Tag: Comparability factors

Factors taken into account in determining the level of comparability of the controlled and comparable transactions. These are attributes of the transactions or parties that could materially affect prices or profits, including the characteristics of the property or services; functional analysis; contractual terms; economic circumstances and business strategies pursued.

France vs SARL Elie Saab France, June 2021, Conseil d'État, Case No 433985

France vs SARL Elie Saab France, June 2021, Conseil d’État, Case No 433985

The French tax authorities had issued an assessment to SARL Elie Saab France in which they asserted that the French subsidiary had not been sufficiently remunerated for additional expenses and contributions to the value of the SARL Elie Saab trademark. The Supreme Administrative Court upheld the decision of the tax authorities. “It is clear from the statements in the judgment under appeal that the company Elie Saab France is responsible for the management, manufacture and distribution for the Elie Saab group of the top-of-the-range daywear line, distributes “Elie Saab” brand accessories for all the group’s entities, as well as the distribution in France and for European customers of the haute couture line, and sells, in its Paris boutique and to boutiques distributing the brand worldwide, a line of evening wear and accessories developed by the group’s Lebanese subsidiary. In addition, Elie Saab France has a showroom in the Paris boutique to present the brand’s haute couture creations, for which it ... Continue to full case

OECD COVID-19 TPG paragraph 74

The economically relevant characteristics of the accurately delineated controlled transaction will help in determining the potential effect of the receipt of government assistance on the pricing of the controlled transaction, if any. For instance, some of the aspects to consider in analysing the impact, if any, of the receipt of government assistance on the price of a controlled transaction include the availability, purpose, duration and other conditions imposed by the government in granting the assistance; the allocation of the economically significant risks; and the level of competition and demand within the relevant markets. In addition, as indicated in paragraph 1.34 of the OECD TPG, the identification of these economically relevant characteristics would require a broad evaluation of how the MNE group responds to the receipt of government assistance ... Continue to full case

OECD COVID-19 TPG paragraph 32

For example, assume that geographic comparability is deemed as the most relevant comparability factor given the nature of the effects of COVID-19 in a particular market. In these circumstances, in order to obtain reliable data from a particular market it may potentially be necessary to relax other comparability criteria, and then refine the sample ... Continue to full case
France vs Sté Paule Ka Holding, December 2020, Paris Administrative Court of Appeal, Case No 18PA02715

France vs Sté Paule Ka Holding, December 2020, Paris Administrative Court of Appeal, Case No 18PA02715

Sté Paule Ka Holding, was set up as part of a leveraged buy-out (LBO) operation to finance the acquisition of the Paule Ka group, and in 2011 it acquired the entire capital of the group a price of 42 million euros. The acquisition was financed by issuing convertible bonds carrying an interest rate of 8%. The French tax authorities issued an assessment where deductions for certain payments related to the acquisition and part of the interest payments on the bonds were disallowed. Decision from the Administrative court of appeal The Court found in favor of the company in regards to the payment related to the acquisition and in favor of the tax administration in regards to the partially disallowed deduction of interest payments. “It follows from the foregoing that the elements invoked by the administration do not provide proof that the expenditure of EUR 390,227 correctly entered in the accounts was not incurred in the interest of the company Paule Ka Holding. The ... Continue to full case
France vs Ferragamo France. November 2020, Supreme Administrative Court (CAA), Case No 425577

France vs Ferragamo France. November 2020, Supreme Administrative Court (CAA), Case No 425577

An assessment had been issued to Ferragamo France. 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. The Administrative Court decided in favour of Ferragamo and dismissed the assessment. According to the Court the tax administration has not demonstrated the existence of an advantage granted by Ferragamo France to Salvatore Ferragamo SPA, nor the amount of this advantage. The Supreme Administrative Court (CAA) overturned the decision of the Administrative Court and upheld the decision of the tax authorities. “In ruling that the administration did not establish the existence of an advantage granted to the Italian company on the grounds that the French company’s results for the financial years ending from 2010 to 2015 had ... Continue to full case
Poland vs "Fish Factory" sp. z o.o., July 2020, Administrative Court, I SA/Gd 184/20 - Wyrok

Poland vs “Fish Factory” sp. z o.o., July 2020, Administrative Court, I SA/Gd 184/20 – Wyrok

The activity of Spółka A sp. z o.o. included salmon breeding, processing, smoking and sale and distribution of the finished products. The company operated within Group A with head quarter in the Netherlands. By decision of 27 May 2019, the tax authorities determined that the operating expenses determined by transactions with related parties were inflated by PLN 29,613,156.00. The authorities did not accept calculations presented by the Company, as there were no reliable accounting records regarding the amount of costs incurred. Furthermore, the authorities held that the cost plus method, which should guarantee profit on the transaction in the Company, had been applied incorrect. The dispute before the administrative Court boils down to assessing whether the court of first instance, in compliance with the provisions in force, reversed the decision of the authorities in its entirety and referred the case back for reconsideration due to the deficiencies found in the evidentiary proceedings, making it necessary to conduct the proceedings in ... Continue to full case
Czech Republic vs. AZETKO s.r.o., September 2019, Supreme Court, No. 5 Afs 341/2017 - 47

Czech Republic vs. AZETKO s.r.o., September 2019, Supreme Court, No. 5 Afs 341/2017 – 47

The tax authorities of the Czech Republic issued an assessment of additional income taxes and penalties for FY 2010 and 2011, because AZETKO s.r.o. according to the tax authorities did not receive an arm’s length remuneration for administration and operation of a website and e-shop on behalf on a related party, Quantus Consulting s.r.o. AZETKO disagreed with the assessment and brought the case to court. The regional court ruled in favor of AZETKO, but the tax administration appealed the decision to the Supreme Administrative Court. Judgement of the Supreme Court The Supreme Court found the tax administrations change in pricing method under the appeal of the case unsubstantiated. The tax administration had originally applied the CUP method, but in the appeal proceedings instead used the net margin transaction method (TNMM). On that basis, the appeal was dismissed by the Court. The conditions for application of the transfer pricing provisions in Section 23(7) of the Czech Income Tax Act was summarised ... Continue to full case
Poland vs L S.A, June 2019, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. II FSK 1808/17 - Wyrok NSA

Poland vs L S.A, June 2019, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. II FSK 1808/17 – Wyrok NSA

A Polish subsidiary in a German Group had taken out a significant inter-company loan resulting in a significantly reduced income due to interest deductions. At issue was application of the Polish arm’s length provisions and the arm’s length nature of the interest rate on the loan. The tax authorities had issued an assessment where the interest rate on the loans had been adjusted and the taxable income increased. On that basis, a complaint was filed by the company to the Administrative Court. The administrative court rejected the complaint and ruled in favor of the tax authorities. An appeal was then brought before the Supreme Administrative Court. The Supreme Administrative Court rejected the appeal, although it did not share some of the conclusions and statements of the Court of first instance. The key issue in the case was to determine is whether the provisions of Art. 11 (Containing the Polish arm’s length provisions), allowing the authority to determine the income of ... Continue to full case
Poland vs "Blueberry Factory" Sp z.o.o., June 2018, Supreme Administrative Court, II FSK 1665/16

Poland vs “Blueberry Factory” Sp z.o.o., June 2018, Supreme Administrative Court, II FSK 1665/16

In this case there were family, capital and personal ties between the Blueberry Factory and its shareholders, and the terms and conditions of the Company’s transactions with its shareholders (purchase of blueberry fruit) had not been at arm’s length. The higher prices paid by the Blueberry Farm benefited the shareholders (suppliers), who thus generated higher income from their agricultural activities, not subject to income tax. The company generated only losses in the years 2011 – 2013. According to the Polish tax authorities, the Blueberry Farm purchased blueberry fruit at excessive prices and thus overstated its tax-deductible expenses by PLN 347,845.48. The excessive prices (relative to market prices) increased the income of its shareholders (agricultural producers), whose income was not subject to personal income tax as being derived from agricultural activities. The tax authorities applied the provisions of Art. 11.1, Par. 2.2 of the Corporate Income Tax Act of February 15th 1992, as the gross margin earned by the Blueberry Factory ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 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 1.33-1.118. 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 ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter II paragraph 2.75

Prices are likely to be affected by differences in products, and gross margins are likely to be affected by differences in functions, but net profit indicators are less adversely affected by such differences. As with the resale price and cost plus methods that the transactional net margin method resembles, this does not mean that a mere similarity of functions between two enterprises will necessarily lead to reliable comparisons. Assuming similar functions can be isolated from among the wide range of functions that enterprises may exercise, in order to apply the method, the net profit indicators related to such functions may still not be automatically comparable where, for instance, the enterprises concerned carry on those functions in different economic sectors or markets with different levels of profitability. When the comparable uncontrolled transactions being used are those of an independent enterprise, a high degree of similarity is required in a number of aspects of the associated enterprise and the independent enterprise involved ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter II paragraph 2.69

Another practical strength of the transactional net margin method is that, as with any one-sided method, it is necessary to examine a financial indicator for only one of the associated enterprises (the “tested” party). Similarly, it is often not necessary to state the books and records of all participants in the business activity on a common basis or to allocate costs for all participants as is the case with the transactional profit split method. This can be practically advantageous when one of the parties to the transaction is complex and has many interrelated activities or when it is difficult to obtain reliable information about one of the parties. However, a comparability (including functional) analysis must always be performed in order to appropriately characterise the transaction between the parties and choose the most appropriate transfer pricing method, and this analysis generally necessitates that some information on the five comparability factors in relation to the controlled transaction be collected on both the ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter II paragraph 2.20

For the CUP method to be reliably applied to commodity transactions, the economically relevant characteristics of the controlled transaction and the uncontrolled transactions or the uncontrolled arrangements represented by the quoted price need to be comparable. For commodities, the economically relevant characteristics include, among others, the physical features and quality of the commodity; the contractual terms of the controlled transaction, such as volumes traded, period of the arrangements, the timing and terms of delivery, transportation, insurance, and foreign currency terms. For some commodities, certain economically relevant characteristics (e.g. prompt delivery) may lead to a premium or a discount. If the quoted price is used as a reference for determining the arm’s length price or price range, the standardised contracts which stipulate specifications on the basis of which commodities are traded on the exchange and which result in a quoted price for the commodity may be relevant. Where there are differences between the conditions of the controlled transaction and the conditions ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter II paragraph 2.17

In considering whether controlled and uncontrolled transactions are comparable, regard should be had to the effect on price of broader business functions other than just product comparability (i.e. factors relevant to determining comparability under Chapter I). Where differences exist between the controlled and uncontrolled transactions or between the enterprises undertaking those transactions, it may be difficult to determine reasonably accurate adjustments to eliminate the effect on price. The difficulties that arise in attempting to make reasonably accurate adjustments should not routinely preclude the possible application of the CUP method. Practical considerations dictate a more flexible approach to enable the CUP method to be used and to be supplemented as necessary by other appropriate methods, all of which should be evaluated according to their relative accuracy. Every effort should be made to adjust the data so that it may be used appropriately in a CUP method. As for any method, the relative reliability of the CUP method is affected by the ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.152

Some businesses are successful in assembling a uniquely qualified or experienced cadre of employees. The existence of such an employee group may affect the arm’s length price for services provided by the employee group or the efficiency with which services are provided or goods produced by the enterprise. Such factors should ordinarily be taken into account in a transfer pricing comparability analysis. Where it is possible to determine the benefits or detriments of a unique assembled workforce vis-à- vis the workforce of enterprises engaging in potentially comparable transactions, comparability adjustments may be made to reflect the impact of the assembled workforce on arm’s length prices for goods or services ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.50

The following example illustrates the concept of determining the actual transaction where a transaction has not been identified by the MNE. In reviewing the commercial or financial relations between Company P and its subsidiary companies, it is observed that those subsidiaries receive services from an independent party engaged by Company P. Company P pays for the services, the subsidiaries do not reimburse Company P directly or indirectly through the pricing of another transaction and there is no service agreement in place between Company P and the subsidiaries. The conclusion is that, in addition to a provision of services by the independent party to the subsidiaries, there are commercial or financial relations between Company P and the subsidiaries, which transfer potential value from Company P to the subsidiaries. The analysis would need to determine the nature of those commercial or financial relations from the economically relevant characteristics in order to determine the terms and conditions of the identified transaction ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.49

Where no written terms exist, the actual transaction would need to be deduced from the evidence of actual conduct provided by identifying the economically relevant characteristics of the transaction. In some circumstances the actual outcome of commercial or financial relations may not have been identified as a transaction by the MNE, but nevertheless may result in a transfer of material value, the terms of which would need to be deduced from the conduct of the parties. For example, technical assistance may have been granted, synergies may have been created through deliberate concerted action (as discussed in Section D.8), or know-how may have been provided through seconded employees or otherwise. These relations may not have been recognised by the MNE, may not be reflected in the pricing of other connected transactions, may not have been formalised in written contracts, and may not appear as entries in the accounting systems. Where the transaction has not been formalised, all aspects would need to ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.48

The following example illustrates the concept of differences between written contractual terms and conduct of the parties, with the result that the actual conduct of the parties delineates the transaction. Company S is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Company P. The parties have entered into a written contract pursuant to which Company P licenses intellectual property to Company S for use in Company S’s business; Company S agrees to compensate Company P for the licence with a royalty. Evidence provided by other economically relevant characteristics, and in particular the functions performed, establishes that Company P performs negotiations with third-party customers to achieve sales for Company S, provides regular technical services support to Company S so that Company S can deliver contracted sales to its customers, and regularly provides staff to enable Company S to fulfil customer contracts. A majority of customers insist on including Company P as joint contracting party along with Company S, although fee income under the contract is ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.47

Where there is doubt as to what transaction was agreed between the associated enterprises, it is necessary to take into account all the relevant evidence from the economically relevant characteristics of the transaction. In doing so one must bear in mind that the terms of the transaction between the enterprises may change over time. Where there has been a change in the terms of a transaction, the circumstances surrounding the change should be examined to determine whether the change indicates that the original transaction has been replaced through a new transaction with effect from the date of the change, or whether the change reflects the intentions of the parties in the original transaction. Particular care should be exercised where it appears that any changes may have been triggered by knowledge of emerging outcomes from the transaction. Changes made in the purported assumption of a risk when risk outcomes are known do not involve an assumption of risk since there is ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.46

In transactions between independent enterprises, the divergence of interests between the parties ensures (i) that contractual terms are concluded that reflect the interests of both of the parties, (ii) that the parties will ordinarily seek to hold each other to the terms of the contract, and (iii) that contractual terms will be ignored or modified after the fact generally only if it is in the interests of both parties. The same divergence of interests may not exist in the case of associated enterprises or any such divergences may be managed in ways facilitated by the control relationship and not solely or mainly through contractual agreements. It is, therefore, particularly important in considering the commercial or financial relations between associated enterprises to examine whether the arrangements reflected in the actual conduct of the parties substantially conform to the terms of any written contract, or whether the associated enterprises’ actual conduct indicates that the contractual terms have not been followed, do not ... Continue to full case