Category: TPG2022 Chapter VII: Special Considerations for Intra-group Services

TPG2022 Chapter VII paragraph 7.65

The levying of withholding taxes on the provision of low value-adding intra-group services can prevent the service provider recovering the totality of the costs incurred for rendering the services. When a profit element or mark-up is included in the charge of the services, tax administrations levying withholding tax are encouraged to apply it only to the amount of that profit element or mark-up ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter VII paragraph 7.64

An MNE group electing for application of this simplified methodology shall prepare the following information and documentation and make it available upon request to the tax administration of any entity within the group either making or receiving a payment for low value-adding intra-group services. A description of the categories of low value-adding intra-group services provided; the identity of the beneficiaries; the reasons justifying that each category of services constitute low value-adding intra-group services within the definition set out in Section D.1; the rationale for the provision of services within the context of the business of the MNE; a description of the benefits or expected benefits of each category of services; a description of the selected allocation keys and the reasons justifying that such allocation keys produce outcomes that reasonably reflect the benefits received, and confirmation of the mark-up applied; Written contracts or agreements for the ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter VII paragraph 7.63

Tax administrations adopting the simplified approach to low¬value-adding intra-group services set out in this section may include an appropriate threshold to enable them to review the simplified approach in cases where the threshold is exceeded. Such a threshold might, for example, be based on fixed financial ratios of the recipient party (e.g. proportion of intra-group services costs to total costs or turnover or pre-intra-group service charge profit) or be determined by reference to a group-wide ratio of total service costs to turnover of the MNE group or some other appropriate measure. Where such a threshold is adopted, the tax administration would not be obliged to accept the simplified approach if the level of low-value¬adding intra-group service fees exceeds the threshold and may require a full functional analysis and comparability analysis including the application of the benefits test to specific service charges ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter VII paragraph 7.62

Subject to the provisions of paragraph 7.55, the charge for services to any member of the electing MNE group shall be the sum of (i) the costs incurred by another group member in providing services specifically to the member under the second step as detailed in paragraph 7.57, plus the selected profit mark-up, and (ii) the share of pooled costs allocated to the member under the third step as detailed in paragraph 7.59 using the selected allocation key, plus the selected profit mark-up. The charge is payable to the group member that incurred the costs in the pool, and where there is more than one group member incurring those costs, in proportion to each member’s share of the pooled costs ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter VII paragraph 7.61

In determining the arm’s length charge for low value-adding intra-group services, the MNE provider of services shall apply a profit mark-up to all costs in the pool with the exception of any pass-through costs as determined under paragraphs 2.99 and 7.34. The same mark-up shall be utilised for all low value-adding services irrespective of the categories of services. The mark-up shall be equal to 5% of the relevant cost as determined in Section D.2.2. The mark-up under the simplified approach does not need to be justified by a benchmarking study. The same mark-up may be applied to low value-adding intra-group services performed by one group member solely on behalf of one other group member, the costs of which are separately identified under the guidance in paragraph 7.57. It should be noted that the low value-adding intra-group services mark-up should not, without further justification and analysis, ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter VII paragraph 7.60

The examples of allocation keys provided in the previous paragraph are not intended to be an exhaustive list. Depending on the facts and circumstances more sophisticated allocation keys might be used. However, a balance should be struck between theoretical sophistication and practical administration, bearing in mind that the costs involved are not generating high value for the group. In this context, there may be no need to use multiple allocation keys if the taxpayer can explain the reasons for concluding that a single key provides a reasonable reflection of the respective benefits. For reasons of consistency, the same allocation key or keys should be applied in determining the allocation to all recipients within the group of the same type of low value-adding intra-group services, and it is expected that the same reasonable key will be used from year to year unless there is a justified ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter VII paragraph 7.59

The third step in this simplified charge method for low value-adding intra-group service costs is to allocate among members of the group the costs in the cost pool that benefit multiple members of the group. The taxpayer will select one or more allocation keys to apply for this purpose based on the following principles. The appropriate allocation key or keys will depend on the nature of the services. The same allocation key or keys must be used on a consistent basis for all allocations of costs relating to the same category of services. In accordance with the guidance in paragraph 7.24, the allocation key or keys selected with respect to costs for each relevant category of services should reasonably reflect the level of benefit expected to be received by each recipient of the particular service. As a general rule, the allocation key or keys should ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter VII paragraph 7.58

At this stage in the calculation, the MNE group has identified a pool of costs associated with categories of low value-adding services which are provided to multiple members of the MNE group ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter VII paragraph 7.57

As a second step, the MNE group should identify and remove from the pool those costs that are attributable to services performed by one group member solely on behalf of one other group member. In creating a pool of payroll costs, for example, if group company A provides payroll services solely to group company B the relevant costs should be separately identified and omitted from the pool. However, if group company A performs payroll services for itself as well as for company B, the relevant costs should remain within the pool ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter VII paragraph 7.56

The initial step in applying the simplified approach to low value-adding intra-group services is for the MNE group to calculate, on an annual basis, a pool of all costs incurred by all members of the group in performing each category of low value-adding intra-group services. The costs to be pooled are the direct and indirect costs of rendering the service as well as, where relevant, the appropriate part of operating expenses (e.g. supervisory, general and administrative). The costs should be pooled according to category of services, and should identify the accounting cost centres used in creating the pool. Pass-through costs in the cost pool should be identified for the purposes of applying paragraph 7.61. The cost pool should exclude costs that are attributable to an in-house activity that benefits solely the company performing the activity (including shareholder activities performed by the shareholding company) ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter VII paragraph 7.55

While low value-adding intra-group services may provide benefits to all recipients of those services, questions may arise about the extent of the benefits and whether independent parties would have been willing to pay for the service or perform it themselves. Where the MNE group has followed the guidance of the simplified approach the documentation and reporting discussed in Section D.3 below, it should provide sufficient evidence that the benefits test is met given the nature of low value-adding intra-group services. In evaluating the benefits test, tax administrations should consider benefits only by categories of services and not on a specific charge basis. Thus, the taxpayer need only demonstrate that assistance was provided with, for example, payroll processing, rather than being required to specify individual acts undertaken that give rise to the costs charged. Provided such information outlined in paragraph 7.64 is made available to the ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter VII paragraph 7.54

As discussed in paragraph 7.6, under the arm’s length principle an obligation to pay for an intra-group service arises only where the benefits test is satisfied, i.e. the activity must provide the group member expected to pay for the service with economic or commercial value to enhance or maintain its commercial position, which in turn is determined by evaluating whether an independent enterprise in comparable circumstances would have been willing to pay for the activity if performed for it by an independent enterprise or would have performed the activity in-house for itself. However, because of the nature of the low value-adding intra-group services discussed in this section, such determinations may be difficult or may require greater effort than the amount of the charge warrants. Tax administrations should therefore generally refrain from reviewing or challenging the benefits test when the simplified approach has been applied under ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter VII paragraph 7.53

Where a tax administration has not adopted the simplified approach, and as a consequence the MNE group complies with the local requirements in that jurisdiction, such compliance would not disqualify the MNE group from the application of the simplified approach to other jurisdictions. In addition, not all MNE groups are vertically integrated and may instead have regional or divisional sub-groups with their own management and support structures. Therefore, MNE groups may elect to adopt the simplified method at the level of a sub-holding company and apply it on a consistent basis across all subsidiaries of that sub-holding company. When the MNE group elects for and applies the simplified approach, charges for low value-adding intra-group services that are or have been determined in conformity with the guidance in this subsection are determined to be in accordance with the arm’s length principle. A possible alternative approach for ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter VII paragraph 7.52

This subsection sets out the elements of a simplified charge mechanism for low value-adding intra-group services. This simplified method is premised on the proposition that all low value-adding service costs incurred in supporting the business of MNE group members should be allocated to those members. The basic benefits of using the simplified approach include: (1) reducing the compliance effort of meeting the benefits test and in demonstrating arm’s length charges; (2) providing greater certainty for MNE groups that the price charged for the qualifying activities will be accepted by the tax administrations that have adopted the simplified approach when the conditions of the simplified approach mentioned in paragraph 7.45 have been met; and (3) providing tax administrations with targeted documentation enabling efficient review of compliance risks. An MNE group electing to adopt this simplified method would as far as practicable apply it on a consistent, ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter VII paragraph 7.51

The definition of low value-adding intra-group services refers to the supportive nature of such services, which are not part of the core business of the MNE group. The provision of low value-adding intra-group services may, in fact, be the principal business activity of the legal entity providing the service, e.g. a shared service centre, provided these services do not relate to the core business of the group. As an example, assume that an MNE is engaged in the development, production, sale and marketing of dairy products worldwide. The group established a shared services company, the only activity of which is to act as a global IT support service centre. From the perspective of the IT support service provider, the rendering of the IT services is the company’s principal business activity. However, from the perspective of the service recipients, and from the perspective of the MNE ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter VII paragraph 7.50

The following examples illustrate an important element of the definition of low value-adding intra-group services, namely, that they should not include services which are part of the MNE’s core business. Services that may seem superficially similar in nature (in the example, credit risk analysis) may or may not be low value-adding intra-group services depending on the specific context and circumstances. The examples also illustrate the point that services may not qualify as low value-adding intra group services because in their specific context they create significant risk or unique and valuable intangibles. a) Company A, situated in country A, is a shoe manufacturer and wholesale distributor of shoes in the North-West region. Its wholly-owned subsidiary B, situated in country B, is a wholesale distributor in the South-East region of the shoes manufactured by A. As part of its operations, A routinely performs a credit risk analysis ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter VII paragraph 7.49

The following bullet points provide examples of services that would likely meet the definition of low value-adding services provided in paragraph 7.45: accounting and auditing, for example gathering and reviewing information for use in financial statements, maintenance of accounting records, preparation of financial statements, preparation or assistance in operational and financial audits, verifying authenticity and reliability of accounting records, and assistance in the preparation of budgets through compilation of data and information gathering; processing and management of accounts receivable and accounts payable, for example compilation of customer or client billing information, and credit control checking and processing; human resources activities, such as: staffing and recruitment, for example hiring procedures, assistance in evaluation of applicants and selection and appointment of personnel, on-boarding new employees, performance evaluation and assistance in defining careers, assistance in procedures to dismiss personnel, assistance in programmes for redundant personnel; training and employee ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter VII paragraph 7.48

The fact that an activity does not qualify for the simplified approach, as defined under paragraph 7.45, should not be interpreted to mean that that activity generates high returns. The activity could still add low value, and the determination of the arm’s length charge for such activity, if any, should be determined according to the guidance set out in paragraphs 7.1 to 7.42 ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter VII paragraph 7.47

The following activities would not qualify for the simplified approach outlined in this section: services constituting the core business of the MNE group; research and development services (including software development unless falling within the scope of information technology services in 7.49); manufacturing and production services; purchasing activities relating to raw materials or other materials that are used in the manufacturing or production process; sales, marketing and distribution activities; financial transactions; extraction, exploration, or processing of natural resources; insurance and reinsurance; services of corporate senior management (other than management supervision of services that qualify as low value-adding intra-group services under the definition of paragraph 7.45) ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter VII paragraph 7.46

The guidance in this section is not applicable to services that would ordinarily qualify as low value-adding intra-group services where such services are rendered to unrelated customers of the members of the MNE group. In such cases it can be expected that reliable internal comparables exist and can be used for determining the arm’s length price for the intra-group services ... Continue to full case
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