• Mathias Navneet Gørup

"Exit taxation when companies relocate using a reverse vertical merger"
The object of this master thesis is to describe and analyse the taxation problems that arise in the context of a company relocating to another country using a reverse vertical merger model.

The thesis takes its point of departure in a situation, where a limited liability company that is resident in Denmark, relocates to Germany and by virtue of the relocation model, it transfers its assets and liabilities to the new company resident in Germany. Initially, the relocating Danish company encounters the challenge that the company is subject to capital gains tax, i.e. it is exit taxed on the unrealized gains of its assets and liabilities, pursuant to §5.7 and §8.4 of the Danish Corporation Tax Act, when they are relocated out of the Danish territory.

However, the Merger Directive provides grounds for possible deferral of capital gains tax on assets and liabilities which, following a merger, declare a permanent establishment in the country of origin, Denmark, for the company now resident in Germany, which means that the exit taxation on these parts is deferred to a later date.

It is therefore interesting to question specifically which assets and liabilities can actually be attributed to the Danish permanent establishment. After answering this question, it is possible to accurately clarify which parts are tax neutralised pursuant to the provisions of the Merger Directive, and which parts are not covered by the directive’s benefits and are therefore subject to exit tax.
In this distinction, the "force of attraction" principle plays a central role, and on this basis, the master thesis concludes that only parts that have a direct connection to the permanent establishment’s revenue-generating activity, are considered to be subject to the succession principle in the merger directive. Other assets, which on the contrary are not attributable to the permanent establishment, will instead be subject to exit taxation pursuant to the provisions already mentioned above in this abstract, and the master thesis will examine the consequences for particular portfolio shares, which relinquish their attachment to the permanent establishment.

As a result of the practice handed down by the European Court of Justice, payment of exit taxation may not be demanded immediately by the country of origin, as the charging of taxes would in that case be contrary to the Community law on the freedom of establishment. Instead, Member States are required to incorporate more lenient measures, i.e. deferral arrangements, so that the effect of the tax is less burdensome. On the basis of an action brought before the European Court of Justice in 2013, Denmark decided to introduce a 7-year grace regime in its national regulations, and the thesis concludes by questioning whether the scheme is compatible with Community law. The European Court of Justice itself has not yet determined the compatibility of the scheme, but the thesis finds, after an overall assessment, that due to its content, the Danish deferral scheme seems too restrictive and therefore violates Community law.
Publication date12 May 2016
Number of pages61
ID: 233227949