Tag: Benefit test

For intra-group service to be attributable to a party they must provide a reasonable economic or commercial benefit to that party.
In most countries similar requirements are found in regulations for tax deductibility of costs in general. Costs must be related to the business – protect, sustain or enhance the taxable income – in order for them to be tax deductible.

Panama vs "Pharma Distributor S.A.", July 2021, Administrative Tax Court, Case No TAT-RF-066

Panama vs “Pharma Distributor S.A.”, July 2021, Administrative Tax Court, Case No TAT-RF-066

An adjustment for FY 2013 and 2014 had been issued to a pharmaceutical company in Panama “Pharma Distributor S.A” that resulted in an income adjustment of 19.5 million dollars, which in turn resulted in additional taxes of 2.4 million dollars. The resale price method had been used by Pharma Distributor S.A. to determine the market value of an asset acquired from a related entity that was sold to an independent entity. This method was rejected by the tax authorities based on the fact that the analysis presented by the taxpayer did not meet the requirements for application of the method. The tax authorities instead applied a TNMM. The tax authorities also rejected tax deductions for expenses purportedly paid for administrative services due to the absence of supporting documentation. Provisions of article 762-G “Administrative services received” in the Tax Code in Panama contemplates tax deductibility for such expenses exclusively when services have actually been rendered to the benefit of the recipient ... Continue to full case
Poland vs Cans Corp Sp z.o.o., August 2020, Administrative Court, I SA/Sz 115/20

Poland vs Cans Corp Sp z.o.o., August 2020, Administrative Court, I SA/Sz 115/20

At issue in this case was the remuneration of a Polish manufacturing subsidiary in an international group dealing in the production and sale of metal packaging for food products, including beverage cans, food cans, household cans and metal lids for jars etc. The Polish tax authorities had issued an tax assessment for FY 2009 – 2012 based on a TNMM benchmark study where financial results of comparable independent manufactures operating in the packaging industry showed that the the Polish manufacturing site had underestimated revenues obtained from the sale of goods to related entities The Court of first instance held in favor of the tax authorities. The case was then brought before the Administrative Court of Appeal. In the Court’s view, the authorities did not subject the case to thorough verification in accordance with the legal standards on which the decision was based – including, in particular, the analysis of comparable transactions (CUP’s). In the Court’s opinion, the authorities have illegally ... Continue to full case

TPG2020 Chapter X paragraph 10.146

It is expected that all cash pool participants will be better off than in the absence of the cash pool arrangement. Under prevailing facts and circumstances that could imply, for instance, that all cash pool participants would benefit from enhanced interest rates applicable to debit and credit position within the cash pooling arrangement compared to the rates that they would expect to obtain from borrowing or depositing cash outside of the pool. However, it is important to note that cash pool members might be willing to participate in cash pool arrangements to access benefits from the membership of the cash pool other than an enhanced interest rate like, for instance, access to a permanent source of financing; reduced exposure to external banks; or access to liquidity that may not be available otherwise ... Continue to full case

TPG2020 Chapter X paragraph 10.145

Determining the arm’s length interest rates for the cash pool intra-group transactions may be a difficult exercise due to the lack of comparable arrangements between unrelated parties. In this context, banking arrangements involving the cash pool leader, taking into account functional differences between the bank and the cash pool leader, and the options realistically available to the cash pool members may inform the identification of comparable interest rates in the transfer pricing analysis ... Continue to full case

TPG2020 Chapter X paragraph 10.144

Eventually, the remuneration of the cash pool members will depend upon the specific facts and circumstances and the functions, assets and risks of each of the pool members. Therefore, this guidance does not intend to provide a prescriptive approach for allocating the cash pooling benefits to the participating cash pool members in any given situation but rather lays down the principles that should guide that allocation ... Continue to full case

TPG2020 Chapter X paragraph 10.143

The remuneration of the cash pool members will be calculated through the determination of the arm’s length interest rates applicable to the debit and credit positions within the pool. This determination will allocate the synergy benefits arising from the cash pool arrangement amongst the pool members and it will generally be done once the remuneration of the cash pool leader has been calculated ... Continue to full case
France vs SAS Groupe Lagasse Europe, January 2020, CCA de VERSAILLES, Case No. 18VE00059 18VE02329

France vs SAS Groupe Lagasse Europe, January 2020, CCA de VERSAILLES, Case No. 18VE00059 18VE02329

A French subsidiary, SAS Groupe Lagasse Europe, of the Canadian Legasse Group had paid service fees to another Canadian group company, Gestion Portland Vimy. The French tax authorities held that the basis for the payments of service fees had not been established, and that there was no benefit to the French subsidiary. The payments constituted an indirect transfer of profits within the meaning of the ‘article 57 of the general tax code; Excerps from the judgement of the Court: “11. Under the terms of article 57 of the general tax code, applicable in matters of corporate tax under article 209 of the same code: “For the establishment of income tax due by the companies which are dependent or have control of companies located outside of France, the profits indirectly transferred to the latter, either by increasing or decreasing the purchase or sale prices, or by any other means, are incorporated into the results recognized by the accounts (…) “. These ... Continue to full case
Spain vs ARW Enterprise Computin Solution SA, September 2019, Tribunal Superior de Justicia, Case No STSJ M 7038/2019 - ECLI: ES:TSJM:2019:7038

Spain vs ARW Enterprise Computin Solution SA, September 2019, Tribunal Superior de Justicia, Case No STSJ M 7038/2019 – ECLI: ES:TSJM:2019:7038

A Spanish subsidiary, ARW Enterprise Computin Solution SA, had deducted intra-group management fees paid according to two service contracts with two french group companies – Distrilogie SA and DCC France Holding SAS. For an expense to be deductible it is required not only that invoice, account, payments have been imputed correctly, but also that the expense have been held for obtaining income and to the direct benefit of the subsidiary. The Spanish tax authorities found, that these requirements had not been sufficiently proved by Computin Solution SA and issued a tax assessment. Click here for other translation Spain vs Computin STSJ_M_7038_2019 ... Continue to full case
Brazil vs "CCA group", September 2019, COSIT, SC No. 276-2019

Brazil vs “CCA group”, September 2019, COSIT, SC No. 276-2019

In a public ruling, the General Tax Coordination Office in Brazil (COSIT) found that a transaction labled as a “cost sharing agreement” between a foreign group and its Brazilian subsidiary, was in fact a mere agreement for provision of services. COSIT pointed to the key characteristics of cost sharing agreements. These had been listed in a prior ruling from 2012: Segregation of costs and risks inherent in the development, production or acquisition of goods, services or rights; Consistent contribution by each entity with expected and effectively-received benefits by each entity; Identification of the benefit to each participant entity; Mandatory reimbursement of costs incurred with no mark-up; Advantages offered to all participating group entities; and Payments for support activities whether such activities were actually used. < COSIT also pointed to the guidance provided in the 2017 Transfer Pricing Guidelines, Chapter VIII. Click here for translation SC_Cosit_n_276-2019 ... Continue to full case
Poland vs L S.A, June 2019, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. II FSK 1808/17 - Wyrok NSA

Poland vs L S.A, June 2019, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. II FSK 1808/17 – Wyrok NSA

A Polish subsidiary in a German Group had taken out a significant inter-company loan resulting in a significantly reduced income due to interest deductions. At issue was application of the Polish arm’s length provisions and the arm’s length nature of the interest rate on the loan. The tax authorities had issued an assessment where the interest rate on the loans had been adjusted and the taxable income increased. On that basis, a complaint was filed by the company to the Administrative Court. The administrative court rejected the complaint and ruled in favor of the tax authorities. An appeal was then brought before the Supreme Administrative Court. The Supreme Administrative Court rejected the appeal, although it did not share some of the conclusions and statements of the Court of first instance. The key issue in the case was to determine is whether the provisions of Art. 11 (Containing the Polish arm’s length provisions), allowing the authority to determine the income of ... Continue to full case
India vs. L.G. Electronic India Pvt. Ltd., January 2019, TAX APPELLATE TRIBUNAL, Case No. ITA No. 6253/DEL/2012

India vs. L.G. Electronic India Pvt. Ltd., January 2019, TAX APPELLATE TRIBUNAL, Case No. ITA No. 6253/DEL/2012

LG Electronic India has incurred advertisement and AMP expenses aggregating to Rs.6,89,60,79,670/- for the purpose of its business. The tax authorities undertook benchmarking analysis of AMP expenses incurred by LG Electronic India applying bright line test by comparing ratio of AMP expenses to sale of LG Electronic India with that of the comparable companies and holding that any expenditure in excess of the bright line was for promotion of the brand/trade name owned by the AE, which needed to be suitably compensated by the AE. By applying bright line test, the tax authorities compared AMP expenditure incurred by LG Electronic India as percentage of total turnover at 8.01% with average AMP expenditure of 4.93% of comparable companies. Since AMP expenses incurred by LG Electronic India  as percentage of sales was more than similar percentage for comparable companies, LG Electronic India had incurred such AMP expenditure on brand promotion and development of marketing intangibles for the AE. The tax authorities also ... Continue to full case
France vs Office Depot, December 2017, CE, Case No. 387975

France vs Office Depot, December 2017, CE, Case No. 387975

Re-invoicing to a Office Depot France, by the controlling US company Office Depot Inc, of a part of the cost of an audit service, as it related to the internal control procedures of the French company. Office Depot France was audited for the period from 28 December 2003 to 31 December 2005, after which the administration notified it of a VAT reminder and a withholding tax on the re-invoicing by the US company Office Depot Inc. of a portion of the cost of an audit service relating to its own internal control procedures. The cost was not necessary for the operation of Office Depot France and thus not deductible. The charge in question corresponded to an indirect transfer of profits abroad. Click here for translation France vs Office Depot_13_12_2017_387975_Inédit_au_recueil_Lebon ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter VII paragraph 7.55

While low value-adding intra-group services may provide benefits to all recipients of those services, questions may arise about the extent of the benefits and whether independent parties would have been willing to pay for the service or perform it themselves. Where the MNE group has followed the guidance of the simplified approach the documentation and reporting discussed in Section D.3 below, it should provide sufficient evidence that the benefits test is met given the nature of low value-adding intra-group services. In evaluating the benefits test, tax administrations should consider benefits only by categories of services and not on a specific charge basis. Thus, the taxpayer need only demonstrate that assistance was provided with, for example, payroll processing, rather than being required to specify individual acts undertaken that give rise to the costs charged. Provided such information outlined in paragraph 7.64 is made available to the tax administration, a single annual invoice describing a category of services should suffice to support ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter VII paragraph 7.54

As discussed in paragraph 7.6, under the arm’s length principle an obligation to pay for an intra-group service arises only where the benefits test is satisfied, i.e. the activity must provide the group member expected to pay for the service with economic or commercial value to enhance or maintain its commercial position, which in turn is determined by evaluating whether an independent enterprise in comparable circumstances would have been willing to pay for the activity if performed for it by an independent enterprise or would have performed the activity in-house for itself. However, because of the nature of the low value-adding intra-group services discussed in this section, such determinations may be difficult or may require greater effort than the amount of the charge warrants. Tax administrations should therefore generally refrain from reviewing or challenging the benefits test when the simplified approach has been applied under the conditions and circumstances discussed in this section and in particular in conformity with the ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter VII paragraph 7.32

It may be necessary to perform a functional analysis of the various members of the group to establish the relationship between the relevant services and the members’ activities and performance. In addition, it may be necessary to consider not only the immediate impact of a service, but also its long-term effect, bearing in mind that some costs will never actually produce the benefits that were reasonably expected when they were incurred. For example, expenditure on preparations for a marketing operation might prima facie be too heavy to be borne by a member in the light of its current resources; the determination whether the charge in such a case is arm’s length should consider expected benefits from the operation and the possibility that the amount and timing of the charge in some arm’s length arrangements might depend on the results of the operation. The taxpayer should be prepared to demonstrate the reasonableness of its charges to associated enterprises in such cases ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter VII paragraph 7.17

These services may be available on call and they may vary in amount and importance from year to year. It is unlikely that an independent enterprise would incur stand-by charges where the potential need for the service was remote, where the advantage of having services on-call was negligible, or where the on-call services could be obtained promptly and readily from other sources without the need for stand-by arrangements. Thus, the benefit conferred on a group company by the on-call arrangements should be considered, perhaps by looking at the extent to which the services have been used over a period of several years rather than solely for the year in which a charge is to be made, before determining that an intra-group service is being provided ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter VII paragraph 7.11

In general, no intra-group service should be found for activities undertaken by one group member that merely duplicate a service that another group member is performing for itself, or that is being performed for such other group member by a third party. An exception may be where the duplication of services is only temporary, for example, where an MNE group is reorganising to centralise its management functions. Another exception would be where the duplication is undertaken to reduce the risk of a wrong business decision (e.g. by getting a second legal opinion on a subject). Any consideration of possible duplication of services needs to identify the nature of the services in detail, and the reason why the company appears to be duplicating costs contrary to efficient practices. The fact that a company performs, for example, marketing services in-house and also is charged for marketing services from a group company does not of itself determine duplication, since marketing is a broad ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter VII paragraph 7.8

Some intra-group services are performed by one member of an MNE group to meet an identified need of one or more specific members of the group. In such a case, it is relatively straightforward to determine whether a service has been provided. Ordinarily an independent enterprise in comparable circumstances would have satisfied the identified need either by performing the activity in-house or by having the activity performed by a third party. Thus, in such a case, an intra-group service ordinarily would be found to exist. For example, an intra-group service would normally be found where an associated enterprise repairs equipment used in manufacturing by another member of the MNE group. It is essential, however, that reliable documentation is provided to the tax administrations to verify that the costs have been incurred by the service provider ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter VII paragraph 7.7

The analysis described above quite clearly depends on the actual facts and circumstances, and it is not possible in the abstract to set forth categorically the activities that do or do not constitute the rendering of intra-group services. However, some guidance may be given to elucidate how the analysis would be applied for some common types of services undertaken in MNE groups ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter VII paragraph 7.6

Under the arm’s length principle, the question whether an intra-group service has been rendered when an activity is performed for one or more group members by another group member should depend on whether the activity provides a respective group member with economic or commercial value to enhance or maintain its business position. This can be determined by considering whether an independent enterprise in comparable circumstances would have been willing to pay for the activity if performed for it by an independent enterprise or would have performed the activity in house for itself. If the activity is not one for which the independent enterprise would have been willing to pay or perform for itself, the activity ordinarily should not be considered as an intra-group service under the arm’s length principle ... Continue to full case