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Document 31990L0434

Council Directive 90/434/EEC of 23 July 1990 on the common system of taxation applicable to mergers, divisions, transfers of assets and exchanges of shares concerning companies of different Member States

OJ L 225, 20.8.1990, p. 1–5 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT)
Special edition in Finnish: Chapter 09 Volume 002 P. 20 - 24
Special edition in Swedish: Chapter 09 Volume 002 P. 20 - 24
Special edition in Czech: Chapter 09 Volume 001 P. 142 - 146
Special edition in Estonian: Chapter 09 Volume 001 P. 142 - 146
Special edition in Latvian: Chapter 09 Volume 001 P. 142 - 146
Special edition in Lithuanian: Chapter 09 Volume 001 P. 142 - 146
Special edition in Hungarian Chapter 09 Volume 001 P. 142 - 146
Special edition in Maltese: Chapter 09 Volume 001 P. 142 - 146
Special edition in Polish: Chapter 09 Volume 001 P. 142 - 146
Special edition in Slovak: Chapter 09 Volume 001 P. 142 - 146
Special edition in Slovene: Chapter 09 Volume 001 P. 142 - 146
Special edition in Bulgarian: Chapter 09 Volume 001 P. 92 - 96
Special edition in Romanian: Chapter 09 Volume 001 P. 92 - 96

No longer in force, Date of end of validity: 14/12/2009; Repealed by 32009L0133 . Latest consolidated version: 01/01/2007

ELI: http://data.europa.eu/eli/dir/1990/434/oj

31990L0434

Council Directive 90/434/EEC of 23 July 1990 on the common system of taxation applicable to mergers, divisions, transfers of assets and exchanges of shares concerning companies of different Member States

Official Journal L 225 , 20/08/1990 P. 0001 - 0005
Finnish special edition: Chapter 9 Volume 2 P. 0020
Swedish special edition: Chapter 9 Volume 2 P. 0020


COUNCIL DIRECTIVE of 23 July 1990 on the common system of taxation applicable to mergers, divisions, transfers of assets and exchanges of shares concerning companies of different Member States (90/434/EEC)

THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, and in particular Article 100 thereof,

Having regard to the proposal of the Commission (1),

Having regard to the opinion of the European Parliament (2),

Having regard to the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee (3),

Whereas mergers, divisions, transfers of assets and exchanges of shares concerning companies of different Member States may be necessary in order to create within the Community conditions analogous to those of an internal market and in order thus to ensure the establishment and effective functioning of the common market; whereas such operations ought not to be hampered by restrictions, disadvantages or distortions arising in particular from the tax provisions of the Member States; whereas to that end it is necessary to introduce with respect to such operations tax rules which are neutral from the point of view of competition, in order to allow enterprises to adapt to the requirements of the common market, to increase their productivity and to improve their competitive strength at the international level;

Whereas tax provisions disadvantage such operations, in comparison with those concerning companies of the same Member State; whereas it is necessary to remove such disadvantages;

Whereas it is not possible to attain this objective by an extension at the Community level of the systems presently in force in the Member States, since differences between these systems tend to produce distortions; whereas only a common tax system is able to provide a satisfactory solution in this respect;

Whereas the common tax system ought to avoid the imposition of tax in connection with mergers, divisions, transfers of assets or exchanges of shares, while at the same time safeguarding the financial interests of the State of the transferring or acquired company;

Whereas in respect of mergers, divisions or transfers of assets, such operations normally result either in the transformation of the transferring company into a permanent establishment of the company receiving the assets or in the assets becoming connected with a permanent establishment of the latter company;

Whereas the system of deferral of the taxation of the capital gains relating to the assets transferred until their actual disposal, applied to such of those assets as are transferred to that permanent establishment, permits exemption from taxation of the corresponding capital gains, while at the same time ensuring their ultimate taxation by the State of the transferring company at the date of their disposal;

Whereas it is also necessary to define the tax regime applicable to certain provisions, reserves or losses of the transferring company and to solve the tax problems occurring where one of the two companies has a holding in the capital of the other;

Whereas the allotment to the shareholders of the transferring company of securities of the receiving or acquiring company would not in itself give rise to any taxation in the hands of such shareholders;

Whereas it is necessary to allow Member States the possibility of refusing to apply this Directive where the merger, division, transfer of assets or exchange of shares operation has as its objective tax evasion or avoidance or results in a company, whether or not it participates in the operation, no longer fulfilling the conditions required for the representation of employees in company organs,

HAS ADOPTED THIS DIRECTIVE:

TITLE I

General provisions

Article 1

Each Member State shall apply this Directive to mergers, divisions, transfers of assets and exchanges of shares in which companies from two or more Member States are involved.

Article 2

For the purposes of this Directive:

(a) 'merger' shall mean an operation whereby:

- one or more companies, on being dissolved without going into liquidation, transfer all their assets and liabilities to another existing company in exchange for the issue to their shareholders of securities respresenting the capital of that other company, and, if applicable, a cash payment not exceeding 10 % of the nominal value, or, in the absence of a nominal value, of the accounting par value of those securities,

- two or more companies, on being dissolved without going into liquidation, transfer all their assets and liabilities to a company that they form, in exchange for the issue to their shareholders of securities representing the capital of that new company, and, if applicable, a cash payment not exceeding 10 % of the nominal value, or in the absence of a nominal value, of the accounting par value of those securities,

- a company, on being dissolved without going into liquidation, transfers all its assets and liabilities to the company holding all the securities representing its capital;

(b)

'division' shall mean an operation whereby a company, on being dissolved without going into liquidation, transfers all its assets and liabilities to two or more existing or new companies, in exchange for the pro rata issue to its shareholders of securities representing the capital of the companies receiving the assets and liabilities, and, if applicable, a cash payment not exceeding 10 % of the nominal value or, in the absence of a nominal value, of the accounting par value of those securities;

(c)

'transfer of assets' shall mean an operation whereby a company transfers without being dissolved all or one or more branches of its activity to another company in exchange for the transfer of securities representing the capital of the company receiving the transfer;

(d)

'exchange of shares' shall mean an operation whereby a company acquires a holding in the capital of another company such that it obtains a majority of the voting rights in that company in exchange for the issue to the shareholders of the latter company, in exchange for their securities, of securities representing the capital of the former company, and, if applicable, a cash payment not exceeding 10 % of the nominal value or, in the absence of a nominal value, of the accounting par value of the securities issued in exchange;

(e)

'transferring company' shall mean the company transferring its assets and liabilities or transferring all or one or more branches of its activity;

(f)

'receiving company' shall mean the company receiving the assets and liabilities or all or one or more branches of the activity of the transferring company;

(g)

'acquired company' shall mean the company in which a holding is acquired by another company by means of an exchange of securities;

(h)

'acquiring company' shall mean the company which acquires a holding by means of an exchange of securities;

(i)

'branch of activity' shall mean all the assets and liabilities of a division of a company which from an organizational point of view constitute an independent business, that is to say an entity capable of functioning by its own means.

Article 3

For the purposes of this Directive, 'company from a Member State' shall mean any company which:

(a) takes one of the forms listed in the Annex hereto;

(b)

according to the tax laws of a Member State is considered to be resident in that State for tax purposes and, under the terms of a double taxation agreement concluded with a third State, is not considered to be resident for tax purposes outside the Community;

(c)

moreover, is subject to one of the following taxes, without the possibility of an option or of being exempt:

- impôt des sociétés/vennootschapsbelasting in Belgium,

- selskabsskat in Denmark,

- Koerperschaftsteuer in the Federal Republic of Germany,

- foros eisodimatos nomikon prosopon kerdokopikoy charaktira, in Greece,

- impuesto sobre sociedades in Spain,

- impôt sur les sociétés in France,

- corporation tax in Ireland,

- imposta sul reddito delle persone giuridiche in Italy,

- impôt sur le revenu des collectivités in Luxembourg,

- vennootschapsbelasting in the Netherlands,

- imposto sobre o rendimento das pessoas colectivas in Portugal,

- corporation tax in the United Kingdom,

or to any other tax which may be substituted for any of the above taxes.

TITLE II

Rules applicable to mergers, divisions and exchanges of

shares

Article 4

1. A merger or division shall not give rise to any taxation of capital gains calculated by reference to the difference between the real values of the assets and liabilities transferred and their values for tax purposes. The following expressions shall have the meanings assigned to them:

- value for tax purposes: the value on the basis of which any gain or loss would have been computed for the purposes of tax upon the income, profits or capital gains of the transferring company if such assets or liabilities had been sold at the time of the merger or division but independently of it,

- transferred assets and liabilities: those assets and liabilities of the transferring company which, in consequence of the merger or division, are effectively connected with a permanent establishment of the receiving company in the Member State of the transferring company and play a part in generating the profits or losses taken into account for tax purposes.

2. The Member States shall make the application of paragraph 1 conditional upon the receiving company's computing any new depreciation and any gains or losses in respect of the assets and liabilities transferred according to the rules that would have applied to the transferring company or companies if the merger or division had not taken place.

3. Where, under the laws of the Member State of the transferring company, the receiving company is entitled to have any new depreciation or any gains or losses in respect of the assets and liabilities transferred computed on a basis different from that set out in paragraph 2, paragraph 1 shall not apply to the assets and liabilities in respect of which that option is exercised.

Article 5

The Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that, where provisions or reserves properly constituted by the transferring company are partly or wholly exempt from tax and are not derived from permanent establishments abroad, such provisions or reserves may be carried over, with the same tax exemption, by the permanent

establishments of the receiving company which are situated in the Member State of the transferring company, the receiving company thereby assuming the rights and obligations of the transferring company.

Article 6

To the extent that, if the operations referred to in Article 1 were effected between companies from the Member State of the transferring company, the Member State would apply provisions allowing the receiving company to take over the losses of the transferring company which had not yet been exhausted for tax purposes, it shall extend those provisions to cover the take-over of such losses by the receiving company's permanent establishments situated within its territory.

Article 7

1. Where the receiving company has a holding in the capital of the transferring company, any gains accruing to the receiving company on the cancellation of its holding shall not be liable to any taxation.

2. The Member States may derogate from paragraph 1 where the receiving company's holding in the capital of the transferring company does not exceed 25 %.

Article 8

1. On a merger, division or exchange of shares, the allotment of securities representing the capital of the receiving or acquiring company to a shareholder of the transferring or acquired company in exchange for securities representing the capital of the latter company shall not, of itself, give rise to any taxation of the income, profits or capital gains of that shareholder.

2. The Member States shall make the application of paragraph 1 conditional upon the shareholder's not attributing to the securities received a value for tax purposes higher than the securities exchanged had immediately before the merger, division or exchange.

The application of paragraph 1 shall not prevent the Member States from taxing the gain arising out of the subsequent transfer of securities received in the same way as the gain arising out of the transfer of securities existing before the acquisition.

In this paragraph the expression 'value for tax purposes' means the amount on the basis of which any gain or loss would be computed for the purposes of tax upon the income, profits or capital gains of a shareholder of the company.

3. Where, under the law of the Member State in which he is resident, a shareholder may opt for tax treatment different from that set out in paragraph 2, paragraph 1 shall not apply to the securities in respect of which such an option is exercised.

4. Paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 shall not prevent a Member State from taking into account when taxing shareholders any cash payment that may be made on the merger, division or exchange.

TITLE III

Rules applicable to transfers of assets

Article 9

The provisions of Articles 4, 5 and 6 shall apply to transfers of assets.

TITLE IV

Special case of the transfer of a permanent establishment

Article 10

1. Where the assets transferred in a merger, a division or a transfer of assets include a permanent establishment of the transferring company which is situated in a Member State other than that of the transferring company, the latter State shall renounce any right to tax that permanent establishment. However, the State of the transferring company may reinstate in the taxable profits of that company such losses of the permanent establishment as may previously have been set off against the taxable profits of the company in that State and which have not been recovered. The State in which the permanent establishment is situated and the State of the receiving company shall apply the provisions of this Directive to such a transfer as if the former State were the State of the transferring company.

2. By way of derogation from paragraph 1, where the Member State of the transferring company applies a system of taxing world-wide profits, that Member State shall have the right to tax any profits or capital gains of the permanent establishment resulting from the merger, division or transfer of assets, on condition that it gives relief for the tax that, but for the provisions of this Directive, would have been charged on those profits or capital gains in the Member State in which that permanent establishment is situated, in the same way and in the same amount as it would have done if that tax had actually been charged and paid.

TITLE V

Final provisions

Article 11

1. A Member State may refuse to apply or withdraw the benefit of all or any part of the provisions of Titles II, III

and IV where it appears that the merger, division, transfer of assets or exchange of shares:

(a) has as its principal objective or as one of its principal objectives tax evasion or tax avoidance; the fact that one of the operations referred to in Article 1 is not carried out for valid commercial reasons such as the restructuring or rationalization of the activities of the companies participating in the operation may constitute a presumption that the operation has tax evasion or tax avoidance as its principal objective or as one of its principal objectives;

(b) results in a company, whether participating in the operation or not, no longer fulfilling the necessary conditions for the representation of employees on company organs according to the arrangements which were in force prior to that operation.

2. Paragraph 1 (b) shall apply as long as and to the extent that no Community law provisions containing equivalent rules on representation of employees on company organs are applicable to the companies covered by this Directive.

Article 12

1. Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive not later than 1 January 1992 and shall forthwith inform the Commission thereof.

2. By way of derogation from paragraph 1, the Portuguese Republic may delay the application of the provisions concerning transfers of assets and exchanges of shares until 1 January 1993.

3. Member States shall communicate to the Commission the texts of the main provisions of national law which they adopt in the field covered by this Directive.

Article 13

This Directive is addressed to the Member States.

Done at Brussels, 23 July 1990.

For the Council

The President

G. CARLI

(1) OJ No C 39, 22. 3. 1969, p. 1.(2)

OJ No C 51, 29. 4. 1970, p. 12.(3)

OJ No C 100, 1. 8. 1969, p. 4.

ANNEX List of companies referred to in Article 3 (a)

(a) companies under Belgian law known as 'société anonyme' / 'naamloze vennootschap', 'société en commandite par actions' / 'commanditaire vennootschap op aandelen', 'société privée à responsabilité limitée' / 'besloten vennootschap met beperkte aansprakelijkheid' and those public law bodies that operate under private law;

(b)

companies under Danish law known as: 'aktieselskab', 'anpartsselskab';

(c)

companies under German law known as: 'Aktiengesellschaft', 'Kommanditgesellschaft auf Aktien', 'Gesellschaft mit beschraenkter Haftung', 'bergrechtliche Gewerkschaft';

(d)

companies under Greek law known as: 'anonymi etaireia';

(e)

companies under Spanish law known as: 'sociedad anónima', 'sociedad comanditaria por acciones', 'sociedad de responsabilidad limitada' and those public law bodies which operate under private law;

(f)

companies under French law known as 'société anonyme', 'société en commandite par actions', 'société à responsabilité limitée' and industrial and commercial public establishments and undertakings;

(g)

the companies in Irish law known as public companies limited by shares or by guarantee, private companies limited by shares or by guarantee, bodies registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts or building societies registered under the Building Societies Acts;

(h)

companies under Italian law known as 'società per azioni', 'società in accomandita per azioni', 'società a responsabilità limitata', and public and private entities carrying on industrial and commercial activities;

(i)

companies under Luxembourg law known as 'société anonyme', 'société en commandite par actions', 'société à responsabilité limitée';

(j)

companies under Dutch law known as: 'naamloze vennootschap', 'besloten vennootschap met beperkte aansprakelijkheid';

(k)

commercial companies or civil law companies having a commercial form as well as other legal persons carrying on commercial or industrial activities, which are incorporated in accordance with Portuguese law;

(l)

companies incorporated under the law of the United Kingdom.

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