Maersk and TotalEnergies lose $187m Danish Supreme Court tax case

A.P. Moller-Maersk and TotalEnergies were dealt a blow by the Danish Supreme Court this week in a long-running dispute with the country’s tax authorities over income from oil and gas businesses in Algeria and Qatar.

The case involving the alleged misuse of transfer pricing was filed by the Danish Ministry of Taxation, claiming that Maersk’s oil unit, offloaded to TotalEnergies in a $7.45bn share and debt deal in 2017, had evaded tax in Denmark between 2006 and 2008.

According to court documents, the tax ministry claimed Maersk’s oil business over the specified period provided goods and services to two subsidiaries for free, altering its taxable income in Denmark.

The Supreme Court ruled that Maersk and TotalEnergies must pay tax on DKK1.3bn ($187m) of income generated from 2006 to 2008, overturning the country’s high court verdict in March 2022. The two companies also need to pay DKK4m in legal fees and DKK3m in interest to the tax ministry within two weeks.

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