Tag: Comparability adjustments

France vs Ferragamo France, June 2022, Administrative Court of Appeal (CAA), Case No 20PA03601

France vs Ferragamo France, June 2022, Administrative Court of Appeal (CAA), Case No 20PA03601

Ferragamo France, which was set up in 1992 and is wholly owned by the Dutch company Ferragamo International BV, which in turn is owned by the Italian company Salvatore Ferragamo Spa, carries on the business of retailing shoes, leather goods and luxury accessories and distributes, in shops in France, products under the ‘Salvatore Ferragamo’ brand, which is owned by the Italian parent company. An assessment had been issued to Ferragamo France in which the French tax authorities asserted that the French subsidiary had not been sufficiently remunerated for additional expenses and contributions to the value of the Ferragamo trademark. The French subsidiary had been remunerated on a gross margin basis, but had incurred losses in previous years and had indirect cost exceeding those of the selected comparable companies. In 2017 the Administrative Court decided in favour of Ferragamo and dismissed the assessment issued by the tax authorities. According to the Court the tax administration had not demonstrated the existence of ... Read more

TPG2022 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

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.218

The application of the CUP method to a transaction involving a captive insurance may encounter practical difficulties to determine the need for and quantification of comparability adjustments. In particular, account should be taken of potential differences between the controlled and uncontrolled transactions that may affect the reliability of the comparables. Those differences may refer, for instance, to situations where the functional analysis indicates that a captive insurance performs less functions than a commercial insurer (e.g. a captive insurance that only insures internal risks within the MNE group may not need to perform distribution and sales functions). Similarly, differences between the captive insurance and the potential comparables in business volume or in the level of capital between the captive insurance and unrelated parties may require comparability adjustments (see paragraph 10.221) ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.106

The reliability of economic models’ outcomes depends upon the parameters factored into the specific model and the underlying assumptions adopted. In evaluating the reliability of economic models as an approach to pricing intra-group loans it is important to note that economic models’ outcomes do not represent actual transactions between independent parties and that, therefore, comparability adjustments would be likely required. However, in situations where reliable comparable uncontrolled transactions cannot be identified, economic models may represent tools that can be usefully applied in identifying an arm’s length price for intra-group loans, subject to the same constraints regarding market conditions discussed in paragraph 10.98 ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.95

Whereas it is unlikely that an MNE group’s average interest rate paid on its external debt meets the comparability requirements to be considered as an internal CUP, it may be possible to identify potential comparable loans within the borrower’s or its MNE group’s financing with an independent lender as the counterparty. As with external CUPs, it may be necessary to make appropriate adjustments to improve comparability. See Example 1 at 1.164 – 1.166 ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.93

Arm’s length interest rates can also be based on the return of realistic alternative transactions with comparable economic characteristics. Depending on the facts and circumstances, realistic alternatives to intra-group loans could be, for instance, bond issuances, loans which are uncontrolled transactions, deposits, convertible debentures, commercial papers, etc. In the evaluation of those alternatives as potential comparables it is important to bear in mind that, based on facts and circumstances, comparability adjustments may be required to eliminate the material effects of differences between the controlled intra-group loan and the selected alternative in terms of, for instance, liquidity, maturity, existence of collateral or currency ... Read more

TPG2022 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

TPG2022 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

TPG2022 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

TPG2022 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

TPG2022 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

TPG2022 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

TPG2022 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

TPG2022 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

TPG2022 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

TPG2022 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

TPG2022 Chapter III paragraph 3.49

An example of a working capital adjustment designed to reflect differing levels of accounts receivable, accounts payable and inventory is provided in the Annex to Chapter III. The fact that such adjustments are found in practice does not mean that they should be performed on a routine or mandatory basis. Rather, the improvement to comparability should be shown when proposing these types of adjustments (as for any type of adjustment). Further, a significantly different level of relative working capital between the controlled and uncontrolled parties may result in further investigation of the comparability characteristics of the potential comparable ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter III paragraph 3.48

Examples of comparability adjustments include adjustments for accounting consistency designed to eliminate differences that may arise from differing accounting practices between the controlled and uncontrolled transactions; segmentation of financial data to eliminate significant non- comparable transactions; adjustments for differences in capital, functions, assets, risks ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter III paragraph 3.47

The need to adjust comparables and the requirement for accuracy and reliability are pointed out in these Guidelines on several occasions, both for the general application of the arm’s length principle and more specifically in the context of each method. To be comparable means that none of the differences (if any) between the situations being compared could materially affect the condition being examined in the methodology or that reasonably accurate adjustments can be made to eliminate the effect of any such differences. Whether comparability adjustments should be performed (and if so, what adjustments should be performed) in a particular case is a matter of judgment that should be evaluated in light of the discussion of costs and compliance burden at Section C ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II paragraph 2.113

The facts are the same as in paragraph 2.42. However, the amount of the warranty expenses incurred by Distributor A proves impossible to ascertain so that it is not possible to reliably adjust the gross profit of A to make the gross profit margin properly comparable with that of B. However, if there are no other material functional differences between A and B and the net profit of A relative to its sales is known, it might be possible to apply the transactional net margin method to B by comparing the margin relative to A’s sales to net profits with the margin calculated on the same basis for B ... Read more