Transfer of intangible to offshore manufacturer.
(i) DevCo is a U.S. developer, producer and marketer of widgets. DevCo develops a new “high tech widget” (htw) that is manufactured by its foreign subsidiary ManuCo located in Country H. ManuCo sells the htw to MarkCo (a U.S. subsidiary of DevCo) for distribution and marketing in the United States. The taxable year 1996 is under audit, and the district director examines whether the royalty rate of 5 percent paid by ManuCo to DevCo is an arm’s length consideration for the htw technology.
(ii) Based on all the facts and circumstances, the district director determines that the comparable profits method will provide the most reliable measure of an arm’s length result. ManuCo is selected as the tested party because it engages in relatively routine manufacturing activities, while DevCo engages in a variety of complex activities using unique and valuable intangibles. Finally, because ManuCo engages in manufacturing activities, it is determined that the ratio of operating profit to operating assets is an appropriate profit level indicator.
(iii) Uncontrolled taxpayers performing similar functions cannot be found in country H. It is determined that data available in countries M and N provides the best match of companies in a similar market performing similar functions and bearing similar risks. Such data is sufficiently complete to identify many of the material differences between ManuCo and the uncontrolled comparables, and to make adjustments to account for such differences. However, data is not sufficiently complete so that it is likely that no material differences remain. In particular, the differences in geographic markets might have materially affected the results of the various companies.
(iv) In a separate analysis, it is determined that the price that ManuCo charged to MarkCo for the htw’s is an arm’s length price under § 1.482-3(b). Therefore, ManuCo’s financial data derived from its sales to MarkCo are reliable. ManuCo’s financial data from 1994-1996 is as follows:
|Sales to MarkCo||25,000||30,000||35,000||30,000|
|Cost of Goods Sold||6,250||7,500||8,750||7,500|
|Royalty to DevCo (5%)||1,250||1,500||1,750||1,500|
(v) Applying the ratios of average operating profit to operating assets for the 1994 through 1996 taxable years derived from a group of similar uncontrolled comparables located in country M and N to ManuCo’s average operating assets for the same period provides a set of comparable operating profits. The interquartile range for these average comparable operating profits is $3,000 to $4,500. ManuCo’s average reported operating profit for the years 1994 through 1996 ($21,500) falls outside this range. Therefore, the district director determines that an allocation may be appropriate for the 1996 taxable year.
(vi) To determine the amount, if any, of the allocation for the 1996 taxable year, the district director compares ManuCo’s reported operating profit for 1996 to the median of the comparable operating profits derived from the uncontrolled distributors’ results for 1996. The median result for the uncontrolled comparables for 1996 is $3,750. Based on this comparison, the district director increases royalties that ManuCo paid by $21,500 (the difference between $25,250 and the median of the comparable operating profits, $3,750).