Category: Transfer Pricing Methods

Transfer Pricing Methods are used to establish transfer prices in controlled transactions. Traditional transaction methods and transactional profit methods can be used to establish whether the conditions imposed in the commercial or financial relations between associated enterprises are consistent with the arm’s length principle.

Traditional transaction methods are the comparable uncontrolled price method or CUP method, the resale price method, and the cost plus method.

Transactional profit methods are the transactional net margin method or TNMM and the transactional profit split method.

Sweden vs Absolut Company AB, June 2019, Supreme Administrative Court, Case no 1913-18

Sweden vs Absolut Company AB, June 2019, Supreme Administrative Court, Case no 1913-18

The Absolut Company AB had been issued an assessment of additional taxable income of SEK 247 mio. The assessment was based on the position that (1) The Absolut Company AB had been selling below the arm’s length price to an US group company – The Absolut Spirit Company Inc. (ASCI), and (2) that acquired distribution services from ASCI that had been priced above the arm’s length price. In 2018 the Swedish Administrative Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the tax administration. The Swedish Supreme Administrative Court has now ruled in favor of The Absolute Company AB. According to the Supreme Administrative Court the Swedish Tax Agency did not fulfill the burden of proof. The Supreme Administrative Court further states that the full range of results in the benchmark study could be applied and that a multiple year analysis of the tested party data can be used ... Continue to full case
Zambia vs Nestlé Trading Ltd, March 2019, Tax Appeals Tribunal, Case No 2018/TAT/03/DT

Zambia vs Nestlé Trading Ltd, March 2019, Tax Appeals Tribunal, Case No 2018/TAT/03/DT

Nestlé Zambia had reported continuous losses for more than five years. Following an Transfer Pricing audit covering years 2010 – 2014, the tax administration  issued an assessment whereby profits were adjusted to ZMW 56,579,048 resulting in additional taxes of ZMW13,860,103 plus penalties and other levies. The assessment was based on Nestlé Zambia being characterised as a limited risk distributor instead of a full fledged dristributor. Nestlé  Zambia held that the tax administrations characterisation of the entity as a limited risk distributor was incorrect and that the assessment had not been performed in accordance with the arm’s length principle.  The Tribunal ruled in favor of Nestlé, except for it’s position on the characterisation of the entity as a limited risk distributor (ground four cf. the excerp below). “The summary of our findings is  that  there  was  basis  for  initiating  a  transfer pricing audit in this case because as ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs Microsoft Denmark, January 2019, Danish Supreme Court

Denmark vs Microsoft Denmark, January 2019, Danish Supreme Court

The Danish tax authorities were of the opinion that Microsoft Denmark had not been properly remunerated for performing marketing activities due to the fact that OEM sales to Danish customers via MNE OEM’s had not been included in the calculation of local commissions. According to the Market Development Agreement (MDA agreement) concluded between Microsoft Denmark and MIOL with effect from 1 July 2003, Microsoft Denmark received the largest amount of either a commission based on sales invoiced in Denmark or a markup on it’s costs. Microsoft Denmark’s commission did not take into account the sale of Microsoft products that occurred through the sale of computers by multinational computer manufacturers with pre-installed Microsoft software to end users in Denmark – (OEM sales). In court, Microsoft required a dismissal. In a narrow 3:2 decision the Danish Supreme Court found in favor of Microsoft. “…Microsoft Denmark’s marketing may ... Continue to full case
Finland vs A Group, December 2018, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. KHO:2018:173

Finland vs A Group, December 2018, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. KHO:2018:173

During fiscal years 2006–2008, A-Group had been manufacturing and selling products in the construction industry – insulation and other building components. License fees received by the parent company A OY from the manufacturing companies had been determined by application of the CUP method. The remuneration of the sales companies in the group had been determined by application of the resale price method. The Finnish tax administration, tax tribunal and administrative court all found that the comparable license agreements chosen with regard to determining the intercompany license fees had such differences regarding products, contract terms and market areas that they were incomparable. With regard to the sale of the finished products, they found that the resale price method had not been applied on a sufficiently reliable basis. By reference to the 2010 version of the OECD’s Transfer Pricing Guidelines, they considered the best method for determining ... Continue to full case
Norway vs Stanley Black & Decker Norway AS , December 2018, Borgarting Lagmannsrett, Case No 2016-105694

Norway vs Stanley Black & Decker Norway AS , December 2018, Borgarting Lagmannsrett, Case No 2016-105694

At issue was the transfer pricing method applied on transactions between Black & Deckers Norwegian distribution company and the group trading hub in Luxembourg, Black & Decker Ltd SARL. The Norwegian tax authorities in 2013 issued a tax assessment of Black and Decker Norway AS where the taxable income for years 2005 – 2008 was increased with a total amount of NOK 50 million. The assessment was appealed to the Tax Appeals Committee where the amount was reduced to a total of NOK 26 million in line with recommendations of the tax authorities during the proceedings. The decision of the Tax Appeals Committee was upheld by the District Court and later the Court of Appeal where the appeal of Black & Decker was rejected. Click here for translation Norway vs Black & Decker december 2018 case no LB-2016-105694 Share: ... Continue to full case
Brazil vs Pfizer Ltda, October 2018, CARF, Case No 1201-002.628

Brazil vs Pfizer Ltda, October 2018, CARF, Case No 1201-002.628

A significant issue under dispute between taxpayers and the tax authorities in Brazil relates to the formula for calculating the resale price method (Preço de Revenda Menos Lucros) (PRL) of 60%. The Normative Ruling (NR) No. 243 issued in 2002 introduced significant changes to the calculation of the PRL method, creating controversy as to whether it had expanded beyond the scope of what the law intended. In the case against Pfizer Ltda the tax authorities found that, when determining an arm’s length price on imports, costs related to freight, insurance, and customs, must be added when borne by the importer. The Court ruled in favor favor of the tax authorities. Click here for translation Brazil vs Pfizer Ltda 17 October 2018 CARF Case no 1201-002-628 Share: ... Continue to full case
France vs Philips, September 2018, Conseil d’État, Case No 405779

France vs Philips, September 2018, Conseil d’État, Case No 405779

Philips France SAS provides contract R&D to it’s Dutch parent. Compensation for the service was calculated as cost plus 10%. In the years 2003 to 2007 Philips France received government subsidies for performing R&D. These subsidies had been deducted by the company from the cost base before calculating of the cost plus remuneration. The French tax authorities issued a tax assessment where the deduction was denied and the remuneration calculated on the full cost base. The Supreme Administrative Court ruled that a deduction of subsidies from the cost base does not constitute a “transfer of profits abroad” and allowed the reduced cost base for calculation of the arm’s length remuneration.  Click here for translation CÉt_8ème_-_3ème_chambres_réunies_19_09_2018_405779 Share: ... Continue to full case
Russia vs Togliattiazot, September 2018, Russian Arbitration Court, Case No. No. А55-1621 / 2018

Russia vs Togliattiazot, September 2018, Russian Arbitration Court, Case No. No. А55-1621 / 2018

A Russian company, Togliattiazot, supplied ammonia to the external market through a Swiss trading hub, Nitrochem Distribution AG. The tax authority found that the selling price of the ammonia to Nitrochem Distribution AG had not been determined by Togliattiazot in accordance with the arm’s length principle but had been to low. Hence, a transfer pricing assessment was issued where the CUP method was applied. At first, the company argued that Togliattiazot and Nitrochem Distribution AG were not even affiliates. Later, the company argued that transfer prices had been determined in accordance with the TNM-method. The court ruled in favor of the Russian tax authority. Based on information gathered by the tax authorities – SPARK-Interfax and Orbis Bureau Van Djik bases, Switzerland’s trade register, Internet sites, and e-mail correspondence etc – the tax authorities were able to prove in court, the presence of actual control between ... Continue to full case
US vs Medtronic, August 2018, U.S. Court of Appeals, Case No:  17-1866

US vs Medtronic, August 2018, U.S. Court of Appeals, Case No: 17-1866

The IRS was of the opinion, that Medtronic erred in allocating the profit earned from its devises and leads between its businesses located in the United States and its device manufacturer in Puerto Rico. To determine the arm’s length price for Medtronic’s intercompany licensing agreements the comparable profits method was therefor applied by the IRS, rather than the comparable uncontrolled transaction (CUT) used by Medtronic. Medtronic brought the case to the Tax Court. The Tax Court applied its own valuation analysis and concluded that the Pacesetter agreement was the best CUT to calculate the arm’s length result for intangible property. This decision from the Tax Court was then appealed by the IRS to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeal found that the Tax Court’s factual findings were insufficient to enable the Court to conduct an evaluation of Tax Court’s determination. Specifically, the Tax Court ... Continue to full case
France vs GE Healthcare Clinical Systems, June 2018, CE n° 409645

France vs GE Healthcare Clinical Systems, June 2018, CE n° 409645

In this case, the French tax authorities questioned the method implemented by GE Healthcare Clinical Systems to determine the purchase price of the equipment it was purchasing from other General Electric subsidiaries in the United States, Germany and Finland for distribution in France. The method used by the GE Group for determining the transfer prices was to apply a margin of 5% to all direct and indirect production costs borne by the foreign group suppliers. For the years 2007, 2008 and 2009 the tax authorities applied a TNM-method based on a study of twenty-six comparable companies. The operating results of GE Healthcare France was then determined by multiplying the median value of the ratio “operating result/turnover” from the benchmark study to the turnover in GE Healthcare Clinical Systems. The additional profit was declared and qualified as constituting an indirect transfer of profits to the related ... Continue to full case
Israel vs Kontera and Finisar, April 2018, Supreme Court, Case No. 943/16

Israel vs Kontera and Finisar, April 2018, Supreme Court, Case No. 943/16

In these two cases from Israel the Supreme Court rules on the issue of whether or not companies using the cost plus method must include stock-based compensation in the cost base. The Court concludes that stock-based compensation is an integral part of the compensation package of the Israeli subsidiaries’ employees with the objective of improving the quality of services rendered and strengthening the bond between the companies’ and employees’ cohesive goals. Therefore, such compensation should be included in the cost base. The Court also addressed the burden of proof in relation to transfer pricing disputes in Israel. Section 85 A (c) (2) provides that the burden of proof is with the tax authority if the taxpayer have submitted all required documentation, including a transfer pricing study, that “adequately substantiate” intercompany prices to be in accordance with arm’s length principle. Share: ... Continue to full case
Brazil vs Eli Lilly, April 2018, CARF Case No 1302-002-725F

Brazil vs Eli Lilly, April 2018, CARF Case No 1302-002-725F

This case concerns imports from related companies and use of the RPM method. Click here for translation Brazil vs Eli Lilly 11 april 2018 CARF Case No 1302-002-725F Share: ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs Microsoft Denmark, March 2018, Danish National Court, SKM2018.416.ØLR

Denmark vs Microsoft Denmark, March 2018, Danish National Court, SKM2018.416.ØLR

The Danish Tax Ministry and Microsoft meet in Court in a case where the Danish tax authorities had issued an assessment of DKK 308 million. The Danish tax authorities were of the opinion that Microsoft had not been properly remunerated for performing marketing activities due to the fact that OEM sales to Danish customers via MNE OEM’s had not been included in the calculation of local commissions. In court, Microsoft required a dismissal with reference to the fact that Sweden, Norway and Finland had either lost or resigned similar tax cases against Micorosoft. The National Court ruled in favor of Microsoft. The decision has now been appealed to the Supreme Court by the Danish tax ministery. Click here for translation DK vs MS Marketing-and Sales Commissioner Share: ... Continue to full case
India vs Amphenol Interconnect India (Private) Ltd., March 2018, Bombay High Court, case no. 536

India vs Amphenol Interconnect India (Private) Ltd., March 2018, Bombay High Court, case no. 536

In the case of Amphenol Interconnect the issue was whether two transactions – the resale of goods and sales assistance services for a commission – could be aggregated for transfer pricing purposes and whether the CUP or the TNM was the most appropriate transfer pricing method. The court found that that the CUP Method could not be used for the buy/sell transaction because of differences in location, volumes and customisation. The transactions could be aggregated and benchmarked together using the TNM Method. India vs Amphenol-Transfer-Pricing-CUP-TNMM Share: ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs. Danish Production A/S, Feb 2018, Tax Tribunal, SKM2018.62.LSR

Denmark vs. Danish Production A/S, Feb 2018, Tax Tribunal, SKM2018.62.LSR

The Danish Tax Tribunal found that the tax administration had been entitled to make an estimated assessment, due to the lack of a comparability analysis in the company’s transfer pricing documentation. The Tax Tribunal also found that the Danish company had correctly been chosen as tested party when applying the TNMM, although the foreign sales companies were the least complex. Information about the foreign sales companies was insufficient and a significant part of the income in the foreign sales companies related to sale of goods not purchased from the Danish production company. Click here for translation SKM2018-62-LSR Share: ... Continue to full case
Sweden vs. Absolut Company AB, Jan 2018, Administrative Court, No. 1610-16

Sweden vs. Absolut Company AB, Jan 2018, Administrative Court, No. 1610-16

In 2016 the Swedish Tax Tribunal ruled against the tax administration in the case of The Absolut (vodka) Company AB. The Administrative Court of Appeal has now overturned the Tribunal’s ruling and consequently SEK 247 mio. are now added to the taxable income of The Absolut Company AB. The Swedish tax administration found that The Absolut Company AB sold Absolut Vodka below the arm’s length price to a group company – The Absolut Spirit Company Inc. (ASCI). Furthermore, the swedish company acquired distribution services from ASCI at a price above the arm’s length price. The Court adresses: – timing of data and information in a Benchmarking search – use of interquartile range or full range – use of multible years data – the issue of hindsight Click here for translation Sweden vs The Absolute Company, Jan 2018, Administrative Court of Appeal, No 1610-16 Share: ... Continue to full case
Tokyo District Court, judgment of November 24 2017

Tokyo District Court, judgment of November 24 2017

A Japanese company had entered into a series of controlled transactions with foreing group companies granting services and licences to use intangibles – know-how related to manufacturing and sales, training, and provided support by sending over technical experts. The company had used a CUP method to price these transactions based on select “internal comparables”. Tax authorities disagreed with the company and found that the residual profit split method should be applied to price the transactions. The court found the transactions should be aggregated and that the price should be determined for the full packaged deal – not separately for each transaction. The foreign related-party transactions were compared – as a whole – to the comparable transactions selected by the company and the court found that the product lines, how to use them and frequency of dispatching employees to support the foreing group company were not ... Continue to full case
Japan vs. Publisher Corp, April 2017, Tokyo District Court

Japan vs. Publisher Corp, April 2017, Tokyo District Court

A Japanese company entered into a transaction with a foreing group company to import English-language learning materials into Japan. The learning materials were then resold to Japanese customers. The Japanese tax authority found that the resale price method should be used for setting the arm’s-length price for the transaction. The arm’s-length price for the controlled transaction was the price at which the Japanese company resold the English-language learning materials to customers, minus a normal profit margin multiplied by the price. The “normal profit margin” in this case was found to be the weighted average ratio of gross margin to the total revenue for multiple transactions, where unrelated parties imported the same as the English-language learning materials, or goods of a similar sort, and then resold them to customers. The tax authority held that unrelated parties importing and selling learning materials should be considered comparable transactions, ... Continue to full case
US vs. Amazon, March 2017, US Tax Court, Case No. 148 T.C. No 8

US vs. Amazon, March 2017, US Tax Court, Case No. 148 T.C. No 8

Amazon is an online retailer that sells products through Amazon.com and related websites. Amazon also sells third-party products for which it receives a commissions. In a series of transactions  in 2005 and 2006, Amazon US transferred intangibles to Amazon Europe, a newly established European HQ placed in Luxembourg. A Cost Sharing Arrangement (“CSA”), whereby Amazon US and Amazon Europe agreed to share costs of further research, development, and marketing in proportion to the benefits A License Agreement, whereby Amazon US granted Amazon Europe the right to Amazon US’s Technology IP An Assignment Agreement, whereby Amazon US granted Amazon Europe the right to Amazon US’s Marketing IP and Customer Lists. For these transfers Amazon Europe was required to make an upfront buy-in payment and annual payments according to the cost sharing arrangement for ongoing developments of the intangibles. In the valuation, Amazon had considered the intangibles to have ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs. Corp, March 2017, Tax Tribunal, SKM2017.187

Denmark vs. Corp, March 2017, Tax Tribunal, SKM2017.187

The Danish Tax administration had made an estimated assessment due to a insufficient TP documentation. In the assessment goodwill amortizations were included when comparing the operating income of the company to that of independent parties in a database survey. The Tax Tribunal found that the tax administration was not entitled to make an estimated assessment under Article 3B (3) of the current Tax Control Act. 8 (now paragraph 9) and section 5 3, where the TP documentation provided a sufficient basis for assessing whether prices and terms were in accordance with the arm’s length principle. According to the Tax Tribunal goodwill amortizations should not be included when comparing the operating income of the company to the operating income of independent parties in a database survey. Hence the assessment was reduced to DKK 0. The case has been appealed to the Danish National Court by the tax authorities ... Continue to full case
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