Tag: Comparability adjustment

Adjustments made to improve the accuracy and reliability of the comparables to ensure that the financial results of the comparables are stated on the same basis as those of the tested party.

TPG2022 Chapter III paragraph 3.28

On the other hand, internal comparables are not always more reliable and it is not the case that any transaction between a taxpayer and an independent party can be regarded as a reliable comparable for controlled transactions carried on by the same taxpayer. Internal comparables where they exist must satisfy the five comparability factors in the same way as external comparables, see paragraphs 1.33-1.138. Guidance on comparability adjustments also applies to internal comparables, see paragraphs 3.47-3.54. Assume for instance that a taxpayer manufactures a particular product, sells a significant volume thereof to its foreign associated retailer and a marginal volume of the same product to an independent party. In such a case, the difference in volumes is likely to materially affect the comparability of the two transactions. If it is not possible to make a reasonably accurate adjustment to eliminate the effects of such difference, the transaction between the taxpayer and its independent customer is unlikely to be a reliable ... Read more

OECD COVID-19 TPG paragraph 86

Finally, when applying a one-sided method such as the resale price method, the cost plus method, or the TNMM, the accounting treatment of the government assistance in both the tested party and any comparable may need to be specifically identified, especially when the tested party and the comparables apply different accounting standards. For example, the government assistance may be deducted from the costs under the relevant accounting standard, or it may be presented separately. In addition, the accounting treatment of government subsidies under different accounting standards may impact different levels of profitability (e.g. gross profit, operating profit, net profit, etc.) or might even be accounted for in the “other comprehensive income” statement, only being recycled into the “profit or loss statement” of the entity over time. Where accounting treatments of the same type of assistance differ between the tested party and the comparable, a comparability adjustment may be required. In addition, divergences in the accounting treatment of government assistance could ... Read more

OECD COVID-19 TPG paragraph 54

Third, adjustments for accounting consistency may be required to improve comparability. Adjustments for accounting consistency are designed to eliminate the effect of differing accounting practices between the controlled and uncontrolled transactions and should be considered if and only if they are expected to increase the reliability of the results of a comparability analysis.32 In some cases, if exceptional costs arising from COVID-19 may be accounted for as either operating or non-operating items by different taxpayers in different transactions, then comparability adjustments may be In other cases there can be differences in whether the COVID-19 related costs are taken into account above or below the gross profit line. For instance, the recognition of the purchase of PPE as an operating cost by the tested party and as a cost of goods sold by a comparable may have a significant impact when computing a profit level indicator based on gross profit and may require a comparability adjustment. 32 Paragraph 3.48 and 3.50 ... Read more

OECD COVID-19 TPG paragraph 28

This aspect is also relevant in performing the comparability analysis. For instance, assume government intervention forces a taxpayer to close its distribution facilities for three months. In undertaking a benchmark analysis, care should be taken in verifying that comparable enterprises have faced similar restrictions or conditions. Otherwise, it might be necessary to adjust the period over which the comparison is performed (e.g. excluding the economic data corresponding to the three months where the taxpayer was unable to operate). Taxpayers and tax administrations should determine on a case-by-case basis the extent to which these adjustments are necessary in circumstances where the potential differences may not have a material impact on the comparability. In this respect, the guidance in paragraphs 3.50 to 3.52 of the OECD TPG is relevant ... Read more

OECD COVID-19 TPG paragraph 9

The unprecedented change in the economic environment following the outbreak of COVID-19 creates unique challenges for performing comparability analysis. The pandemic may have a significant impact on the pricing of some transactions between independent enterprises and may reduce the reliance that can be placed on historical data when performing comparability analyses. This may require taxpayers and tax administrations to consider practical approaches that can be adopted to address information deficiencies, such as comparability adjustments. Such practical approaches regarding the performance of comparability analyses should be consistent with the transfer pricing policy of the taxpayer over time ... Read more
Romania vs "Electrolux" A. SA, November 2020, Supreme Court, Case No 6059/2020

Romania vs “Electrolux” A. SA, November 2020, Supreme Court, Case No 6059/2020

In this case, a Romanian manufacturer and distributor (A. SA) in the Electrolux group (C) had been loss making while the group as a whole had been profitable. The tax authorities issued an assessment, where the profit of A. SA had been determined based on a comparison to the profitability of independent traders in households appliances. When calculating the profit margin of A. SA certain adjustments was made to the costs – depreciations, extraordinary costs etc. When comparing A. SA’s net profit to financial results with those of the group to which it belongs, it emerged that, during the period under review, the applicant was loss-making while C. made a profit. With reference to paragraphs 1.70 and 1.71 of the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines, when an affiliated company consistently makes a loss while the group as a whole is profitable, the data may call for a special analysis of the transfer pricing elements, as this loss-making company may not receive ... Read more
Denmark vs Pharma Distributor A A/S, March 2020, National Court, Case No SKM2020.105.OLR

Denmark vs Pharma Distributor A A/S, March 2020, National Court, Case No SKM2020.105.OLR

Results in a Danish company engaged in distribution of pharmaceuticals were significantly below the arm’s length range of net profit according to the benchmark study, but by disregarding annual goodwill amortization of DKK 57.1 million, the results were within the arm’s length range. The goodwill being amortized in Pharma Distributor A A/S had been determined under a prior acquisition of the company, and later – due to a merger with the acquiring danish company – booked in Pharma Distributor A A/S. The main question in the case was whether Pharma Distributor A A/S were entitled to disregard the goodwill amortization in the comparability analysis. The national tax court had ruled in favor of the company, but the national court reached the opposite result. Thus, the National Court found that the goodwill in question had to be regarded as an operating asset, and therefore the depreciation had to be regarded as operating expenses when calculating the net profit (EBIT margin). In ... Read more

TPG2020 Chapter X paragraph 10.20

In an ideal scenario, a comparability analysis would enable the identification of financial transactions between independent parties which match the tested transaction in all respects. With the many variables involved, it is more likely that potential comparables will differ from the tested transaction. Where differences exist between the tested transaction and any proposed comparable, it will be necessary to consider whether such differences will have a material impact on the price. If so, it may be possible, where appropriate, to make comparability adjustments to improve the reliability of a comparable. This is more likely to be achievable where the adjustment is based on a quantitative factor and there is good quality data easily available (e.g. on currency differences) than, for instance, in trying to compare loans to borrowers with qualitative differences or where data is not so readily available (e.g. borrowers with different business strategies) ... Read more
Argentina vs Volkswagen Argentina S.A., December 2019, Court of Appeal, Case No CAF 057064/2013/CA001 - CA002

Argentina vs Volkswagen Argentina S.A., December 2019, Court of Appeal, Case No CAF 057064/2013/CA001 – CA002

The case of Volkswagen Argentina S.A. revolves around benchmarking and comparability adjustments. In the transfer pricing analysis Volkswagen adjusts the results of the tested party (local entity) for extraordinary losses due to local economic conditions. The Federal Court of Appeals supports the adjustment to the results of the tested party and also the approach of averaging out the results of the tested party over a period of three year. Click here for English Translation ARGVW dec 2019 ... Read more
Russia vs RIF Trading House, April 2019, Moscow City Court, Case No. No. A40-241020/18

Russia vs RIF Trading House, April 2019, Moscow City Court, Case No. No. A40-241020/18

In 2014, RIF Trading House sourced and bought agricultural products in Russia – wheat, barley, corn and peas. These products were then exported to a trader in the UAE, which turned out to be related to RIF Trading House. However, RIF Trading House had not provide information on the relationship, nor the required transfer pricing documentation on the controlled transactions. Following an audit, the Russian Federal Tax Service came to the conclusion that the export prices had been lowered in the supply of products to the trader in UAE. The Russian Federal Tax Service independently conducted a transfer pricing analysis – functional analysis, analyzed the market, commodity exchange prices (Platts, ICAR) etc., and then issued a tax assessment where combinations of pricing methods and adjustments had been applied to determine the pricing of the controlled transactions and thus the income of RIF Trading House. Disagreeing with the assessment RIF Trading House brought the case to Court. The court ruled in ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter III Annex paragraph 1 – 8

Example of a Working Capital Adjustment See Chapter III, Section A.6 of these Guidelines for general guidance on comparability adjustments. The assumptions about arm’s length arrangements in the following examples are intended for illustrative purposes only and should not be taken as prescribing adjustments and arm’s length arrangements in actual cases of particular industries. While they seek to demonstrate the principles of the sections of the Guidelines to which they refer, those principles must be applied in each case according to the specific facts and circumstances of that case. This example is provided for illustration purposes as it represents one way, but not necessarily the only way, in which such an adjustment can be calculated. Furthermore, the comments below relate to the application of a transactional net margin method in the situations where, given the facts and circumstances of the case and in particular the comparability (including functional) analysis of the transaction and the review of the information available on ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter IX paragraph 9.110

There are cases where comparables (including internal comparables) are available, subject to possible comparability adjustments being performed. One example of a possible application of the CUP method would be the case where an enterprise that used to transact independently with the MNE group is acquired, and the acquisition is followed by a restructuring of the now controlled transactions. Subject to a review of the five economically relevant characteristics or comparability factors and of the possible effect of the controlled and uncontrolled transactions taking place at different times, it might be the case that the conditions of the pre-acquisition uncontrolled transactions provide a CUP for the post-acquisition controlled transactions. Even where the conditions of the transactions are restructured, it might still be possible, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, to adjust for the transfer of functions, assets and/or risks that occurred upon the restructuring. For instance, a comparability adjustment might be performed to account for the fact that ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter VI paragraph 6.208

It should also be recognised that comparability adjustments for factors other than differences in the nature of the intangibles used may be required in matters involving the use of intangibles in connection with a controlled sale of goods or services. In particular, comparability adjustments may be required for matters such as differences in markets, locational advantages, business strategies, assembled workforce, corporate synergies and other similar factors. While such factors may not be intangibles as that term is described in Section A. 1 of this chapter, they can nevertheless have important effects on arm’s length prices in matters involving the use of intangibles ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter VI paragraph 6.207

Where the need to make comparability adjustments arises because of differences in the intangibles used by the tested party in a controlled transaction and the intangibles used by a party to a potentially comparable uncontrolled transaction, difficult factual questions can arise in quantifying reliable comparability adjustments. These issues require thorough consideration of the relevant facts and circumstances and of the available data regarding the impact of the intangibles on prices and profits. Where the impact on price of a difference in the nature of the intangibles used is clearly material, but not subject to accurate estimation, it may be necessary to utilise a different transfer pricing method that is less dependent on identification of reliable comparables ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter VI paragraph 6.129

The principles of paragraphs 3.47 to 3.54 relating to comparability adjustments apply with respect to transactions involving the transfer of intangibles or rights in intangibles. It is important to note that differences between intangibles can have significant economic consequences that may be difficult to adjust for in a reliable manner. Particularly in situations where amounts attributable to comparability adjustments represent a large percentage of the compensation for the intangible, there may be reason to believe, depending on the specific facts, that the computation of the adjustment is not reliable and that the intangibles being compared are in fact not sufficiently comparable to support a valid transfer pricing analysis. If reliable comparability adjustments are not possible, it may be necessary to select a transfer pricing method that is less dependent on the identification of comparable intangibles or comparable transactions ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter III paragraph 3.54

Ensuring the needed level of transparency of comparability adjustments may depend upon the availability of an explanation of any adjustments performed, the reasons for the adjustments being considered appropriate, how they were calculated, how they changed the results for each comparable and how the adjustment improves comparability. Issues regarding documentation of comparability adjustments are discussed in Chapter V ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter III paragraph 3.53

It is not appropriate to view some comparability adjustments, such as for differences in levels of working capital, as “routine” and uncontroversial, and to view certain other adjustments, such as for country risk, as more subjective and therefore subject to additional requirements of proof and reliability. The only adjustments that should be made are those that are expected to improve comparability ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter III paragraph 3.52

It is not always the case that adjustments are warranted. For instance, an adjustment for differences in accounts receivable may not be particularly useful if major differences in accounting standards were also present that could not be resolved. Likewise, sophisticated adjustments are sometimes applied to create the false impression that the outcome of the comparables search is “scientific”, reliable and accurate ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter III paragraph 3.51

It bears emphasis that comparability adjustments are only appropriate for differences that will have a material effect on the comparison. Some differences will invariably exist between the taxpayer’s controlled transactions and the third party comparables. A comparison may be appropriate despite an unadjusted difference, provided that the difference does not have a material effect on the reliability of the comparison. On the other hand, the need to perform numerous or substantial adjustments to key comparability factors may indicate that the third party transactions are in fact not sufficiently comparable ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter III paragraph 3.50

Comparability adjustments should be considered if (and only if) they are expected to increase the reliability of the results. Relevant considerations in this regard include the materiality of the difference for which an adjustment is being considered, the quality of the data subject to adjustment, the purpose of the adjustment and the reliability of the approach used to make the adjustment ... Read more
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