Tag: Comparability defects

§ 1.482-1(e)(5)Example 1.

Selection of comparables. (i) To evaluate the arm’s length result of a controlled transaction between USSub, the United States taxpayer under review, and FP, its foreign parent, the district director considers applying the resale price method. The district director identifies ten potential uncontrolled transactions. The distributors in all ten uncontrolled transactions purchase and resell similar products and perform similar functions to those of USSub. (ii) Data with respect to three of the uncontrolled transactions is very limited, and although some material differences can be identified and adjusted for, the level of comparability of these three uncontrolled comparables is significantly lower than that of the other seven. Further, of those seven, adjustments for the identified material differences can be reliably made for only four of the uncontrolled transactions. Therefore, pursuant to § 1.482-1(e)(2)(ii) only these four uncontrolled comparables may be used to establish an arm’s length range ... Read more

§ 1.482-1(e)(2)(iii)(C) Interquartile range.

For purposes of this section, the interquartile range is the range from the 25th to the 75th percentile of the results derived from the uncontrolled comparables. For this purpose, the 25th percentile is the lowest result derived from an uncontrolled comparable such that at least 25 percent of the results are at or below the value of that result. However, if exactly 25 percent of the results are at or below a result, then the 25th percentile is equal to the average of that result and the next higher result derived from the uncontrolled comparables. The 75th percentile is determined analogously ... Read more

§ 1.482-1(e)(2)(iii)(B) Adjustment of range to increase reliability.

If there are no uncontrolled comparables described in paragraph (e)(2)(iii)(A) of this section, the arm’s length range is derived from the results of all the uncontrolled comparables, selected pursuant to paragraph (e)(2)(ii) of this section, that achieve a similar level of comparability and reliability. In such cases the reliability of the analysis must be increased, where it is possible to do so, by adjusting the range through application of a valid statistical method to the results of all of the uncontrolled comparables so selected. The reliability of the analysis is increased when statistical methods are used to establish a range of results in which the limits of the range will be determined such that there is a 75 percent probability of a result falling above the lower end of the range and a 75 percent probability of a result falling below the upper end of the range. The interquartile range ordinarily provides an acceptable measure of this range; however a different statistical method may ... Read more

§ 1.482-1(e)(2)(iii)(A) In general.

The arm’s length range will consist of the results of all of the uncontrolled comparables that meet the following conditions: the information on the controlled transaction and the uncontrolled comparables is sufficiently complete that it is likely that all material differences have been identified, each such difference has a definite and reasonably ascertainable effect on price or profit, and an adjustment is made to eliminate the effect of each such difference ... Read more

§ 1.482-1(e)(2)(ii) Selection of comparables.

Uncontrolled comparables must be selected based upon the comparability criteria relevant to the method applied and must be sufficiently similar to the controlled transaction that they provide a reliable measure of an arm’s length result. If material differences exist between the controlled and uncontrolled transactions, adjustments must be made to the results of the uncontrolled transaction if the effect of such differences on price or profits can be ascertained with sufficient accuracy to improve the reliability of the results. See § 1.482-1(d)(2) (Standard of comparability). The arm’s length range will be derived only from those uncontrolled comparables that have, or through adjustments can be brought to, a similar level of comparability and reliability, and uncontrolled comparables that have a significantly lower level of comparability and reliability will not be used in establishing the arm’s length range ... Read more

§ 1.482-1(d)(4)(iii)(B)Example 2.

USP, a United States manufacturer of farm machinery, sells its products to FSub, its wholly-owned distributor in Country Y. USP, operating at nearly full capacity, sells 95% of its inventory to FSub. To make use of its excess capacity, and also to establish a comparable uncontrolled price for its transfer price to FSub, USP increases its production to full capacity. USP sells its excess inventory to Compco, an unrelated foreign distributor in Country X. Country X has approximately the same economic conditions as that of Country Y. Because one of the principal purposes of selling to Compco was to establish an arm’s length price for its controlled transactions with FSub, USP’s sale to Compco cannot be used as an uncontrolled comparable to determine USP’s arm’s length result from its controlled transaction ... Read more

§ 1.482-1(d)(4)(iii)(B)Example 1.

Not in the ordinary course of business. USP, a United States manufacturer of computer software, sells its products to FSub, its foreign distributor in country X. Compco, a United States competitor of USP, also sells its products in X through unrelated distributors. However, in the year under review, Compco is forced into bankruptcy, and Compco liquidates its inventory by selling all of its products to unrelated distributors in X for a liquidation price. Because the sale of its entire inventory was not a sale in the ordinary course of business, Compco’s sale cannot be used as an uncontrolled comparable to determine USP’s arm’s length result from its controlled transaction ... Read more

§ 1.482-1(d)(4)(iii)(A) In general.

Transactions ordinarily will not constitute reliable measures of an arm’s length result for purposes of this section if – (1) They are not made in the ordinary course of business; or (2) One of the principal purposes of the uncontrolled transaction was to establish an arm’s length result with respect to the controlled transaction ... Read more

§ 1.482-1(d)(2) Standard of comparability.

In order to be considered comparable to a controlled transaction, an uncontrolled transaction need not be identical to the controlled transaction, but must be sufficiently similar that it provides a reliable measure of an arm’s length result. If there are material differences between the controlled and uncontrolled transactions, adjustments must be made if the effect of such differences on prices or profits can be ascertained with sufficient accuracy to improve the reliability of the results. For purposes of this section, a material difference is one that would materially affect the measure of an arm’s length result under the method being applied. If adjustments for material differences cannot be made, the uncontrolled transaction may be used as a measure of an arm’s length result, but the reliability of the analysis will be reduced. Generally, such adjustments must be made to the results of the uncontrolled comparable and must be based on commercial practices, economic principles, or statistical analyses. The extent and ... Read more
Italy vs Promgas s.p.a., May 2022, Supreme Court, Cases No 15668/2022

Italy vs Promgas s.p.a., May 2022, Supreme Court, Cases No 15668/2022

Promgas s.p.a. is 50% owned by the Italian company Eni s.p.a. and 50% owned by the Russian company Gazprom Export. It deals with the purchase and sale of natural gas of Russian origin destined for the Italian market. It sells the gas to a single Italian entity not belonging to the group, Edison spa, on the basis of a contract signed on 24 January 2000. In essence, Promgas s.p.a. performes intermediary function between the Russian company, Gazprom Export (exporter of the gas), and the Italian company, Edison s.p.a. (final purchaser of the gas). Following an audit for FY 2005/06, the tax authorities – based on the Transaction Net Margin Method – held that the operating margin obtained by Promgas s.p.a. (0.23% in 2025 and 0.06% in 2006) were not in line with the results that the company could have achieved at arm’s length. Applying an operating margin of l.39% resulted in a arm’s length profit of €4,227,438.07, for the year ... Read more
Netherlands vs "Fertilizer BV", April 2022, Court of Appeal, Case No. ECLI:NL:GHSHE:2022:1198

Netherlands vs “Fertilizer BV”, April 2022, Court of Appeal, Case No. ECLI:NL:GHSHE:2022:1198

In 2016 Fertilizer BV had been issued a tax assessment for FY 2012 in which the tax authorities had imposed additional taxable income of €133,076,615. In November 2019 the district court ruled predominantly in favor of the tax authorities but reduced the adjustment to €78.294.312. An appel was filed by Fertilizer BV with the Court of Appeal. Judgement of the Court of Appeal Various issues related to the assessment was disputed before the Court. Dispute 1: Allocation of debt and equity capital to a permanent establishment in Libya in connection with the application of the object exemption. More specifically, the dispute is whether the creditworthiness of the head office was correctly taken as a starting point and a sufficient adjustment was made for the increased risk profile of the permanent establishment. The Court of Appeal answered this question in the affirmative, referring to the capital allocation approach that is regarded as the preferred method for the application of Article 7 ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter III paragraph 3.63

Extreme results might consist of losses or unusually high profits. Extreme results can affect the financial indicators that are looked at in the chosen method (e.g. the gross margin when applying a resale price, or a net profit indicator when applying a transactional net margin method). They can also affect other items, e.g. exceptional items which are below the line but nonetheless may reflect exceptional circumstances. Where one or more of the potential comparables have extreme results, further examination would be needed to understand the reasons for such extreme results. The reason might be a defect in comparability, or exceptional conditions met by an otherwise comparable third party. An extreme result may be excluded on the basis that a previously overlooked significant comparability defect has been brought to light, not on the sole basis that the results arising from the proposed “comparable” merely appear to be very different from the results observed in other proposed “comparables” ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter III paragraph 3.62

In determining this point, where the range comprises results of relatively equal and high reliability, it could be argued that any point in the range satisfies the arm’s length principle. Where comparability defects remain as discussed at paragraph 3.57, it may be appropriate to use measures of central tendency to determine this point (for instance the median, the mean or weighted averages, etc., depending on the specific characteristics of the data set), in order to minimise the risk of error due to unknown or unquantifiable remaining comparability defects ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter III paragraph 3.59

Where the application of the most appropriate method (or, in relevant circumstances, of more than one method, see paragraph 2.12), produces a range of figures, a substantial deviation among points in that range may indicate that the data used in establishing some of the points may not be as reliable as the data used to establish the other points in the range or that the deviation may result from features of the comparable data that require adjustments. In such cases, further analysis of those points may be necessary to evaluate their suitability for inclusion in any arm’s length range ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter III paragraph 3.38

The identification of potential comparables has to be made with the objective of finding the most reliable data, recognising that they will not always be perfect. For instance, independent transactions may be scarce in certain markets and industries. A pragmatic solution may need to be found, on a case-by-case basis, such as broadening the search and using information on uncontrolled transactions taking place in the same industry and a comparable geographical market, but performed by third parties that may have different business strategies, business models or other slightly different economic circumstances; information on uncontrolled transactions taking place in the same industry but in other geographical markets; or information on uncontrolled transactions taking place in the same geographical market but in other industries. The choice among these various options will depend on the facts and circumstances of the case, and in particular on the significance of the expected effects of comparability defects on the reliability of the analysis ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter III paragraph 3.2

As part of the process of selecting the most appropriate transfer pricing method (see paragraph 2.2) and applying it, the comparability analysis always aims at finding the most reliable comparables. Thus, where it is possible to determine that some uncontrolled transactions have a lesser degree of comparability than others, they should be eliminated (see also paragraph 3.56). This does not mean that there is a requirement for an exhaustive search of all possible sources of comparables as it is acknowledged that there are limitations in availability of information and that searches for comparables data can be burdensome. See also discussion of compliance efforts at paragraphs 3.80-3.83 ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II paragraph 2.185

As discussed in these Guidelines, there are concerns regarding the use of the transactional net margin method, in particular that it is sometimes applied without adequately taking into account the relevant differences between the controlled and uncontrolled transactions being compared. Many countries are concerned that the safeguards established for the traditional transaction methods may be overlooked in applying the transactional net margin method. Thus, where differences in the characteristics of the transactions being compared have a material effect on the net profit indicators being used, it would not be appropriate to apply the transactional net margin method without making adjustments for such differences. See paragraphs 2.74-2.81 (the comparability standard to be applied to the transactional net margin method) ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II paragraph 2.72

Like the resale price and cost plus methods, the transactional net margin method is applied to only one of the associated enterprises. The fact that many factors unrelated to transfer prices may affect net profits, in conjunction with the one-sided nature of the analysis under this method, can affect the overall reliability of the transactional net margin method if an insufficient standard of comparability is applied. Detailed guidance on establishing comparability for the transactional net margin method is given in Section B.3.1 below ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II paragraph 2.33

When the resale price margin used is that of an independent enterprise in a comparable transaction, the reliability of the resale price method may be affected if there are material differences in the ways the associated enterprises and independent enterprises carry out their businesses. Such differences could include those that affect the level of costs taken into account (e.g. the differences could include the effect of management efficiency on levels and ranges of inventory maintenance), which may well have an impact on the profitability of an enterprise but which may not necessarily affect the price at which it buys or sells its goods or services in the open market. These types of characteristics should be analysed in determining whether an uncontrolled transaction is comparable for purposes of applying the resale price method ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II paragraph 2.11

It is not possible to provide specific rules that will cover every case. Tax administrators should hesitate from making minor or marginal adjustments. In general, the parties should attempt to reach a reasonable accommodation keeping in mind the imprecision of the various methods and the preference for higher degrees of comparability and a more direct and closer relationship to the transaction. It should not be the case that useful information, such as might be drawn from uncontrolled transactions that are not identical to the controlled transactions, should be dismissed simply because some rigid standard of comparability is not fully met. Similarly, evidence from enterprises engaged in controlled transactions with associated enterprises may be useful in understanding the transaction under review or as a pointer to further investigation. Further, any method should be permitted where its application is agreeable to the members of the MNE group involved with the transaction or transactions to which the methodology applies and also to the ... Read more
Panama vs "Construction S.A.", December 2021, Administrative Tax Court, Case No TAT- RF-111 (112/2019)

Panama vs “Construction S.A.”, December 2021, Administrative Tax Court, Case No TAT- RF-111 (112/2019)

“Construction Service S.A.” is active in Design, Repair and Construction of buildings. During the FY 2011-2013 it paid for services – management services and construction services – rendered from related parties. Following an audit the tax authorities issued an assessment where payments for these services had been adjusted by reference to the arm’s length principle. According to the authorities the benchmark studies in the company’s transfer pricing documentation suffered from comparability defects and moreover it had not been sufficiently demonstrated that the services had been effectively provided. The tax authorities pointed out that since the company is not considered comparable to the taxpayer, the interquartile range would be from 5.15% to 8.30% with a median of 5.70%; therefore, the taxpayer’s operating margin of 4.07% is outside the interquartile range. Not satisfied with the adjustment “Construction Service S.A.” filed an appeal with the Tax Court Judgement of the Tax Court The court ruled in favour of “construction S.A” and revoked the ... Read more
Spain vs "Benchmark SA", November 2021, TEAC, Case No Rec. 4881/2019

Spain vs “Benchmark SA”, November 2021, TEAC, Case No Rec. 4881/2019

The tax authorities excluded some of the entities selected by the taxpayer in a benchmark study, as it considered that they did not meet the necessary comparability requirements, and also included some of the excluded entities, as it considered that they were comparable. These modifications to the benchmark resulted in a variation of the arm’s length range, with the margin earned by the taxpayer falling outside the range. The taxpayer argued that the recalculation of market value should be based on a complete new analysis to replace the one provided by the entity. In relation to the rejection of certain comparables, the taxpayer argued that the information used by the tax authorities and consulted on the internet was not available at the time the transfer pricing documentation was prepared. Judgement of the TEAC The TEAC rejected the claim filed by the taxpayer and upheld the assessment of the tax authorities. It is not necessary to carry out a new economic analysis ... Read more
Germany vs Lender GmbH, May 2021, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No I R 62/17

Germany vs Lender GmbH, May 2021, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No I R 62/17

Lender GmbH acquired all shares in T GmbH from T in 2012 (year in dispute) for a purchase price of … €. To finance the purchase price of the shares, Lender GmbH took out a loan from its sole shareholder, D GmbH, a loan in the amount of … €, which bore interest at 8% p.a. (shareholder loan). The interest was not to be paid on an ongoing basis, but only on expiry of the loan agreement on 31.12.2021. No collateral was agreed. D GmbH, for its part, borrowed funds in the same amount and under identical terms and conditions from its shareholders, among others from its Dutch shareholder N U.A. In addition Lender GmbH received a bank loan in the amount of … €, which had an average interest rate of 4.78% p.a. and was fully secured. Finally Lender GmbH also received a vendor loan from the vendor T in the amount of … €, which bore an interest ... Read more
Chile vs Avery Dennison Chile S.A., March 2021, Tax Court, Case N° RUT°96.721.090-0

Chile vs Avery Dennison Chile S.A., March 2021, Tax Court, Case N° RUT°96.721.090-0

The US group, Avery Dennison, manufactures and distributes labelling and packaging materials in more than 50 countries around the world. The remuneration of the distribution and marketing activities performed Avery Dennison Chile S.A. had been determined to be at arm’s length by application of a “full range” analysis. Furthermore, surplus capital from the local company had been placed at the group’s financial centre in Luxembourg, Avery Management KGAA, at an interest rate of 0,79% (12-month Libor). According the tax authorities in Chile the remuneration of the local company had not been at arm’s length, and the interest rate paid by the related party in Luxembourg had been to low. Judgement of the Tax Tribunal The Tribunal decided in favour of Avery Dennison Chile S.A. “Hence, the Respondent [tax authorities] failed to prove its allegations that the marketing operations carried out by the taxpayer during the 2012 business year with related parties not domiciled or resident in Chile do not conform ... Read more
Italy vs E.I S.r.l., February 2021, Administrative Court, Case No 12/02/2021 n. 546

Italy vs E.I S.r.l., February 2021, Administrative Court, Case No 12/02/2021 n. 546

Transactions had taken place between E.I. S.r.l. and a related Spanish company, S. Sa. where the pricing had been determined based on the cost plus method. An assessment was issued by the tax authorities on the basis of a “comparable” transactions (internal CUP) between the E.I. S.r.l. and an independent third company where the price had been higher. The Court of first instance held in favour of E.I S.r.l. This decision was appealed by the tax authorities. Judgement of the Court The Court dismissed the appeal of the tax authorities and decided in favour of E.I. S.r.l. Excerpts: “The Commission observes that the judges at first instance correctly and in detail reasoned their decisions, with a wealth of detail and a careful examination of all the circumstances examined. On the other hand, the Office has slavishly repeated its observations, merely objecting to the fact that they were not given due consideration by the first instance judges.” “The OECD Guidelines state ... Read more
France vs Studialis, October 2020, Administrative Court of Appeal, Case No 18PA01026

France vs Studialis, October 2020, Administrative Court of Appeal, Case No 18PA01026

Between the end of 2008 and the end of 2012 Studialis had issued bonds subscribed by British funds, partners of a Luxembourg company, itself a majority partner of Studialis, carrying an interest rate of 10%. The Tax authorities considered that the interest rate on the bonds was higher than the limit provided for by Article 212, I of the CGI (at the time between 2.8% and 4.1%). According to the authorities only an effective loan offer contemporaneous with the transactions and taking into account the specific characteristics of the borrowing company could establish with certainty the rate it would have received from a independent credit institution, and rejected all the evidence in support of the pricing presented by the company. Decision of the Administrative Court of Appeal The Court ruled in favor of Studialis. It considered that the evidence provided by Studialis – loan offers and certificates from independent banks combined with and a comparability study on rates of bonds ... Read more
Panama vs "AC S.A.", January 2020, Administrative Tribunal, Case No TAT-RF-002

Panama vs “AC S.A.”, January 2020, Administrative Tribunal, Case No TAT-RF-002

“AC S.A” is engaged in sale of ventilation, heating and cooling equipment in Panama. AC S.A pays royalties for use of IP owned by the parent company of the AC Group. Following a audit carried out by the Tax Administration in Panama it was concluded that the profits of AC S.A 2.04% was below the arm’s length range determined by application of a TNM-method. After removing non-comparables from the benchmark study provided by the company, the interquartile range had a lower quartile of 6.15% and a median of 8.41%. Hence an assessment of additional taxable income was issued for FY 2014, bringing the profits of AC S.A up to the median (8.41%) of the adjusted benchmark. AC Corp disagreed with the assessment and brought the case before the Administrative Tribunal. The Administrative Tribunal decided in favor of the tax authorities, but made adjustment to the benchmark resulting in a lower quartile of 3.16% and a median of 6.2%. The adjustment ... Read more
Netherlands vs "Fertilizer BV", November 2019, District Court, Case No. ECLI:NL:RBZWB:2019:4920

Netherlands vs “Fertilizer BV”, November 2019, District Court, Case No. ECLI:NL:RBZWB:2019:4920

In 2016 Fertilizer BV had been issued a tax assessment for FY 2012 in which the tax authorities had imposed additional taxable income of €162,506,660. Fertilizer BV is the parent company of a fiscal unity for corporation tax (hereinafter: FU). It is a limited partner in a limited partnership under Dutch law, which operates a factory in [Country 1]. The interested party borrowed the money for the capital contribution to the limited partnership from a wholly-owned subsidiary. The share in profits from the limited partnership was expressed as profit from a permanent establishment. In dispute was the amount of interest attributable to the permanent establishment. The court followed the inspector in allocating – in connection with the [circumstances] in [Country 1] – 75% equity and 25% loan capital to the PE. Furthermore, the FU had deposits and loans in USD. These positions were partly hedged by forward exchange contracts. Fertilizer BV valued these deposits and loans at the historical acquisition ... Read more
Spain vs Ikea, March 2019, Audiencia Nacional, Case No SAN 1072/2019

Spain vs Ikea, March 2019, Audiencia Nacional, Case No SAN 1072/2019

The tax administration had issued an adjustment to the taxable profit of IKEA’s subsidiary in Spain considering that taxable profit in years 2007, 2008, and 2009 had not been determined in accordance with the arm’s length principle. In 2007 taxable profits had been below the interquartile range and in 2008 and 2009 taxable profits had been within the interquartile range but below the median. In all years taxable profits had been adjusted to the median in the benchmark study. Judgement of the Court In regards to the adjustment mechanism – benchmark study, interquartile range, median – the Court provide the following reasoning “However, the OECD Guidelines in point 3.60 provide that “if the relevant terms of the controlled transaction (e.g. price or margin) are within the arm’s length range, no adjustment is necessary”. Conversely, under rule 3.61, if the relevant terms of the controlled transaction “(e.g., price or margin) are outside the arm’s length range determined by the tax administration, ... Read more
Italy vs BI S.r.l, November 2018, Tax Tribunal of Milano, Case no. 5445/3/2018

Italy vs BI S.r.l, November 2018, Tax Tribunal of Milano, Case no. 5445/3/2018

The Italian tax authorities had issued an assessment against a local distribution company of a multinational group, where the transfer pricing analysis conducted by the taxpayer had been disregarded. The tax authorities, carried out a new benchmark analysis based on the transactional net margin method (“TNMM”) and adjusted the company’s profitability to the median. Judgement of the Court The Court decided in favour of BI S.r.l. and cancelled the assessment. The Court stated that the profitability range calculated by the tax authorities goes, for the year 2013, from a minimum value of 1.40% to a maximum of 18.28%. The local distribution company had obtained a ROS/EBIT margin of 8.38%, and since the last percentage falls between the minimum and the maximum, the court set aside the assessment. In regards to the TP analysis performed by the tax authorities the Court stated: “The company had applied the CUP method, as it was considered the most direct and reliable method to apply ... Read more
Czech Republic vs. M.V., April 2018, Supreme Administrative Court , Case No 3 Afs 105/2017 - 22

Czech Republic vs. M.V., April 2018, Supreme Administrative Court , Case No 3 Afs 105/2017 – 22

The reason for the adjustment of the tax base was, among other things, the finding that M.V.sold on 4 January 2010 all the stock of goods of the range of garden supplies to AGROTECHNIKA Vaněk s.r.o. (“Agrotechnika”) at an 80% discount on the sales price (i.e. purchase price + margin). M.V. and Agrotechnika were related persons within the meaning of Article 23(7) of Act No 586/1992 Coll., on Income Taxes, as M.V. is the managing director and sole shareholder of Agrotechnika. The sale price after the discount corresponded to approximately 40 % of the purchase price, which, according to the tax administrator, did not correspond to the price that would have been agreed between independent persons in normal commercial relations under the same or similar conditions. The prices established with comparable operators showed that the normal price corresponded to the purchase price of the goods. M.V. did not provide satisfactory evidence of the difference of CZK 1 557 720. The ... Read more
Spain vs. Microsoft Ibérica S.R.L, February 2018, Audiencia Nacional, Case no 337/2014

Spain vs. Microsoft Ibérica S.R.L, February 2018, Audiencia Nacional, Case no 337/2014

Microsoft Ibérica S.R.L is responsible for distribution and marketing of Microsoft products in Spain. According to an agreement concluded between Microsoft Ibérica and MIOL (Microsoft’s Irish sales and marketing hub) with effect from 1 July 2003, Microsoft Ibérica would received the largest amount of either a commission based on sales invoiced in Spain or a markup on it’s costs. In support of the remuneration according to the agreement, Microsoft had provided a benchmark study. The Spanish tax authorities found that Microsoft Ibérica had not been properly remunerated due to the fact that goodwill amortisations had been eliminated by in the transfer pricing analysis. By including the goodwill amortisations in the analysis, the result of the local company was below the interquartile rang. The authorities further held that the selected comparables in the benchmark study suffered from comparability defects, in that they had less functions and risk than Microsoft Ibérica. An assessment was issued where the results were adjusted to 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 3.63

Extreme results might consist of losses or unusually high profits. Extreme results can affect the financial indicators that are looked at in the chosen method (e.g. the gross margin when applying a resale price, or a net profit indicator when applying a transactional net margin method). They can also affect other items, e.g. exceptional items which are below the line but nonetheless may reflect exceptional circumstances. Where one or more of the potential comparables have extreme results, further examination would be needed to understand the reasons for such extreme results. The reason might be a defect in comparability, or exceptional conditions met by an otherwise comparable third party. An extreme result may be excluded on the basis that a previously overlooked significant comparability defect has been brought to light, not on the sole basis that the results arising from the proposed “comparable” merely appear to be very different from the results observed in other proposed “comparables” ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter III paragraph 3.62

In determining this point, where the range comprises results of relatively equal and high reliability, it could be argued that any point in the range satisfies the arm’s length principle. Where comparability defects remain as discussed at paragraph 3.57, it may be appropriate to use measures of central tendency to determine this point (for instance the median, the mean or weighted averages, etc., depending on the specific characteristics of the data set), in order to minimise the risk of error due to unknown or unquantifiable remaining comparability defects ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter III paragraph 3.59

Where the application of the most appropriate method (or, in relevant circumstances, of more than one method, see paragraph 2.12), produces a range of figures, a substantial deviation among points in that range may indicate that the data used in establishing some of the points may not be as reliable as the data used to establish the other points in the range or that the deviation may result from features of the comparable data that require adjustments. In such cases, further analysis of those points may be necessary to evaluate their suitability for inclusion in any arm’s length range ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter III paragraph 3.38

The identification of potential comparables has to be made with the objective of finding the most reliable data, recognising that they will not always be perfect. For instance, independent transactions may be scarce in certain markets and industries. A pragmatic solution may need to be found, on a case-by-case basis, such as broadening the search and using information on uncontrolled transactions taking place in the same industry and a comparable geographical market, but performed by third parties that may have different business strategies, business models or other slightly different economic circumstances; information on uncontrolled transactions taking place in the same industry but in other geographical markets; or information on uncontrolled transactions taking place in the same geographical market but in other industries. The choice among these various options will depend on the facts and circumstances of the case, and in particular on the significance of the expected effects of comparability defects on the reliability of the analysis ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter III paragraph 3.2

As part of the process of selecting the most appropriate transfer pricing method (see paragraph 2.2) and applying it, the comparability analysis always aims at finding the most reliable comparables. Thus, where it is possible to determine that some uncontrolled transactions have a lesser degree of comparability than others, they should be eliminated (see also paragraph 3.56). This does not mean that there is a requirement for an exhaustive search of all possible sources of comparables as it is acknowledged that there are limitations in availability of information and that searches for comparables data can be burdensome. See also discussion of compliance efforts at paragraphs 3.80-3.83 ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter II paragraph 2.185

As discussed in these Guidelines, there are concerns regarding the use of the transactional net margin method, in particular that it is sometimes applied without adequately taking into account the relevant differences between the controlled and uncontrolled transactions being compared. Many countries are concerned that the safeguards established for the traditional transaction methods may be overlooked in applying the transactional net margin method. Thus, where differences in the characteristics of the transactions being compared have a material effect on the net profit indicators being used, it would not be appropriate to apply the transactional net margin method without making adjustments for such differences. See paragraphs 2.74-2.81 (the comparability standard to be applied to the transactional net margin method) ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter II paragraph 2.72

Like the resale price and cost plus methods, the transactional net margin method is applied to only one of the associated enterprises. The fact that many factors unrelated to transfer prices may affect net profits, in conjunction with the one-sided nature of the analysis under this method, can affect the overall reliability of the transactional net margin method if an insufficient standard of comparability is applied. Detailed guidance on establishing comparability for the transactional net margin method is given in Section B.3.1 below ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter II paragraph 2.33

When the resale price margin used is that of an independent enterprise in a comparable transaction, the reliability of the resale price method may be affected if there are material differences in the ways the associated enterprises and independent enterprises carry out their businesses. Such differences could include those that affect the level of costs taken into account (e.g. the differences could include the effect of management efficiency on levels and ranges of inventory maintenance), which may well have an impact on the profitability of an enterprise but which may not necessarily affect the price at which it buys or sells its goods or services in the open market. These types of characteristics should be analysed in determining whether an uncontrolled transaction is comparable for purposes of applying the resale price method ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter II paragraph 2.11

It is not possible to provide specific rules that will cover every case. Tax administrators should hesitate from making minor or marginal adjustments. In general, the parties should attempt to reach a reasonable accommodation keeping in mind the imprecision of the various methods and the preference for higher degrees of comparability and a more direct and closer relationship to the transaction. It should not be the case that useful information, such as might be drawn from uncontrolled transactions that are not identical to the controlled transactions, should be dismissed simply because some rigid standard of comparability is not fully met. Similarly, evidence from enterprises engaged in controlled transactions with associated enterprises may be useful in understanding the transaction under review or as a pointer to further investigation. Further, any method should be permitted where its application is agreeable to the members of the MNE group involved with the transaction or transactions to which the methodology applies and also to the ... Read more