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

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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 Oy claimed that the adjustment point for taxable income should be the upper limit of the full range of 13,5 % in the first instance and the upper limit of the quartile range of 8,4 % in the second instance.

The Supreme Administrative Court, taking into account the number of comparable companies, the dispersion of their results and the width of the overall range, as well as the fact that the results of five comparable companies had been below the 4.5% used in the A Ltd Concept Fee scheme, held that, in determining the level of the arm’s length results of the group’s local companies, the range could have been narrowed to the interquartile range of the results of the comparable companies within the meaning of paragraph 3.57 of the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines.

The royalties charged to the local companies would have been at market rates if A Oy had charged the local companies a concept fee or other royalty so that the local companies’ results would have been within the interquartile range. In such a case, A Oy’s trading income would not have been lower than it would otherwise have been, within the meaning of Article 31(1) of the Tax Procedure Act, as a result of the non-arm’s length pricing.

To the extent that the level of the results of the local companies had exceeded the quartile range, the amounts of the additions to the company’s taxable income should have been calculated by adjusting the results of the local companies to the arm’s length level, i.e. to the upper limit of the quartile range of 8,4 %. The Supreme Administrative Court therefore annulled the tax adjustments made to the detriment of the company and cancelled the increases in the company’s taxable income in so far as they were based on the local companies’ profit margins between 4,5 % and 8,4 % for the tax years 2010 to 2012.

 

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Finland vs A Oy Sep 2021 KHO-2021-127Org

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