Tag: Comparability

Comparison of controlled transaction conditions with conditions prevailing in transactions between independent enterprises (uncontrolled transactions). Controlled and uncontrolled transactions are comparable if none of the differences between the transactions could materially affect the factor being examined in the methodology (e.g. price or margin), or if reasonably accurate adjustments can be made to eliminate the material effects of any such differences.

TPG2022 Chapter VI Annex I example 9

TPG2022 Chapter VI Annex I example 9

26. The facts in this example are the same as in Example 8, except as follows: Under the contract between Primair and Company S, Company S is now obligated to develop and execute the marketing plan for country Y without detailed control of specific elements of the plan by Primair. Company S bears the costs and assumes certain of the risks associated with the marketing activities. The agreement between Primair and Company S does not specify the amount of marketing expenditure Company S is expected to incur, only that Company S is required to use its best efforts to market the watches. Company S receives no direct reimbursement from Primair in respect of any expenditure it incurs, nor does it receive any other indirect or implied compensation from Primair, and Company S expects to earn its reward solely from its profit from the sale of R brand watches to third party customers in the country Y market. A thorough functional ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.171

In considering whether controlled and uncontrolled transactions are comparable, regard should be had to all the factors which may affect the guarantee fee including: the risk profile of the borrower, terms and conditions of the guarantee, term and conditions of the underlying loan (amount, currency, maturity, seniority etc.), credit rating differential between guarantor and guaranteed party, market conditions, etc. When available, uncontrolled guarantees are the most reliable comparable to determine arm’s length guarantee fees ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.92

In the search for comparability data, a comparable is not necessarily restricted to a stand-alone entity. In examining commercial loans, where the potentially comparable borrower is a member of an MNE group and has borrowed from an independent lender, provided all other economically relevant conditions are sufficiently similar, a loan to a member of a different MNE group or between members of different MNE groups could be a valid comparable ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter VI paragraph 6.130

Comparability, and the possibility of making comparability adjustments, is especially important in considering potentially comparable intangibles and related royalty rates drawn from commercial databases or proprietary compilations of publicly available licence or similar agreements. The principles of Section A.4.3.1 of Chapter III apply fully in assessing the usefulness of transactions drawn from such sources. In particular, it is important to assess whether publicly available data drawn from commercial databases and proprietary compilations is sufficiently detailed to permit an evaluation of the specific features of intangibles that may be important in conducting a comparability analysis. In evaluating comparable licence arrangements identified from databases, the specific facts of the case, including the methodology being applied, should be considered in the context of the provisions of paragraph 3.38 ... 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 3.3

In order for the process to be transparent, it is considered a good practice for a taxpayer that uses comparables to support its transfer pricing, or a tax administration that uses comparables to support a transfer pricing adjustment, to provide appropriate supporting information for the other interested party (i.e. tax auditor, taxpayer or foreign competent authorities) to be able to assess the reliability of the comparables used. See paragraph 3.36 for a discussion of information available to tax administrations that is not disclosed to taxpayers. General guidance on documentation requirements is found at Chapter V of these Guidelines. See also the Annex II to Chapter IV “Guidelines for conducting Advance Pricing Arrangements under the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP APAs)” ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter III paragraph 3.1

General guidance on comparability is found in Section D of Chapter I. By definition, a comparison implies examining two terms: the controlled transaction under review and the uncontrolled transactions that are regarded as potentially comparable. The search for comparables is only part of the comparability analysis. It should be neither confused with nor separated from the comparability analysis. The search for information on potentially comparable uncontrolled transactions and the process of identifying comparables is dependent upon prior analysis of the taxpayer’s controlled transaction and of the economically relevant characteristics or comparability factors (see Section D.1 of Chapter I). A methodical, consistent approach should provide some continuity or linkage in the whole analytical process, thereby maintaining a constant relationship amongst the various steps: from the preliminary analysis of the conditions of the controlled transaction, to the selection of the transfer pricing method, through to the identification of potential comparables and ultimately a conclusion about whether the controlled transactions being examined are ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II paragraph 2.64

The transactional net margin method examines the net profit relative to an appropriate base (e.g. costs, sales, assets) that a taxpayer realises from a controlled transaction (or transactions that are appropriate to aggregate under the principles of paragraphs 3.9-3.12). Thus, a transactional net margin method operates in a manner similar to the cost plus and resale price methods. This similarity means that in order to be applied reliably, the transactional net margin method must be applied in a manner consistent with the manner in which the resale price or cost plus method is applied. This means in particular that the net profit indicator of the taxpayer from the controlled transaction (or transactions that are appropriate to aggregate under the principles of paragraphs 3.9-3.12) should ideally be established by reference to the net profit indicator that the same taxpayer earns in comparable uncontrolled transactions, i.e. by reference to “internal comparables” (see paragraphs 3.27-3.28). Where this is not possible, the net margin ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II paragraph 2.58

No general rule can be set out that deals with all cases. The various methods for determining costs should be consistent as between the controlled and uncontrolled transactions and consistent over time in relation to particular enterprises. For example, in determining the appropriate cost plus mark up, it may be necessary to take into account whether products can be supplied by various sources at widely differing costs. Associated enterprises may choose to calculate their cost plus basis on a standardised basis. An independent party probably would not accept to pay a higher price resulting from the inefficiency of the other party. On the other hand, if the other party is more efficient than can be expected under normal circumstances, this other party should benefit from that advantage. The associated enterprise may agree in advance which costs would be acceptable as a basis for the cost plus method ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II paragraph 2.47

Following the principles in Chapter I, an uncontrolled transaction is comparable to a controlled transaction (i.e. it is a comparable uncontrolled transaction) for purposes of the cost plus method if one of two conditions is met: a) none of the differences (if any) between the transactions being compared or between the enterprises undertaking those transactions materially affect the cost plus mark up in the open market; or, b) reasonably accurate adjustments can be made to eliminate the material effects of such differences. In determining whether a transaction is a comparable uncontrolled transaction for the purposes of the cost plus method, the same principles apply as described in paragraphs 2.29-2.34 for the resale price method. Thus, fewer adjustments may be necessary to account for product differences under the cost plus method than the CUP method, and it may be appropriate to give more weight to other factors of comparability described in Chapter I, some of which may have a more significant ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II paragraph 2.15

Following the principles in Chapter I, an uncontrolled transaction is comparable to a controlled transaction (i.e. it is a comparable uncontrolled transaction) for purposes of the CUP method if one of two conditions is met: a) none of the differences (if any) between the transactions being compared or between the enterprises undertaking those transactions could materially affect the price in the open market; or, b) reasonably accurate adjustments can be made to eliminate the material effects of such differences. Where it is possible to locate comparable uncontrolled transactions, the CUP method is the most direct and reliable way to apply the arm’s length principle. Consequently, in such cases the CUP method is preferable over all other methods ... Read more
Portugal vs "Welding Mesh SA", December 2021, CAAD Tax Arbitration, Case No 194/2021-T

Portugal vs “Welding Mesh SA”, December 2021, CAAD Tax Arbitration, Case No 194/2021-T

A Portuguese subsidiary – A SA – had received intra group loans in foreign currency and had various other transactions with foreign group companies. The tax authorities claimed that the pricing of the transactions had not been at arm’s length and that the interest payment and exchange losses on the loans were not tax deductible. Decision of CAAD The CAAD set aside the assessment and decided in favour of “Welding Mesh SA” Click here for English translation Portugal - P194_2021-T - 2021-12-07 ... Read more
Portugal vs "FURNITURE S.A." No II, November 2021, CAAD, Case No 604/2021-T

Portugal vs “FURNITURE S.A.” No II, November 2021, CAAD, Case No 604/2021-T

Furniture S.A is engaged in the production and sale of furniture and had established a US subsidiary to market and sell furniture overseas. The pricing of the controlled transactions with the US subsidiary had been based on a resale price method, which resulted in prices amounting to 70% of the list price for the products. The Portuguese tax authority issued an assessment for FY 2015 and 2016, where the pricing of the controlled transaction had been adjusted in accordance with the price list resulting in additional taxable profits. Result reached in the arbitration tribunal. The Tribunal set aside the additional assessment of income in respect of the transfer pricing adjustment. Excerpts “…In the contract concluded with E… the Claimant safeguarded direct sales to large customers (with volume to fill a given number of containers). In practice, despite this safeguard, it is apparent from the evidence produced that the only major customer in the US since then has been E… and, ... Read more
Portugal vs "FURNITURE S.A." No I, November 2021, CAAD, Case No 14/2021-T

Portugal vs “FURNITURE S.A.” No I, November 2021, CAAD, Case No 14/2021-T

Furniture S.A is engaged in the production and sale of furniture and had established a US subsidiary to market and sell furniture overseas. The pricing of the controlled transactions with the US subsidiary had been based on a resale price method, which resulted in prices amounting to 70% of the list price for the products. The Portuguese tax authority issued an assessment, where the pricing of the controlled transaction had been adjusted in accordance with the price list resulting in additional taxable profits. Result reached in the arbitration tribunal. The Tribunal set aside the additional assessment of income in respect of the transfer pricing adjustment. Excerpts “… The application of the principle of comparability must be based on an individual analysis of the transactions, with a view to comparing the conditions practiced in a transaction between related entities and those practiced between independent entities. As it results from the matter of fact given as settled, the creation by the Claimant ... Read more
Portugal vs "A Bank SGPS, S.A.", November 2021, Supremo Tribunal Administrativo, Case No JSTA00071308

Portugal vs “A Bank SGPS, S.A.”, November 2021, Supremo Tribunal Administrativo, Case No JSTA00071308

The Tax Authority had made a transfer pricing adjustment for FY 2007 in the amount of €262,500.00 arising from the provision of a guarantee for payment granted under a credit agreement between a bank and its subsidiary. The adjustment had been determined using a CUP method where the pricing of the controlled transaction had been compared to the pricing of uncontrolled bank guarantees. The Court of first instance held that “it cannot be concluded that the transactions at issue here are comparable on the basis of the criterion adopted by the Tax Authorities referred to above. In fact, although the guarantee and the independent bank guarantee may share common features, the way in which the risk falls on the guarantor and on the guarantor of the independent bank guarantee potentially generates differences that significantly affect their comparability.” An appeal was filed by the tax authorities. Decision of Supreme Administrative Court The Court dismissed the appeal of the tax authorities. In ... Read more
Czech Republic vs. LCN GROUP s.r.o., July 2021, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 2 Afs 148/2020 - 37

Czech Republic vs. LCN GROUP s.r.o., July 2021, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 2 Afs 148/2020 – 37

LCN Group had deducted costs in its taxable income for marketing services provided by related parties – PRESSTEX MEDIA SE and TARDEM Media s.r.o. and PAPILIO. The claimed advertising costs from PRESSTEX in FY 2012 was produced and implemented by PAPILIO and subsequently invoiced to LCN Group, virtually unchanged, at a price 23 times higher than the price of the advertising, without the corresponding value added being justified. In relation to FY 2013, LCN Group claimed advertising costs from TARDEM in a similar pattern where the price was increased by up to 56 times. In both tax periods, LCN Group’s advertising/promotion costs were related to sporting events (gymnastics world cup, tennis tournament and golf tournaments). The tax authorities concluded that the prices agreed between the parties was not at arm’s length and issued an assessment. The Regional Court annulled the assessment. It argued that the tax authorities had not sufficiently dealt with the identification and description of the conditions under ... Read more
Colombia vs SONY Music Entertainment Colombia S.A., July 2021, The Administrative Court, Case No. 20641

Colombia vs SONY Music Entertainment Colombia S.A., July 2021, The Administrative Court, Case No. 20641

SONY Music Entertainment Colombia S.A. had filed transfer pricing information and documentation, on the basis of which the Colombian tax authorities concluded that payments for administrative services provided by a related party in the US had not been at arm’s length. SONY Colombia then filed new transfer pricing information and documentation covering the same years, but where the tested party had been changed to the US company. Under this new approach, the remuneration of the US service provider was determined to be within the arm’s length range. The tax authorities upheld the assessment issued based on the original documentation. A complaint was filed by SONY and later an appeal. Judgement of the Administrative Court The court allowed the appeal and issued a decision in favor of SONY. Excerpts “The legal problem is to determine, for the tax return of the taxable period 2007 of the plaintiff: (i) Whether it is appropriate to take into account the correction of the transfer ... Read more
Italy vs GI Group S.p.A., May 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 13850/2021

Italy vs GI Group S.p.A., May 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 13850/2021

A non-interest-bearing loan had been granted by GI Group S.p.A., to a related company – Goldfinger Limited – in Hong Kong, in order to acquire a 56% shareholding in the Chinese company Ningbo Gi Human Resources Co. Limited. The Italien tax authorities had issued an assessment, where an interest rate on the loan had been determined and an amount equal to the interest calculated on that basis had been added to the taxable income of GI Group S.p.A. GI Group brought this assessment to the Regional Tax Commission where a decision was rendered setting aside the assessment. This decision was appealed to the Supreme Court by the tax authorities. Judgement of the Supreme Court The Supreme court upheld the appeal of the tax authorities and referred the case back to the Regional Tax Commission. According to the Supreme Court, the decision of the Tax Commission dit not comply with the principles of law concerning the subject matter of evidence and ... Read more
Portugal vs "A-Contract Manufacturer LDA", December 2020, CAAD Tax Arbitration, Case No 808/2019-T

Portugal vs “A-Contract Manufacturer LDA”, December 2020, CAAD Tax Arbitration, Case No 808/2019-T

A-Contract Manufacturer LDA is an entity residing in Portugal, whose main activity is contract manufacturing of coffee machines and irons, as well as spare parts, tools etc. on behalf of its German parent B A.G. Following an audit, the tax authorities found that the results of A-Contract Manufacturer LDA had not been at arm’s length. An assessment of additional income was issued where the adjustment had been determined based on a benchmark study and use of statistical tools – interquartile range and median. Not satisfied with the assessment A-Contract Manufacturer LDA brought the case to the CAAD, a Portuguese arbitration tribunal. Decision of CAAD The CAAD decided in favour of the tax authorities and upheld the assessment. Excerpt “In sum, regarding the first claim of the Claimant that the arm’s length principle was violated, it appears that the Defendant did nothing more than, in compliance with the duty imposed by art. In short, as to the first claim of violation ... Read more

OECD COVID-19 TPG paragraph 83

For example, as government assistance and the specific circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic may vary across different markets, it may affect the comparables and the arm’s length prices of uncontrolled transactions in different ways.39 For instance, assume Company D, a member of an MNE group, provides manufacturing services and receives a domestic wage subsidy under a job retention programme offered by the government of Country D. Assume further that third party manufacturer Company E in Country E receives a domestic short-time work programme where the hours not worked by employees are directly subsidised. The services provided by Company D and Company E may be similar but the general availability and receipt of government assistance to Company D and Company E may result in a material difference in the arm’s length conditions of the transactions for the period over which the short-time work programme is in place and may not be sufficient to ensure a reliable comparison. In that case, the ... Read more
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