Attribution of Profits to Permanent Establishments : How Should Swedish Legislation Conform to the OECD December 2006 Report?

by Blom, Maria; Lenfors, Anders

Abstract (Summary)
The purpose of this thesis is to establish whether the domestic legislation of Sweden is in tune with the OECD December 2006 report on the attribution of profits to permanent es-tablishments (December 2006 report) and if not how Sweden ought to conform. How to attribute business profits to a permanent establishment (PE) is laid down in Article 7 of the OECD Model Tax Convention on Income and on Capital. In December 2006 the OECD released a report on how profits (losses) are to be attributed to PEs. The report lays down the current approach on how Contracting States should interpret Article 7 and is referred to as the authorised OECD approach. The purpose of the December 2006 Report is to re-vise Article 7 in order ensure a common interpretation on the Article. The aim is to apply the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines (TP Guidelines), otherwise applicable on transac-tions between a parent company and a subsidiary, by analogy to PE situations.The profits attributable to a PE are to be decided by using a two-step analysis. Under the first step a PE is to be hypothesised as a distinct and separate enterprise. The functions performed, assets used and risks assumed are to be determined and attributed to the rele-vant parts of the enterprise. In order to do this the economic ownership of assets is to be regarded. According to the OECD the functions performed by the people working within a PE, the significant people functions (SPF), are decisive when attributing assets and risks. To support the use of assets and the assumption of risks a PE is to be provided with a proper amount of “free” capital. Under the second step of the analysis a fair share of the entire enterprise’s profit is to be attributed to the PE. The actual amount of profit is to be established by performing a comparability analysis and by thereafter applying different transaction methods, using the method that best expresses an arm’s length price to the dealing at hand. To calculate a proper profit a PE shall be allowed to deduct interest.Sweden does not have much legislation concerning transfer pricing and there is hardly any legislation concerning PEs. There are no specific provisions in Swedish law on how to at-tribute profits between a head office and a PE. Furthermore, there are only a few judge-ments and no official guidelines regarding the attribution of profits to PEs. According to the domestic legislation of Sweden the amount of attributed profit shall be determined on the basis of separate accounts. The existing guidance in Swedish case law is not in tune with the authorised OECD approach. Swedish courts have ruled contrary to the authorised OECD approach when it comes to attributing “free” capital to a PE, allowing for deduc-tions of internal royalty payments and for recognising internal interest dealings. Further-more, a transfer of assets from a Swedish head office to a foreign PE has under certain cir-cumstances not been considered a taxable event. Since Sweden has not officially imple-mented any new legislation and the courts have not Stated any new principles regarding the attribution of profits to PEs it is unlikely that new concepts as the authorised OECD ap-proach will be adhered to at present time. In order to comply with the authorised OECD approach Sweden would need to introduce some new legislation.We suggest that Sweden implement a Section in its domestic legislation based on the authorised OECD approach. If Sweden adopts our proposed Section it would provide for a more unitary and consistent international approach and a needed certainty for enterprises on the treatment of PEs for tax purposes.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Högskolan i Jönköping

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:international tax law


Date of Publication:02/06/2008

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