Category: § 1.482-5 Comparable profits method

§ 1.482-5(e) Example 6.

Adjusting operating profit for differences in accounts payable. (i) USD is the U.S. subsidiary of a foreign corporation. USD purchases goods from its foreign parent and sells them in the U.S. market. For purposes of applying the comparable profits method, 10 uncontrolled distributors that are similar to USD have been identified. (ii) There are significant differences in the level of accounts payable among the uncontrolled distributors and USD. To adjust for these differences, the district director increases the operating profit of the uncontrolled distributors and USD to reflect interest expense imputed to the accounts payable. The imputed interest expense for each company is calculated by multiplying the company’s accounts payable by an interest rate appropriate for its short-term debt ... Continue to full case

§ 1.482-5(e) Example 5.

Adjusting operating assets and operating profit for differences in accounts receivable. (i) USM is a U.S. company that manufactures parts for industrial equipment and sells them to its foreign parent corporation. For purposes of applying the comparable profits method, 15 uncontrolled manufacturers that are similar to USM have been identified. (ii) USM has a significantly lower level of accounts receivable than the uncontrolled manufacturers. Since the rate of return on capital employed is to be used as the profit level indicator, both operating assets and operating profits must be adjusted to account for this difference. Each uncontrolled comparable’s operating assets is reduced by the amount (relative to sales) by which they exceed USM’s accounts receivable. Each uncontrolled comparable’s operating profit is adjusted by deducting imputed interest income on the excess accounts receivable. This imputed interest income is calculated by multiplying the uncontrolled comparable’s excess accounts ... Continue to full case

§ 1.482-5(e) Example 4.

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 ... Continue to full case

§ 1.482-5(e) Example 3.

Multiple year analysis. (i) The facts are the same as in Example 2. In addition, the district director examines the taxpayer’s results for the 1997 taxable year. As in Example 2, the district director increases USSub’s income for the 1996 taxable year by $24,250. The results for the 1997 taxable year, together with the 1995 and 1996 taxable years, are as follows: 1995 1996 1997 Average Sales $560,000 $500,000 $530,000 $530,000 Cost of Good Sold 460,000 400,000 430,000 430,000 Operating Expenses 110,000 110,000 110,000 110,000 Operating Profit (10,000) (10,000) (10,000) (10,000) (ii) The interquartile range of comparable operating profits, based on average results from the uncontrolled comparables and average sales for USSub for the years 1995 through 1997, ranges from $15,500 to $30,000. In determining whether an allocation for the 1997 taxable year may be made, the district director compares USSub’s average reported operating profit for the years 1995 ... Continue to full case

§ 1.482-5(e) Example 2.

Transfer of tangible property resulting in adjustment. (i) The facts are the same as in Example 1 except that USSub reported the following income and expenses: 1994 1995 1996 Average Sales $500,000 $560,000 $500,000 $520,000 Cost of Good Sold 370,000 460,000 400,000 410,000 Operating Expenses 110,000 110,000 110,000 110,000 Operating Profit 20,000 (10,000) (10,000) 0 (ii) The interquartile range of comparable operating profits remains the same as derived in Example 1: $19,760 to $34,840. USSub’s average operating profit for the years 1994 through 1996 ($0) falls outside this range. Therefore, the district director determines that an allocation may be appropriate. (iii) To determine the amount, if any, of the allocation, the district director compares USSub’s reported operating profit for 1996 to comparable operating profits derived from the uncontrolled distributors’ results for 1996. The ratio of operating profit to sales in 1996 is calculated for each of the uncontrolled comparables ... Continue to full case

§ 1.482-5(e) Example 1.

Transfer of tangible property resulting in no adjustment. (i) FP is a publicly traded foreign corporation with a U.S. subsidiary, USSub, that is under audit for its 1996 taxable year. FP manufactures a consumer product for worldwide distribution. USSub imports the assembled product and distributes it within the United States at the wholesale level under the FP name. (ii) FP does not allow uncontrolled taxpayers to distribute the product. Similar products are produced by other companies but none of them is sold to uncontrolled taxpayers or to uncontrolled distributors. (iii) 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. USSub is selected as the tested party because it engages in activities that are less complex than those undertaken by FP. There is data from a number of ... Continue to full case

§ 1.482-5(d) Definitions.

The definitions set forth in paragraphs (d)(1) through (6) of this section apply for purposes of this section. (1) Sales revenue means the amount of the total receipts from sale of goods and provision of services, less returns and allowances. Accounting principles and conventions that are generally accepted in the trade or industry of the controlled taxpayer under review must be used. (2) Gross profit means sales revenue less cost of goods sold. (3) Operating expenses includes all expenses not included in cost of goods sold except for interest expense, foreign income taxes (as defined in § 1.901-2(a)), domestic income taxes, and any other expenses not related to the operation of the relevant business activity. Operating expenses ordinarily include expenses associated with advertising, promotion, sales, marketing, warehousing and distribution, administration, and a reasonable allowance for depreciation and amortization. (4) Operating profit means gross profit less operating expenses. Operating profit includes all income derived from the business activity being ... Continue to full case

§ 1.482-5(c)(3)(iii) Allocations between the relevant business activity and other activities.

The reliability of the allocation of costs, income, and assets between the relevant business activity and other activities of the tested party or an uncontrolled comparable will affect the reliability of the determination of operating profit and profit level indicators. If it is not possible to allocate costs, income, and assets directly based on factual relationships, a reasonable allocation formula may be used. To the extent direct allocations are not made, the reliability of the results derived from the application of this method is reduced relative to the results of a method that requires fewer allocations of costs, income, and assets. Similarly, the reliability of the results derived from the application of this method is affected by the extent to which it is possible to apply the profit level indicator to the tested party’s financial data that is related solely to the controlled transactions. For ... Continue to full case

§ 1.482-5(c)(3)(ii) Consistency in accounting.

The degree of consistency in accounting practices between the controlled transaction and the uncontrolled comparables that materially affect operating profit affects the reliability of the result. Thus, for example, if differences in inventory and other cost accounting practices would materially affect operating profit, the ability to make reliable adjustments for such differences would affect the reliability of the results ... Continue to full case

§ 1.482-5(c)(3)(i) In general.

The reliability of the results derived from the comparable profits method is affected by the quality of the data and assumptions used to apply this method ... Continue to full case

§ 1.482-5(c)(2)(iv) Adjustments for the differences between the tested party and the uncontrolled taxpayers.

If there are differences between the tested party and an uncontrolled comparable that would materially affect the profits determined under the relevant profit level indicator, adjustments should be made according to the comparability provisions of § 1.482-1(d)(2). In some cases, the assets of an uncontrolled comparable may need to be adjusted to achieve greater comparability between the tested party and the uncontrolled comparable. In such cases, the uncontrolled comparable’s operating income attributable to those assets must also be adjusted before computing a profit level indicator in order to reflect the income and expense attributable to the adjusted assets. In certain cases it may also be appropriate to adjust the operating profit of the tested party and comparable parties. For example, where there are material differences in accounts payable among the comparable parties and the tested party, it will generally be appropriate to adjust the operating profit ... Continue to full case

§ 1.482-5(c)(2)(iii) Other comparability factors.

Other factors listed in § 1.482-1(d)(3) also may be particularly relevant under the comparable profits method. Because operating profit usually is less sensitive than gross profit to product differences, reliability under the comparable profits method is not as dependent on product similarity as the resale price or cost plus method. However, the reliability of profitability measures based on operating profit may be adversely affected by factors that have less effect on results under the comparable uncontrolled price, resale price, and cost plus methods. For example, operating profit may be affected by varying cost structures (as reflected, for example, in the age of plant and equipment), differences in business experience (such as whether the business is in a start-up phase or is mature), or differences in management efficiency (as indicated, for example, by objective evidence such as expanding or contracting sales or executive compensation over time). Accordingly, if ... Continue to full case

§ 1.482-5(c)(2)(ii) Functional, risk and resource comparability.

An operating profit represents a return for the investment of resources and assumption of risks. Therefore, although all of the factors described in § 1.482-1(d)(3) must be considered, comparability under this method is particularly dependent on resources employed and risks assumed. Moreover, because resources and risks usually are directly related to functions performed, it is also important to consider functions performed in determining the degree of comparability between the tested party and an uncontrolled taxpayer. The degree of functional comparability required to obtain a reliable result under the comparable profits method, however, is generally less than that required under the resale price or cost plus methods. For example, because differences in functions performed often are reflected in operating expenses, taxpayers performing different functions may have very different gross profit margins but earn similar levels of operating profit ... Continue to full case

§ 1.482-5(c)(2)(i) In general.

The degree of comparability between an uncontrolled taxpayer and the tested party is determined by applying the provisions of § 1.482-1(d)(2). The comparable profits method compares the profitability of the tested party, measured by a profit level indicator (generally based on operating profit), to the profitability of uncontrolled taxpayers in similar circumstances. As with all methods that rely on external market benchmarks, the greater the degree of comparability between the tested party and the uncontrolled taxpayer, the more reliable will be the results derived from the application of this method. The determination of the degree of comparability between the tested party and the uncontrolled taxpayer depends upon all the relevant facts and circumstances, including the relevant lines of business, the product or service markets involved, the asset composition employed (including the nature and quantity of tangible assets, intangible assets and working capital), the size and scope ... Continue to full case

§ 1.482-5(c)(1) In general.

Whether results derived from application of this method are the most reliable measure of the arm’s length result must be determined using the factors described under the best method rule in § 1.482-1(c) ... Continue to full case

§ 1.482-5(b)(4)(iii) Other profit level indicators.

Other profit level indicators not described in this paragraph (b)(4) may be used if they provide reliable measures of the income that the tested party would have earned had it dealt with controlled taxpayers at arm’s length. However, profit level indicators based solely on internal data may not be used under this paragraph (b)(4) because they are not objective measures of profitability derived from operations of uncontrolled taxpayers engaged in similar business activities under similar circumstances ... Continue to full case