Tag: Conversion of full-fledged distributors

TPG2022 Chapter IX paragraph 9.112

Whenever a comparable is proposed, it is important to ensure that a comparability analysis of the controlled and uncontrolled transactions is performed in order to identify material differences, if any, between them and, where necessary and possible, to adjust for such differences. In particular, the comparability analysis might reveal that the restructured entity continues to perform valuable and significant functions and/or the presence of local intangibles and/or of economically significant risks that remain in the “stripped” entity after the restructuring but are not found in the proposed comparables. See Section A on the possible differences between restructured activities and start-up situations ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter IX paragraph 9.106

Where a restructuring involves a transfer to a foreign associated enterprise of risks that were previously assumed by a taxpayer, it may be important to examine whether the transfer of risks only concerns the future risks that will arise from the post-restructuring activities or also the risks existing at the time of the restructuring as a result of pre-conversion activities, i.e. there is a cut-off issue. For instance, consider a situation in which a distributor was assuming bad debt risks which it will no longer assume after its being restructured as a “limited risk distributor”, and that it is being compared with a long-established “limited risk distributor” that never assumed bad debt risk. It may be important when comparing both situations to examine, based on the guidance in Section D. 1.2.1 of Chapter I, whether the “limited risk distributor” that results from a conversion still assumes the risks associated with bad debts that arose before the restructuring at the time ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter IX paragraph 9.105

When one compares a situation where a long-established full-fledged distributor is converted into a limited risk distributor with a situation where a limited risk distributor has been in existence in the market for the same duration, there might also be differences because the full-fledged distributor may have performed some functions, borne some expenses (e.g. marketing expenses), assumed some risks and contributed to the development of some intangibles before its conversion that the long-existing “limited risk distributor” may not have performed, borne, assumed or contributed to. The question arises whether at arm’s length such additional functions, assets and risks should only affect the remuneration of the distributor before its being converted, whether they should be taken into account to determine a remuneration of the transfers that take place upon the conversion (and if so how), whether they should affect the remuneration of the restructured limited risk distributor (and if so how), or a combination of these three possibilities. For instance, if ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter IX paragraph 9.104

Some differences in the starting position of the restructured entity compared to the position of a newly set up operation can relate to the established presence of the operation. For instance, if one compares a situation where a long-established full-fledged distributor is converted into a limited risk distributor with a situation where a limited risk distributor is established in a market where the group did not have any previous commercial presence, market penetration efforts might be needed for the new entrant which are not needed for the converted entity. This may affect the comparability analysis and the determination of the arm’s length remuneration in both situations ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter IX paragraph 9.102

Where an arrangement between associated enterprises replaces an existing arrangement (restructuring), there may be factual differences in the starting position of the restructured entity compared to the position of a newly set up operation. Sometimes, the post-restructuring arrangement is negotiated between parties that have had prior contractual and commercial relationships. In such a situation, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case and in particular on the rights and obligations derived by the parties from these prior arrangements, this may affect the options realistically available to the parties in negotiating the terms of the new arrangement and therefore the conditions of the restructuring and of the post-restructuring arrangements (see paragraphs 9.27-9.31 for a discussion of options realistically available in the context of determining the arm’s length compensation for the restructuring itself). For instance, assume a party has proved in the past to be able to perform well as a full-fledged distributor performing a whole range of marketing and selling ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter IX paragraph 9.65

In particular, in the case of the conversion of a full-fledged distributor into, for example, a limited risk distributor or commissionnaire, it may be important to examine whether the distributor has developed local marketing intangibles over the years prior to its being restructured and if so, what the nature and the value of these intangibles are, and whether they were transferred to an associated enterprise. Where such local intangibles are found to be in existence and to be transferred to a foreign associated enterprise, the arm’s length principle should apply to determine whether and if so how to compensate such a transfer, based on what would be agreed between independent parties in comparable circumstances. In this regard it is relevant to note that the transferor should receive arm’s length compensation (in addition to the arm’s length compensation for the transferred intangibles) when after the restructuring it continues to perform functions related to the development, enhancement, maintenance, protection or exploitation of ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter IX paragraph 9.64

Where a local full-fledged operation is converted into an operation assuming limited risk, using limited intangibles and receiving low remuneration, the questions arise of whether this conversion entails the transfer by the restructured local entity to a foreign associated enterprise of valuable intangibles or rights in intangibles and whether there are local intangibles that remain with the local operation ... Read more
TPG2022 Chapter IX paragraph 9.46

TPG2022 Chapter IX paragraph 9.46

At arm’s length, the response is likely to depend on the rights and other assets of the parties, on the profit potential of the distributor and of its associated enterprise in relation to both business models (full-fledged and low risk distributor) as well as the expected duration of the new arrangement. In particular, in evaluating profit potential, it is necessary to evaluate whether historic profits (determined in accordance with the arm’s length principle) are an indicator of future profit potential, or whether there have been changes in the business environment around the time of the restructuring that mean that past performance is not an indicator of profit potential. For example, competing products could have the effect of eroding profitability, and new technology or consumer preferences could render the products less attractive. The consideration of these factors from perspective of the distributor can be illustrated with the following example ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter IX paragraph 9.19

Risks are of critical importance in the context of business restructurings. Usually, in the open market, the assumption of risk associated with a commercial opportunity affects the profit potential of that opportunity, and the allocation of risk assumed between the parties to the arrangement affects how profits or losses resulting from the transaction are allocated through the arm’s length pricing of the transaction. Business restructurings often result in local operations being converted into low risk operations (e.g. “low risk distributors”, or “low risk contract manufacturers”) and being remunerated with a relatively low (but generally stable) return on the grounds that the economically significant risks are assumed by another party to which the profits or losses associated with those risks are allocated. For this reason, an examination of the allocation of risks between associated enterprises before and after the restructuring is an essential part of the functional analysis. Such analysis should allow tax administrations to assess the transfer of the economically ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter IX paragraph 9.2

Business restructurings may often involve the centralisation of intangibles, risks, or functions with the profit potential attached to them. They may typically consist of: Conversion of full-fledged distributors (that is, enterprises with a relatively higher level of functions and risks) into limited-risk distributors, marketers, sales agents, or commissionnaires (that is, enterprises with a relatively lower level of functions and risks) for a foreign associated enterprise that may operate as a principal, Conversion of full-fledged manufacturers (that is, enterprises with a relatively higher level of functions and risks) into contract manufacturers or toll manufacturers (that is, enterprises with a relatively lower level of functions and risks) for a foreign associated enterprise that may operate as a principal, Transfers of intangibles or rights in intangibles to a central entity (e.g. a so-called “IP company”) within the group, The concentration of functions in a regional or central entity, with a corresponding reduction in scope or scale of functions carried out locally; examples may ... 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
Spain vs COLGATE PALMOLIVE HOLDING SCPA, February 2018, High Court, Case No 568/2014

Spain vs COLGATE PALMOLIVE HOLDING SCPA, February 2018, High Court, Case No 568/2014

According to Colgate Palmolive, following a restructuring, the local group company in Spain was changed from being a “fully fledged distributor” responsible for all areas of the distribution process to being a “limited risk distributor” (it only performs certain functions). A newly established Swiss company, Colgate Palmolive Europe, instead became the principal entrepreneur in Europe. The changed TP setup had a significant impact on the earnings in the Spanish group company. Net margins was reduced from around 16% before the restructuring, to 3.5% after the restructuring. Following a thorough examination of the functions, assets and risks before and after application of the new setup, the Tax administration held that Colgate Palmolive Europe could not be qualified as the “principal entrepreneur” in Europe. The swiss company was in substance a service provider for which the remuneration should be determined based on the cost plus method. Judgement of the Court The High Court held in favour of the tax administration and dismissed ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter IX paragraph 9.112

Whenever a comparable is proposed, it is important to ensure that a comparability analysis of the controlled and uncontrolled transactions is performed in order to identify material differences, if any, between them and, where necessary and possible, to adjust for such differences. In particular, the comparability analysis might reveal that the restructured entity continues to perform valuable and significant functions and/or the presence of local intangibles and/or of economically significant risks that remain in the “stripped” entity after the restructuring but are not found in the proposed comparables. See Section A on the possible differences between restructured activities and start-up situations ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter IX paragraph 9.106

Where a restructuring involves a transfer to a foreign associated enterprise of risks that were previously assumed by a taxpayer, it may be important to examine whether the transfer of risks only concerns the future risks that will arise from the post-restructuring activities or also the risks existing at the time of the restructuring as a result of pre-conversion activities, i.e. there is a cut-off issue. For instance, consider a situation in which a distributor was assuming bad debt risks which it will no longer assume after its being restructured as a “limited risk distributor”, and that it is being compared with a long-established “limited risk distributor” that never assumed bad debt risk. It may be important when comparing both situations to examine, based on the guidance in Section D. 1.2.1 of Chapter I, whether the “limited risk distributor” that results from a conversion still assumes the risks associated with bad debts that arose before the restructuring at the time ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter IX paragraph 9.105

When one compares a situation where a long-established full-fledged distributor is converted into a limited risk distributor with a situation where a limited risk distributor has been in existence in the market for the same duration, there might also be differences because the full-fledged distributor may have performed some functions, borne some expenses (e.g. marketing expenses), assumed some risks and contributed to the development of some intangibles before its conversion that the long-existing “limited risk distributor” may not have performed, borne, assumed or contributed to. The question arises whether at arm’s length such additional functions, assets and risks should only affect the remuneration of the distributor before its being converted, whether they should be taken into account to determine a remuneration of the transfers that take place upon the conversion (and if so how), whether they should affect the remuneration of the restructured limited risk distributor (and if so how), or a combination of these three possibilities. For instance, if ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter IX paragraph 9.104

Some differences in the starting position of the restructured entity compared to the position of a newly set up operation can relate to the established presence of the operation. For instance, if one compares a situation where a long-established full-fledged distributor is converted into a limited risk distributor with a situation where a limited risk distributor is established in a market where the group did not have any previous commercial presence, market penetration efforts might be needed for the new entrant which are not needed for the converted entity. This may affect the comparability analysis and the determination of the arm’s length remuneration in both situations ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter IX paragraph 9.102

Where an arrangement between associated enterprises replaces an existing arrangement (restructuring), there may be factual differences in the starting position of the restructured entity compared to the position of a newly set up operation. Sometimes, the post-restructuring arrangement is negotiated between parties that have had prior contractual and commercial relationships. In such a situation, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case and in particular on the rights and obligations derived by the parties from these prior arrangements, this may affect the options realistically available to the parties in negotiating the terms of the new arrangement and therefore the conditions of the restructuring and of the post-restructuring arrangements (see paragraphs 9.27-9.31 for a discussion of options realistically available in the context of determining the arm’s length compensation for the restructuring itself). For instance, assume a party has proved in the past to be able to perform well as a full-fledged distributor performing a whole range of marketing and selling ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter IX paragraph 9.65

In particular, in the case of the conversion of a full-fledged distributor into, for example, a limited risk distributor or commissionnaire, it may be important to examine whether the distributor has developed local marketing intangibles over the years prior to its being restructured and if so, what the nature and the value of these intangibles are, and whether they were transferred to an associated enterprise. Where such local intangibles are found to be in existence and to be transferred to a foreign associated enterprise, the arm’s length principle should apply to determine whether and if so how to compensate such a transfer, based on what would be agreed between independent parties in comparable circumstances. In this regard it is relevant to note that the transferor should receive arm’s length compensation (in addition to the arm’s length compensation for the transferred intangibles) when after the restructuring it continues to perform functions related to the development, enhancement, maintenance, protection or exploitation of ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter IX paragraph 9.19

Risks are of critical importance in the context of business restructurings. Usually, in the open market, the assumption of risk associated with a commercial opportunity affects the profit potential of that opportunity, and the allocation of risk assumed between the parties to the arrangement affects how profits or losses resulting from the transaction are allocated through the arm’s length pricing of the transaction. Business restructurings often result in local operations being converted into low risk operations (e.g. “low risk distributors”, or “low risk contract manufacturers”) and being remunerated with a relatively low (but generally stable) return on the grounds that the economically significant risks are assumed by another party to which the profits or losses associated with those risks are allocated. For this reason, an examination of the allocation of risks between associated enterprises before and after the restructuring is an essential part of the functional analysis. Such analysis should allow tax administrations to assess the transfer of the economically ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter IX paragraph 9.2

Business restructurings may often involve the centralisation of intangibles, risks, or functions with the profit potential attached to them. They may typically consist of: Conversion of full-fledged distributors (that is, enterprises with a relatively higher level of functions and risks) into limited-risk distributors, marketers, sales agents, or commissionnaires (that is, enterprises with a relatively lower level of functions and risks) for a foreign associated enterprise that may operate as a principal, Conversion of full-fledged manufacturers (that is, enterprises with a relatively higher level of functions and risks) into contract manufacturers or toll manufacturers (that is, enterprises with a relatively lower level of functions and risks) for a foreign associated enterprise that may operate as a principal, Transfers of intangibles or rights in intangibles to a central entity (e.g. a so-called “IP company”) within the group, The concentration of functions in a regional or central entity, with a corresponding reduction in scope or scale of functions carried out locally; examples may ... Read more
France vs. Ballantine's Mumm Distribution, Dec 2012, CAA no 10PA00748

France vs. Ballantine’s Mumm Distribution, Dec 2012, CAA no 10PA00748

Ballantine’s Mumm Distribution (later – Société de participations et d’études des boissons sans alcool or SOPEBSA), is a French wholesaler of beverages, and was, until 1999, a fully fledged distributor on the French market of the products from the English company Allied Domecq Spirits and Wine Limited (ADSW). Both companies are owned by the Allied Domecq PLC group. By a commission contract entered into 12 April 1999, Ballantine’s Mumm Distribution continued to market the products of Allied Domecq Spirits and Wines Limited in France but now as a commission agent. Following an audit for FY 1997 to 2000, the tax administration considered that Ballantine’s Mumm Distribution had, for the financial year ending in 2000, on the one hand, unduly borne an expense relating to a goods insurance contract, and on the other hand, transferred its clientele to Allied Domecq Spirits and Wine Limited without consideration. The tax authorities considered that these transactions were part of an abnormal management constituting a ... Read more
German Guidance on Business Restructuring and Valuation issued in October 2010

German Guidance on Business Restructuring and Valuation issued in October 2010

In 2008 German legislation on business restructurings was updated to align with the new chapter XI in the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines. § 1 para. 3 AStG and the “Regulation on the application of the arm’s length principle according to §1 para. 1 AStG in cases of cross-border relocation of functions” of 12.8.2008 (Function Relocation Regulation, in short: FVerlV). Guidance was subsequently issued by the tax authorities in BMF letter of 13 October 2010, IV B 5 – S 1341/08/10003, BStBl 2010 I p. 774; in short: VWGFVerl. Click here for unofficial English translation Click here for other translation Germany 2010-10-13-Verwaltungsgrundsaetze-Funktionsverlagerung - BR ... Read more