Hungary vs “APA Ktf”, October 2019, Court of Appeals, Case No. Kfv.I.35.504/2018/6

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The tax authority had set the price range for “APA Ktf’s” request for an advance pricing arrangement (APA) at 12.50 to 22.50 basis points.

According to the tax authorities, it follows from points 3.61 and 3.62 of the Guidelines that it is only appropriate to adjust the arm’s length price for such transactions to a level close to the mid-point of the range if there is a comparability gap. In the present case, however, it had not been established that there are any shortcomings in comparability, so the first turn of paragraph 3.62 applies: any point in the range, including the mid-point, is in accordance with the arm’s length principle.

Judgement of the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal pointed out that the applicant had applied for the determination of the normal market price under Article 132/B of the Art.

“[37]Defendant [tax authorities] argued in its application for review that, under paragraphs 3.61 and 3.62 of the Guidelines, it is only appropriate to adjust the arm’s length price for such transactions to a level close to the mid-point of the range if there are comparability gaps. In the present case, however, the defendant has not established that there are any shortcomings in comparability, so the first turn of point 3.61 applies: any point in the range, including the mid-point, is in line with the arm’s length principle. In other respects, the defendant argues that, even if there are no shortcomings in comparability, only the extreme values of the range can be used, and not other values, such as the mean value: this cannot be combined with the interpretative criteria required by Article 28 of the Fundamental Law.

[38] In its application for review, the defendant also argued that the principle of the proper exercise of rights under Article 1(2) of the Tao Law must be taken into account when applying Article 18(1) of the Tao Law. However, no breach of that fundamental principle of the Tao Law was found in the decision of the defendant which was the subject of the judicial review, nor is it found in the upheld decision of the first instance. Page 37, paragraph 3 of the first instance decision states in general terms, without mentioning the place of the legislation, that “The tax authority’s … transfer pricing adjustment up to the nearest point of the band is not based on Article 97(6) of the Tax Code, but on the relevant provisions of the Tao. In the absence of a specific provision of authority to that effect, the court of first instance could not rule on the matter by a final judgment and, consequently, it cannot be the subject of a review procedure. In the absence of a final judgment, the Curia also failed to analyse the question, following the applicant’s counterclaim, whether transfer pricing can be regarded as a rule or tax advantage (tax exemption, tax reduction) affecting the tax liability or tax liability affected by Section 1(2) of the Tao.tv.

[39] In addition to the facts of the case, the applicant was required to determine the value according to which the condition of the controlled transaction had to be corrected, pursuant to Article 18(1) of the Tao.tv. In the absence of a provision in the Tao.tv., the method of correction was, by virtue of § 31(2)(b) of the Tao.tv., the first turn of point 3.62 of the Guidelines: any point within the range corresponds to the arm’s length price. On the basis of the actual content of Article 18(1) of the Tao Law, the Court of First Instance correctly concluded that neither the APA Decision, nor the Guidelines, nor the Tao Law, implied that, in the case of several normal market prices that can be designated in a given range, the adjustment for a consideration applied outside that range can only be made to the nearest extreme value.

[40] In the light of the above, the Curia upheld the judgment of the court of first instance on the basis of Paragraph 275(3) of the Hungarian Civil Code.
Content of the decision in principle

[41] In the case of an arm’s length price set in a decision fixing the arm’s length price (advance pricing arrangement), the consideration applied outside the arm’s length range may be adjusted not only to the nearest extreme value but also to any element of the range, in accordance with Section 18(1) of the Tao.tv.”

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35-504

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