Tag: Customs valuations

Germany vs "H-Customs GmbH", May 2022, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No VII R 2/19

Germany vs “H-Customs GmbH”, May 2022, Bundesfinanzhof, Case No VII R 2/19

H-Customs GmbH – the applicant and appellant – is a subsidiary of H, Japan. In the period at issue, from 17 October 2009 to 30 September 2010, H-Customs GmbH imported more than 1,000 consignments of various goods from H, which it had cleared for free circulation under customs and tax law at the defendant HZA (Hauptzollamt – German Customs Authorities). H-Customs GmbH declared the prices invoiced to it by H Japan as the customs value. Some of the imported articles were duty-free; for the articles that were not duty-free, the HZA imposed customs duties of between 1.4 % and 6.7 % by means of import duty notices. In 2012, H-Customs GmbH applied to the HZA for a refund of customs duties for the goods imported during the period at issue in the total amount of… €. It referred to an Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) concluded between it and H for transactions in the tax field and stated that the adjustments ... Read more
Costa Rica vs British Tobacco Centroamérica S.A. March 2022, Supreme Court, Case No 750-2022

Costa Rica vs British Tobacco Centroamérica S.A. March 2022, Supreme Court, Case No 750-2022

The tax authorities had started investigating a sales contract that British Tobacco Centroamérica S.A. had with a related company abroad for the import of goods. The historical price of the imported goods was compared to the price contained in the later sales contract. In the customs forms, the company declared one value, but in its invoices it recorded another value for the same products. The tax auditor discovered that the sales contract had a clause extending its scope to the provision of consultancy services. The company reported during the audit that the supplying company played a central role in the marketing of products that the local company made by assisting it in the elaboration of marketing studies, sales campaigns and quality studies. On this background an adjustment was issued for additional withholding tax for source income in the form of consultancy services provided by the non-resident. An appeal was filed by the Company. Judgement of the Supreme Court The Supreme ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter I paragraph 1.158

Taxpayers may have competing incentives in setting values for customs and tax purposes. In general, a taxpayer importing goods may be interested in setting a low price for the transaction for customs purposes so that the customs duty imposed will be low. (There could be similar considerations arising with respect to value added taxes, sales taxes, and excise taxes.) For tax purposes, however, a higher price paid for those same goods would increase the deductible costs in the importing country (although this would also increase the sales revenue of the seller in the country of export). Cooperation between income tax and customs administrations within a country in evaluating transfer prices is becoming more common and this should help to reduce the number of cases where customs valuations are found unacceptable for tax purposes or vice versa. Greater cooperation in the area of exchange of information would be particularly useful, and should not be difficult to achieve in countries that already ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter I paragraph 1.157

The arm’s length principle is applied, broadly speaking, by many customs administrations as a principle of comparison between the value attributable to goods imported by associated enterprises, which may be affected by the special relationship between them, and the value for similar goods imported by independent enterprises. Valuation methods for customs purposes however may not be aligned with the OECD’s recognised transfer pricing methods. That being said, customs valuations may be useful to tax administrations in evaluating the arm’s length character of a controlled transaction transfer price and vice versa. In particular, customs officials may have contemporaneous information regarding the transaction that could be relevant for transfer pricing purposes, especially if prepared by the taxpayer, while tax authorities may have transfer pricing documentation which provides detailed information on the circumstances of the transaction ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter I paragraph 1.4

Factors other than tax considerations may distort the conditions of commercial and financial relations established between associated enterprises. For example, such enterprises may be subject to conflicting governmental pressures (in the domestic as well as foreign country) relating to customs valuations, anti-dumping duties, and exchange or price controls. In addition, transfer price distortions may be caused by the cash flow requirements of enterprises within an MNE group. An MNE group that is publicly held may feel pressure from shareholders to show high profitability at the parent company level, particularly if shareholder reporting is not undertaken on a consolidated basis. All of these factors may affect transfer prices and the amount of profits accruing to associated enterprises within an MNE group ... Read more
Brazil vs GKN do Brasil LTDA, December 2021, Administrative Court of Appeal (CARF), Case No. 11080.724128/2015-21

Brazil vs GKN do Brasil LTDA, December 2021, Administrative Court of Appeal (CARF), Case No. 11080.724128/2015-21

In this case the assessed company had imported goods from a related party. It did not fail to declare the relation to the exporter, but indicated in the completion of its import declarations that this relation did not influence the price. It therefore adopted the first method of customs valuation; the transaction value, to establish the basis for calculation and collection of taxes. The authorities found evidence that the relation did influence the declared price and on that basis ruled out the use of the first method for customs valuation. In compliance with Brazilian customs legislation, the tax authorities started to evaluate the possibility of using other customs valuation methods. The second (identical goods), third (similar goods), fourth (deductive) and fifth (computed goods) methods were not found applicable, which left the sixth and final method. The sixth method is a last resort method where the tax authorities uses information and transfer prices calculated based on article 18 of Law 9,430/96 ... Read more
Argentina vs Malteria Pampa SA, October 2021, Federal Administrative Court, Case No TF 35123-A

Argentina vs Malteria Pampa SA, October 2021, Federal Administrative Court, Case No TF 35123-A

Malteria Pampa S.A in Argentina exported malt to a related intermediary in Uruguay that in turn sold on the goods to the brewery in Brazil at a higher price. The tax authorities applied the Sixth method and issued an assessment where the export price was determined based on the latter price used in the transaction with the brewery in Brazil. Furthermore a substantial fine was issued to the Malteria Pampa S.A. for non compliance. In February 2019 the Tax Court decided in favour of the tax authorities. “That the factual and legal points considered by the customs verification – corroborated in this pronouncement – complied with the application parameters of the TP rules invoked in the Technical Report, forming a solid conviction that the transactional prices of the sale declared in the field “Merchandise Value” of the PE 07-003-EC01-004994-P and PE N° 07-003- EC01-004995-Z of Maltería Pampa S. A. are manifestly inaccurate, constituting an under-invoicing that causes the plaintiff to ... Read more
Kenya vs PE of Man Diesel, August 2021, High Court of Kenya, Income Tax Appeal No. E125 OF 2020

Kenya vs PE of Man Diesel, August 2021, High Court of Kenya, Income Tax Appeal No. E125 OF 2020

A Permanent Establishment (PE) in Kenya of MAN Diesel and Turbo SE Germany (MAN) entered into a consortium with a firm called MPG Services to engineer, procure and construct an 87 MW generating capacity thermal power plant on behalf of Thika Power Ltd. The role of MAN’s Kenyan PE in the project was mobilization, engineering and design, reservation of the diesel sets, and steam turbine and other start-up costs associated with its part of the works which included supervision of the assembly and installation of engines and commissioning the engines. MAN Germany was to provide for the materials up to the port of export and the PE was to assist in the onshore part which included supervision of the assembly and installation work as well as commissioning the work but did not include supply of equipment. In 2015, the tax authorities initiated an audit which resulted in a final tax assessment issued in 2017. According to the assessment MAN’s Kenyan ... Read more
South Africa vs Levi Strauss SA (PTY) LTD, April 2021, Supreme Court of Appeal, Case No (509/2019) [2021] ZASCA 32

South Africa vs Levi Strauss SA (PTY) LTD, April 2021, Supreme Court of Appeal, Case No (509/2019) [2021] ZASCA 32

Levi Strauss South Africa (Pty) Ltd, has been in a dispute with the African Revenue Services, over import duties and value-added tax (VAT) payable by it in respect of clothing imports. The Levi’s Group uses procurement Hubs in Singapore and Hong Kong but channeled goods via Mauritius to South Africa, thus benefiting from a favorable duty protocol between Mauritius and South Africa. Following an audit, the tax authorities issued an assessment in which it determined that the place of origin certificates issued in respect of imports from countries in the South African Development Community (SADC) and used to clear imports emanating from such countries were invalid, and therefore disentitled Levi SA from entering these goods at the favorable rate of zero percent duty under the Protocol on Trade in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region (the Protocol). The tax authorities also determined that the transaction value of the imported goods on which duty was payable should include certain commissions ... Read more
Norway vs New Wave Norway AS, March 2021, Court of Appeal, Case No LB-2020-10664

Norway vs New Wave Norway AS, March 2021, Court of Appeal, Case No LB-2020-10664

New Wave Norway AS is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Swedish New Wave Group AB. The group operates in the wholesale market for sports and workwear and gift and promotional items. It owns trademark rights to several well-known brands. The sales companies – including New Wave Norway AS – pay a concept fee to New Wave Group AB, which passes on the fee to the concept-owning companies in the Group. All trademark rights owned by the group are located in a separate company, New Wave Group Licensing SA, domiciled in Switzerland. For the use of the trademarks, the sales companies pay royalties to this company. There is also a separate company that handles purchasing and negotiations with the Asian producers, New Wave Group SA, also based in Switzerland. For the purchasing services from this company, the sales companies pay a purchasing fee (“sourcing fee”). Both the payment of royalties and the purchase fee are further regulated in the group’s ... Read more
Greece vs BMW HELLAS S.A., April 2020, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No A 685/2020

Greece vs BMW HELLAS S.A., April 2020, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No A 685/2020

Following an audit the tax authorities issued a adjustment to BMW Hellas S.A. related to its pricing of imported cars. The adjustment was later annulled by the Administrative Court of Appeal. Not satisfied with this result, the tax authorities then filed an appeal with the Supreme Administrative Court. Judgement of the Supreme Administrative Court The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal of tax authorities and upheld the decision of the Administrative Court of Appeal. Excerpts “Because, as is clear from the above-mentioned provision of Article 137.C(C)(2) of the Customs Code, the customs authorities are not in breach of their obligations under Article 137.C(2) of the Customs Code. 1 of Law No. 3583/2007, smuggling, when importing a vehicle into the country, occurs where the non-payment or reduced payment of the tax or duty provided for by law is the result of the declaration of false information or the falsification of the documents required for importation or the use of special devices. For ... Read more
Argentina vs Malteria Pampa S.A., February 2019, Tax Court, Case No 35.098-A

Argentina vs Malteria Pampa S.A., February 2019, Tax Court, Case No 35.098-A

Malteria Pampa S.A in Argentina exported malt to a related intermediary in Uruguay that in turn sold on the goods to the brewery in Brazil at a higher price. The tax authorities applied the Sixth method and issued an assessment where the export price was determined based on the latter price used in the transaction with the brewery in Brazil and a substantial fine was also issued to the Malteria Pampa S.A. for non compliance. Decision of the Tax Court “That the factual and legal points considered by the customs verification – corroborated in this pronouncement – complied with the application parameters of the TP rules invoked in the Technical Report, forming a solid conviction that the transactional prices of the sale declared in the field “Merchandise Value” of the PE 07-003-EC01-004994-P and PE N° 07-003- EC01-004995-Z of Maltería Pampa S. A. are manifestly inaccurate, constituting an under-invoicing that causes the plaintiff to engage in the conduct punishable by Article 954(1)(c) ... Read more
Europe vs Hamamatsu, Dec 2017, European Court of Justice, Case No C-529-16

Europe vs Hamamatsu, Dec 2017, European Court of Justice, Case No C-529-16

The case concerns the effect of transfer pricing year-end adjustments on VAT – the relationship between transfer pricing and the valuation of goods for customs (VAT) purposes (Hamamatsu case C-529/16). Hamamatsu Photonics Deutschland GmbH (Hamamatsu) is a German subsidiary of the Japanese company Hamamatsu, and it acts as a distributor of optical devices purchased from the parent company. The transfer pricing policy of the group, which is covered by an Advanced Pricing Agreement (APA) with the German Tax Authorities, provides that the consideration paid by Hamamatsu to purchase the goods sold allows Hamamatsu Photonics a target profit. Hamamatsu accounted for an operating margin below the threshold agreed upon in the APA. The Japanese parent company consequently carried out a downward adjustment to allow the achievement of the target profitability by its German subsidiary. Hamamatsu filed a refund claim for the higher customs duties paid on the price that was declared to customs at the time of importation. Customs, at that ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.138

Taxpayers may have competing incentives in setting values for customs and tax purposes. In general, a taxpayer importing goods may be interested in setting a low price for the transaction for customs purposes so that the customs duty imposed will be low. (There could be similar considerations arising with respect to value added taxes, sales taxes, and excise taxes.) For tax purposes, however, a higher price paid for those same goods would increase the deductible costs in the importing country (although this would also increase the sales revenue of the seller in the country of export). Cooperation between income tax and customs administrations within a country in evaluating transfer prices is becoming more common and this should help to reduce the number of cases where customs valuations are found unacceptable for tax purposes or vice versa. Greater cooperation in the area of exchange of information would be particularly useful, and should not be difficult to achieve in countries that already ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.137

The arm’s length principle is applied, broadly speaking, by many customs administrations as a principle of comparison between the value attributable to goods imported by associated enterprises, which may be affected by the special relationship between them, and the value for similar goods imported by independent enterprises. Valuation methods for customs purposes however may not be aligned with the OECD’s recognised transfer pricing methods. That being said, customs valuations may be useful to tax administrations in evaluating the arm’s length character of a controlled transaction transfer price and vice versa. In particular, customs officials may have contemporaneous information regarding the transaction that could be relevant for transfer pricing purposes, especially if prepared by the taxpayer, while tax authorities may have transfer pricing documentation which provides detailed information on the circumstances of the transaction ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.4

Factors other than tax considerations may distort the conditions of commercial and financial relations established between associated enterprises. For example, such enterprises may be subject to conflicting governmental pressures (in the domestic as well as foreign country) relating to customs valuations, anti-dumping duties, and exchange or price controls. In addition, transfer price distortions may be caused by the cash flow requirements of enterprises within an MNE group. An MNE group that is publicly held may feel pressure from shareholders to show high profitability at the parent company level, particularly if shareholder reporting is not undertaken on a consolidated basis. All of these factors may affect transfer prices and the amount of profits accruing to associated enterprises within an MNE group ... Read more
Canada vs. Skechers USA Canada Inc. March 2015, Federal Court of Appeal

Canada vs. Skechers USA Canada Inc. March 2015, Federal Court of Appeal

In this case the Federal Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal in which the tribunal upheld seven decisions – one for each of the years 2005 through 2011 – of the Canada Border Services Agency under subsection 60(4) of Canada’s Customs Act. Skechers Canada, a subsidiary of Skechers USA, purchases footwear to sell in Canada from its parent at a price equal to the price paid by Skechers US to its manufacturers, the cost of shipping the foodware to the US and warehousing, and an arm’s length profit. Skechers Canada also makes payments to Skechers US pursuant to a cost sharing agreement to compensate the parent for activities associated with the development and maintenance of the Skechers brand and to the creation and sale of footwear. The Court ruled that CSA payments relating to research, design, and development (R&D) were “in respect of” the goods sold for export into Canada and thus part of the “price paid or payable” for ... Read more
Spain vs. Refrescos Envasados S.A., November 2009, Supreme Court, Case nr. 3582/2003

Spain vs. Refrescos Envasados S.A., November 2009, Supreme Court, Case nr. 3582/2003

Refrescos Envasados, S.A. – a Coca-Cola subsidiary in Spain – bought soft drink concentrate manufactured by Coca-Cola companies in Ireland and France. According to the tax authorities the prices paid for the concentrate were above market prices. Hence, an assessment was issued where the prices for the concentrate had been lowered resulting in additional taxable profits. In regards to the tax assessment, the tax authorities argued that they were not bound by the valuation carried out for customs purposes. Judgement of the Supreme Court According to the Supreme Court the pricing applied for the purpose of calculating the customs, is linked to the pricing applied for transfer prices purposes. The tax authorities can choose a transfer pricing method, but the method chosen must be used for both CIT and customs purposes. Click here for english translation Click here for other translation Spain Supreme Court 3582-2003 ... Read more