Federal Court Hands Down First Decision on Embedded Royalties and Diverted Profits Tax

In PepsiCo, Inc v. Commissioner of Taxation, Moshinsky J has held that a portion of the payments made to PepsiCo by an unrelated bottler and distributor – for syrup concentrate for manufacturing a range of popular soft drinks – were “royalties” for Australian royalty withholding tax (RWHT) purposes. Moshinsky J also held that if the RWHT provisions did not apply, PepsiCo nevertheless obtained a “tax benefit” by not paying RWHT and was therefore liable to pay diverted profits tax (DPT). The decision is the first in Australia to consider the tax treatment of “embedded royalties” and the DPT rules (which were introduced in 2017).