative on the taxation of flight personnel of a Belgian airline. The individuals resided in Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, respectively, and where employed by a company in Luxembourg. Although the substantive issue discussed in the judgment is quite straightforward, interesting procedural questions arise from the rather unusual circumstance that the case was not brought to the courts by the former managing director of the company, who had been charged for the unremitted withholding tax under a joint liability rule. One of the crucial questions the court had to address in its judgment was whether the managing director could (still) rely on the limitation of tax jurisdiction following from the tax treaty. [less ▲]

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See detailOpinion Statement ECJ-TF 3/2017 on the Decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 16 May 2017 in Berlioz Investment Fund SA (Case C-682/15), Concerning the Right to Judicial Review under Article 47 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in Cases of Cross-Border Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters
Haslehner, Werner UL; García Prats, Alfredo; Heydt, Volker et al

in European Taxation (2018)

The CFE welcomes this decision in that it marks a new page in the protection of taxpayer rights. In line with the principle “wherever there is a right, there is a remedy”, it shows that EU law may ... [more ▼]

The CFE welcomes this decision in that it marks a new page in the protection of taxpayer rights. In line with the principle “wherever there is a right, there is a remedy”, it shows that EU law may reconcile the interest in securing an effective protection of tax collection with that in respecting fundamental rights. The CFE wonders whether the threshold of “manifest irrelevance” can effectively secure the protection of the relevant persons’ rights. It also wonders whether this offers an effective protection against fishing expeditions or requests for information that is unlikely to be relevant to the tax affairs of a given taxpayer. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Controlled Foreign Company Regime
Haslehner, Werner UL

in Weber, Dennis; Van de Streek, Jan (Eds.) The EU Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base - Critical Analysis (2018)

The Controlled Foreign Company (CFC) regime proposed by the Commission as part of the newly launched Common Corporate Tax Base (CCTB) project reflects the perceived need to strengthen the Union’s anti-tax ... [more ▼]

The Controlled Foreign Company (CFC) regime proposed by the Commission as part of the newly launched Common Corporate Tax Base (CCTB) project reflects the perceived need to strengthen the Union’s anti-tax avoidance measures, and specifically to discourage profit shifting to low-tax jurisdictions. The proposed rule largely reflects previous work done by the OECD as part of the BEPS project and the EU implementation measures in the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD), but it deviates from both in a number of its details. This contribution aims to provide a first technical analysis of the provision to reveal its scope, its mechanism, and apparent shortcomings. It furthermore tries to imbed it in its context of existing primary and secondary EU law. [less ▲]

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See detailTax Treaty Disputes in Germany
Haslehner, Werner UL

in Eduardo, Baistrocchi (Ed.) A Global Analysis of Tax Treaty Disputes (2017)

Germany has been at the centre of international tax law development for more than 100 years: it is the birthplace of the first-ever double taxation convention, the home of the first and most cited ... [more ▼]

Germany has been at the centre of international tax law development for more than 100 years: it is the birthplace of the first-ever double taxation convention, the home of the first and most cited international commentary on double taxation conventions, and the source of an unsurpassed number of court decisions dealing with problems of international tax law over the course of more than a century. It is not clear, however, that the development of the German perspective on international tax law as perceived through the lens of tax treaty disputes is driven by a coherent policy or overarching objective. Rather, it would appear to emerge as the outcome of the different roles taken on by the German institutions with relevance in international tax policy, such as the legislator, tax administration, and national courts. While this contribution aims at elucidating the development of Germany’s perspective on international taxation, it is thus cautious not to attribute a unitary purpose underlying this development, but to showcase the different elements that have been important for it. [less ▲]

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See detailLuxembourg National Report: Tax Avoidance Revisited in the EU BEPS Context
Haslehner, Werner UL

in Dourado, Ana Paula (Ed.) Tax Avoidance Revisited in the EU BEPS Context (2017)

This contribution analyses the status quo of anti-tax avoidance laws and doctrines in Luxembourg in reflection of the developments from the OECD BEPS project and the EU's reaction thereto. Starting from ... [more ▼]

This contribution analyses the status quo of anti-tax avoidance laws and doctrines in Luxembourg in reflection of the developments from the OECD BEPS project and the EU's reaction thereto. Starting from the traditional approach taken by the Luxembourg courts to the term "Steuerumgehung" in §6 StAnpG, it also refers to special and target anti-avoidance rules (SAARs and TAARs) notably in the area of transfer pricing. Please note that the contribution was finalised in summer 2016 and the initial temporal scope of the study had been set until the end of 2015. Later developments, in particular changes to transfer pricing in Luxembourg (Art. 56bis LIR) could therefore not be taken into account. [less ▲]

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See detailTaxation at the Crossroads of Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the EU
Haslehner, Werner UL

in Haslehner, Werner; Kofler, Georg; Rust, Alexander (Eds.) EU Tax Law and Policy in the 21st Century (2017)

After nearly thirty years of dormancy with respect to direct taxation matters, the EU fundamental freedoms have been gradually accepted as a major determinant of the Member States’ freedom to impose to ... [more ▼]

After nearly thirty years of dormancy with respect to direct taxation matters, the EU fundamental freedoms have been gradually accepted as a major determinant of the Member States’ freedom to impose to taxes. Today, the power of the freedoms to limit the Member States’ competence in this area of law is accepted without question. At the same time, EU fundamental rights have, to date, played almost no role at all with respect to tax matters, let alone direct tax matters, although they were already recognized as constituent elements of primary EU law by the Court of Justice of the European Union (the Court or the CJEU) in the 1960s. This dichotomy is remarkable, not least because it is difficult to neatly disentangle fundamental freedoms from fundamental rights, as the former may well be seen as a subset of the latter. This contribution explores the doctrinal underpinnings of their existing similarities and differences as well as the interaction of both, in order to offer an explanation for the seemingly contradictory perception of both fundamental bases of primary EU law. In so doing, it will address the following questions: What is the relationship between fundamental rights and fundamental freedoms? To what extent do they limit or reinforce each other? Why has the CJEU not brought EU fundamental rights to bear in its jurisprudence on direct taxation thus far? Can or should the CJEU be more active in this respect? Thus, this contribution, first, briefly recounts the development of EU fundamental rights and fundamental freedoms and the doctrinal underpinnings of this development as a basis to analyse the scope of both components of primary law and their relationship to one another. Second, it analyses the similarities and relevant differences between fundamental rights and fundamental freedoms and suggests an answer to the question of the extent to which the fundamental freedoms can or should be considered to be fundamental rights. Finally, it assesses the application of fundamental rights in direct tax cases by looking at the clues the CJEU has left in the very little case law available with implications for this question. [less ▲]

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See detailEU Tax Law and Policy in the 21st Century
Haslehner, Werner UL; Kofler, Georg; Rust, Alexander

Book published by Kluwer Law International (2017)

Major changes in EU tax law demand an analysis of not just the current state of the field, but also forthcoming EU-level policy initiatives and their likely implications for taxpayers, regulators, and ... [more ▼]

Major changes in EU tax law demand an analysis of not just the current state of the field, but also forthcoming EU-level policy initiatives and their likely implications for taxpayers, regulators, and national legislatures alike. This book, the first in-depth commentary and analysis of such developments, offers exactly that. Twenty EU tax and policy experts examine the impact of EU Treaty provisions and recent ECJ case law on EU tax law, and provide well-informed assessments of current and anticipated EU tax policy initiatives and their potential impacts. [less ▲]

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See detailCross-border Exchange of Tax Information and Fundamental Rights
Chaouche, Fatima UL; Haslehner, Werner UL

in Haslehner, Werner; Kofler, Georg; Rust, Alexander (Eds.) EU Tax Law and Policy in the 21st Century (2017)

Very few areas of law have been subject to as much scrutiny and political pressure as tax law over the past years. In a very short period of time, we went from almost no exchange to the implementation of ... [more ▼]

Very few areas of law have been subject to as much scrutiny and political pressure as tax law over the past years. In a very short period of time, we went from almost no exchange to the implementation of automatic exchange of information for specific categories of income. Since 2009, an unprecedented interventionism has been best illustrated by the amendments and enlargements of various mutual assistance instruments, both at OECD and EU levels. This widening of scope undoubtedly involves implications for taxpayers who are directly or indirectly concerned by the exchange of information. The unremitting efforts to achieve efficient exchanges among national tax authorities has, so far, resided in the promptness with which the information gathered is transferred and thereby encouraging requested States to limit taxpayers’ notification and participation rights. Addressing fundamental rights implications in cross-border exchanges of information entails, first, an overview of the recent developments in exchange of information procedures and an overview of the scope of fundamental rights at both EU and national levels . Along the same lines, a review of the CJEU decision in Sabou appears relevant in this context as it features in concreto implications of mutual assistance mechanisms on taxpayers’ procedural rights. Considering that the request for preliminary ruling addressed to the CJEU in Sabou mainly raised concerns with respect to the application of the right of the defence, it is appropriate to identify further taxpayers’ rights that may come into play in mutual assistance proceedings. This ‘inventory’ exercise is a prerequisite for a just assessment of the current exchange of information legal framework and allows the formulation of open questions for identified unresolved issues. [less ▲]

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See detailOpinion Statement ECJ-TF 2/2017 on the ECJ Decision of 21 December in World Duty Free Group and Others (Joined Cases C-20/15 P and C-21/15 P), Concerning the Requirements of Selective Aid in the Sense of Article 107 of the TFEU
Haslehner, Werner UL; García Prats, Alfredo; Heydt, Volker et al

in European Taxation (2017)

The Confédération Fiscale Européenne welcomes the clarification of the notion of selectivity in the World Duty Free Group decision. It is now clear that a tax measure that derogates from the normal tax ... [more ▼]

The Confédération Fiscale Européenne welcomes the clarification of the notion of selectivity in the World Duty Free Group decision. It is now clear that a tax measure that derogates from the normal tax scheme can constitute State aid even if the tax measure appears to be general in nature and does not lead to a benefit for a specific predefined group of undertakings. Given the variety of tax rules in each Member State, however, further clarification on the determination of the reference framework, the comparability test and the scope of potential justifications will be necessary. [less ▲]

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See detailOpinion Statement ECJ-TF 1/2017 on the Decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union in SECIL (Case C-464/14) Concerning the Free Movement of Capital in Third Countries
Haslehner, Werner UL; García Prats, Alfredo; Heydt, Volker et al

in European Taxation (2017)

The Confédération Fiscale Européenne welcomes the precise and instructive decision in SECIL. The decision clarifies the application of article 63 of the TFEU on the free movement of capital to tax ... [more ▼]

The Confédération Fiscale Européenne welcomes the precise and instructive decision in SECIL. The decision clarifies the application of article 63 of the TFEU on the free movement of capital to tax legislation that denies tax benefits to dividends originating in non-EU Member States and demonstrates that Member States may not rely on article 64(1) of the TFEU, i.e. the “grandfathering clause”, if the logic of their tax legislation changed after 31 December 1993, which change can also be brought about through the conclusion of directly applicable international agreements (for example, Euro-Mediterranean Agreements). The Confédération Fiscale Européenne appreciates the further clarification that provisions with direct effect in EU international agreements with third countries, such as the Euro-Mediterranean Agreements, can create economic rights that can be relied upon by taxpayers. [less ▲]

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See detailLuxembourg: Profit Adjustments for Interest-Free Loans in Accordance with Article 9
Haslehner, Werner UL

in Kemmeren, Eric; Smit, Daniel; Essers, Peter (Eds.) et al Tax Treaty Case Law around the Globe 2016 (2017)

This case comment analyzes the interaction of Article 9 of the Italy-Luxembourg tax treaty with Luxembourg's domestic rules to adjust taxable profits in case of a interest-free loan.

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See detailLuxembourg: Applying Article 16 to a “Collège des Commissaires”
Haslehner, Werner UL

in Kemmeren, Eric; Smit, Daniel; Essers, Peter (Eds.) et al Tax Treaty Case Law around the Globe 2016 (2017)

This case note examines a decision by the Cour administrative of Luxembourg concerning the qualification of the fees earned by a commissaire of a partnership limited by shares under the Luxembourg-South ... [more ▼]

This case note examines a decision by the Cour administrative of Luxembourg concerning the qualification of the fees earned by a commissaire of a partnership limited by shares under the Luxembourg-South Africa tax treaty. It concludes that, while the result of the judgment is unobjectionable, it failed to explore the boundaries of the meaning of the term "director" in ways that could give clearer indications for other cases. [less ▲]

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See detailOpinion Statement ECJ-TF 2/2016 on the Decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 13 July 2016 in Brisal and KBC Finance Ireland (Case C-18/15), on the Admissibility of Gross Withholding Tax of Interest
Haslehner, Werner UL; García Prats, Alfredo; Heydt, Volker et al

in European Taxation (2017)

The CFE welcomes the clarification made by the Court regarding the operation of withholding tax on interest paid to non-residents. It is now unambiguous that, despite authorizing the application of such a ... [more ▼]

The CFE welcomes the clarification made by the Court regarding the operation of withholding tax on interest paid to non-residents. It is now unambiguous that, despite authorizing the application of such a method (if justified and proportional), the Court considers that resident and non-resident service providers are comparable and that a deduction for expenses granted to residents should be made available to non-residents. The CFE stresses that Member States wishing to keep (or to introduce) withholding tax systems need to take into account not only the substantive tax result of allowing a deduction but also need to ensure that non-residents are not discriminated against with regard to proving the expenses. The CFE also welcomes the fact that the taxpayer is being given the option of whether or not to apply such a system because this allows it to take into account compliance costs in making this decision. [less ▲]

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See detailLuxembourg: Exchange of Information and EU Fundamental Rights (C-682/15, Berlioz Investment Fund S.A.)
Haslehner, Werner UL

in Lang, Michael; Pistone, Pasquale; Rust, Alexander (Eds.) et al CJEU – Recent Developments in Direct Taxation 2016 (2017)

The present case concerns the question of whether the right to an effective remedy — as guaranteed in Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union — means that a Member State must ... [more ▼]

The present case concerns the question of whether the right to an effective remedy — as guaranteed in Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union — means that a Member State must allow a company to challenge an order requesting information for the purposes of the tax assessment of another party in a court that would have unlimited authority to review the legitimacy of that order, including the “foreseeable relevance” of the original request made by another Member State. The case has the potential to provide a crucial piece in the legal puzzle that surrounds exchange of information in tax matters in the triangle of domestic law, tax treaty law and EU law, with particular emphasis on the protection of taxpayer (and related party) rights. However, due to the actual circumstances of the case, it does not appear likely that the CJEU will address all of the questions asked by Luxembourg’s Cour administrative. In particular, the meaning of “foreseeable relevance” under Directive 2011/16 may be seen as having little relevance for the outcome of the case in light of the broad meaning given to it by Luxembourg’s statute so that the CJEU may leave it unresolved even if it agrees with the domestic court on the application of Article 47 of the Charter. [less ▲]

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