Tag: Continuous losses

§ 1.482-1(f)(2)(iii)(E) Example 3.

FP manufactures product X in Country M and sells it to USSub, which distributes X in the United States. USSub realizes losses with respect to the controlled transactions in each of five consecutive taxable years. In each of the five consecutive years a different uncontrolled comparable realized a loss with respect to comparable transactions equal to or greater than USSub’s loss. Pursuant to paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(C) of this section, the district director examines whether the uncontrolled comparables realized similar losses over a comparable period of time, and finds that each of the five comparables realized losses in only one of the five years, and their average result over the five-year period was a profit. Based on this data, the district director may conclude that the controlled taxpayer’s results are not within the arm’s length range over the five year period, since the economic conditions that resulted in the controlled taxpayer’s loss did not have a comparable effect over a comparable period of time ... Read more
France vs Ferragamo France, June 2022, Administrative Court of Appeal (CAA), Case No 20PA03601

France vs Ferragamo France, June 2022, Administrative Court of Appeal (CAA), Case No 20PA03601

Ferragamo France, which was set up in 1992 and is wholly owned by the Dutch company Ferragamo International BV, which in turn is owned by the Italian company Salvatore Ferragamo Spa, carries on the business of retailing shoes, leather goods and luxury accessories and distributes, in shops in France, products under the ‘Salvatore Ferragamo’ brand, which is owned by the Italian parent company. An assessment had been issued to Ferragamo France in which 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. In 2017 the Administrative Court decided in favour of Ferragamo and dismissed the assessment issued by the tax authorities. According to the Court the tax administration had not demonstrated the existence of ... Read more
Czech Republic vs Aisan Industry Czech, s.r.o., April 2022, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 7 Afs 398/2019 - 49

Czech Republic vs Aisan Industry Czech, s.r.o., April 2022, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 7 Afs 398/2019 – 49

Aisan Industry Czech, s.r.o. is a subsidiary within the Japanese Aisan Industry Group which manufactures various engine components – fuel-pump modules, throttle bodies, carburetors for independent car manufactures such as Renault and Toyota. According to the original transfer pricing documentation the Czech company was classified as a limited risk contract manufacturer within the group, but yet it had suffered operating losses for several years. Following a tax audit an assessment was issued resulting in additional corporate income tax for FY 2011 in the amount of CZK 11 897 090, and on top of that a penalty in the amount of CZK 2 379 418. The assessment resulted from application of arm’s length provisions where the profitability of Aisan Industry Czech, s.r.o. had been determined on the basis of the profitability of comparable companies – TNMM method. An appeal was filed by Aisan Industry Czech, s.r.o. with the Regional Court which – by judgment of 30 October 2019 – dismissed the ... Read more
Denmark vs Maersk Oil and Gas A/S, March 2022, Regional Court, Case No BS-41574/2018 and BS-41577/2018

Denmark vs Maersk Oil and Gas A/S, March 2022, Regional Court, Case No BS-41574/2018 and BS-41577/2018

A Danish parent in the Maersk group’s oil and gas segment, Maersk Oil and Gas A/S (Mogas), had operating losses for FY 1986 to 2010, although the combined segment was highly profitable. The reoccurring losses was explained by the tax authorities as being a result of the group’s transfer pricing setup. “Mogas and its subsidiaries and branches are covered by the definition of persons in Article 2(1) of the Tax Act, which concerns group companies and permanent establishments abroad, it being irrelevant whether the subsidiaries and branches form part of local joint ventures. Mogas bears the costs of exploration and studies into the possibility of obtaining mining licences. The expenditure is incurred in the course of the company’s business of exploring for oil and gas deposits. The company is entitled to deduct the costs in accordance with Section 8B(2) of the Danish Income Tax Act. Mogas is responsible for negotiating licences and the terms thereof and for bearing the costs ... Read more
Italy vs SKECHERS USA ITALIA SRL, January 2022, Supreme Court, Case No 02908/2022

Italy vs SKECHERS USA ITALIA SRL, January 2022, Supreme Court, Case No 02908/2022

Skechers USA ITALIA SRL – a company operating in the sector of the marketing of footwear and accessories – challenged a notice of assessment, relating to FY 2004, by which, at the outcome of a tax audit, its business income was adjusted as a result of the ascertained inconsistency of the transfer prices relating to purchases of goods from the parent company (and sole shareholder) resident in Switzerland. The tax authorities had contested the uneconomic nature of the taxpayer company’s operations, given the losses recognised in various financial years, attributing the uneconomic nature to the artificial manipulation of the transfer prices of the purchases of goods and recalculating, consequently, the negative income component constituted by the aforesaid costs pursuant to Article 110, paragraph 7 of the TUIR, with the consequent non-deductibility of the same to the extent exceeding the normal value of the price of the goods in question. Skechers held that the losses did not derive from the costs ... Read more
TPG2022 Chapter VI Annex I example 11

TPG2022 Chapter VI Annex I example 11

35. The facts in this example are the same as in Example 9, except that Company S now enters into a three-year royalty-free agreement to market and distribute the watches in the country Y market, with no option to renew. At the end of the three-year period, Company S does not enter into a new contract with Primair. 36. Assume that it is demonstrated that independent enterprises do enter into short-term distribution agreements where they incur marketing and distribution expenses, but only where they stand to earn a reward commensurate with the functions performed, the assets used, and the risks assumed within the time period of the contract. Evidence derived from comparable independent enterprises shows that they do not invest large sums of money in developing marketing and distribution infrastructure where they obtain only a short-term marketing and distribution agreement, with the attendant risk of non-renewal without compensation. The potential short-term nature of the marketing and distribution agreement is such ... Read more
TPG2022 Chapter VI Annex I example 10

TPG2022 Chapter VI Annex I example 10

30. The facts in this example are the same as in Example 9, except that the market development functions undertaken by Company S in this Example 10 are far more extensive than those undertaken by Company S in Example 9. 31. Where the marketer/distributor actually bears the costs and assumes the risks of its marketing activities, the issue is the extent to which the marketer/distributor can share in the potential benefits from those activities. A thorough comparability analysis identifies several uncontrolled companies engaged in marketing and distribution functions under similar long-term marketing and distribution arrangements. Assume, however, that the level of marketing expense Company S incurred in Years 1 through 5 far exceeds that incurred by the identified comparable independent marketers and distributors. Assume further that the high level of expense incurred by Company S reflects its performance of additional or more intensive functions than those performed by the potential comparables and that Primair and Company S expect those additional ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter III paragraph 3.65

Generally speaking, a loss-making uncontrolled transaction should trigger further investigation in order to establish whether or not it can be a comparable. Circumstances in which loss-making transactions/ enterprises should be excluded from the list of comparables include cases where losses do not reflect normal business conditions, and where the losses incurred by third parties reflect a level of risks that is not comparable to the one assumed by the taxpayer in its controlled transactions. Loss-making comparables that satisfy the comparability analysis should not however be rejected on the sole basis that they suffer losses ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter III paragraph 3.64

An independent enterprise would not continue loss-generating activities unless it had reasonable expectations of future profits. See paragraphs 1.149-1.151. Simple or low risk functions in particular are not expected to generate losses for a long period of time. This does not mean however that loss-making transactions can never be comparable. In general, all relevant information should be used and there should not be any overriding rule on the inclusion or exclusion of loss-making comparables. Indeed, it is the facts and circumstances surrounding the company in question that should determine its status as a comparable, not its financial result ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter III paragraph 3.10

Another example where a taxpayer’s transactions may be combined is related to portfolio approaches. A portfolio approach is a business strategy consisting of a taxpayer bundling certain transactions for the purpose of earning an appropriate return across the portfolio rather than necessarily on any single product within the portfolio. For instance, some products may be marketed by a taxpayer with a low profit or even at a loss, because they create a demand for other products and/or related services of the same taxpayer that are then sold or provided with high profits (e.g. equipment and captive aftermarket consumables, such as vending coffee machines and coffee capsules, or printers and cartridges). Similar approaches can be observed in various industries. Portfolio approaches are an example of a business strategy that may need to be taken into account in the comparability analysis and when examining the reliability of comparables. See paragraphs 1.134-1.138 on business strategies. However, as discussed in paragraphs 1.149-1.151, these considerations ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter I paragraph 1.151

A factor to consider in analysing losses is that business strategies may differ from MNE group to MNE group due to a variety of historic, economic, and cultural reasons. Recurring losses for a reasonable period may be justified in some cases by a business strategy to set especially low prices to achieve market penetration. For example, a producer may lower the prices of its goods, even to the extent of temporarily incurring losses, in order to enter new markets, to increase its share of an existing market, to introduce new products or services, or to discourage potential competitors. However, especially low prices should be expected for a limited period only, with the specific object of improving profits in the longer term. If the pricing strategy continues beyond a reasonable period, a transfer pricing adjustment may be appropriate, particularly where comparable data over several years show that the losses have been incurred for a period longer than that affecting comparable independent ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter I paragraph 1.150

The fact that there is an enterprise making losses that is doing business with profitable members of its MNE group may suggest to the taxpayers or tax administrations that the transfer pricing should be examined. The loss enterprise may not be receiving adequate compensation from the MNE group of which it is a part in relation to the benefits derived from its activities. For example, an MNE group may need to produce a full range of products and/or services in order to remain competitive and realize an overall profit, but some of the individual product lines may regularly lose revenue. One member of the MNE group might realize consistent losses because it produces all the loss-making products while other members produce the profit-making products. An independent enterprise would perform such a service only if it were compensated by an adequate service charge. Therefore, one way to approach this type of transfer pricing problem would be to deem the loss enterprise ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter I paragraph 1.149

When an associated enterprise consistently realizes losses while the MNE group as a whole is profitable, the facts could trigger some special scrutiny of transfer pricing issues. Of course, associated enterprises, like independent enterprises, can sustain genuine losses, whether due to heavy start-up costs, unfavourable economic conditions, inefficiencies, or other legitimate business reasons. However, an independent enterprise would not be prepared to tolerate losses that continue indefinitely. An independent enterprise that experiences recurring losses will eventually cease to undertake business on such terms. In contrast, an associated enterprise that realizes losses may remain in business if the business is beneficial to the MNE group as a whole ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter I paragraph 1.138

An additional consideration is whether there is a plausible expectation that following the business strategy will produce a return sufficient to justify its costs within a period of time that would be acceptable in an arm’s length arrangement. It is recognised that a business strategy such as market penetration may fail, and the failure does not of itself allow the strategy to be ignored for transfer pricing purposes. However, if such an expected outcome was implausible at the time of the transaction, or if the business strategy is unsuccessful but nonetheless is continued beyond what an independent enterprise would accept, the arm’s length nature of the business strategy may be doubtful and may warrant a transfer pricing adjustment. In determining what period of time an independent enterprise would accept, tax administrations may wish to consider evidence of the commercial strategies evident in the country in which the business strategy is being pursued. In the end, however, the most important consideration ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter I paragraph 1.136

Timing issues can pose particular problems for tax administrations when evaluating whether a taxpayer is following a business strategy that distinguishes it from potential comparables. Some business strategies, such as those involving market penetration or expansion of market share, involve reductions in the taxpayer’s current profits in anticipation of increased future profits. If in the future those increased profits fail to materialise because the purported business strategy was not actually followed by the taxpayer, the appropriate transfer pricing outcome would likely require a transfer pricing adjustment. However legal constraints may prevent re-examination of earlier tax years by the tax administrations. At least in part for this reason, tax administrations may wish to subject the issue of business strategies to particular scrutiny ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter I paragraph 1.135

Business strategies also could include market penetration schemes. A taxpayer seeking to penetrate a market or to increase its market share might temporarily charge a price for its product that is lower than the price charged for otherwise comparable products in the same market. Furthermore, a taxpayer seeking to enter a new market or expand (or defend) its market share might temporarily incur higher costs (e.g. due to start-up costs or increased marketing efforts) and hence achieve lower profit levels than other taxpayers operating in the same market ... Read more
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 ... Read more
Denmark vs Tetra Pak Processing Systems A/S, April 2021, Supreme Court, Case No BS-19502/2020-HJR

Denmark vs Tetra Pak Processing Systems A/S, April 2021, Supreme Court, Case No BS-19502/2020-HJR

The Danish tax authorities had issued a discretionary assessment of the taxable income of Tetra Pak Processing Systems A/S due to inadequate transfer pricing documentation and continuous losses. Judgement of the Supreme Court The Supreme Court found that the TP documentation provided by the company did not comply to the required standards. The TP documentation did state how prices between Tetra Pak and the sales companies had been determined and did not contain a comparability analysis, as required under the current § 3 B, para. 5 of the Tax Control Act and section 6 of the Danish administrative ordinance regarding transfer pricing documentation. Against this background, the Supreme Court found that the TP documentation was deficient to such an extent that it had to be equated with missing documentation. The Supreme Court agreed that Tetra Pak’s taxable income for FY 2005-2009 could be determined on a discretionary basis. According to the Supreme Court Tetra Pak had not proved that the ... Read more
Norway vs "Distributor A AS", March 2021, Tax Board, Case No 01-NS 131/2017

Norway vs “Distributor A AS”, March 2021, Tax Board, Case No 01-NS 131/2017

A fully fledged Norwegian distributor in the H group was restructured and converted into a Limited risk distributor. The tax authorities issued an assessment where the income of the Norwegian distributor was adjusted to the median in a benchmark study prepared by the tax authorities, based on the “Transactional Net Margin Method” (TNMM method). Decision of the Tax Board In a majority decision, the Tax Board determined that the case should be send back to the tax administration for further processing. Excerpt “…The majority agrees with the tax office that deficits over time may give reason to investigate whether the intra-group prices are set on market terms. However, the case is not sufficiently informed for the tribunal to take a final position on this. In order to determine whether the income has been reduced as a result of incorrect pricing of intra-group transactions and debits, it is necessary to analyze the agreed prices and contract terms. A comparability analysis will ... Read more
Indonesia vs PT Nanindah Mutiara Shipyard Ltd, December 2020 Supreme Court, Case No. 4446/B/PK/Pjk/2020

Indonesia vs PT Nanindah Mutiara Shipyard Ltd, December 2020 Supreme Court, Case No. 4446/B/PK/Pjk/2020

PT Nanindah Mutiara Shipyard Ltd reported losses for FY 2013. The tax authorities issued an assessment where the income of the company was increased by a substantial amount referring to applicable transfer pricing regulations. Nanindah Mutiara Shipyard Ltd filed a complaint with the Tax Court, but the Tax Court upheld the assessment. An application for judicial review was then filed with the Supreme Court. Judgement of the Supreme Court The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Nanindah Mutiara Shipyard Ltd. The Tax Court had erred in assessing facts, data, evidence and application of the law. The decision of the Tax Court was canceled and the petition for judicial review was granted. Losses reported by Nanindah Mutiara Shipyard Ltd were not due to non-arm’s length pricing, but rather exceptional circumstances that occurred at the local company in the years following 2010. Excerpts: ” … a. that the reasons for the Petitioner’s petition for judicial review in the a quo case are positive corrections ... Read more

OECD COVID-19 TPG paragraph 39

In all circumstances it will be necessary to consider the specific facts and circumstances when determining whether a so-called “limited-risk” entity could incur losses at arm’s length. This is reflected in the OECD TPG which states that “simple or low risk functions in particular are not expected to generate losses for a long period of time”,22 and therefore holds open the possibility that simple or low risk functions may incur losses in the short-run. In particular, when examining the specific facts and circumstances, the analysis should be informed by the accurate delineation of the transaction and the performance of a robust comparability analysis. For example, where the losses incurred by third parties reflect a level of risks that is not comparable to the one assumed by the taxpayer in its controlled transaction then such a comparable should be excluded from the list of comparables (see paragraph 3.65 of the OECD TPG). 22  Paragraph 3.64 of Chapter III of the OECD ... Read more
France vs Ferragamo France, November 2020, Conseil d'Etat, Case No 425577

France vs Ferragamo France, November 2020, Conseil d’Etat, Case No 425577

Ferragamo France, which was set up in 1992 and is wholly owned by the Dutch company Ferragamo International BV, which in turn is owned by the Italian company Salvatore Ferragamo Spa, carries on the business of retailing shoes, leather goods and luxury accessories and distributes, in shops in France, products under the ‘Salvatore Ferragamo’ brand, which is owned by the Italian parent company. An assessment had been issued to Ferragamo France in which 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 ... Read more
Romania vs "Electrolux" A. SA, November 2020, Supreme Court, Case No 6059/2020

Romania vs “Electrolux” A. SA, November 2020, Supreme Court, Case No 6059/2020

In this case, a Romanian manufacturer and distributor (A. SA) in the Electrolux group (C) had been loss making while the group as a whole had been profitable. The tax authorities issued an assessment, where the profit of A. SA had been determined based on a comparison to the profitability of independent traders in households appliances. When calculating the profit margin of A. SA certain adjustments was made to the costs – depreciations, extraordinary costs etc. When comparing A. SA’s net profit to financial results with those of the group to which it belongs, it emerged that, during the period under review, the applicant was loss-making while C. made a profit. With reference to paragraphs 1.70 and 1.71 of the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines, when an affiliated company consistently makes a loss while the group as a whole is profitable, the data may call for a special analysis of the transfer pricing elements, as this loss-making company may not receive ... Read more
Denmark vs. Adecco A/S, June 2020, Supreme Court, Case No SKM2020.303.HR

Denmark vs. Adecco A/S, June 2020, Supreme Court, Case No SKM2020.303.HR

The question in this case was whether royalty payments from a loss making Danish subsidiary Adecco A/S (H1 A/S in the decision) to its Swiss parent company Adecco SA (G1 SA in the decision – an international provider of temporary and permanent employment services active throughout the entire range of sectors in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia – for use of trademarks and trade names, knowhow, international network intangibles, and business concept were deductible expenses for tax purposes or not. In  2013, the Danish tax authorities (SKAT) had amended Adecco A/S’s taxable income for the years 2006-2009 by a total of DKK 82 million. Adecco A/S submitted that the company’s royalty payments were operating expenses deductible under section 6 (a) of the State Tax Act and that it was entitled to tax deductions for royalty payments of 1.5% of the company’s turnover in the first half of 2006 and 2% up to and including 2009, as these ... Read more
France vs SAS RKS (AB SKF Sweden) , June 2020, CAA of VERSAILLES, Case No. 18VE02848

France vs SAS RKS (AB SKF Sweden) , June 2020, CAA of VERSAILLES, Case No. 18VE02848

SAS RKS, a French subsidiary of the Swedish SKF group, was engaged in manufacturing of bearings. RKS had, with the exception of 2008, had a negative results since 2005. Following an audit for FY 2009 and 2010, the French tax administration by application of the TNMM method, determined that SAS RKS should have a net profit margin of 2.33% in 2009 and 2.62% in 2010. The tax assessment was brought to the Montreuil Administrative Court, and in April 2018 a judgement in favor of the company was issued. This judgement was appealed by the tax authorities to the CAA. The CAA overturned the judgment of the Administrative Court and found in favor of the tax authorities. “The administration has qualified as hidden income the profits mentioned in the preceding paragraphs, transferred by the company RKF to the business units of the SKF group, established abroad. While the applicant does not dispute that the reduction in its prices may constitute income ... Read more
Denmark vs Icemachine Manufacturer A/S, June 2020, National Court, Case No SKM2020.224.VLR

Denmark vs Icemachine Manufacturer A/S, June 2020, National Court, Case No SKM2020.224.VLR

At issue was the question of whether the Danish tax authorities had been entitled to make a discretionary assessment of the taxable income of Icemachine Manufacturer A/S due to inadequate transfer pricing documentation and continuous losses. And if such a discretionary assessment was justified, the question of whether the company had lifted the burden of proof that the tax authorities’ estimates had been clearly unreasonable. The Court ruled that the transfer pricing documentation provided by the company was so inadequate that it did not provide the tax authorities with a sufficient basis for determining whether the arm’s length principle had been followed. The tax authorities had therefore been entitled to make a discretionary assessment of the taxable income. For that purpose the Court found that the tax authorities had been justified in using the TNM method with the Danish company as the tested party, since sufficiently reliable information on the sales companies in the group had not been provided. (In April 2021 ... Read more
Finland vs A Oy, April 2020, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. KHO:2020:34

Finland vs A Oy, April 2020, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No. KHO:2020:34

A Oy had operated as the marketing and sales company of an international group in Finland. With the exception of 2008, the company’s operations had been unprofitable in 2003-2011, while at the same time the Group’s operations had been profitable overall. A Oy had purchased the products from the contract manufacturers belonging to the group. The method used in the Group’s transfer pricing documentation for product purchases had been characterized as a modified cost-plus / profit margin method (TNMM). The tested parties were contract manufacturers belonging to the group, for whom four comparable independent companies had been found in a search of the Amadeus database. According to the documentation, the EBITDA target margin for the Group’s contract manufacturers was set at two percent. When submitting A Oy’s tax return for 2010, the tax Office had considered, on the basis of the OECD’s 2010 Transfer Pricing Guidelines (paragraphs 1.70 – 1.72), that in independent business transactions the sales company would have ... Read more
Czech Republic vs Aisan Industry Czech, s.r.o., October 2019, Regional Court, Case No 15 Af 105/2015

Czech Republic vs Aisan Industry Czech, s.r.o., October 2019, Regional Court, Case No 15 Af 105/2015

Aisan Industry Czech, s.r.o. is a subsidiary within the Japanese Aisan Industry Group which manufactures various engine components – fuel-pump modules, throttle bodies, carburetors for independent car manufactures such as Renault and Toyota. According to the original transfer pricing documentation the Czech company was classified as a limited risk contract manufacturer within the group, but yet it had suffered operating losses for several years. Following a tax audit an assessment was issued resulting in additional corporate income tax for FY 2011 in the amount of CZK 11 897 090, and on top of that a penalty in the amount of CZK 2 379 418. The assessment resulted from application of arm’s length provisions where the profitability of Aisan Industry Czech, s.r.o. had been determined on the basis of the profitability of comparable companies – TNMM method. An appeal was filed by Aisan Industry Czech, s.r.o. with the Regional Court. Judgement of the Regional Court The court dismissed the appeal and ... Read more
Denmark vs Adecco A/S, Oct 2019, High Court, Case No SKM2019.537.OLR

Denmark vs Adecco A/S, Oct 2019, High Court, Case No SKM2019.537.OLR

The question in this case was whether royalty payments from a loss making Danish subsidiary Adecco A/S (H1 A/S in the decision) to its Swiss parent company Adecco SA (G1 SA in the decision – an international provider of temporary and permanent employment services active throughout the entire range of sectors in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia – for use of trademarks and trade names, knowhow, international network intangibles, and business concept were deductible expenses for tax purposes or not. In  2013, the Danish tax authorities (SKAT) had amended Adecco A/S’s taxable income for the years 2006-2009 by a total of DKK 82 million. “Section 2 of the Tax Assessment Act. Paragraph 1 states that, when calculating the taxable income, group affiliates must apply prices and terms for commercial or economic transactions in accordance with what could have been agreed if the transactions had been concluded between independent parties. SKAT does not consider it in accordance with section ... Read more
Sweden vs Branch of Yazaki Europe Ltd, October 2019, Court of Appeal, Case No 2552–2555-17, 2557–2558-17, 3422-18

Sweden vs Branch of Yazaki Europe Ltd, October 2019, Court of Appeal, Case No 2552–2555-17, 2557–2558-17, 3422-18

The Swedish Branch of Yazaki Europe Ltd had been heavily lossmaking for more than five years. The Branch only had a limited number of customers in Sweden and where it acted as a simple information exchange provider. The branch had limited risks, as all risk related to R&D functions were located outside Sweden. Excerpt from the Judgement of the Court “…the District Court finds that the branch has had limited opportunities to influence the costs of the products, the choice of suppliers and service providers regarding the development of the products in the projects run in collaboration with the Swedish customers, and price to the customer. Furthermore, the branch has been referred to make purchases in the currencies that result from the group structure. The branch states that…the work done by the branch has been of such scope and importance that significant people functions are to be considered in the branch for virtually all risks that can be associated with ... Read more
Sweden vs Branch of Technology Partners International Europe Ltd, October 2019, Court of Appeal, Case No 3701-18

Sweden vs Branch of Technology Partners International Europe Ltd, October 2019, Court of Appeal, Case No 3701-18

The Swedish branch of Technology Partners International Europe Ltd. was loss-making. The branch had no significant people functions but only two employees performing low value-added services. From the Judgement of the Court of Appeal “The distribution of revenue and costs between a British company and its Swedish branch is regulated for the current tax years in Article 7 of the 1983 double taxation agreement with the United Kingdom. Further guidance on the application of this issue can be obtained in the 2008 OECD report on profit allocation. A two-step test according to the so-called functional separate entity approach, as described in the administrative law, must be done. The Court of Appeal agrees, in light of the information provided by the branch during the Swedish Tax Agency’s investigation and because the Nordic manager cannot be linked to the branch, in the administrative court’s assessment that the branch has in the current years lacked so-called significant people functions. Nor has the branch ... Read more
Switzerland vs "Trust Administrator A. SA", September 2019, Federal Supreme Court, Case No 2C_343/2019

Switzerland vs “Trust Administrator A. SA”, September 2019, Federal Supreme Court, Case No 2C_343/2019

A Swiss company provided administration and other services to trusts. According to the company a related party in the Seychelles handled the daily business and received remuneration in accordance with an intra-group service agreement. Due to the service fees paid the Swiss company reported losses. Following an audit the tax administration issued an assessment where the fees paid to the related company in the Seychelles had been determined using the cost plus (5%) method. Judgement of the Supreme Court The court dismissed the appeal of A. SA and upheld the assessment of the tax authorities. The Court confirmed that the Seychelles company only performed routine functions without assumption of any significant risk. The cost plus 5% remuneration was therefore confirmed. Excerpts “4.6. According to the OECD Committee on Fiscal Affairs, by referring to the conditions that would prevail between independent enterprises for comparable transactions (i.e. for “comparable open market transactions”) in making the profit adjustment, the arm’s length principle takes ... Read more
Italy vs J.T.G.P. spa, September 2019, Lombardi Regional Tribunal, Case No 928/20/2019

Italy vs J.T.G.P. spa, September 2019, Lombardi Regional Tribunal, Case No 928/20/2019

The Italian company J.T.G.P spa, a subsidiary in a multinational pharma group ALPHA J, had recorded operating losses for fiscal years 1997 to 2013, where, at a consolidated level, the group had showed positive results. According to the Italian tax authorities, the reason why the Italian company was still in operation was due to the fact that the group had an interest in keeping an international profile, and to that end the Italian company performed marketing activities benefiting the Group. An assessment was issued where the taxable income of the Italian company was added compensation for inter-company marketing services carried out by the Italian company on behalf of the group. The company argued that the pharmaceutical market and the governmental policy on the prices of medicines in Italy was the reason for the losses. In support of this claim the company submitted broad documentary evidence during the audit. Judgement of the regional Court The Court held in favor of the ... Read more
Zambia vs Nestlé Trading Ltd, March 2019, Tax Appeals Tribunal, Case No 2018/TAT/03/DT

Zambia vs Nestlé Trading Ltd, March 2019, Tax Appeals Tribunal, Case No 2018/TAT/03/DT

Nestlé Zambia had reported continuous losses for more than five years. Following an Transfer Pricing audit covering years 2010 – 2014, the tax administration  issued an assessment whereby profits were adjusted to ZMW 56,579,048 resulting in additional taxes of ZMW13,860,103 plus penalties and other levies. The assessment was based on Nestlé Zambia being characterised as a limited risk distributor instead of a full fledged dristributor. Nestlé  Zambia held that the tax administrations characterisation of the entity as a limited risk distributor was incorrect and that the assessment had not been performed in accordance with the arm’s length principle.  The Tribunal ruled in favor of Nestlé, except for it’s position on the characterisation of the entity as a limited risk distributor (ground four cf. the excerp below). “The summary of our findings is  that  there  was  basis  for  initiating  a  transfer pricing audit in this case because as has been stated in  Paragraph  1.129  of  the OECD Guidelines that, “When an associated enterprise ... Read more
Finland vs Loss Corp, December 2017, Administrative Court, Case no 17/0979/4

Finland vs Loss Corp, December 2017, Administrative Court, Case no 17/0979/4

The Finnish tax authorities had made a transfer pricing adjustment to a Finnish marketing and sales subsidiary with continuous losses. The tax authorities had identified a “hidden” services transaction between the Finnish subsidiary and an unidentified foreign group company. The Administrative Court ruled in favor of the tax authorities. The adjustment was not considered by the Court as a recharacterisation. Reference was made to TPG 2010, paragraphs 1.34, 1.42 to 1.49, 1.64, 1.65 and 1.70 to 1.72. Click here for translation Finland vs Loss Corp 29 December 2017 Administrative Court 17-0979-4 ... Read more
Zimbabwe vs CRS (Pvt) Ltd, October 2017, High Court, HH 728-17 FA 20/2014

Zimbabwe vs CRS (Pvt) Ltd, October 2017, High Court, HH 728-17 FA 20/2014

The issue in this case was whether tax administration could tax a “non-existent income” through the “deeming provisions” of s 98 of Zimbabwe’s Income Tax Act. A lease agreement and a separate logistical agreement had been entered by CRS Ltd and a related South African company, for the lease of its mechanical trucks, trailers and tankers for a fixed rental. The tax payer contended that the rentals in the agreements were fair and reasonable. The tax administration contended that they were outrageously low so as to constitute under invoicing and tax avoidance. The court ruled in favor of the tax administration. Excerps from the Judgement: “Where any transaction, operation or scheme (including a transaction, operation or scheme involving the alienation of property) has been entered into or carried out, which has the effect of avoiding or postponing liability for any tax or of reducing the amount of such liability, and which in the opinion of the Commissioner, having regard to the circumstances ... Read more
TPG2017 Chapter VI Annex example 11

TPG2017 Chapter VI Annex example 11

35. The facts in this example are the same as in Example 9, except that Company S now enters into a three-year royalty-free agreement to market and distribute the watches in the country Y market, with no option to renew. At the end of the three-year period, Company S does not enter into a new contract with Primair. 36. Assume that it is demonstrated that independent enterprises do enter into short-term distribution agreements where they incur marketing and distribution expenses, but only where they stand to earn a reward commensurate with the functions performed, the assets used, and the risks assumed within the time period of the contract. Evidence derived from comparable independent enterprises shows that they do not invest large sums of money in developing marketing and distribution infrastructure where they obtain only a short-term marketing and distribution agreement, with the attendant risk of non-renewal without compensation. The potential short-term nature of the marketing and distribution agreement is such ... Read more
TPG2017 Chapter VI Annex example 10

TPG2017 Chapter VI Annex example 10

30. The facts in this example are the same as in Example 9, except that the market development functions undertaken by Company S in this Example 10 are far more extensive than those undertaken by Company S in Example 9. 31. Where the marketer/distributor actually bears the costs and assumes the risks of its marketing activities, the issue is the extent to which the marketer/distributor can share in the potential benefits from those activities. A thorough comparability analysis identifies several uncontrolled companies engaged in marketing and distribution functions under similar long-term marketing and distribution arrangements. Assume, however, that the level of marketing expense Company S incurred in Years 1 through 5 far exceeds that incurred by the identified comparable independent marketers and distributors. Assume further that the high level of expense incurred by Company S reflects its performance of additional or more intensive functions than those performed by the potential comparables and that Primair and Company S expect those additional ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter III paragraph 3.65

Generally speaking, a loss-making uncontrolled transaction should trigger further investigation in order to establish whether or not it can be a comparable. Circumstances in which loss-making transactions/ enterprises should be excluded from the list of comparables include cases where losses do not reflect normal business conditions, and where the losses incurred by third parties reflect a level of risks that is not comparable to the one assumed by the taxpayer in its controlled transactions. Loss-making comparables that satisfy the comparability analysis should not however be rejected on the sole basis that they suffer losses ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter III paragraph 3.64

An independent enterprise would not continue loss-generating activities unless it had reasonable expectations of future profits. See paragraphs 1.129-1.131. Simple or low risk functions in particular are not expected to generate losses for a long period of time. This does not mean however that loss-making transactions can never be comparable. In general, all relevant information should be used and there should not be any overriding rule on the inclusion or exclusion of loss-making comparables. Indeed, it is the facts and circumstances surrounding the company in question that should determine its status as a comparable, not its financial result ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter III paragraph 3.10

Another example where a taxpayer’s transactions may be combined is related to portfolio approaches. A portfolio approach is a business strategy consisting of a taxpayer bundling certain transactions for the purpose of earning an appropriate return across the portfolio rather than necessarily on any single product within the portfolio. For instance, some products may be marketed by a taxpayer with a low profit or even at a loss, because they create a demand for other products and/or related services of the same taxpayer that are then sold or provided with high profits (e.g. equipment and captive aftermarket consumables, such as vending coffee machines and coffee capsules, or printers and cartridges). Similar approaches can be observed in various industries. Portfolio approaches are an example of a business strategy that may need to be taken into account in the comparability analysis and when examining the reliability of comparables. See paragraphs 1.114-1.118 on business strategies. However, as discussed in paragraphs 1.129-1.131, these considerations ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.131

A factor to consider in analysing losses is that business strategies may differ from MNE group to MNE group due to a variety of historic, economic, and cultural reasons. Recurring losses for a reasonable period may be justified in some cases by a business strategy to set especially low prices to achieve market penetration. For example, a producer may lower the prices of its goods, even to the extent of temporarily incurring losses, in order to enter new markets, to increase its share of an existing market, to introduce new products or services, or to discourage potential competitors. However, especially low prices should be expected for a limited period only, with the specific object of improving profits in the longer term. If the pricing strategy continues beyond a reasonable period, a transfer pricing adjustment may be appropriate, particularly where comparable data over several years show that the losses have been incurred for a period longer than that affecting comparable independent ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.130

The fact that there is an enterprise making losses that is doing business with profitable members of its MNE group may suggest to the taxpayers or tax administrations that the transfer pricing should be examined. The loss enterprise may not be receiving adequate compensation from the MNE group of which it is a part in relation to the benefits derived from its activities. For example, an MNE group may need to produce a full range of products and/or services in order to remain competitive and realize an overall profit, but some of the individual product lines may regularly lose revenue. One member of the MNE group might realize consistent losses because it produces all the loss-making products while other members produce the profit-making products. An independent enterprise would perform such a service only if it were compensated by an adequate service charge. Therefore, one way to approach this type of transfer pricing problem would be to deem the loss enterprise ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.129

When an associated enterprise consistently realizes losses while the MNE group as a whole is profitable, the facts could trigger some special scrutiny of transfer pricing issues. Of course, associated enterprises, like independent enterprises, can sustain genuine losses, whether due to heavy start-up costs, unfavourable economic conditions, inefficiencies, or other legitimate business reasons. However, an independent enterprise would not be prepared to tolerate losses that continue indefinitely. An independent enterprise that experiences recurring losses will eventually cease to undertake business on such terms. In contrast, an associated enterprise that realizes losses may remain in business if the business is beneficial to the MNE group as a whole ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.118

An additional consideration is whether there is a plausible expectation that following the business strategy will produce a return sufficient to justify its costs within a period of time that would be acceptable in an arm’s length arrangement. It is recognised that a business strategy such as market penetration may fail, and the failure does not of itself allow the strategy to be ignored for transfer pricing purposes. However, if such an expected outcome was implausible at the time of the transaction, or if the business strategy is unsuccessful but nonetheless is continued beyond what an independent enterprise would accept, the arm’s length nature of the business strategy may be doubtful and may warrant a transfer pricing adjustment. In determining what period of time an independent enterprise would accept, tax administrations may wish to consider evidence of the commercial strategies evident in the country in which the business strategy is being pursued. In the end, however, the most important consideration ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.116

Timing issues can pose particular problems for tax administrations when evaluating whether a taxpayer is following a business strategy that distinguishes it from potential comparables. Some business strategies, such as those involving market penetration or expansion of market share, involve reductions in the taxpayer’s current profits in anticipation of increased future profits. If in the future those increased profits fail to materialise because the purported business strategy was not actually followed by the taxpayer, the appropriate transfer pricing outcome would likely require a transfer pricing adjustment. However legal constraints may prevent re-examination of earlier tax years by the tax administrations. At least in part for this reason, tax administrations may wish to subject the issue of business strategies to particular scrutiny ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.115

Business strategies also could include market penetration schemes. A taxpayer seeking to penetrate a market or to increase its market share might temporarily charge a price for its product that is lower than the price charged for otherwise comparable products in the same market. Furthermore, a taxpayer seeking to enter a new market or expand (or defend) its market share might temporarily incur higher costs (e.g. due to start-up costs or increased marketing efforts) and hence achieve lower profit levels than other taxpayers operating in the same market ... Read more
India vs Herbalife International India , April 2017, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal - Bangalore, IT(TP)A No.924/Bang/2012

India vs Herbalife International India , April 2017, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal – Bangalore, IT(TP)A No.924/Bang/2012

Herbalife International India is a subsidiary of HLI Inc., USA. It is engaged in the business of dealing in weight management, food and dietary supplements and personal care products. The return of income for the assessment year 2006-07 was filed declaring Nil income. The Indian company had paid royalties and management fees to its US parent and sought to justify the consideration paid to be at arm’s length. In the transfer pricing documentation the Transactional Net Margin Method (TNMM) had been selected as the most appropriate method for the purpose of bench marking the transactions. The case was selected for scrutiny by the tax authorities and following an audit, deductions for administrative services were denied and royalty payments were reduced. Disagreeing with the assessment Herbalife filed an appeal. Decision of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal The Tax Appellate Tribunal dismissed the appeal of Herbalife and upheld the tax assessment. Excerpts “The appellant had not filed any additional evidences to prove ... Read more
Russia vs Suzuki Motors, August 2016, Arbitration Court, Case No. А40-50654/13

Russia vs Suzuki Motors, August 2016, Arbitration Court, Case No. А40-50654/13

A Russian subsidiary of the Suzuki/Itochu group had been loss making in 2009. Following an audit the tax authority concluded, that the losses incurred by the Russian distributor were due to non-arm’s length transfer pricing within the group and excessive deduction of costs. Decision of the Court The Court decided in favor of the tax authorities and upheld the assessment. “In view of the above, the appeal court considers that the courts’ conclusions that the Inspectorate had not proved that it was impossible to apply the first method for determining the market price and that the Inspectorate had incorrectly applied the resale price method were unfounded.” “In this light, the courts’ conclusions that the Inspectorate incorrectly applied the second method of determining the market price are unfounded.” “In such circumstances, the Inspectorate’s conclusion on the overstatement of the purchase price of vehicles is based on the application of market data and made in compliance with Article 40 of the Tax ... Read more
Russia vs Hyundai Motors, January 2016, Supreme Court, Case No. А40-50654/13

Russia vs Hyundai Motors, January 2016, Supreme Court, Case No. А40-50654/13

A Russian subsidiary of the car manufacturer group HYUNDAI had been claiming losses on a reoccurring basis. Following an audit the tax authority concluded, that the losses incurred by the Russian distributor were mainly due to non-arm’s length transfer pricing within the group of companies and issued an assessment for FY 2009 – 2010 in the amount of 857 741 779 rubles. The assessment was partially  upheld by the Arbitration Court and then appealed to the Supreme Court. Decision of the Russian Supreme Court The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal lodged by HYUNDAI. “In checking the calculation of the market price of the goods, the court, having assessed whether the data given in the calculation of the market price for the acquisition of the vehicles corresponded to the data contained in the primary documents, came to the conclusion that the calculation presented by the inspectorate was justified. The court considered that the tax authority had made the calculation on the ... Read more