HANDELSBLATT EXCLUSIVE

Commerzbank Loses €75-Million Capital Gains Suit

Commerzbank plans to axe jobs, scrap dividend
Picture source: DPA

A fiscal court in the federal state of Hesse has rejected a Commerzbank lawsuit seeking €75 million in capital gains tax deductions stemming from controversial dividend-stripping transactions, according to information obtained by Handelsblatt.

Though the court has yet to issue its written ruling, Handelsblatt has learned that the court used reasoning similar to past cases involving dividend stripping, a quasi-legal tax loophole involving buying and selling shares around the time dividends are paid out. The loophole was formally closed in 2012 and the government has been battling with banks in the courts since then.

In a previous ruling against Dekabank, for example, the Hesse court said the assumption that multiple parties can own one and the same share is false, destroying the basis for dividend-stripping deals.

Commerzbank has not said whether or not it plans to appeal the ruling to Germany’s Federal Fiscal Court. “We don’t comment on court proceedings as a matter of principle,” a spokesperson said.

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