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.

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 ... Continue to full case

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 ... Continue to full case
Russia vs ViciunaiRus LLC, April 2020, Supreme Court, Case No. A21-133/2018

Russia vs ViciunaiRus LLC, April 2020, Supreme Court, Case No. A21-133/2018

ViciunaiRus LLC was engaged in production and wholesale distribution of its products. During the inspection, the inspection concluded that the chain of contractual relations between the Company and its sole official distributor in the Russian Federation artificially had established intermediates that do not have assets and personnel. At the same time, the price of products increased by more than 20% in the course of movement along the chain of counter parties. During the period from 2012 to 2014, the tax authorities considered the inclusion of intermediaries in the sales structure to be of a artificial nature and aimed at understating the sales revenue. The taxpayer was additionally charged profit tax and VAT, and the additional tax was calculated based on the resale price at which the goods were received by the distributor. In 2012 and 2013 the transactions between the taxpayer and distributor were controlled. In 2014 they were not. The taxpayer objected to the tax authority’s decision; among other ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs Pharma Distributor A A/S, March 2020, National Court, Case No SKM2020.105.OLR

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

Results in a Danish company engaged in distribution of pharmaceuticals were significantly below the arm’s length range of net profit according to the benchmark study, but by disregarding annual goodwill amortization of DKK 57.1 million, the results were within the arm’s length range. The goodwill being amortized in Pharma Distributor A A/S had been determined under a prior acquisition of the company, and later – due to a merger with the acquiring danish company – booked in Pharma Distributor A A/S. The main question in the case was whether Pharma Distributor A A/S were entitled to disregard the goodwill amortization in the comparability analysis. The national tax court had ruled in favor of the company, but the national court reached the opposite result. Thus, the National Court found that the goodwill in question had to be regarded as an operating asset, and therefore the depreciation had to be regarded as operating expenses when calculating the net profit (EBIT margin). In ... Continue to full case
Norway vs Orange Business Norway A/S, January 2020, Borgarting Lagmannsrett, Case No 2018-84331

Norway vs Orange Business Norway A/S, January 2020, Borgarting Lagmannsrett, Case No 2018-84331

Orange Business Norway AS, a subsidiary of the French Orange Telecom Group, had been issued a tax assessment for FY 2006-2008. According to the Norwegian tax authorities, Orange Business Norway had determined the remuneration by applying a Profit Split Method in a way that closely resembled Global formulary apportionment. The tax authorities also found that a Profit Split approach was not suitable for the case and instead determined the income of Orange Business Norway based on the Transactional Net Margin Method. The Court of Appeal concluded that the tax authorities had not proven that the income of Orange Business Norway had been reduced due to common interests with other group companies, cf. SKL § 13-1 (1) and the OECD transfer pricing guidelines. Like the district court, the Court of Appeal concluded that the profit split method (PSM) had not been incorrectly applied by the company. Furthermore, the internal pricing determined by the company was sufficiently substantiated by the functional analyzes ... Continue to full case
Russia vs PJSC Uralkali, November 2019, Supreme Court Review Panel, Case No. А40-29025/2017

Russia vs PJSC Uralkali, November 2019, Supreme Court Review Panel, Case No. А40-29025/2017

PJSC Uralkali, produced and sold fertilizers (“potassium chloride”) through a related Swiss trader. Uralkali had informed the authorities about the controlled transaction and submitted the required TP documentation. To substantiate the pricing of the transaction they had applied the transactional net margin method (TNMM) with the Swiss trader as the tested party. The Russian tax authorities disapproved of the choice of method and the way the method had been applied. They conducted an analysis, using the CUP method, and determined the the prices used in the controlled transaction deviated from price quotations of an independent pricing agency (Argus). Hence a tax assessment was issued. PJSC Uralkali disapproved of the assessment and brought the case to court. The court of first instance supported Uralkali’s position, and argued that the tax authority should have applied the same TP method as the Taxpayer. Failure of the tax authority to apply the same TP method or to provide sufficient evidence to justify use of ... Continue to full case
Poland vs "Cans Corp", September 2019, Provincial Administrative Court i Szczecin, Case no SA/Sz155/19

Poland vs “Cans Corp”, September 2019, Provincial Administrative Court i Szczecin, Case no SA/Sz155/19

At issue in this case was the remuneration of a Polish manufacturing subsidiary in an international group dealing in the production and sale of metal packaging for food products, including beverage cans, food cans, household cans and metal closures. The tax authorities had issued an tax assessment for FY 2009 – 2012 based on a benchmark study. Decision of the Administrative Court The Court upheld the decision of the tax authorities concerning income for the tax year from 01/01/2012 to 31/12/2012. In 2012, the Polish manufacturing site operated by producing lids for jars. In the course of the audit proceedings against the Party regarding corporate income tax for 2012, the first instance authority determined – based on a comparative analysis of the financial results of similar independent manufactures operating in the packaging industry on the market in Central and Eastern Europe, that this market showed an upward trend and in none of the years 2009-2012 this industry recorded a downward ... Continue to full case
Italy vs Fashionbox, January 2019, Supreme Court, Case No 14609

Italy vs Fashionbox, January 2019, Supreme Court, Case No 14609

The Italien tax authorities had issued an assessment against Fashion box s.p.a., adjusting revenues for FY 2004 with the sum of EUR 988,888.27, related to transfer pricing transactions between the taxpayer and foreign subsidiaries of Fashion Box Group s.p.a. located in various European countries. In particular, the tax authorities pointed out that sales to the European subsidiaries accounted for 95 % of total sales and that the discounts applied to subsidiaries were 31 % while those offered to Italian shops were between 2 and 2,5 %. The products were sold in Italy for slightly lower prices than those applied to European subsidiaries. Therefore, the subsidiaries could enjoy a much higher profits. An Italian shop had a theoretical mark-up of 138% while the foreign distributor had a mark-up of 233 %. Hence, profits had been transferred to the foreign entities of the group. The Regional Tax Tribunal rejected the assessment. In its judgement the Tribunal stated that it was necessary to ... Continue to full case
Russia vs PJSC Uralkali, April 2019, Court of Appeal, Case No. А40-29025/2017

Russia vs PJSC Uralkali, April 2019, Court of Appeal, Case No. А40-29025/2017

PJSC Uralkali, produced and sold fertilizers (“potassium chloride”) through a related Swiss trader. Uralkali had informed the authorities about the controlled transaction and submitted the required TP documentation. To substantiate the pricing of the transaction they had applied the transactional net margin method (TNMM) with the Swiss trader as the tested party. The Russian tax authorities disapproved of the choice of method and the way the method had been applied. They conducted an analysis, using the CUP method, and determined the the prices used in the controlled transaction deviated from price quotations of an independent pricing agency (Argus). Hence a tax assessment was issued. PJSC Uralkali disapproved of the assessment and brought the case to court. The court of first instance supported Uralkali’s position, and argued that the tax authority should have applied the same TP method as the Taxpayer. Failure of the tax authority to apply the same TP method or to provide sufficient evidence to justify use of ... Continue to full case
Russia vs RIF Trading House, April 2019, Moscow City Court, Case No. No. A40-241020/18

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

In 2014, RIF Trading House sourced and bought agricultural products in Russia – wheat, barley, corn and peas. These products were then exported to a trader in the UAE, which turned out to be related to RIF Trading House. However, RIF Trading House had not provide information on the relationship, nor the required transfer pricing documentation on the controlled transactions. Following an audit, the Russian Federal Tax Service came to the conclusion that the export prices had been lowered in the supply of products to the trader in UAE. The Russian Federal Tax Service independently conducted a transfer pricing analysis – functional analysis, analyzed the market, commodity exchange prices (Platts, ICAR) etc., and then issued a tax assessment where combinations of pricing methods and adjustments had been applied to determine the pricing of the controlled transactions and thus the income of RIF Trading House. Disagreeing with the assessment RIF Trading House brought the case to Court. The court ruled in ... Continue to full case
India vs Heidelberg Cement India Ltd, March 2019, High Court, Case No ITA-125-2018

India vs Heidelberg Cement India Ltd, March 2019, High Court, Case No ITA-125-2018

Heidelberg Cement India Ltd is engaged in the business of manufacturing of cement and sells them to its customers in India. A TNM method where all the transactions was combined had been used by the company for determining the arm’s length price of its controlled transactions as they were considered closely linked. Following an audit for FY 2010 2011, the Indian tax authorities issued an assessment of additional taxable income where the pricing of the transactions had instead been determined on a transaction by transaction basis. According to the tax authorities, technical know-how fees paid to the parent company were excessive. At issue before the High Court was whether the combined transaction approach as applied by the company or the transaction by transaction approach as applied by the tax authorities was the most appropriate method for determining the arm’s length pricing of the international transactions. Judgement of the High Court The court decided predominantly in favour of the tax authorities ... Continue to full case
Russia vs LLC Bogoroditskoye, February 2019, Court of Appeal, Case No. А62-8105/2017

Russia vs LLC Bogoroditskoye, February 2019, Court of Appeal, Case No. А62-8105/2017

LLC Bogoroditskoye processed and preserved fish and seafood. During the period under review, these products were sold only to related parties. Following an transfer pricing audit, where the TNMM method was used, the tax authority concluded that the price of products paid by the related parties had been significantly lower than market prices, and that the non-arm’s length pricing had lead to an unjustified tax benefit. LLC Bogoroditskoye disagreed and brought the assessment to court The courts of first instance and the Court of Appeal found the assessment lawful, since sufficient evidence had been provided in support of the approach taken by the tax authorities. The (internal) CUP method has priority in Russia, but the tax authority justified the inability to apply it in the present case, as during the audit period LLC Bogoroditskoye did not enter into any transactions with persons who were not related. The subsequent sale price method can be used in situations “where the taxpayer under ... Continue to full case
Finland vs A Group, December 2018, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. KHO:2018:173

Finland vs A Group, December 2018, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. KHO:2018:173

During fiscal years 2006–2008, A-Group had been manufacturing and selling products in the construction industry – insulation and other building components. License fees received by the parent company A OY from the manufacturing companies had been determined by application of the CUP method. The remuneration of the sales companies in the group had been determined by application of the resale price method. The Finnish tax administration, tax tribunal and administrative court all found that the comparable license agreements chosen with regard to determining the intercompany license fees had such differences regarding products, contract terms and market areas that they were incomparable. With regard to the sale of the finished products, they found that the resale price method had not been applied on a sufficiently reliable basis. By reference to the 2010 version of the OECD’s Transfer Pricing Guidelines, they considered the best method for determining the arm’s length remuneration of the group companies was the residual profit split method. The ... Continue to full case
Russia vs ViciunaiRus LLC, December 2018, Court of Appeal, Case No. A21-133/2018

Russia vs ViciunaiRus LLC, December 2018, Court of Appeal, Case No. A21-133/2018

ViciunaiRus LLC was engaged in production and wholesale distribution of its products. During the inspection, the inspection concluded that the chain of contractual relations between the Company and its sole official distributor in the Russian Federation artificially had established intermediates that do not have assets and personnel. At the same time, the price of products increased by more than 20% in the course of movement along the chain of counter parties. During the period from 2012 to 2014, the tax authorities considered the inclusion of intermediaries in the sales structure to be of a artificial nature and aimed at understating the sales revenue. The taxpayer was additionally charged profit tax and VAT, and the additional tax was calculated based on the resale price at which the goods were received by the distributor. In 2012 and 2013 the transactions between the taxpayer and distributor were controlled. In 2014 they were not. The taxpayer objected to the tax authority’s decision; among other ... Continue to full case
Norway vs Stanley Black & Decker Norway AS , December 2018, Borgarting Lagmannsrett, Case No 2016-105694

Norway vs Stanley Black & Decker Norway AS , December 2018, Borgarting Lagmannsrett, Case No 2016-105694

At issue was the transfer pricing method applied on transactions between Black & Deckers Norwegian distribution company and the group trading hub in Luxembourg, Black & Decker Ltd SARL. The Norwegian tax authorities in 2013 issued a tax assessment of Black and Decker Norway AS where the taxable income for years 2005 – 2008 was increased with a total amount of NOK 50 million. The assessment was appealed to the Tax Appeals Committee where the amount was reduced to a total of NOK 26 million in line with recommendations of the tax authorities during the proceedings. The decision of the Tax Appeals Committee was upheld by the District Court and later the Court of Appeal where the appeal of Black & Decker was rejected. Click here for translation Norway vs Black & Decker december 2018 case no LB-2016-105694 ... Continue to full case
Russia vs LLC "Bulatovskiy Basalt", November 2018, Court of Appeal, Case No. A05-5548/2018

Russia vs LLC “Bulatovskiy Basalt”, November 2018, Court of Appeal, Case No. A05-5548/2018

Bulatovskiy Basalt LLC extracted and sold basalt rubble. The rubble was sold to three related intermediaries, whom in turn, resold the rubble to the final buyers. The resale price was on average double the transfer price. The tax authorities considered that the sole purpose of incorporating intermediaries into the sales structure was to obtain an unreasonable tax benefit in the form of underestimation of the profits from the sale of rubble and the tax base. According to the tax authorities, Bulatovskiy Basalt LLC could instead have enter into contracts with the final buyers directly. The tax authorities issued an assessment of income based on the resale of the rubble to the final Consumers. Bulatovskiy Basalt LLC brought the case to Court. The courts of the first and second instance ruled in favor of Bulatovskiy Basalt LLC. The courts took into account the existence of reasonable reasons for the involvement of intermediaries, including the presence of real functions. The first instance ... Continue to full case
Russia vs LLC "Scientific and Production Association", October 2018, Supreme Court, Case No. А05-7708/2017

Russia vs LLC “Scientific and Production Association”, October 2018, Supreme Court, Case No. А05-7708/2017

Since 2012, the Company had rented out premises in its administrative building. Among the tenants were both independent parties, and a related party. For the related party, the rent were 10-20 times lower than for the independents parties. The related party tenant subleased, more than 97% of the space it had rented. Furthermore, the cost of operating the building and utility payments were more than 4 times the rental income received. Following an audit for FY 20XX-20XX the tax authority issued a tax assessment on the basis that the Company had received an unjustified tax benefit as a result of price manipulation in a transaction with an related party. The income adjustment had been determined based on the cost plus method, as the tax authority claimed to have been unable to obtain information on rental prices of similar buildings The Courts agreed that the lease agreement was concluded between related parties on non-arm’s length terms and that the Company had ... Continue to full case
Russia vs Togliattiazot, September 2018, Russian Arbitration Court, Case No. No. А55-1621 / 2018

Russia vs Togliattiazot, September 2018, Russian Arbitration Court, Case No. No. А55-1621 / 2018

A Russian company, Togliattiazot, supplied ammonia to the external market through a Swiss trading hub, Nitrochem Distribution AG. The tax authority found that the selling price of the ammonia to Nitrochem Distribution AG had not been determined by Togliattiazot in accordance with the arm’s length principle but had been to low. Hence, a transfer pricing assessment was issued where the CUP method was applied. At first, the company argued that Togliattiazot and Nitrochem Distribution AG were not even affiliates. Later, the company argued that transfer prices had been determined in accordance with the TNM-method. The court ruled in favor of the Russian tax authority. Based on information gathered by the tax authorities – SPARK-Interfax and Orbis Bureau Van Djik bases, Switzerland’s trade register, Internet sites, and e-mail correspondence etc – the tax authorities were able to prove in court, the presence of actual control between Togliattiazot and Nitrochem. The TNMM method applied by Togliattiazot was rejected by the court because ... Continue to full case
US vs Medtronic, August 2018, U.S. Court of Appeals, Case No: 17-1866

US vs Medtronic, August 2018, U.S. Court of Appeals, Case No: 17-1866

The IRS was of the opinion, that Medtronic erred in allocating the profit earned from its devises and leads between its businesses located in the United States and its device manufacturer in Puerto Rico. To determine the arm’s length price for Medtronic’s intercompany licensing agreements the comparable profits method was therefor applied by the IRS, rather than the comparable uncontrolled transaction (CUT) method used by Medtronic. Medtronic brought the case to the Tax Court. The Tax Court applied its own valuation analysis and concluded that the Pacesetter agreement was the best CUT to calculate the arm’s length result for intangible property. This decision from the Tax Court was then appealed by the IRS to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeal found that the Tax Court’s factual findings were insufficient. The Tax Court failed to: address whether the circumstances of the Pacesetter settlement was comparable to the licensing agreements in this case, the degree of comparability of the contractual ... Continue to full case
Russia vs Burdinsky A.V., March 2018, Supreme Court, Case No. No. А04-9989/2016

Russia vs Burdinsky A.V., March 2018, Supreme Court, Case No. No. А04-9989/2016

Burdinsky A.V. sold building products to both related and unrelated parties. Following an audit of FY 2012-2014, the tax authorities concluded that Burdinsky had understated the price of goods in transactions with related parties in order to save on taxes and obtain unjustified tax benefits. Price discrepancies were in the range of 11% to 52%. Due to lack of information the tax authorities did not apply the CUP method method. Instead prices ware determined based on the gross markup. The Courts of first and second instances found the assessment of the tax authorities lawful and reasonable. The application of the inspection’s own method of determining whether prices had been at arm’s length (which implies the determination of the minimum trade mark-up at the subsequent sale) was not in conflict with the tax legislation, did not violate the rights of IEs. The Supreme Court cancelled the decision of the lower courts and ruled in favor of Burdinsky A.V. The difference between ... Continue to full case
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