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经济学人:私募股权融资

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Private equity

私募股权融资

Tax attack

税收攻击

Leveraged buy-outs face legal scrutiny

衡平收购面临法律审查

Aug 24th 2013 |From the print edition

TAX planners at private-equity firms are having an unusually busy summer. A fiscal ruling in Sweden and a court case in America are threatening to upend the arrangements that buy-out firms use to minimise their tax bills.

私募股权公司的税务规划师这个夏天非一般的忙碌。瑞典的金融管制以及美国的一起案件有可能颠覆收购公司用于最小化其税收单的安排。

Both cases relate to a tax loophole used by private-equity firms in America and much of Europe. Under “carried interest” rules, buy-out executives pay (relatively low) capital-gains taxes on profits made from buying and selling companies, in the same way investors or entrepreneurs do. This is odd, given that the money wagered on private-equity deals comes overwhelmingly from outside investors, not the executives themselves. It would make more sense for these profits to be taxed like salaries, or bankers’ bonuses, at the (higher) income-tax rate.

这两起事件都与一个税收漏洞有关,这个漏洞在美国和欧洲大部分地区的私募股权公司被利用。根据附带权益规则,控制股权收购的主管跟投资者和企业家一样支付相对较低的资本利得税,这项税是针对公司买卖获利所征收。鉴于押在私募股权融资交易中的资金大部分来自外部投资者,而不是主管,所以这项规则很奇怪。这些利润应该按照工资税或者银行家的红利,征收更高的所得税更合理。

That is exactly what Sweden’s tax administration has decided. In a ruling on August 20th it demanded SKr647m ($99m) of back taxes from EQT, a local private-equity fund, and its executives. The amount covers the difference between the 25% capital-gains rate and the 57% income tax for 2007-09, plus interest and penalties. EQT is not alone: dozens of other executives at other firms have been handed multi-million-kronor bills as a result of the tax authorities’ change of heart. The potentially impoverished bosses say they are confident courts will find in their favour on appeal.

瑞典的税务局就是这样做的。在8月20日的一起判决中,税务局命令一个当地的私募股权基金EQT及其主管补交税款6.47亿瑞典克郎(9900万美元)。这笔税款包括25%的资本利得税和自2007年到2009年的57%的所得税加上利息和罚金。不只是EQT一家,其他几十家公司的主管也因为税务局中心的改变而交出了数百万克朗的资金。这些即将变成穷光蛋的老板说他们很有信心法庭能找到有利于他们的请求。

The American case, decided on July 24th, chips away at carried interest from another angle. An appeals court in Boston ruled that Sun Capital, a private-equity fund that specialises in turning around distressed companies, is liable for some pension obligations of a firm it bought in 2006, and which subsequently went bust.

美国的案子于7月24日作出判决,从另一个角度撤销了附带权益。位于波士顿的一家上诉法院判决私募股权基金太阳资本对其于2006年购买的一家公司的养老金支付负有责任,这家公司最终破产。太阳资本专注于使运转不佳的公司好转。

The case is limited to pensions (and is being contested by Sun Capital) but the precedent could have a wider tax impact, says Jon Zorn of Ropes & Gray, a law firm. The core of the ruling blows away a legal fiction that private-equity funds are passive investors who do not actively control the companies they buy. That premise is also used to justify putting profits into the lower tax bracket.

这起案件局限于养老金,并且太阳资本提出了异议。但是格雷律师事务所的Jon Zorn表示,先前的例子对税收更有影响。判决的核心推翻了私募股权基金都是不会主动控制收购公司的消极投资者的法律假想。该假定之前也常常用于将利润划为更低的税率等级征税的辩护。

Executives in Sweden and America complain about the uncertainty created by the cases. They have a point. It would be better to make clear that private-equity profits should be taxed as income, and carried interest done away with.

瑞典和美国的主管抱怨案件引起的不确定性。他们有一个观点。弄清楚私募股权利润应该按照所得征税,并且废除附带权益,这样更好。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
funds

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n. 基金;资金,现金(fund的复数) v. 提供资金

 
limited ['limitid]

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adj. 有限的,被限制的
动词limit的过

 
equity ['ekwəti]

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n. 权益,产权,(无固定利息的)股票,衡平法

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bust [bʌst]

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n. 半身像,胸部,萧条,破产 v. 打碎

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uncertainty [ʌn'sə:tnti]

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n. 不确定,不可靠,半信半疑 (学术)不可信度; 偏差

 
overwhelmingly [.əvə'welmiŋli]

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adv. 压倒性地,不可抵抗地

 
bracket ['brækit]

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n. 支架,括号,档次
vt. 支撑,放在括号

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control [kən'trəul]

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n. 克制,控制,管制,操作装置
vt. 控制

 
potentially [pə'tenʃəli]

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adv. 潜在地

 
confident ['kɔnfidənt]

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adj. 自信的,有信心的,有把握的
a

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