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

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
India vs Sulzer Tech India Pvt Ltd, July 2022, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, Case No ITAT No 633-MUM-2021

India vs Sulzer Tech India Pvt Ltd, July 2022, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, Case No ITAT No 633-MUM-2021

Sulzer Tech India Pvt Ltd (the assessee) is in the business of providing design and engineering services. To that end Sulzer Management AG, an associated enterprise provided various IT and support services to Sulzer Tech India. The payment for these services had been determined based on a benchmark study where Sulzer Management AG was chosen as the tested party. The cost plus margin for the selected comparables ranged from 4.08% to 7.08%, with a median of 5.69%, and on that basis the payment to Sulzer Management of Rs. 2,52,49,650, which was equal to cost plus 5%, was considered to be at arm’s length. The tax authorities disagreed and held that Sulzer Tech India at arm’s length would not have paid any amount toward services which are not availed to it and have not benefited its business. Accordingly, an adjustment of additional income of Rs. 2,52,49,650, ... Continue to full case
Greece vs "Clothing Distributor Ltd.", June 2022, Tax Court, Case No 2400/2022

Greece vs “Clothing Distributor Ltd.”, June 2022, Tax Court, Case No 2400/2022

Following an audit, the Greek tax authorities determined that the remuneration of a Greek Clothing Distributor had not been determined in accordance with the arm’s length principle. On that basis an upwards adjustment of the taxable income was issued. An appeal was filed by “Clothing Distributor Ltd.” Judgement of the Court The court dismissed the appeal and upheld the assessment issued by the tax authorities. “the findings of the audit, as recorded in the partial income tax audit report of 29/12/2021 of the C.E.M.E.P., on which the contested act is based, are considered valid, acceptable and fully justified” Click here for English translation Click here for other translation gr-ded-2022-2400_en_ath-2400_2022 ... Continue to full case
Ukrain vs PrJSC "Poltava GZK", June 2022, Supreme Court, Case No 440/1053/19

Ukrain vs PrJSC “Poltava GZK”, June 2022, Supreme Court, Case No 440/1053/19

Poltova GZK is a Ukrainian subsidiary of the Ferrexpo group – the world’s third largest exporter of iron ore pellets. In FY 2015 the iron ore mined in Ukraine by Poltava GZK was sold to other companies in the group – Ferrexpo Middle East FZE, and the transfer prices for the ore was determined by application of the CUP method using Platts quotations. However, according to the tax authorities Poltava GZK used Platts quotations for pellets with a lower iron content when pricing the higher quality pellets, resulting in non arm’s length prices for the controlled transactions and lower profits in the Ukraine subsidiary. The tax authorities also found that Poltava GZK had overestimated the cost of freight – in the case of actual transportation of pellets by ships of different classes (“Panamax”, “Capesize”), the adjustment of the delivery conditions was carried out only at ... Continue to full case
Korea vs "Semicon-sales", June 2022, Tax Court, Case No 2020-서-2311

Korea vs “Semicon-sales”, June 2022, Tax Court, Case No 2020-서-2311

A Korean subsidiary (“Semicon-sales”) of a foreign group was active in distribution and sales of semiconductors for the automotive and industrial industry. Following an audit, the tax authorities found that the subsidiary had purchased semiconductors from a foreign affiliated company at a higher price than the arm’s length price. An assessment was issued where the the sum of the difference between the arm’s length price and the reported price had been included in the taxable income for FY 2015-2018. Both “Semicon-sales” and the tax authorities had applied the TNMM to find the arm’s length price, but the tax authorities had rejected the comparables selected by “Semicon” and replaced them with others. Not satisfied with the assessment “Semicon-sales” filed an appeal. Judgement of the Court The court remanded the case with an order to exclude from the benchmark comparables where the sales volume is significantly different ... Continue to full case
Italy vs Promgas s.p.a., May 2022, Supreme Court, Cases No 15668/2022

Italy vs Promgas s.p.a., May 2022, Supreme Court, Cases No 15668/2022

Promgas s.p.a. is 50% owned by the Italian company Eni s.p.a. and 50% owned by the Russian company Gazprom Export. It deals with the purchase and sale of natural gas of Russian origin destined for the Italian market. It sells the gas to a single Italian entity not belonging to the group, Edison spa, on the basis of a contract signed on 24 January 2000. In essence, Promgas s.p.a. performes intermediary function between the Russian company, Gazprom Export (exporter of the gas), and the Italian company, Edison s.p.a. (final purchaser of the gas). Following an audit for FY 2005/06, the tax authorities – based on the Transaction Net Margin Method – held that the operating margin obtained by Promgas s.p.a. (0.23% in 2025 and 0.06% in 2006) were not in line with the results that the company could have achieved at arm’s length. Applying an ... Continue to full case
Netherlands vs "Fertilizer BV", April 2022, Court of Appeal, Case No. ECLI:NL:GHSHE:2022:1198

Netherlands vs “Fertilizer BV”, April 2022, Court of Appeal, Case No. ECLI:NL:GHSHE:2022:1198

In 2016 Fertilizer BV had been issued a tax assessment for FY 2012 in which the tax authorities had imposed additional taxable income of €133,076,615. In November 2019 the district court ruled predominantly in favor of the tax authorities but reduced the adjustment to €78.294.312. An appel was filed by Fertilizer BV with the Court of Appeal. Judgement of the Court of Appeal Various issues related to the assessment was disputed before the Court. Dispute 1: Allocation of debt and equity capital to a permanent establishment in Libya in connection with the application of the object exemption. More specifically, the dispute is whether the creditworthiness of the head office was correctly taken as a starting point and a sufficient adjustment was made for the increased risk profile of the permanent establishment. The Court of Appeal answered this question in the affirmative, referring to the capital ... Continue to full case
Bulgaria vs Rubbertek Bulgaria EOOD, April 2022, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 3453

Bulgaria vs Rubbertek Bulgaria EOOD, April 2022, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 3453

By judgment of 22 May 2020, the Administrative Court upheld the complaint filed by “Rubbertek Bulgaria” and set aside an assessment for FY 2015-2016 issued by the tax authorities on the determination of the arm’s length income resulting from related party transactions. According to the Administrative court, the tax assessment was unfounded and unsubstantiated. An appeal was filed by the tax authorities with the Supreme Administrative Court in which the authorities stated that the decision of the Administrative Court was incorrect. The court erred in finding that the decision of the tax authorities referred to other comparable companies than those in Rubbertek Bulgaria’s documentation. Furthermore, the court uncritically accepted Rubbertek Bulgaria’s claim that the reason for the deviation of the declared income from the median for 2015 and 2016 was a relocation of assets from the German company to the Bulgarian company. Judgement of the ... Continue to full case
Italy vs Burckert Contromatic Italiana S.p.A., November 2021, Corte di Cassazione, Sez. 5 Num. 1417 Anno 2022

Italy vs Burckert Contromatic Italiana S.p.A., November 2021, Corte di Cassazione, Sez. 5 Num. 1417 Anno 2022

Burkert Contromatic Italiana s.p.a. is engaged in sale and services of fluid control systems. The italian company is a subsidiary of the German Bürkert Group. Following a tax audit, the Italian tax authorities issued a notice of assessment for FY 2007 on the grounds that the cost resulting from the transactions with its parent company (incorporated under Swiss law) were higher than the arms length price of these transactions. The company challenged the tax assessment, arguing that the analysis carried out by the Office had been superficial, both because it had examined accounting documents relating to tax years other than the one under examination (2007), and because the Office, in confirming that the Transactional Net Margin Method (TNMM) was the most reliable method, in order to verify whether the margin obtained by the company corresponded to the arm’s length value, had carried out a comparability ... Continue to full case
Panama vs "Construction S.A.", December 2021, Administrative Tax Court, Case No TAT- RF-111 (112/2019)

Panama vs “Construction S.A.”, December 2021, Administrative Tax Court, Case No TAT- RF-111 (112/2019)

“Construction Service S.A.” is active in Design, Repair and Construction of buildings. During the FY 2011-2013 it paid for services – management services and construction services – rendered from related parties. Following an audit the tax authorities issued an assessment where payments for these services had been adjusted by reference to the arm’s length principle. According to the authorities the benchmark studies in the company’s transfer pricing documentation suffered from comparability defects and moreover it had not been sufficiently demonstrated that the services had been effectively provided. The tax authorities pointed out that since the company is not considered comparable to the taxpayer, the interquartile range would be from 5.15% to 8.30% with a median of 5.70%; therefore, the taxpayer’s operating margin of 4.07% is outside the interquartile range. Not satisfied with the adjustment “Construction Service S.A.” filed an appeal with the Tax Court Judgement ... Continue to full case
Greece vs "GSS Ltd.", December 2021, Tax Court, Case No 4450/2021

Greece vs “GSS Ltd.”, December 2021, Tax Court, Case No 4450/2021

An assessment was issued for FY 2017, whereby additional income tax was imposed on “GSS Ltd” in the amount of 843.344,38 €, plus a fine of 421.672,19 €, i.e. a total amount of 1.265.016,57 €. Various adjustments had been made and among them interest rates on intra group loans, royalty payments, management fees, and losses related to disposal of shares. Not satisfied with the assessment, an appeal was filed by “GSS Ltd.” Judgement of the Tax Court The court dismissed the appeal of “GSS Ltd.” and upheld the assessment of the tax authorities Excerpts “Because only a few days after the entry of the holdings in its books, it sold them at a price below the nominal value of the companies’ shares, which lacks commercial substance and is not consistent with normal business behaviour. Since it is hereby held that, by means of the specific ... Continue to full case
Spain vs "Benchmark SA", November 2021, TEAC, Case No Rec. 4881/2019

Spain vs “Benchmark SA”, November 2021, TEAC, Case No Rec. 4881/2019

The tax authorities excluded some of the entities selected by the taxpayer in a benchmark study, as it considered that they did not meet the necessary comparability requirements, and also included some of the excluded entities, as it considered that they were comparable. These modifications to the benchmark resulted in a variation of the arm’s length range, with the margin earned by the taxpayer falling outside the range. The taxpayer argued that the recalculation of market value should be based on a complete new analysis to replace the one provided by the entity. In relation to the rejection of certain comparables, the taxpayer argued that the information used by the tax authorities and consulted on the internet was not available at the time the transfer pricing documentation was prepared. Judgement of the TEAC The TEAC rejected the claim filed by the taxpayer and upheld the assessment ... Continue to full case
Greece vs "Diary Distributor Ltd.", November 2021, Tax Court, Case No 579/2021

Greece vs “Diary Distributor Ltd.”, November 2021, Tax Court, Case No 579/2021

This case deals with arm’s length remuneration of a Greek Diary Distributor. Following an audit of “Diary Distributor Ltd.”, the Greek tax authorities determined that the prices paid to related parties for FY 2017 had been above the arm’s length price. On that basis an upwards adjustment of the taxable income was issued. An appeal was filed by “Diary Distributor Ltd.” Judgement of the Court The court dismissed the appeal of “Diary Distributor Ltd.” and upheld the assessment of the tax authorities Click here for English translation Click here for other translation gr-ded-2021-579_en_ath-579_2021 ... Continue to full case
Spain vs Varian Medical Systems Iberica S.L., October 2021, Audiencia Nacional, Case No SAN 4241/2021 - ECLI:ES:AN:2021:4241

Spain vs Varian Medical Systems Iberica S.L., October 2021, Audiencia Nacional, Case No SAN 4241/2021 – ECLI:ES:AN:2021:4241

Varian Medical Systems Iberica S.L. is the Spanish subsidiary of the multinational company Varian Medical Systems and carries out two types of activities – distribution and after-sales services. The products sold was purchased from related entities: Varian Medical Systems Inc., Varian Medical Systems UK Ltd., Varian Medical Systems International AG and Varian Medical Systems HAAN GmbH. The remuneration of Varian Medical Systems Iberica S.L. had been determined by application of the net margin method for all transactions and resulted in a operating margin of 2.86% in 2005 and 2.75% in 2006. In 2010 an audit were performed by the tax authorities for FY 2005 and 2006, which resulted in an adjustment. The tax authorities accepted the net margin method, but made various corrections in its application. The adjustments made by the tax authorities resulted in a operating margin of 6.45% in the two years under ... Continue to full case
France vs (SAS) SKF Holding France, October 2021, Conseil d'Etat, Case No. 443133

France vs (SAS) SKF Holding France, October 2021, Conseil d’Etat, Case No. 443133

RKS, whose business consists of the manufacture of very large custom bearings for the civil and military industries, is controlled by the Swedish group SKF through (SAS) SKF Holding France. RKS was subject to a tax audit for FY 2009 and 2010, at the end of which the tax authorities adjusted the prices at which it had invoiced its products to the SKF group’s distribution companies abroad. According to the tax authorities, RKS was a simple manufacturing company that did not have control over strategic and operational risks, at therefore should not have losses resulting from such risks. As a result of the adjustment, SKF Holding France (the immediate parent of RKS) was subject to additional corporate income taxes amounting to EUR 5,385,325, including penalties. In a 2018 judgment the Montreuil Administrative Court discharged the additional taxes. However, this decision was set aside by the ... Continue to full case
Greece vs Cypriot company Ltd., September 2021, Tax Court, Case No 2940/2021

Greece vs Cypriot company Ltd., September 2021, Tax Court, Case No 2940/2021

This case deals with arm’s length pricing of various inter-company loans which had been granted – free of interest – by Cypriot company Ltd. to an affiliate group company. Following an audit of Cypriot company Ltd, an upwards adjustment of the taxable income was issued. The adjustment was based on a comparison of the terms of the controlled transaction and the terms prevailing in transactions between independent parties. The lack of interest on the funds provided (deposit of a remittance minus acceptance of a remittance) was not considered in accordance with the arm’s length principle. Cypriot company Ltd disagreed with the assessment and filed an appeal with the tax court. Judgement of the Tax Court The Tax Court dismissed the appeal of Cypriot company Ltd. in regards of the arm’s length pricing of the loans. Excerpt “It is evident from the above that the bond ... Continue to full case
Colombia vs Carbones El Tesoro S.A., September 2021, Administrative Court, Case No. 22352

Colombia vs Carbones El Tesoro S.A., September 2021, Administrative Court, Case No. 22352

At issue is the selection of the most appropriate transfer pricing method for sale of coal mined by Carbones El Tesoro S.A. in Colombia to its related party abroad, Glencore International AG. Carbones El Tesoro S.A. had determined the transfer price by application of the TNMM method. The tax authorities found that the most appropriate method for pricing the transactions was the CUP method. To that end, the tax authorities applied a database (McCloskey price list) in which the price, was determined by referring to a good similar to that traded (thermal coal) and to the Btus (British Thermal Unit) thereof. On 29 April 2011, the Settlement Management Division of the Barranquilla Regional Tax Directorate issued an assessment by which it modified the income tax return for the taxable year 2007, in the sense of disregarding as a net loss for the year the amount ... Continue to full case
Finland vs A Oy, September 2021, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. KHO:2021:127

Finland vs A Oy, September 2021, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. KHO:2021:127

A Oy, the parent company of group A, had not charged a royalty (the so-called concept fee) to all local companies in the group. The tax authorities had determined the level of the local companies’ arm’s length results and thus the amounts of royalties not collected from them on the basis of the results of nine comparable companies. The comparable companies’ performance levels were -0,24 %, 0,60 %, 1,07 %, 2,90 %, 3,70 %, 5,30 %, 8,40 %, 12,30 % and 13,50 %. The interquartile range of the results had been 1.1-8.4% and the median 3.7%. The tax inspectors had set the routine rate of return for all local companies at 4,5 %, which was also used by A Ltd as the basis for the concept fee. A’s taxes had been adjusted accordingly to the detriment of the company. Before the Supreme Administrative Court, A ... Continue to full case
Austria vs. "Yogo Food-Distributor", August 2021, Bundesfinanzgericht, Case No RV/3100163/2018

Austria vs. “Yogo Food-Distributor”, August 2021, Bundesfinanzgericht, Case No RV/3100163/2018

“Yogo Food-Distributor” is a subsidiary in the “Yogo Group” and trades in spices and canned meat and vegetables from the territory of the former Yugoslavia. The main sales markets are Austria and Germany (90%), the remainder being distributed among France, Scandinavia, Great Britain and the Benelux countries. Following an audit the tax authorities issued an assessment of additional taxable income determined by way of a benchmark study into comparable businesses. Yogo Food Distributor was of the opinion that the benchmark-study did not comply with the OECD guidelines in regards of comparability factors and filed a complaint with the Court. Judgement of the Court The contested notices (corporate income tax notices for the years 2010, 2011 and 2012, each dated 13 October 2014) and the preliminary appeal decision (dated 22 September 2017) are annulled pursuant to section 278(1) BAO and the matter is referred back to ... Continue to full case