Tag: Comparable Profits Method (CPM)

The Comparable Profits Method (“CPM”) is a common method for establishing an amount charged in a controlled transaction based on objective measures of profitability. The CPM is a specified transfer pricing method that compares the Taxpayer’s operating results with those of uncontrolled taxpayers.

§ 1.482-9(f)(2)(ii) Profit level indicators.

In addition to the profit level indicators provided in § 1.482-5(b)(4), a profit level indicator that may provide a reliable basis for comparing operating profits of the tested party involved in a controlled services transaction and uncontrolled comparables is the ratio of operating profit to total services costs (as defined in paragraph (j) of this section) ... Read more

§ 1.482-9(f)(2)(i) Tested party.

This paragraph (f) applies where the relevant business activity of the tested party as determined under § 1.482-5(b)(2) is the rendering of services in a controlled services transaction. Where the tested party determined under § 1.482-5(b)(2) is instead the recipient of the controlled services, the rules under this paragraph (f) are not applicable to determine the arm’s length result ... Read more

§ 1.482-9(f)(1) In general.

The comparable profits method evaluates whether the amount charged in a controlled transaction is arm’s length, based on objective measures of profitability (profit level indicators) derived from uncontrolled taxpayers that engage in similar business activities under similar circumstances. The rules in § 1.482-5 relating to the comparable profits method apply to controlled services transactions, except as modified in this paragraph (f) ... Read more

§ 1.482-8(b) Example 11.

CPM for services preferred to other methods. (i) FP manufactures furniture and accessories for residential use. FP sells its products to retailers in Europe under the trademark, “Moda.” FP holds all worldwide rights to the trademark, including in the United States. USSub is FP’s wholly-owned subsidiary in the U.S. market and the exclusive U.S. distributor of FP’s merchandise. Historically, USSub dealt only with specialized designers in the U.S. market and advertised in trade publications targeted to this market. Although items sold in the U.S. and Europe are physically identical, USSub’s U.S. customers generally resell the merchandise as non-branded merchandise. (ii) FP retains an independent firm to evaluate the feasibility of selling FP’s trademarked merchandise in the general wholesale and retail market in the United States. The study concludes that this segment of the U.S. market, which is not exploited by USSub, may generate substantial profits. Based on this study, FP enters into a separate agreement with USSub, which provides that ... Read more

§ 1.482-8(b) Example 9.

Comparable profits method preferred to profit split. (i) Company X is a large, complex U.S. company that carries out extensive research and development activities and manufactures and markets a variety of products. Company X has developed a new process by which compact disks can be fabricated at a fraction of the cost previously required. The process is expected to prove highly profitable, since there is a large market for compact disks. Company X establishes a new foreign subsidiary, Company Y, and licenses it the rights to use the process to fabricate compact disks for the foreign market as well as continuing technical support and improvements to the process. Company Y uses the process to fabricate compact disks which it supplies to related and unrelated parties. (ii) The process licensed to Company Y is unique and highly valuable and no uncontrolled transfers of intangible property can be found that are sufficiently comparable to permit reliable application of the comparable uncontrolled transaction ... Read more

§ 1.482-8(b) Example 6.

Comparable profits method preferred to cost plus method. The facts are the same as in Example 5, except that there are significant differences between the controlled and uncontrolled transactions in terms of the types of parts and components manufactured and the complexity of the manufacturing process. The resulting functional differences are likely to materially affect gross profit margins, but it is not possible to identify the specific differences and reliably adjust for their effect on gross profit. Because these functional differences would be reflected in differences in operating expenses, the operating profit measures used under the comparable profits method implicitly reflect to some extent these functional differences. Therefore, because in this case the comparable profits method is less sensitive than the cost plus method to the potentially significant functional differences between the controlled and uncontrolled transactions, the comparable profits method is likely to produce a more reliable measure of an arm’s length result than the cost plus method. See § 1.482-1(c) (Best method rule) ... Read more

§ 1.482-8(b) Example 4.

Comparable profits method preferred to resale price method. The facts are the same as in Example 3, except that the accounting information available for the uncontrolled comparables is not sufficiently detailed to ensure consistent reporting between cost of goods sold and operating expenses of material items such as discounts, insurance, warranty costs, and supervisory, general and administrative expenses. These expenses are significant in amount. Therefore, whether these expenses are treated as costs of goods sold or operating expenses would have a significant effect on gross margins. Because in this case reliable adjustments can not be made for such accounting differences, the reliability of the resale price method is significantly reduced. There is, however, close functional similarity between the controlled and uncontrolled transactions and reliable adjustments have been made for all material differences other than the potential accounting differences. Because the comparable profits method is not adversely affected by the potential accounting differences, under these circumstances the comparable profits method is likely to ... Read more

§ 1.482-7(g)(4)(iii)(B) Evaluation based on CPM.

The present value of the PCT Payor’s licensing alternative may be determined using the comparable profits method, as described in § 1.482-5. In this case, the present value of the licensing alternative is determined as in paragraph (g)(4)(iii)(A) of this section, except that the PCT Payor’s licensing payments, as defined in paragraph (j)(1)(i) of this section, are determined in each period to equal the reasonably anticipated residuals of the divisional profits or losses that would be achieved under the cost sharing alternative, minus operating cost contributions that would be made under the cost sharing alternative, minus market returns for routine contributions, as defined in paragraph (j)(1)(i) of this section. However, treatment of net operating contributions as operating cost contributions shall be coordinated with the treatment of other routine contributions pursuant to this paragraph so as to avoid duplicative market returns to such contributions ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(e) Example 6.

Adjusting operating profit for differences in accounts payable. (i) USD is the U.S. subsidiary of a foreign corporation. USD purchases goods from its foreign parent and sells them in the U.S. market. For purposes of applying the comparable profits method, 10 uncontrolled distributors that are similar to USD have been identified. (ii) There are significant differences in the level of accounts payable among the uncontrolled distributors and USD. To adjust for these differences, the district director increases the operating profit of the uncontrolled distributors and USD to reflect interest expense imputed to the accounts payable. The imputed interest expense for each company is calculated by multiplying the company’s accounts payable by an interest rate appropriate for its short-term debt ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(e) Example 5.

Adjusting operating assets and operating profit for differences in accounts receivable. (i) USM is a U.S. company that manufactures parts for industrial equipment and sells them to its foreign parent corporation. For purposes of applying the comparable profits method, 15 uncontrolled manufacturers that are similar to USM have been identified. (ii) USM has a significantly lower level of accounts receivable than the uncontrolled manufacturers. Since the rate of return on capital employed is to be used as the profit level indicator, both operating assets and operating profits must be adjusted to account for this difference. Each uncontrolled comparable’s operating assets is reduced by the amount (relative to sales) by which they exceed USM’s accounts receivable. Each uncontrolled comparable’s operating profit is adjusted by deducting imputed interest income on the excess accounts receivable. This imputed interest income is calculated by multiplying the uncontrolled comparable’s excess accounts receivable by an interest rate appropriate for short-term debt ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(e) Example 4.

Transfer of intangible to offshore manufacturer. (i) DevCo is a U.S. developer, producer and marketer of widgets. DevCo develops a new “high tech widget” (htw) that is manufactured by its foreign subsidiary ManuCo located in Country H. ManuCo sells the htw to MarkCo (a U.S. subsidiary of DevCo) for distribution and marketing in the United States. The taxable year 1996 is under audit, and the district director examines whether the royalty rate of 5 percent paid by ManuCo to DevCo is an arm’s length consideration for the htw technology. (ii) Based on all the facts and circumstances, the district director determines that the comparable profits method will provide the most reliable measure of an arm’s length result. ManuCo is selected as the tested party because it engages in relatively routine manufacturing activities, while DevCo engages in a variety of complex activities using unique and valuable intangibles. Finally, because ManuCo engages in manufacturing activities, it is determined that the ratio of ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(e) Example 3.

Multiple year analysis. (i) The facts are the same as in Example 2. In addition, the district director examines the taxpayer’s results for the 1997 taxable year. As in Example 2, the district director increases USSub’s income for the 1996 taxable year by $24,250. The results for the 1997 taxable year, together with the 1995 and 1996 taxable years, are as follows: 1995 1996 1997 Average Sales $560,000 $500,000 $530,000 $530,000 Cost of Good Sold 460,000 400,000 430,000 430,000 Operating Expenses 110,000 110,000 110,000 110,000 Operating Profit (10,000) (10,000) (10,000) (10,000) (ii) The interquartile range of comparable operating profits, based on average results from the uncontrolled comparables and average sales for USSub for the years 1995 through 1997, ranges from $15,500 to $30,000. In determining whether an allocation for the 1997 taxable year may be made, the district director compares USSub’s average reported operating profit for the years 1995 through 1997 to the interquartile range of average comparable operating profits over this period. USSub’s ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(e) Example 2.

Transfer of tangible property resulting in adjustment. (i) The facts are the same as in Example 1 except that USSub reported the following income and expenses: 1994 1995 1996 Average Sales $500,000 $560,000 $500,000 $520,000 Cost of Good Sold 370,000 460,000 400,000 410,000 Operating Expenses 110,000 110,000 110,000 110,000 Operating Profit 20,000 (10,000) (10,000) 0 (ii) The interquartile range of comparable operating profits remains the same as derived in Example 1: $19,760 to $34,840. USSub’s average operating profit for the years 1994 through 1996 ($0) falls outside this range. Therefore, the district director determines that an allocation may be appropriate. (iii) To determine the amount, if any, of the allocation, the district director compares USSub’s reported operating profit for 1996 to comparable operating profits derived from the uncontrolled distributors’ results for 1996. The ratio of operating profit to sales in 1996 is calculated for each of the uncontrolled comparables and applied to USSub’s 1996 sales to derive the following results: Uncontrolled distributor OP/S (percent) ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(e) Example 1.

Transfer of tangible property resulting in no adjustment. (i) FP is a publicly traded foreign corporation with a U.S. subsidiary, USSub, that is under audit for its 1996 taxable year. FP manufactures a consumer product for worldwide distribution. USSub imports the assembled product and distributes it within the United States at the wholesale level under the FP name. (ii) FP does not allow uncontrolled taxpayers to distribute the product. Similar products are produced by other companies but none of them is sold to uncontrolled taxpayers or to uncontrolled distributors. (iii) Based on all the facts and circumstances, the district director determines that the comparable profits method will provide the most reliable measure of an arm’s length result. USSub is selected as the tested party because it engages in activities that are less complex than those undertaken by FP. There is data from a number of independent operators of wholesale distribution businesses. These potential comparables are further narrowed to select companies ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(d) Definitions.

The definitions set forth in paragraphs (d)(1) through (6) of this section apply for purposes of this section. (1) Sales revenue means the amount of the total receipts from sale of goods and provision of services, less returns and allowances. Accounting principles and conventions that are generally accepted in the trade or industry of the controlled taxpayer under review must be used. (2) Gross profit means sales revenue less cost of goods sold. (3) Operating expenses includes all expenses not included in cost of goods sold except for interest expense, foreign income taxes (as defined in § 1.901-2(a)), domestic income taxes, and any other expenses not related to the operation of the relevant business activity. Operating expenses ordinarily include expenses associated with advertising, promotion, sales, marketing, warehousing and distribution, administration, and a reasonable allowance for depreciation and amortization. (4) Operating profit means gross profit less operating expenses. Operating profit includes all income derived from the business activity being evaluated by the comparable profits method, but does not include interest and dividends, income derived ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(c)(3)(iii) Allocations between the relevant business activity and other activities.

The reliability of the allocation of costs, income, and assets between the relevant business activity and other activities of the tested party or an uncontrolled comparable will affect the reliability of the determination of operating profit and profit level indicators. If it is not possible to allocate costs, income, and assets directly based on factual relationships, a reasonable allocation formula may be used. To the extent direct allocations are not made, the reliability of the results derived from the application of this method is reduced relative to the results of a method that requires fewer allocations of costs, income, and assets. Similarly, the reliability of the results derived from the application of this method is affected by the extent to which it is possible to apply the profit level indicator to the tested party’s financial data that is related solely to the controlled transactions. For example, if the relevant business activity is the assembly of components purchased from both controlled ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(c)(3)(ii) Consistency in accounting.

The degree of consistency in accounting practices between the controlled transaction and the uncontrolled comparables that materially affect operating profit affects the reliability of the result. Thus, for example, if differences in inventory and other cost accounting practices would materially affect operating profit, the ability to make reliable adjustments for such differences would affect the reliability of the results ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(c)(3)(i) In general.

The reliability of the results derived from the comparable profits method is affected by the quality of the data and assumptions used to apply this method ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(c)(2)(iv) Adjustments for the differences between the tested party and the uncontrolled taxpayers.

If there are differences between the tested party and an uncontrolled comparable that would materially affect the profits determined under the relevant profit level indicator, adjustments should be made according to the comparability provisions of § 1.482-1(d)(2). In some cases, the assets of an uncontrolled comparable may need to be adjusted to achieve greater comparability between the tested party and the uncontrolled comparable. In such cases, the uncontrolled comparable’s operating income attributable to those assets must also be adjusted before computing a profit level indicator in order to reflect the income and expense attributable to the adjusted assets. In certain cases it may also be appropriate to adjust the operating profit of the tested party and comparable parties. For example, where there are material differences in accounts payable among the comparable parties and the tested party, it will generally be appropriate to adjust the operating profit of each party by increasing it to reflect an imputed interest charge on each party’s ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(c)(2)(iii) Other comparability factors.

Other factors listed in § 1.482-1(d)(3) also may be particularly relevant under the comparable profits method. Because operating profit usually is less sensitive than gross profit to product differences, reliability under the comparable profits method is not as dependent on product similarity as the resale price or cost plus method. However, the reliability of profitability measures based on operating profit may be adversely affected by factors that have less effect on results under the comparable uncontrolled price, resale price, and cost plus methods. For example, operating profit may be affected by varying cost structures (as reflected, for example, in the age of plant and equipment), differences in business experience (such as whether the business is in a start-up phase or is mature), or differences in management efficiency (as indicated, for example, by objective evidence such as expanding or contracting sales or executive compensation over time). Accordingly, if material differences in these factors are identified based on objective evidence, the reliability of the ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(c)(2)(ii) Functional, risk and resource comparability.

An operating profit represents a return for the investment of resources and assumption of risks. Therefore, although all of the factors described in § 1.482-1(d)(3) must be considered, comparability under this method is particularly dependent on resources employed and risks assumed. Moreover, because resources and risks usually are directly related to functions performed, it is also important to consider functions performed in determining the degree of comparability between the tested party and an uncontrolled taxpayer. The degree of functional comparability required to obtain a reliable result under the comparable profits method, however, is generally less than that required under the resale price or cost plus methods. For example, because differences in functions performed often are reflected in operating expenses, taxpayers performing different functions may have very different gross profit margins but earn similar levels of operating profit ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(c)(2)(i) In general.

The degree of comparability between an uncontrolled taxpayer and the tested party is determined by applying the provisions of § 1.482-1(d)(2). The comparable profits method compares the profitability of the tested party, measured by a profit level indicator (generally based on operating profit), to the profitability of uncontrolled taxpayers in similar circumstances. As with all methods that rely on external market benchmarks, the greater the degree of comparability between the tested party and the uncontrolled taxpayer, the more reliable will be the results derived from the application of this method. The determination of the degree of comparability between the tested party and the uncontrolled taxpayer depends upon all the relevant facts and circumstances, including the relevant lines of business, the product or service markets involved, the asset composition employed (including the nature and quantity of tangible assets, intangible assets and working capital), the size and scope of operations, and the stage in a business or product cycle ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(c)(1) In general.

Whether results derived from application of this method are the most reliable measure of the arm’s length result must be determined using the factors described under the best method rule in § 1.482-1(c) ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(b)(4)(iii) Other profit level indicators.

Other profit level indicators not described in this paragraph (b)(4) may be used if they provide reliable measures of the income that the tested party would have earned had it dealt with controlled taxpayers at arm’s length. However, profit level indicators based solely on internal data may not be used under this paragraph (b)(4) because they are not objective measures of profitability derived from operations of uncontrolled taxpayers engaged in similar business activities under similar circumstances ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(b)(4)(ii) Financial ratios.

Financial ratios measure relationships between profit and costs or sales revenue. Since functional differences generally have a greater effect on the relationship between profit and costs or sales revenue than the relationship between profit and operating assets, financial ratios are more sensitive to functional differences than the rate of return on capital employed. Therefore, closer functional comparability normally is required under a financial ratio than under the rate of return on capital employed to achieve a similarly reliable measure of an arm’s length result. Financial ratios that may be appropriate include the following – (A) Ratio of operating profit to sales; and (B) Ratio of gross profit to operating expenses. Reliability under this profit level indicator also depends on the extent to which the composition of the tested party’s operating expenses is similar to that of the uncontrolled comparables ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(b)(4)(i) Rate of return on capital employed.

The rate of return on capital employed is the ratio of operating profit to operating assets. The reliability of this profit level indicator increases as operating assets play a greater role in generating operating profits for both the tested party and the uncontrolled comparable. In addition, reliability under this profit level indicator depends on the extent to which the composition of the tested party’s assets is similar to that of the uncontrolled comparable. Finally, difficulties in properly valuing operating assets will diminish the reliability of this profit level indicator ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(b)(4) Profit level indicators.

Profit level indicators are ratios that measure relationships between profits and costs incurred or resources employed. A variety of profit level indicators can be calculated in any given case. Whether use of a particular profit level indicator is appropriate depends upon a number of factors, including the nature of the activities of the tested party, the reliability of the available data with respect to uncontrolled comparables, and the extent to which the profit level indicator is likely to produce a reliable measure of the income that the tested party would have earned had it dealt with controlled taxpayers at arm’s length, taking into account all of the facts and circumstances. The profit level indicators should be derived from a sufficient number of years of data to reasonably measure returns that accrue to uncontrolled comparables. Generally, such a period should encompass at least the taxable year under review and the preceding two taxable years. This analysis must be applied in accordance ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(b)(3) Arm’s length range.

See § 1.482-1(e)(2) for the determination of the arm’s length range. For purposes of the comparable profits method, the arm’s length range will be established using comparable operating profits derived from a single profit level indicator ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(b)(2)(i) In general.

For purposes of this section, the tested party will be the participant in the controlled transaction whose operating profit attributable to the controlled transactions can be verified using the most reliable data and requiring the fewest and most reliable adjustments, and for which reliable data regarding uncontrolled comparables can be located. Consequently, in most cases the tested party will be the least complex of the controlled taxpayers and will not own valuable intangible property or unique assets that distinguish it from potential uncontrolled comparables ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(b)(1) In general.

Under the comparable profits method, the determination of an arm’s length result is based on the amount of operating profit that the tested party would have earned on related party transactions if its profit level indicator were equal to that of an uncontrolled comparable (comparable operating profit). Comparable operating profit is calculated by determining a profit level indicator for an uncontrolled comparable, and applying the profit level indicator to the financial data related to the tested party’s most narrowly identifiable business activity for which data incorporating the controlled transaction is available (relevant business activity). To the extent possible, profit level indicators should be applied solely to the tested party’s financial data that is related to controlled transactions. The tested party’s reported operating profit is compared to the comparable operating profits derived from the profit level indicators of uncontrolled comparables to determine whether the reported operating profit represents an arm’s length result ... Read more

§ 1.482-5(a) In general.

The comparable profits method evaluates whether the amount charged in a controlled transaction is arm’s length based on objective measures of profitability (profit level indicators) derived from uncontrolled taxpayers that engage in similar business activities under similar circumstances ... Read more

§ 1.482-3(a) In general.

The arm’s length amount charged in a controlled transfer of tangible property must be determined under one of the six methods listed in this paragraph (a). Each of the methods must be applied in accordance with all of the provisions of § 1.482-1, including the best method rule of § 1.482-1(c), the comparability analysis of § 1.482-1(d), and the arm’s length range of § 1.482-1(e). The methods are – (1) The comparable uncontrolled price method, described in paragraph (b) of this section; (2) The resale price method, described in paragraph (c) of this section; (3) The cost plus method, described in paragraph (d) of this section; (4) The comparable profits method, described in § 1.482-5; (5) The profit split method, described in § 1.482-6; and (6) Unspecified methods, described in paragraph (e) of this section ... Read more
US vs Medtronic, August 2022, U.S. Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2022-84

US vs Medtronic, August 2022, U.S. Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2022-84

Medtronic had used the comparable uncontrolled transactions (CUT) method to determine the arm’s length royalty rates received from its manufacturing subsidiary in Puerto Rico for use of IP under an inter-group license agreement. The tax authorities found that Medtronic left too much profit in Puerto Rico. Using a “modified CPM” the IRS concluded that at arm’s length 90 percent of Medtronic’s “devices and leads” profit should have been allocated to the US parent and only 10 percent to the operations in Puerto Rico. Medtronic brought the case to the Tax Court. The Tax Court applied its own analysis and concluded that the Pacesetter agreement was the best CUT to calculate the arm’s length result for license payments. This decision from the Tax Court was then appealed by the IRS to the Court of Appeals. In 2018, the Court of Appeal found that the Tax Court’s factual findings had been insufficient. The Court of Appeals stated taht: “The Tax Court determined ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II paragraph 2.62

This Part provides a discussion of transactional profit methods that may be used to approximate arm’s length conditions where such methods are the most appropriate to the circumstances of the case, see paragraphs 2.1 – 2.12. Transactional profit methods examine the profits that arise from particular transactions among associated enterprises. The only profit methods that satisfy the arm’s length principle are those that are consistent with Article 9 of the OECD Model Tax Convention and follow the requirement for a comparability analysis as described in these Guidelines. In particular, so-called “comparable profits methods” or “modified cost plus/resale price methods” are acceptable only to the extent that they are consistent with these Guidelines ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter II paragraph 2.62

This Part provides a discussion of transactional profit methods that may be used to approximate arm’s length conditions where such methods are the most appropriate to the circumstances of the case, see paragraphs 2.1 – 2.12. Transactional profit methods examine the profits that arise from particular transactions among associated enterprises. The only profit methods that satisfy the arm’s length principle are those that are consistent with Article 9 of the OECD Model Tax Convention and follow the requirement for a comparability analysis as described in these Guidelines. In particular, so-called “comparable profits methods” or “modified cost plus/resale price methods” are acceptable only to the extent that they are consistent with these Guidelines ... Read more
IRS - APA Study Guide issued in early 2000s

IRS – APA Study Guide issued in early 2000s

In the early 2000s the IRS issued a “APA study guide” where guidance is provided in relation to various practical issues in the area of transfer pricing. The study guide is part of a large collection of IRS practices and statistics from working with MAP and APA that can be accessed via this link. IRS-apa_study_guide-1999 ... Read more