Credit Suisse sues to recoup part of €3.9bn bank-bonus tax
Credit Suisse is seeking to reclaim hundreds of millions in taxes from a controversial UK bonus levy that hit banker compensation in 2010.
The Swiss lender is preparing for a London trial against the British tax authority over the one-off 50% tax on banker bonuses of more than £25,000 (€28,593), lawyers for the bank said at a court hearing Monday.
Credit Suisse paid CHF 440 million (€367 million) for the tax.
The tax implemented by the Labour government in the wake of popular anger over lavish banker bonuses following the global financial crisis generated £3.4 billion pounds, almost five times higher than initial estimates.
Credit Suisse, which didn't take a government bailout, is asking whether the tax should be considered a state-aid measure.
Credit Suisse cut its global bonus pool by 5% to help fund the cost of the tax, while its 400 UK-based managing directors saw their pot slashed by a further 30%.
The firm is now seeking both repayment and damages, citing the "arbitrary impact" of the levy.
Credit Suisse has a legitimate interest in pursuing formal proceedings "to provide certainty as to the proper scope and application of the 2010 one-off tax", the bank said in an emailed statement.
Credit Suisse "has sought to resolve Bank Payroll Tax-related issues over a number of years."
The bank's lawsuit is "too late and in the wrong place", George Peretz, a lawyer for the tax authority, HM Revenue and Customs, said at the hearing.
A representative for HMRC declined to comment. A trial is scheduled for the summer of 2019.