|TRIVAGO N.V. filed this Form 20-F on 03/06/2018|
and the Founders under German tax law in all material respects. Following receipt of such tax rulings, we consummated the post-IPO merger, which became legally effective as of September 7, 2017. However, for income tax purposes the post-IPO merger has to be treated with retroactive effect as of December 31, 2016. Pursuant to the post-IPO merger, the Founders exchanged all of their units of trivago GmbH remaining after the pre-IPO corporate reorganization for Class B shares of trivago N.V.
German taxation of ADS holders
Based on the interpretation circular (Besteuerung von American Depository Receipts (ADR) auf inländische Aktien) issued by the German Federal Ministry of Finance (Bundesministerium der Finanzen) dated May 24, 2013 (reference number IV C 1-S2204/12/10003), or the ADR Tax Circular, for German tax purposes, ADRs referring to shares issued by a German stock corporation (Aktiengesellschaft) represent a beneficial ownership interest in the underlying ordinary shares.
The ADSs should qualify as ADRs under the ADR Tax Circular, and dividends would accordingly be attributable to the holders of the ADSs for German tax purposes as if they would hold Class A shares, and not to the legal owner of the underlying Class A shares (which is the depositary holding the Class A shares for the ADS holders). Therefore, the ADS holders should, for German tax purposes, be treated as directly holding an interest in the company’s Class A shares. With respect to German tax risks with respect to the ADSs please refer to “Item 3 D. Risk factors” above.
Income tax implications of the holding, sale and transfer of ADSs
In terms of the income taxation of ADS holders, a distinction must be made between taxation in connection with the holding of ADSs (“German taxation of the distributions from ADSs”) and taxation in connection with the sale of ADSs (“German taxation of capital gains from ADSs”).
German taxation of the distributions from ADSs
The full amount of a dividend distributed by the company is subject to German withholding tax (Kapitalertragsteuer) at a rate of 25% plus a solidarity surcharge of 5.5% on the withholding tax, resulting in an aggregate tax rate of 26.375%. This, however, will not apply if and to the extent that dividend payments are funded from the company’s contribution account for tax purposes (steuerliches Einlagekonto; Section 27 of the German Corporate Income Tax Act (Körperschaftsteuergesetz, or KStG)); in this case, no withholding tax will be withheld. The basis for the withholding tax is the dividend approved for distribution by the company’s shareholders’ meeting. The amount of the relevant taxable income is based on the gross amount in euro; any currency differences should be irrelevant.
In general, withholding tax on dividends distributed by a company to its shareholders is withheld and discharged for the account of the shareholders by the company. However, if and when shares are admitted for collective custody by a securities custodian bank (Wertpapiersammelbank) pursuant to Section 5 of the German Act on Securities Accounts (Depotgesetz) and are entrusted to such bank for collective custody (Sammelverwahrung) in Germany, the withholding tax is withheld and passed on for the account of the shareholders by the domestic credit or financial services institution (inländisches Kredit- oder Finanzdienstleistungsinstitut) (including domestic branches of such foreign enterprises), by the domestic securities trading company (inländisches Wertpapierhandelsunternehmen) or the domestic securities trading bank (inländische Wertpapierhandelsbank) which keeps or administers the shares and disburses or credits the dividends or disburses the dividends to a foreign agent or by the central securities depository to which the shares were entrusted for collective custody if the dividends are disbursed to a foreign agent by such central securities depository, each a Paying Agent. The company in which shares are held does not assume any responsibility for the withholding of the withholding tax. In general, the withholding tax must be withheld regardless of whether and to which extent the distribution is exempt from tax at the level of a shareholder and whether the shareholder is domiciled in Germany or abroad.