Tag: Business strategy

France vs. SARL SRN Métal, May 2021, CAA, Case No. 19NC03729

France vs. SARL SRN Métal, May 2021, CAA, Case No. 19NC03729

SARL SRN Métal’s business is trading in industrial metal and steel products. Following an audit of the company for FY 2011 to 2012 and assessment was issued related to VAT, Transfer Pricing and Withholding Tax. In regards to transfer pricing, the administration considered that (1) the sales of goods made by SRN Métal to B-Lux Steel, established in Luxembourg, were invoiced at a lower price than that charged to the company’s other customers and (2) that commissions paid to Costa Rica – a privileged tax regime – were not deductible as SRN Metal did not provided proof that the expenses corresponded to real operations and that they are not abnormal or exaggerated. The company requested the administrative court of Strasbourg to discharge the assessments. This request was rejected by the court in a judgement issued 29 October 2019. This decision of the administrative court was appealed by the company to the Supreme Administrative Court Judgement of the Supreme Administrative Court ... Read more
Italy vs "Fruit old s.a.s", March 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 8176 - R.G.N. 8952/2013, 2021-25

Italy vs “Fruit old s.a.s”, March 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 8176 – R.G.N. 8952/2013, 2021-25

Fruit old s.a.s was active in wholesale of fruit and vegetables. In 2003 it purchased products at a price higher than the market price from another company owned by the same partners, Fruit new s.r.l., and resold them at a price lower than the purchase price. Both companies were domiciled in Italy. Following these transactions the entire business of Fruit old s.a.s (premises, employees and customers) was transferred to Fruit new s.r.l. The tax authorities issued an assessment where the price of the transactions had been adjusted, since it was in the taxpayer’s interest to transfer income from the Fruit old s.a.s to Fruit new s.r.l. The company argued that the transactions in question only took place over a short period of three months. It also stated that the pricing of the transactions were motivated by an “intra-group strategy”. Lower courts had ruled in favour of the company and set aside the assessment of the tax authorities. Judgement of the ... Read more
Italy vs Vibac S.p.A., January 2021, Corte di Cassazione, Case No 1232/2021

Italy vs Vibac S.p.A., January 2021, Corte di Cassazione, Case No 1232/2021

Transactions had taken place between Vibac S.p.A. and related foreign group companies related to use of trademarks and royalty/license payments. It was up to the Vibac S.p.A. to demonstrate that the remuneration received from related companies for use of the trademark of the products had been at arm’s length. According to the company the royalty had been set at a low price to ensure that the foreign subsidiaries were more competitive. An upward adjustment was issued by the tax authorities rejecting the taxpayer’s argument that the below market royalty was explained by the need to enable its foreign subsidiary to penetrate more effectively the US market. The tax authorities argued that such a strategy could only be justifiable in a limited period. The tax authorities determined the arm’s length royalty payment by application of the Resale Price Method (RPM). However, due to the uniqueness of the asset transferred, which hardly allows the identification of comparable transactions, the same circular, while ... Read more
Costa Rica vs Corrugados del Guarco S.A., March 2018, Supreme Court, Case No 13-002632-1027-CA

Costa Rica vs Corrugados del Guarco S.A., March 2018, Supreme Court, Case No 13-002632-1027-CA

Corrugados del Guarco S.A. had declared losses on controlled transactions for FY 2003, 2004 and 2005 as export prices for these transactions had been set below cost and without profit margin, and also different from the price charged for that product to other independent or unrelated companies, in favour of its related company Envases Nicaragüenses S.A. According to the Corrugados del Guarco S.A. the reason why the prices of these controlled transactions had been set low was that unfair competition had made it necessary to use a commercial strategy of selling at preferential prices to the group company in Nicaragua. The tax authorities issued an assessment whereby the prices of the controlled transactions were adjusted in accordance with the arm’s length principle. Furthermore a fine was issued to the company for gross negligence. Judgement of the Supreme Court The Court dismissed the appeal of Corrugados del Guarco S.A. Excerpts from the Judgement “…Finally, and in relation to transfer pricing, on which the ... Read more
Italy vs Recordati Industria Chimica e Farmaceutica S.p.A, September 2017, Supreme Court, Case No 20805

Italy vs Recordati Industria Chimica e Farmaceutica S.p.A, September 2017, Supreme Court, Case No 20805

Recordati Industria Chimica e Farmaceutica S.p.A had been issued an assessment by the tax authorities for FY 2003 on various issues related to transfer pricing. Recordati Industria Chimica e Farmaceutica S.p.A. disagreed with the assessment and brought the case to court. The Regional Tax Commission of Lombardy (Ctr) issued a decision where it partially annulled the assessment. This decision was challenged both by the tax authorities and Recordati Industria Chimica e Farmaceutica S.p.A. Judgement of the Supreme Court Before the Supreme Court there were 29 issues to be resolved. The Supreme Court predominantly ruled in favour of the tax authorities. The court confirms that transfer pricing adjustments are applicable even in the absence of proof by the administration of a concrete tax advantage by the taxpayer. The shift of taxable income following transactions between companies belonging to the same group and subject to different national regulations, does not require the administration to prove the elusive function, but only the existence ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter III paragraph 3.10

Another example where a taxpayer’s transactions may be combined is related to portfolio approaches. A portfolio approach is a business strategy consisting of a taxpayer bundling certain transactions for the purpose of earning an appropriate return across the portfolio rather than necessarily on any single product within the portfolio. For instance, some products may be marketed by a taxpayer with a low profit or even at a loss, because they create a demand for other products and/or related services of the same taxpayer that are then sold or provided with high profits (e.g. equipment and captive aftermarket consumables, such as vending coffee machines and coffee capsules, or printers and cartridges). Similar approaches can be observed in various industries. Portfolio approaches are an example of a business strategy that may need to be taken into account in the comparability analysis and when examining the reliability of comparables. See paragraphs 1.114-1.118 on business strategies. However, as discussed in paragraphs 1.129-1.131, these considerations ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.131

A factor to consider in analysing losses is that business strategies may differ from MNE group to MNE group due to a variety of historic, economic, and cultural reasons. Recurring losses for a reasonable period may be justified in some cases by a business strategy to set especially low prices to achieve market penetration. For example, a producer may lower the prices of its goods, even to the extent of temporarily incurring losses, in order to enter new markets, to increase its share of an existing market, to introduce new products or services, or to discourage potential competitors. However, especially low prices should be expected for a limited period only, with the specific object of improving profits in the longer term. If the pricing strategy continues beyond a reasonable period, a transfer pricing adjustment may be appropriate, particularly where comparable data over several years show that the losses have been incurred for a period longer than that affecting comparable independent ... Read more