E-3/21 PRA Group Europe AS v Staten v/Skatteetaten
dossier van het EVA-hof (voor zover beschikbaar).
Motivation ministry: 30 July 2021Written
observations: 16 September 2021
of establishment; taxes
Agreement between the EFTA States on the Establishment of
a Surveillance Authority and a Court of Justice (SCA)
Main Part of the EEA Agreement [Agreement on the European
is a global group engaged in the acquisition of financial
assets and service of debt. The group has several
companies in Europe, which are owned by the holding
company PRA Group Europe Holding. That company is subject
to taxation in Luxembourg. PRA Group Europe Subholding AS
(subject to taxation in Norway) was a wholly-owned
subsidiary of the holding company PRA Group Europe
Holding. PRA Group Europe Subholding AS was financed with
a combination of equity and loan from the parent company.
The interest expenses for the fiscal years 2014 and 2015
are related to that debt. The company did not receive any
other value transfers from the parent company in 2014 and
2015. In its tax returns for 2014 and 2015 the company
claimed a deduction for that debt interest, see Section
6-40 of the Tax Act. The company asserted that Section
6-41 of the Tax Act entailed a reduction in the deductible
amount. Disallowed interest deductions amounted to NOK 132
969 145 for the fiscal year 2014 and NOK 11 580 008 for
the fiscal year 2015, a total of NOK 144 549 153. PRA
Group Europe Subholding AS was merged into PRA Group
Europe AS in November 2016.
of 7 December 2016, PRA Group Europe AS requested a change
in its tax assessment for the fiscal years 2014 and 2015.
The company contended that the limited interest deduction
rule was contrary to the freedom of establishment provided
for in Article 31 EEA and that Norway was under an
obligation to allow a full deduction for debt interest
accrued. By the Tax Office’s decision of 7 July 2017, the
request for a reassessment was admitted for consideration.
Following a review on the merits, the tax assessments for
2014 and 2015 were upheld. PRA Group Europe AS appealed
against that decision to the Tax Appeals Board
(Skatteklagenemnda) on 31 July 2017. By decision of 24
June 2020, the Tax Appeals Board, sitting in extended
composition, dismissed the appeal. On 8 September 2020,
PRA Group Europe AS lodged proceedings before Oslo
District Court, seeking to be allowed a full deduction for
accrued debt interest in the fiscal years 2014 and 2015,
meaning, without the limited interest deduction rule under
Section 6-41 of the Tax Act. The Norwegian Government,
represented by the Tax Administration, responded by
Defence of 29 October 2020, claiming that the court should
find in its favour. During the preparatory stages of the
proceedings, the District Court has decided to obtain an
Advisory Opinion from the EFTA Court concerning the EEA
law questions raised by the case.
an advisory opinion:
1) Is there
a restriction within the meaning of Article 31 EEA, read
in conjunction with Article 34, when group contributions
from Norwegian companies increase the maximum deduction
for interest and thus the entitlement to deduction of
interests on debt to affiliated parties under the limited
interest deduction rule, a possibility which, under
Norwegian tax rules, is not available for investments by
or in EEA companies?
2) Is an
EEA company that is in a group with a Norwegian company in
a comparable situation to that of a Norwegian company that
is in a group with another Norwegian company, and what
significance does it have for the comparability assessment
that no actual group contribution has been made from the
EEA company to the Norwegian company, but rather a loan?
3) In the
event that there is a restriction: Which reasons in the
public interest may justify such a restriction?