Category: Benchmark, Range and Median

In transfer pricing arm’s length prices are often determined based on benchmark studies. These studies produces a range of figures. In some cases, not all comparable transactions will have a relatively equal degree of comparability. Where every effort has been made to exclude points that have a lesser degree of comparability, it may still be the case, that what is arrived at is a range of figures for which comparability defects remain that cannot be identified and/or quantified.

Substantial deviation among points in that range may indicate that the data used in establishing some of the points may not be as reliable as the data used to establish the other points in the range.

In such cases, if the range includes a sizeable number of observations, statistical tools (e.g. the interquartile range or other percentiles) can enhance the reliability of the analysis. It may also be appropriate to use measures of central tendency (for instance the median, the mean or weighted averages) to determine the arm’s length price applied, in order to minimise the effect of unknown or unquantifiable remaining comparability defects.

See on this issue, TPG 2017, para 3.55 – 3.62

Czech Republic vs. Eli Lilly ČR, s.r.o., August 2023, Supreme Administrative Court, No. 6 Afs 125/2022 - 65

Czech Republic vs. Eli Lilly ČR, s.r.o., August 2023, Supreme Administrative Court, No. 6 Afs 125/2022 – 65

Eli Lilly ČR imports pharmaceutical products purchased from Eli Lilly Export S.A. (Swiss sales and marketing hub) into the Czech Republic and Slovakia and distributes them to local distributors. The arrangement between the Czech company and the Swiss company is based on a Service Contract in which Eli Lilly ČR is named as the service provider to Eli Lilly Export S.A. (the principal). Eli Lilly ČR was selling the products at a lower price than the price it purchased them for from Eli Lilly Export S.A. According to the company this was due to local price controls of pharmaceuticals. However, Eli Lilly ČR was also paid for providing marketing services by the Swiss HQ, which ensured that Eli Lilly ČR was profitable, despite selling the products at a loss. Eli Lilly ČR reported the marketing services as a provision of services with the place of ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs "Soy A/S", June 2023, Eastern High Court, SKM2023.316.ØLR

Denmark vs “Soy A/S”, June 2023, Eastern High Court, SKM2023.316.ØLR

Two issues were adressed in this case – transfer pricing and withholding taxes. The transfer pricing issue concerned whether the Danish tax authorities (SKAT) had been entitled to issue an assessment on controlled transactions made between “Soy A/S” and a flow-through company in the group located in a low tax jurisdiction. The withholding tax issue concerned whether the 13 transfers actually constituted taxable dividends under section 31, D of the Danish Corporation Tax Act, which “Soy A/S” was subsequently liable for not having withheld tax at source, cf. section 69(1) of the Danish Withholding Tax Act. Judgement of the High Court In regards of the transfer pricing issue, the High Court found that the company’s TP documentation was subject to a number of deficiencies which meant that the documentation did not provide the tax authorities with a sufficient basis for assessing whether the transactions were ... Continue to full case
Portugal vs R... Cash & C..., S.A., June 2023, Tribunal Central Administrativo Sul, Case 2579/16.6 BELRS

Portugal vs R… Cash & C…, S.A., June 2023, Tribunal Central Administrativo Sul, Case 2579/16.6 BELRS

The tax authorities had issued a notice of assessment which disallowed tax deductions for royalties paid by R…Cash & C…, S.A. to its Polish parent company, O…Mark Sp. Z.o.o. R… Cash & C…, S.A. appealed to the Administrative Court, which later annulled the assessment. The tax authorities then filed an appeal with the Administrative Court of Appeal. Judgement of the Court The Court of Appeal revoked the judgement issued by the administrative court and decided in favour of the tax authorities. Extracts “It is clear from the evidence in the case file that the applicant has succeeded in demonstrating that the agreement to transfer rights is not based on effective competition, in the context of identical operations carried out by independent entities. The studies presented by the challenger do not succeed in overturning this assertion, since, as is clear from the evidence (12), they relate ... Continue to full case
Spain vs Ferroli España, S.L.U., May 2023, Audiencia Nacional, Case No 3400/2023 - ECLI:EN:AN:2023:3400

Spain vs Ferroli España, S.L.U., May 2023, Audiencia Nacional, Case No 3400/2023 – ECLI:EN:AN:2023:3400

Ferroli España, S.L.U. is a Spanish manufacturer manufacture of cookers and heaters. In FY 2010 and 2011 the company had various transactions with other companies in the Ferroli Group and reported negative profit margins on these transactions. According to the company this was due to the financial crises in Spain. Following an audit, the tax authorities issued a notice of assessment where the profit of Ferrolia had been adjusted resulting in additional taxable income. The TNN method had been used and profits were adjusted to the median. An appeal was filed by Ferroli. Judgement of the Court The Court largely ruled in favor of the tax authorities, but according to the Court, an adjustment to the median could only be made where the tax authorities established the existence of comparability defects. Since sufficient proof of such defects had not been established, the adjustment was reduced ... Continue to full case
India vs Auronext Pharma Private Limited, May 2023, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, ITA-TP No. 486/Hyd/2022

India vs Auronext Pharma Private Limited, May 2023, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, ITA-TP No. 486/Hyd/2022

An assessment had been issued by the tax authorites in regards of Auronext Pharma’s pricing of purchase and sales transactions with related parties. The tax authorities had rejected the CUP method applied by Auronext Pharma. “Since the comparable transactions were with related parties those transactions cannot be considered under CUP method for the purpose of benchmarking the taxpayers transactions.” Instead, the tax authorities used the Transactional Net Margin Method (TNMM). An appeal was filed by Auronext Pharma with the ITAT. Judgement of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal The ITAT remanded the case to the tax authorities to examine afresh the data available with respect to un-related parties and find out whether the transaction of the assessee are at arm’s length or not by applying the CUP method. Excerpt ” (…) The sole basis of rejecting the method adopted by the assessee was the transactions were ... Continue to full case
France vs SAS Weg France, May 2023, CAA, Case N° 21LY03690

France vs SAS Weg France, May 2023, CAA, Case N° 21LY03690

SAS Weg France is owned by the Spanish company Weg Iberia, which in turn is wholly owned by the head company of the Weg Equipamentos Electricos SA group, based in Brazil. At the end of an audit covering the financial years 2010, 2011 and 2012, the tax authorities noted that SAS Weg France, which had not provided any documentation justifying the transfer pricing policy within the group, paid its suppliers, who were members of the group, within a maximum of 30 days of shipment of the goods, whereas delivery times averaged two months from Brazil and three months from China, and that its customers paid its invoices between 45 and 90 days after invoicing. According to the tax authorities SAS Weg France thus performed a gratuitous financial function which constituted an indirect transfer of profits within the meaning of Article 57 of the General Tax ... Continue to full case
Czech Republic vs ESAB CZ, s. r. o., May 2023, Regional Court , Case No 31 Af 21/2022 - 99

Czech Republic vs ESAB CZ, s. r. o., May 2023, Regional Court , Case No 31 Af 21/2022 – 99

ESAB CZ was a contract manufacturer for ESAB Europe. The contract set ESAB CZ’s target profit margin for 2014 and 2015 at between 2,5 % and 3,5 %, with an adjustment to 3 % if the actual profit margin achieved was outside that range. Those values were determined on the basis of a benchmarking analysis which produced a minimum profit margin of 0,41 % and an interquartile range of profit margins between 2,14 % and 5,17 %. The benchmarking analysis were not disputed, but the tax authorities held that the cost base on which the markup was calculated should have included annual amortisations/depreciations. ESAB CZ disagreed and filed a complaint with the Regional Court. Judgement of the Court The court ruled in favour of the tax authorities. Excerpts “51. Furthermore, it should be emphasised that the applicant has not demonstrated that the asset allowance does ... Continue to full case
Italy vs Menfi Industria s.p.a., December 2022, Supreme Court, Cases No 11252/2023

Italy vs Menfi Industria s.p.a., December 2022, Supreme Court, Cases No 11252/2023

Menfi Industria s.p.a. is a manufacturer of household goods – appliances, crockery, stainless steel items. Following an audit the tax authorities served Menfi Industria a notice of assessment for FY 2008. According to the tax authorities the company had sold products to another group company, at a price lower than the normal value. The adjustment was determined using the TNMM method. Other non-transfer pricing adjustments were also made in the assessment. An appeal was filed by Menfi Industria, which the court of first instance found to be well-founded in regards of leasing fees, depreciations etc., but in regards of the transfer pricing adjustment the appeal was dismissed. Subsequently, the Lombardy Court of Appeal confirmed the decision of the first instance court. Menfi Industria then appealed to the Supreme Court. In its appeal Menfi Industris pointed out that, with regard to the issue of the sale ... Continue to full case
Malaysia vs Sandakan Edible Oils SDN BHD, April 2023, High Court, Case No WA-14-2-02/2021

Malaysia vs Sandakan Edible Oils SDN BHD, April 2023, High Court, Case No WA-14-2-02/2021

Sandakan Edible Oils SDN BHD principal activity is, amongst others, to carry out the refining and sale of edible oils and related products, and the packaging and sale of cooking oil. It applied the Comparable Uncontrolled Price (CUP) method as the transfer pricing methodology to determine the arm’s length pricing of its controlled transactions. Following an audit for FY 2010-2013 the tax authorities informed Sandakan Edible Oils SDN BHD that it would be invoking section 140A of the ITA to raise an additional assessment. The tax authorities rejected the CUP method and instead applied the Transactional Net Margin Method (TNMM). According to the benchmarking analysis, Sandakan Edible Oils SDN BHD’s financial results was within the interquartile range for all years, but for 2010 the results was below the median. On that basis the tax authorities held that the margin for 2010 should be adjusted up ... Continue to full case
Ukrain vs "LK Ukraine Group",March 2023, Supreme Court, Case No. 1340/3525/18 (proceedings No. K/9901/11787/19)

Ukrain vs “LK Ukraine Group”,March 2023, Supreme Court, Case No. 1340/3525/18 (proceedings No. K/9901/11787/19)

The tax authority, based on the results of an audit, found that the prices in controlled export transactions of goods, carried out between “LK Ukraine Group” and related parties, did not comply with the arm’s length principle, i.e. the selling prices of the goods were lower than the minimum values of the arm’s length range. Disagreeing with this conclusion, “LK Ukraine Group” stated that the the method applied by the tax authority during the audit of prices in controlled transactions was unlawful and inappropriate due to the lack of information on all possible costs. At the request of the supervisory authority, “LK Ukraine Group” provided evidence that when determining the prices of goods, the group was guided by information based on monitoring, in particular, prices on the Euronext exchange, namely, the average selling prices of agricultural products on the terms of delivery EXW-port, which refuted ... Continue to full case
Kazakhstan vs "KOR Oil Company", January 2023, Supreme Court, No. 6001-22-00-6ап/1563

Kazakhstan vs “KOR Oil Company”, January 2023, Supreme Court, No. 6001-22-00-6ап/1563

The tax authority had conducted a tax audit of “KOR Oil Company” on transfer pricing issues for FY 2013-2015. Based on the results of the audit, a notice was issued on corporate income tax in the amount of 138 515 235 and penalties in the amount 34 807 179. In the decision the tax authorities had based the pricing of the controlled oil transactions on market data provided by Argus China Petroleum, whereas the company had based the pricing on Brent quotation. On appeal, the assessment of additional tax was later canceled by the tax court and the court of appeal. In an appeal to the Supreme Court the tax authorities asked the court to cancel the the decision of tax court and the court of appeal. The tax authorities does not “…agree that the Argus China Petroleum source used by the Department does not ... Continue to full case
Spain vs "SGGE W T Spanish branch", January 2023, TEAC, Case No Rec. 00/07503/2020/00/00

Spain vs “SGGE W T Spanish branch”, January 2023, TEAC, Case No Rec. 00/07503/2020/00/00

SGGE W T is a Spanish branch of SGG that carries out distribution and marketing activities related to the information technology network products and services. SGG is part of the KF group which “is an international group that provides solutions and services in the Information Technology (IT) sector, starting its activity in . .. as a distributor of access and communications networks”. The group “is the result of several corporate operations, mainly company acquisitions and mergers carried out to increase its share in world markets” and “is mainly organized in three divisions (SGG, QR and …) according to the IT areas (Technology, Integration and Consulting) in which they operate”. Following an audit of FY 2015 and 2016 the tax authorities issued assessments of additional income to the Spanish branch. One of the issues identified was SGGE’s remuneration for its sales and marketing activities. According to ... Continue to full case
Panama vs "Tech Distributor S.A.", January 2023, Administrative Tax Tribunal, Case No TAT-RF-006 Expediente: 115-19

Panama vs “Tech Distributor S.A.”, January 2023, Administrative Tax Tribunal, Case No TAT-RF-006 Expediente: 115-19

The tax authorities issued a transfer pricing adjustment of USD 1.4 million for FY2013, claiming that the remuneration of “Tech Distributor S.A.” had not been determined in accordance with the arm’s length principle. According to the tax authorities, there were inconsistencies between the amounts of controlled transactions reported in the transfer pricing documentation and the income tax return. The tax authorities also found that “Tech Distributor S.A.” had incorrectly included “other income” in the calculation of its operating margin for the purposes of applying the Transactional Net Margin Method (TNMM). Finally, some of the companies selected as comparables were rejected and “comparability adjustments” were also disregarded. After making these adjustments to the benchmark analysis, the profit margin of “Tech Distributor S.A.” was outside the interquartile range and therefore the profit was adjusted to the median. “Tech Distributor S.A. appealed to the Tax Tribunal. Decision of ... Continue to full case
Czech Republic vs ARGO-HYTOS s.r.o., January 2023, Supreme Administrative Court, No. 2 Afs 66/2021 - 57

Czech Republic vs ARGO-HYTOS s.r.o., January 2023, Supreme Administrative Court, No. 2 Afs 66/2021 – 57

Following an audit the tax authorities concluded that ARGO-HYTOS s.r.o. sold goods (valves, blocks and hydraulic aggregates) to related parties at a price that differed from the prices that would have been agreed between unrelated parties under the same or similar conditions. Furthermore, according to the tax authorities ARGO-HYTOS s.r.o. did not satisfactorily document the difference from those normal prices. An appeal was filed by ARGO-HYTOS s.r.o. with the Regional Court which was dismissed the action by the above-quoted judgment No 30 Af 21/2019-46 (‘the contested judgment’). In the judgement, the Regional Court concluded that ARGO-HYTOS s.r.o. had not satisfactorily demonstrated the difference between the prices agreed between it and the companies of the ARGO-HYTOS group and the prices which would have been agreed between unrelated parties under the same or similar conditions. The Regional Court held that, if the tax authorities wished to justify ... Continue to full case
Bulgaria vs Yazaki Bulgaria Ltd, January 2023, Administrative Court, Case No 22/2022

Bulgaria vs Yazaki Bulgaria Ltd, January 2023, Administrative Court, Case No 22/2022

Yazaki Bulgaria Ltd is active in the automotive industry and is part of the Japanese Yazaki Group. It had used the transactional net margin method (TNMM) to demonstrate that prices for the sale of products to related parties were at arm’s length. Following an audit, the tax authorities found that the company’s profit was outside the arm’s length range and issued an assessment of additional income for FY2014-2016. According to the tax authorities, Yazaki Bulgaria Ltd had not included all its costs when calculating its profit margin. Administrative Court Judgement The Administrative Court annulled the tax authority’s assessment and ruled in favour of Yazaki Bulgaria Ltd. Excerpt “It is undisputed in this case that the adjustments made by the appellant for comparability with the amounts of additional labour costs in individual years are as follows: For 2014, the reported operating loss of £2,192,845.67 was adjusted ... Continue to full case
Poland vs C. spółka z o.o. , November 2022, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No II FSK 974/22

Poland vs C. spółka z o.o. , November 2022, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No II FSK 974/22

C. spółka z o.o. is part of a larger group and mainly (95%) sells products (boxes, metal enclosures, etc.) and related services to related parties. According to its transfer pricing documentation the “cost-plus” method had been used to determine the prices of products sold to related parties. The company was audited for FY 2016. According to the tax authorities, the company did not provide enough evidence to support the cost-plus method. The tax authority instead used the transactional net profit method to estimate the company’s income for the year 2016, taking into account factors such as characteristics of goods or services, functional analysis, contractual conditions, economic conditions, and economic strategy by comparing the company’s performance with similar companies over a 3 year period by using EBIT margin. As a result, the authority adjusted the company’s loss and established income based on a EBIT margin of ... Continue to full case
Greece vs "Pharma Distributor Ltd.", November 2022, Tax Court, Case No ΔΕΔ 3712/2022

Greece vs “Pharma Distributor Ltd.”, November 2022, Tax Court, Case No ΔΕΔ 3712/2022

Following an audit, the Greek tax authorities determined that the profit of “Pharma Distributor Ltd” for sales and service activities had not been determined in accordance with the arm’s length principle. The tax authorities issued an assessment of additional taxable income, rejecting the resale price method used by “Pharma Distributor Ltd” and instead applying the TNMM. An appeal was filed by “Pharma Distributor Ltd”. Judgement of the Tax Court The Court dismissed the appeal in part and allowed it in part. The tax authorities’ assessment was largely upheld in relation to sales activities, where it was found that the prices charged by “Pharma Distributor Ltd” were outside the interquartile range. In relation to the service activities, the Court found that the remuneration for these activities was within the arm’s length range and therefore annulled the assessment. Excerpts “In the light of the above, as regards ... Continue to full case
Hungary vs "Gas-Trader KtF", November 2022, Supreme Administrative Court, Case no Kfv.I.35.343/2022/8

Hungary vs “Gas-Trader KtF”, November 2022, Supreme Administrative Court, Case no Kfv.I.35.343/2022/8

“Gas-Trader KtF” – a subsidiary in the E.ON group – had entered into loan agreements with other group companies and the related parties had determined the interest rate by application of the CUP method using the Thomson Reuters LoanConnector database. Comparable transactions was extracted from the database by searching for credit rating, type of debtor party, date of loan, maturity, transactions with completed status, and spread/provision fee. An audit was conducted by the tax authorities for FY 2012-2013 and the interest rate determined by the group was found to be incompliant with the arm’s length principle. The tax authorities applied the same method as Gas-Trader but added further search criteria in the selection of comparable transactions – credit purpose and insurance coverage. This resulted in a different range and an assessment of additional taxable income was issued. An appeal was filed by Gas-Trader KtF with ... Continue to full case
India vs Amway India Enterprises Pvt. Ltd., September 2022, High Court of Delhi, Case No ITA 313/2022

India vs Amway India Enterprises Pvt. Ltd., September 2022, High Court of Delhi, Case No ITA 313/2022

Amway India is engaged in the business of direct selling of consumer products through multi-level marketing. For FY 2013-2014 Amway paid royalties to a foreign Amway group company. Following an audit, an assessment was issued by the tax authorities where the royalty had been reduced based on a benchmark study resulting in additional taxable income. An appeal was filed by Amway India with the Income Tax Tribunal where the assessment was set aside. An appeal was then filed by the tax authorities with the High Court. In the appeal the tax authorities stated that the Tribunal had failed to appreciate the fact that the royalty payments were excessive considering the Advertisement, Marketing and Promotion (‘AMP’) expenses incurred by Amway India for the benefit of the group’s trademark and brand. According to the tax authorities Amway India created marketing intangibles for the group and should be ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs. Codan Forsikring A/S, August 2022, Eastern High Court, Case no BS-11370/2020

Denmark vs. Codan Forsikring A/S, August 2022, Eastern High Court, Case no BS-11370/2020

This case concerns pricing of four reinsurance agreements concluded between Codan Forsikring A/S (Codan) and a controlled Irish company, RSA Reinsurance Ireland Ltd. for FY 2010-2013. The tax authorities had increased Codan’s taxable income for FY 2010, 2011 and 2012 by DKK 23 million, DKK 25 million, and DKK 18 million and reduced the taxable income for FY 2013 by DKK 4 million. At issue was whether the expenses incurred by Codan under the reinsurance agreements with RSA Ireland were commercially justified and thus deductible. If so, there were questions as to whether the reinsurance agreements had been concluded at arm’s length. By decision of 26 June 2019 the Tax Court reduced the assessment to DKK 0 for the 2010-2012 tax years and upheld Codan’s taxable income for FY 2013. An appeal was filed by the tax authorities. Judgement of the Eastern High Court The ... Continue to full case