Tag: Burden of proof (Onus)

Obligation to persuade a court or other entity of the validity of a factual assertion.

TPG2022 Chapter V paragraph 5.2

This chapter provides guidance for tax administrations to take into account in developing rules and/or procedures on documentation to be obtained from taxpayers in connection with a transfer pricing enquiry or risk assessment. It also provides guidance to assist taxpayers in identifying documentation that would be most helpful in showing that their transactions satisfy the arm’s length principle and hence in resolving transfer pricing issues and facilitating tax examinations ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter IV paragraph 4.17

The Commentary on paragraph 2 of Article 9 of the OECD Model Tax Convention makes clear that the State from which a corresponding adjustment is requested should comply with the request only if that State “considers that the figure of adjusted profits correctly reflects what the profits would have been if the transactions had been at arm’s length”. This means that in competent authority proceedings the State that has proposed the primary adjustment bears the burden of demonstrating to the other State that the adjustment “is justified both in principle and as regards the amount.” Both competent authorities are expected to take a cooperative approach in resolving mutual agreement cases ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter IV paragraph 4.16

In practice, neither countries nor taxpayers should misuse the burden of proof in the manner described above. Because of the difficulties with transfer pricing analyses, it would be appropriate for both taxpayers and tax administrations to take special care and to use restraint in relying on the burden of proof in the course of the examination of a transfer pricing case. More particularly, as a matter of good practice, the burden of proof should not be misused by tax administrations or taxpayers as a justification for making groundless or unverifiable assertions about transfer pricing. A tax administration should be prepared to make a good faith showing that its determination of transfer pricing is consistent with the arm’s length principle even where the burden of proof is on the taxpayer, and taxpayers similarly should be prepared to make a good faith showing that their transfer pricing is consistent with the arm’s length principle regardless of where the burden of proof lies ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter IV paragraph 4.15

Consider the same facts as in the example in the preceding paragraph. If the burden of proof is again guiding behaviour, a taxpayer in the first jurisdiction being a subsidiary of a taxpayer in the second jurisdiction (notwithstanding the burden of proof and these Guidelines), may be unable or unwilling to show that its transfer prices are arm’s length. The tax administration in the first jurisdiction after examination makes an adjustment in good faith based on the information available to it. The parent company in the second jurisdiction is not obliged to provide to its tax administration any information to show that the transfer pricing was arm’s length as the burden of proof rests with the tax administration. This will make it difficult for the two tax administrations to reach agreement in competent authority proceedings ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter IV paragraph 4.14

When transfer pricing issues are present, the divergent rules on burden of proof among OECD member countries will present serious problems if the strict legal rights implied by those rules are used as a guide for appropriate behaviour. For example, consider the case where the controlled transaction under examination involves one jurisdiction in which the burden of proof is on the taxpayer and a second jurisdiction in which the burden of proof is on the tax administration. If the burden of proof is guiding behaviour, the tax administration in the first jurisdiction might make an unsubstantiated assertion about the transfer pricing, which the taxpayer might accept, and the tax administration in the second jurisdiction would have the burden of disproving the pricing. It could be that neither the taxpayer in the second jurisdiction nor the tax administration in the first jurisdiction would be making efforts to establish an acceptable arm’s length price. This type of behaviour would set the stage ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter IV paragraph 4.13

In jurisdictions where the burden of proof is on the taxpayer, tax administrations are generally not at liberty to raise assessments against taxpayers which are not soundly based in law. A tax administration in an OECD member country that applies the arm’s length principle, for example, could not raise an assessment based on a taxable income calculated as a fixed percentage of turnover and simply ignore the arm’s length principle. In the context of litigation in countries where the burden of proof is on the taxpayer, the burden of proof is often seen as a shifting burden. Where the taxpayer presents to a court a reasonable argument and evidence to suggest that its transfer pricing was arm’s length, the burden of proof may legally or de facto shift to the tax administration to counter the taxpayer’s position and to present argument and evidence as to why the taxpayer’s transfer pricing was not arm’s length and why the assessment is correct ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter IV paragraph 4.12

The implication for the behaviour of the tax administration and the taxpayer of the rules governing burden of proof should be taken into account. For example, where as a matter of domestic law the burden of proof is on the tax administration, the taxpayer may not have any legal obligation to prove the correctness of its transfer pricing unless the tax administration makes a prima facie showing that the pricing is inconsistent with the arm’s length principle. Even in such a case, of course, the tax administration might still reasonably oblige the taxpayer to produce its records that would enable the tax administration to undertake its examination. In some countries, taxpayers have a duty to cooperate with the tax administration imposed on them by law. In the event that a taxpayer fails to cooperate, the tax administration may be given the authority to estimate the taxpayer’s income and to assume relevant facts based on experience. In these cases, tax administrations ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter IV paragraph 4.11

Like examination practices, the burden of proof rules for tax cases also differ among OECD member countries. In most jurisdictions, the tax administration bears the burden of proof both in its own internal dealings with the taxpayer (e.g. assessment and appeals) and in litigation. In some of these countries, the burden of proof can be reversed, allowing the tax administration to estimate taxable income, if the taxpayer is found not to have acted in good faith, for example, by not cooperating or complying with reasonable documentation requests or by filing false or misleading returns. In other countries, the burden of proof is on the taxpayer. In this respect, however, the conclusions of paragraphs 4.16 and 4.17 should be noted ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter IV paragraph 4.5

This section describes three aspects of transfer pricing compliance that should receive special consideration to help tax jurisdictions administer their transfer pricing rules in a manner that is fair to taxpayers and other jurisdictions. While other tax law compliance practices are in common use in OECD member countries – for example, the use of litigation and evidentiary sanctions where information may be sought by a tax administration but is not provided – these three aspects will often impact on how tax administrations in other jurisdictions approach the mutual agreement procedure process and determine their administrative response to ensuring compliance with their own transfer pricing rules. The three aspects are: examination practices, the burden of proof, and penalty systems. The evaluation of these three aspects will necessarily differ depending on the characteristics of the tax system involved, and so it is not possible to describe a uniform set of principles or issues that will be relevant in all cases. Instead, this ... Read more
Italy vs BenQ Italy SRL, March 2021, Corte di Cassazione, Sez. 5 Num. 1374 Anno 2022

Italy vs BenQ Italy SRL, March 2021, Corte di Cassazione, Sez. 5 Num. 1374 Anno 2022

BenQ Italy SRL is part of a multinational group headed by the Taiwanese company BenQ Corporation that sells and markets technology products, consumer electronics, computing and communications devices. BenQ Italy’s immediate parent company was a Dutch company, BenQ Europe PV. Following an audit the tax authorities issued a notice of assessment for FY 2003 in which the taxpayer was accused of having procured goods from companies operating in countries with privileged taxation through the fictitious interposition of a Dutch company (BenQ Europe BV), the parent company of the taxpayer, whose intervention in the distribution chain was deemed uneconomic. On the basis of these assumptions, the tax authorities found that the recharge of costs made by the interposed company, were non-deductible. The tax authorities also considered that, through the interposition of BenQ BV, the prices charged by the taxpayer were aimed at transferring most of the taxable income to the manufacturing companies of the BenQ Group located in countries with privileged ... Read more
Italy vs Pompea S.p.A., October 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 27636/2021

Italy vs Pompea S.p.A., October 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 27636/2021

This case deals with a non-interest bearing intragroup loan granted by Pompea S.p.A. to a foreign subsidiary and deductibility of interest expenses incurred by Pompea S.p.A. to obtain the funding needed to grant this loan to the subsidiary. The company was of the opinion that interest free inter-company loans were not covered by the Italien arm’s length provision at the time where the loan in question was established. The Italien tax authorities claimed that the arrangement was covered by the transfer pricing regulations art. 110 paragraph 7, and that an arm’s length interest had to be paid on the loan. They also found that interest on the bank loan was not deductible. Judgement of the Supreme Court The Court found that non-interest-bearing loan, was covered by the rules laid down in Article 110(7) of the TUIR (the Italien arm’s length provisions). Furthermore, the court found that the OECD 2010 TP Guidelines were unambiguous in clarifying (Chapter VII of the 2010 Guidelines, paras. 7.14 ... Read more
Greece vs Cypriot company Ltd., September 2021, Tax Court, Case No 2940

Greece vs Cypriot company Ltd., September 2021, Tax Court, Case No 2940

This case deals with arm’s length pricing of various inter-company loans which had been granted – free of interest – by Cypriot company Ltd. to an affiliate group company. Following an audit of Cypriot company Ltd, an upwards adjustment of the taxable income was issued. The adjustment was based on a comparison of the terms of the controlled transaction and the terms prevailing in transactions between independent parties. The lack of interest on the funds provided (deposit of a remittance minus acceptance of a remittance) was not considered in accordance with the arm’s length principle. Cypriot company Ltd disagreed with the assessment and filed an appeal with the tax court. Judgement of the Tax Court The Tax Court dismissed the appeal of Cypriot company Ltd. in regards of the arm’s length pricing of the loans. Excerpt “It is evident from the above that the bond loan taken is related to the outstanding balance of the debt as at 31/12/2014 and ... Read more
El Salvador vs Corp, June 2021, Tax Court, Case No 096-2021

El Salvador vs Corp, June 2021, Tax Court, Case No 096-2021

Following an audit the tax authorities issued an assessment regarding interest payments on intra group loans and tax deductions for the costs for various services. An appeal was filed by the company. Judgement of the Tax Court The court upheld the assessment and decided in favour of the tax authorities. Click here for English translation TAIIA-R1704012TM ... Read more
Kenya vs PE of Man Diesel, August 2021, High Court of Kenya, Income Tax Appeal No. E125 OF 2020

Kenya vs PE of Man Diesel, August 2021, High Court of Kenya, Income Tax Appeal No. E125 OF 2020

A Permanent Establishment (PE) in Kenya of MAN Diesel and Turbo SE Germany (MAN) entered into a consortium with a firm called MPG Services to engineer, procure and construct an 87 MW generating capacity thermal power plant on behalf of Thika Power Ltd. The role of MAN’s Kenyan PE in the project was mobilization, engineering and design, reservation of the diesel sets, and steam turbine and other start-up costs associated with its part of the works which included supervision of the assembly and installation of engines and commissioning the engines. MAN Germany was to provide for the materials up to the port of export and the PE was to assist in the onshore part which included supervision of the assembly and installation work as well as commissioning the work but did not include supply of equipment. In 2015, the tax authorities initiated an audit which resulted in a final tax assessment issued in 2017. According to the assessment MAN’s Kenyan ... Read more
Colombia vs SONY Music Entertainment Colombia S.A., July 2021, The Administrative Court, Case No. 20641

Colombia vs SONY Music Entertainment Colombia S.A., July 2021, The Administrative Court, Case No. 20641

SONY Music Entertainment Colombia S.A. had filed transfer pricing information and documentation, on the basis of which the Colombian tax authorities concluded that payments for administrative services provided by a related party in the US had not been at arm’s length. SONY Colombia then filed new transfer pricing information and documentation covering the same years, but where the tested party had been changed to the US company. Under this new approach, the remuneration of the US service provider was determined to be within the arm’s length range. The tax authorities upheld the assessment issued based on the original documentation. A complaint was filed by SONY and later an appeal. Judgement of the Administrative Court The court allowed the appeal and issued a decision in favor of SONY. Excerpts “The legal problem is to determine, for the tax return of the taxable period 2007 of the plaintiff: (i) Whether it is appropriate to take into account the correction of the transfer ... Read more
Ukrain vs PJSP Gals-K, July 2021, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 620/1767/19

Ukrain vs PJSP Gals-K, July 2021, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 620/1767/19

Ukrainian company “PJSP Gals-K” had been involved in various controlled transactions – complex technological drilling services; sale of crude oil; transfer of fixed assets etc. The tax authority found, that prices had not been determined in accordance with the arm’s length principle and issued a tax assessment. Gals-K disagreed and filed a complaint. The Administrative Court dismissed the tax assessment and this decision was later upheld by the Administrative Court of Appeal. Judgement of the Supreme Administrative Court The Supreme Court set aside the decisions of the Court of Appeal and remanded the case to the court of first instance for a new hearing. The court considered that breaches of procedural and substantive law by both the Court of Appeal and the Court of First Instance have been committed, and the case should therefore be referred to the Court of First Instance for a new hearing. Excerpts “Thus, in order to properly resolve the dispute in this part, the courts ... Read more
Malaysia vs Ensco Gerudi Malaysia SDN. BHD., July 2021, Juridical Review, High Court, Case No. WA-25-233-08-2020

Malaysia vs Ensco Gerudi Malaysia SDN. BHD., July 2021, Juridical Review, High Court, Case No. WA-25-233-08-2020

Ensco Gerudi provided offshore drilling services to the petroleum industry in Malaysia, including leasing drilling rigs, to oil and gas operators in Malaysia. In order to provide these services, the Ensco entered into a Master Charter Agreement dated 21.9.2006 (amended on 17.8.2011) (“Master Charter Agreement”) with Ensco Labuan Limited (“ELL”), a third-party contractor, to lease drilling rigs from ELL. Ensco then rents out the drilling rigs to its own customers. As part of the Master Charter Agreement, Ensco agreed to pay ELL a percentage of the applicable day rate that Ensco earns from its drilling contracts with its customers for the drilling rigs. By way of a letter dated 12.10.2018, the tax authorities initiated its audit for FY 2015 to 2017. The tax authorities issued its first audit findings letter on 23.10.2019 where it took the position that the pricing of the leasing transactions between the Applicant and ELL are not at arm’s length pursuant to s 140A of the ... Read more
Italy vs TMC Italia SpA, June 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 18436/2021

Italy vs TMC Italia SpA, June 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 18436/2021

TMC Italy SpA is a parent company which provides services and support to the commercial production activities of its affiliated companies based in foreign countries (Spain, Czech Republic, Germany, France, Israel, Brazil, United Kingdom). The costs of providing these intra-group services had been allocated between the related parties based on the number and salary of employees in FY 2008 and 2009. The tax administration issued an assessment where the allocation was instead be based on turnover – due to data supporting better correlation. The Court of first instance held in favour of the tax authorities. This decision was appealed by TMC to the Supreme Court. Judgement of the Court The Court dismissed the appeal of TMC in its entirety and decided in favour of the tax authorities. Excerpts: “CTR considered legitimate and correct the use of the method of allocation of the profits of the transactions adopted by the Office, as provided for by the OECD Guidelines 2010, since the ... Read more
Peru vs. Perupetro, June 2021, Tax Court, Case No 05562-1-2021

Peru vs. Perupetro, June 2021, Tax Court, Case No 05562-1-2021

A foreign group had transferred funds to one of its branches, Perupetro, in Peru and claimed that the transfer was a capital contribution – and not a loan. Following an audit the tax authorities issued an assessment, where the funds transferred were considered a loan and withholding taxes on the interest payments had been lifted. An appeal was filed by Perupetro. Perupetro held that the transfers of funds made by its non-domiciled parent company in its favour in the financial year 2014 constitute assigned capital (capital contributions) and not loans as considered by the Administration. It pointed out that the tax authorities has not followed the procedure established by the Income Tax Law and the OECD Guidelines to delineate the operation observed, a situation that would have allowed it to note that it does not qualify as a loan. Perupetro further claimed that the tax authorities had not carried out a correct comparability analysis for the transaction subject to assessment, ... Read more
India vs Sabic India Pvt Ltd, June 2021, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal - Delhi, ITA No.454/Del/2021

India vs Sabic India Pvt Ltd, June 2021, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal – Delhi, ITA No.454/Del/2021

Sabic India Pvt Ltd was primarily engaged in providing marketing support services to facilitate the selling of fertilizers and chemicals in India on behalf of the Sabic Group holding company. The Indian company did not hold any title to inventories and all products sold were directly invoiced to the holding companies of the taxpayer. To determine the arm’s length remuneration for marketing support services Sabic India Pvt Ltd found that the TNMM was the most appropriate method The tax authorities disagreed and instead held that the CUP method was more appropriate. On that basis an assessment was issued. Judgement of the Tax Appellate Tribunal The Tribunal decided in favor of Sabic India Pvt Ltd and set aside the tax assessment. The Tribunal held that the TNMM cannot be discarded without any valid justification as the method was widely accepted by the Indian revenue since 2009. The Tribunal concluded that the tax authorities were not able to provide any justification for ... Read more