Opinion Statement ECJ-TF 3/2019 on the CJEU Decision of 22 November 2018 in Case C-575/17, Sofina, on Withholding Taxes, Losses and Territoriality

European Taxation, vol. 60, n. 2/3 (2020)

10 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2020 Last revised: 17 Oct 2020

See all articles by João Félix Pinto Nogueira

João Félix Pinto Nogueira

International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation; Catholic University of Portugal; University of Cape Town (UCT)

Francisco Alfredo Garcia Prats

Universitat de València

Werner C. Haslehner

Universite du Luxembourg

Volker Heydt

Independent

Eric Kemmeren

Tilburg University; Fiscal Institute Tilburg

Georg Kofler

Vienna University of Economics and Business - Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law

Michael Lang

Vienna University of Economics and Business

Jürgen Lüdicke

PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP - PricewaterhouseCoopers GmbH

Pasquale Pistone

Vienna University of Economics and Business

Emmanuel Raingeard de la Blétière

Independent

Stella Raventos-Calvo

Asociación Española de Asesores Fiscales (AEDAF)

Isabelle Richelle

Independent

Alexander Rust

Independent

Rupert Shiers

Independent

Date Written: January 28, 2020

Abstract

This article deals with the decision taken by the Court of Justice of the European Union in Sofina. In the authors' view, it may have extended the standard of comparability, requiring (foreign) non-dividend income of the recipient to be taken into consideration in comparing the tax treatment of domestic and outbound dividends. This comparator, however, upsets the principle of territoriality, as accepted by the Court in Futura (Case C-250/95) and Centro Equestre (Case C-345/04), by requiring the source state to take into account losses that the non-resident taxpayer has in the residence state.

Taken at face value, Sofina's impact may extend well beyond withholding taxes, specifically, and dividend taxation, more generally, by attaching a "no-loss" condition to all source state taxing rights. It may arguably even bar the permanent establishment (PE) state from taxing profits attributable to that PE if the foreign head office is in a loss position.

Moreover, applying Sofina to everyday international tax law might also not be an easy task and push administrative feasibility to its limits. The Court effectively seems to propose a non-discriminatory deferral of taxation, combined with a domestic regime, that leads to a subsequent recapture if (and only if) the non-resident taxpayer becomes profitable during a subsequent tax year.

Keywords: Taxation, Tax law, European taxation

JEL Classification: K33, K34, F13, E62, D78, E62, F02, F23, F42, H20, H22, H23, H25, H26, H87, O19, O23, O24

Suggested Citation

Pinto Nogueira, João Félix and Garcia Prats, Francisco Alfredo and Haslehner, Werner Christof and Heydt, Volker and Kemmeren, Eric and Kofler, Georg and Lang, Michael and Lüdicke, Jürgen and Pistone, Pasquale and Raingeard de la Blétière, Emmanuel and Raventos-Calvo, Stella and Richelle, Isabelle and Rust, Alexander and Shiers, Rupert, Opinion Statement ECJ-TF 3/2019 on the CJEU Decision of 22 November 2018 in Case C-575/17, Sofina, on Withholding Taxes, Losses and Territoriality (January 28, 2020). European Taxation, vol. 60, n. 2/3 (2020), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3644248 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3644248

João Félix Pinto Nogueira (Contact Author)

International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation ( email )

Rietlandpark, 301
Amsterdam, 1019 DW
Netherlands
+31205540100 (Phone)

Catholic University of Portugal ( email )

Palma de Cima
Lisboa, 1649-023
Portugal

HOME PAGE: http://https://fd.porto.ucp.pt/pt-pt/pessoa/joao-felix-pinto-nogueira

University of Cape Town (UCT) ( email )

Private Bag X3
Rondebosch, Western Cape 7701
South Africa

Werner Christof Haslehner

Universite du Luxembourg ( email )

Luxembourg

Volker Heydt

Independent

Eric Kemmeren

Tilburg University ( email )

Warandelaan 2
Tilburg, Noord-Brabant 5037AB
Netherlands
+31.13.466.8129/2412 (Phone)
+31.13.466.3073 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.tilburguniversity.edu/webwijs/show/kemmeren-3.htm

Fiscal Institute Tilburg ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands
+31.13.466.8129/2412 (Phone)
+31.13.466.3073 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.tilburguniversity.edu/webwijs/show/kemmeren-3.htm

Georg Kofler

Vienna University of Economics and Business - Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law ( email )

Welthandelsplatz 1
Buildind D3
Vienna, VIenna 1020
Austria

Michael Lang

Vienna University of Economics and Business ( email )

Welthandelsplatz 1
Vienna, 1020
Austria

Jürgen Lüdicke

PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP - PricewaterhouseCoopers GmbH ( email )

Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaf
Alsterufer 1
Hamburg, D-20354
Germany

Pasquale Pistone

Vienna University of Economics and Business ( email )

Welthandelsplatz 1
Vienna, Wien 1020
Austria

Stella Raventos-Calvo

Asociación Española de Asesores Fiscales (AEDAF) ( email )

Spain

Isabelle Richelle

Independent

Alexander Rust

Independent

Rupert Shiers

Independent

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