Portugal vs “A-Contract Manufacturer LDA”, December 2020, CAAD Tax Arbitration, Case No 808/2019-T

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A-Contract Manufacturer LDA is an entity residing in Portugal, whose main activity is contract manufacturing of coffee machines and irons, as well as spare parts, tools etc. on behalf of its German parent B A.G.

Following an audit, the tax authorities found that the results of A-Contract Manufacturer LDA had not been at arm’s length. An assessment of additional income was issued where the adjustment had been determined based on a benchmark study and use of statistical tools – interquartile range and median.

Not satisfied with the assessment A-Contract Manufacturer LDA brought the case to the CAAD, a Portuguese arbitration tribunal.

Decision of CAAD

The CAAD decided in favour of the tax authorities and upheld the assessment.

“In sum, regarding the first claim of the Claimant that the arm’s length principle was violated, it appears that the Defendant did nothing more than, in compliance with the duty imposed by art. In short, as to the first claim of violation of the arm’s length principle, it appears that the Claimant, in compliance with the duty imposed by article 3 of Ministerial Order no. 1446-C/2001, of 21 December, and in the exercise of a margin of technical discretion resulting from that precept, carried out calculations that are fully based on the OECD guidelines, after concluding that “the operating result generated [by the Claimant] was lower than it would have been had those transactions been carried out between independent entities” (point 1.4 of the RIT).
The mere invocation of its nature as a “contract manufacturer” is not a reason to preclude the application of the arm’s length principle to the special relations between the Claimant and the corporate Group of which it forms part, and even less to conceive any exceptional regime vis-à-vis the rule of application of the OECD Guidelines and the national rules that define those guidelines.
As to the Claimant’s second allegation that the arm’s length principle was violated, consisting in the argument that the median value used by the Defendant was highly inflated, this is a mere divergence of quantifications and calculations between the Claimant and the Defendant, and not a doubt that, as the Claimant claims, could lead to the application of art. 100 of the CPPT – since the conclusions of the RIT do not show any such doubt, besides the fact that there is no evidence of any error in the calculations made by the AT that led to the results shown in the RIT.
Moreover – and this is the most relevant point – even with lower medians and interquartile ranges such as those proposed by the Claimant, the margins presented by the Claimant are well below these medians, and outside these ranges, with all the consequences that we have seen must result.”

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Portugal P808_2019-T - 2020-12-21


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