Tag: CUT method

The Comparable Uncontrolled Transaction (CUT) Method is a transfer pricing methodology used in the US, which determines an arm’s length price by reference to uncontrolled transfers of comparable uncontrolled transactions.
A comparable uncontrolled transaction is a transaction between two independent parties that is comparable to the controlled transaction under examination. It can be either a comparable transaction between one party to the controlled transaction and an independent party (“internal comparable”) or between two independent parties, neither of which is a party to the controlled transaction (“external comparable”).

§ 1.482-8(b) Example 7.

Preference for comparable uncontrolled transaction method. (i) USpharm, a U.S. pharmaceutical company, develops a new drug Z that is a safe and effective treatment for the disease zeezee. USpharm has obtained patents covering drug Z in the United States and in various foreign countries. USpharm has also obtained the regulatory authorizations necessary to market drug Z in the United States and in foreign countries. (ii) USpharm licenses its subsidiary in country X, Xpharm, to produce and sell drug Z in country X. At the same time, it licenses an unrelated company, Ydrug, to produce and sell drug Z in country Y, a neighboring country. Prior to licensing the drug, USpharm had obtained patent protection and regulatory approvals in both countries and both countries provide similar protection for intellectual property rights. Country X and country Y are similar countries in terms of population, per capita income and the incidence of disease zeezee. Consequently, drug Z is expected to sell in similar ... Read more

§ 1.482-4(f)(2)(ii)(B) Transactions involving comparable intangible.

If the arm’s length result is derived from the application of the comparable uncontrolled transaction method based on the transfer of a comparable intangible under comparable circumstances to those of the controlled transaction, no allocation will be made under paragraph (f)(2)(i) of this section if each of the following facts is established – (1) The controlled taxpayers entered into a written agreement (controlled agreement) that provided for an amount of consideration with respect to each taxable year subject to such agreement, such consideration was an arm’s length amount for the first taxable year in which substantial periodic consideration was required to be paid under the agreement, and such agreement remained in effect for the taxable year under review; (2) There is a written agreement setting forth the terms of the comparable uncontrolled transaction relied upon to establish the arm’s length consideration (uncontrolled agreement), which contains no provisions that would permit any change to the amount of consideration, a renegotiation, or a termination of the ... Read more

§ 1.482-4(c)(4) Example 4.

(i) USdrug, a U.S. pharmaceutical company, has developed a new drug, Nosplit, that is useful in treating migraine headaches and produces no significant side effects. Nosplit replaces another drug, Lessplit, that USdrug had previously produced and marketed as a treatment for migraine headaches. A number of other drugs for treating migraine headaches are already on the market, but Nosplit can be expected rapidly to dominate the worldwide market for such treatments and to command a premium price since all other treatments produce side effects. Thus, USdrug projects that extraordinary profits will be derived from Nosplit in the U.S. market and other markets. (ii) USdrug licenses its newly established European subsidiary, Eurodrug, the rights to produce and market Nosplit in the European market. In setting the royalty rate for this license, USdrug considers the royalty that it established previously when it licensed the right to produce and market Lessplit in the European market to an unrelated European pharmaceutical company. In many ... Read more

§ 1.482-4(c)(4) Example 3.

(i) FP, is a foreign company that designs, manufactures and sells industrial equipment. FP has developed proprietary components that are incorporated in its products. These components are important in the operation of FP’s equipment and some of them have distinctive features, but other companies produce similar components and none of these components by itself accounts for a substantial part of the value of FP’s products. (ii) FP licenses its U.S. subsidiary, USSub, exclusive North American rights to use the patented technology for producing component X, a heat exchanger used for cooling operating mechanisms in industrial equipment. Component X incorporates proven technology that makes it somewhat more efficient than the heat exchangers commonly used in industrial equipment. FP also agrees to provide technical support to help adapt component X to USSub’s products and to assist with initial production. Under the terms of the license agreement USSub pays FP a royalty equal to 3 percent of sales of USSub equipment incorporating component ... Read more

§ 1.482-4(c)(4) Example 2.

The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that the incidence of the disease zeezee in Country Y is much higher than in Country X. In this case, the profit potential from exploitation of the right to make and sell drug Z is likely to be much higher in country Y than it is in Country X. Consequently, the Ydrug license agreement is unlikely to provide a reliable measure of the arm’s length royalty rate for the Xpharm license ... Read more

§ 1.482-4(c)(4) Example 1.

(i) USpharm, a U.S. pharmaceutical company, develops a new drug Z that is a safe and effective treatment for the disease zeezee. USpharm has obtained patents covering drug Z in the United States and in various foreign countries. USpharm has also obtained the regulatory authorizations necessary to market drug Z in the United States and in foreign countries. (ii) USpharm licenses its subsidiary in country X, Xpharm, to produce and sell drug Z in country X. At the same time, it licenses an unrelated company, Ydrug, to produce and sell drug Z in country Y, a neighboring country. Prior to licensing the drug, USpharm had obtained patent protection and regulatory approvals in both countries and both countries provide similar protection for intellectual property rights. Country X and country Y are similar countries in terms of population, per capita income and the incidence of disease zeezee. Consequently, drug Z is expected to sell in similar quantities and at similar prices in ... Read more

§ 1.482-4(c)(2)(iii)(iv) Data and assumptions.

The reliability of the results derived from the comparable uncontrolled transaction method is affected by the completeness and accuracy of the data used and the reliability of the assumptions made to apply this method. See § 1.482-1(c) (Best method rule) ... Read more

§ 1.482-4(c)(2)(iii)(B)(2) Comparable circumstances.

In evaluating the comparability of the circumstances of the controlled and uncontrolled transactions, although all of the factors described in § 1.482-1(d)(3) must be considered, specific factors that may be particularly relevant to this method include the following – (i) The terms of the transfer, including the exploitation rights granted in the intangible, the exclusive or nonexclusive character of any rights granted, any restrictions on use, or any limitations on the geographic area in which the rights may be exploited; (ii) The stage of development of the intangible (including, where appropriate, necessary governmental approvals, authorizations, or licenses) in the market in which the intangible is to be used; (iii) Rights to receive updates, revisions, or modifications of the intangible; (iv) The uniqueness of the property and the period for which it remains unique, including the degree and duration of protection afforded to the property under the laws of the relevant countries; (v) The duration of the license, contract, or other agreement, and any termination or ... Read more

§ 1.482-4(c)(2)(iii)(B)(1) Comparable intangible property.

In order for the intangible property involved in an uncontrolled transaction to be considered comparable to the intangible property involved in the controlled transaction, both intangibles must – (i) Be used in connection with similar products or processes within the same general industry or market; and (ii) Have similar profit potential. The profit potential of an intangible is most reliably measured by directly calculating the net present value of the benefits to be realized (based on prospective profits to be realized or costs to be saved) through the use or subsequent transfer of the intangible, considering the capital investment and start-up expenses required, the risks to be assumed, and other relevant considerations. The need to reliably measure profit potential increases in relation to both the total amount of potential profits and the potential rate of return on investment necessary to exploit the intangible. If the information necessary to directly calculate net present value of the benefits to be realized is unavailable, and ... Read more

§ 1.482-4(c)(2)(iii)(A) In general.

The degree of comparability between controlled and uncontrolled transactions is determined by applying the comparability provisions of § 1.482-1(d). Although all of the factors described in § 1.482-1(d)(3) must be considered, specific factors may be particularly relevant to this method. In particular, the application of this method requires that the controlled and uncontrolled transactions involve either the same intangible property or comparable intangible property, as defined in paragraph (c)(2)(iii)(B)(1) of this section. In addition, because differences in contractual terms, or the economic conditions in which transactions take place, could materially affect the amount charged, comparability under this method also depends on similarity with respect to these factors, or adjustments to account for material differences in such circumstances ... Read more

§ 1.482-4(c)(2)(ii) Reliability.

If an uncontrolled transaction involves the transfer of the same intangible under the same, or substantially the same, circumstances as the controlled transaction, the results derived from applying the comparable uncontrolled transaction method will generally be the most direct and reliable measure of the arm’s length result for the controlled transfer of an intangible. Circumstances between the controlled and uncontrolled transactions will be considered substantially the same if there are at most only minor differences that have a definite and reasonably ascertainable effect on the amount charged and for which appropriate adjustments are made. If such uncontrolled transactions cannot be identified, uncontrolled transactions that involve the transfer of comparable intangibles under comparable circumstances may be used to apply this method, but the reliability of the analysis will be reduced ... Read more

§ 1.482-4(c)(2)(i) In general.

Whether results derived from applications of this method are the most reliable measure of an arm’s length result is determined using the factors described under the best method rule in § 1.482-1(c). The application of these factors under the comparable uncontrolled transaction method is discussed in paragraphs (c)(2)(ii), (iii), and (iv) of this section ... Read more

§ 1.482-4(c)(1) In general.

The comparable uncontrolled transaction method evaluates whether the amount charged for a controlled transfer of intangible property was arm’s length by reference to the amount charged in a comparable uncontrolled transaction. The amount determined under this method may be adjusted as required by paragraph (f)(2) of this section (Periodic adjustments) ... Read more

§ 1.482-4(c) Comparable uncontrolled transaction method –

Under the comparable profits method, the determination of an arm’s length result is based on the amount of operating profit that the tested party would have earned on related party transactions if its profit level indicator were equal to that of an uncontrolled comparable (comparable operating profit). Comparable operating profit is calculated by determining a profit level indicator for an uncontrolled comparable, and applying the profit level indicator to the financial data related to the tested party’s most narrowly identifiable business activity for which data incorporating the controlled transaction is available (relevant business activity). To the extent possible, profit level indicators should be applied solely to the tested party’s financial data that is related to controlled transactions. The tested party’s reported operating profit is compared to the comparable operating profits derived from the profit level indicators of uncontrolled comparables to determine whether the reported operating profit represents an arm’s length result ... Read more
US vs Medtronic, August 2022, U.S. Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2022-84

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

Medtronic had used the comparable uncontrolled transactions (CUT) method to determine the arm’s length royalty rates received from its manufacturing subsidiary in Puerto Rico for use of IP under an inter-group license agreement. The tax authorities found that Medtronic left too much profit in Puerto Rico. Using a “modified CPM” the IRS concluded that at arm’s length 90 percent of Medtronic’s “devices and leads” profit should have been allocated to the US parent and only 10 percent to the operations in Puerto Rico. Medtronic brought the case to the Tax Court. The Tax Court applied its own analysis and concluded that the Pacesetter agreement was the best CUT to calculate the arm’s length result for license payments. This decision from the Tax Court was then appealed by the IRS to the Court of Appeals. In 2018, the Court of Appeal found that the Tax Court’s factual findings had been insufficient. The Court of Appeals stated taht: “The Tax Court determined ... Read more
US vs Medtronic, August 2018, U.S. Court of Appeals, Case No: 17-1866

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

The IRS was of the opinion, that Medtronic erred in allocating the profit earned from its devises and leads between its businesses located in the United States and its device manufacturer in Puerto Rico. To determine the arm’s length price for Medtronic’s intercompany licensing agreements the comparable profits method was therefor applied by the IRS, rather than the comparable uncontrolled transaction (CUT) method used by Medtronic. Medtronic brought the case to the Tax Court. The Tax Court applied its own valuation analysis and concluded that the Pacesetter agreement was the best CUT to calculate the arm’s length result for intangible property. This decision from the Tax Court was then appealed by the IRS to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeal found that the Tax Court’s factual findings were insufficient. The Tax Court failed to: address whether the circumstances of the Pacesetter settlement was comparable to the licensing agreements in this case, the degree of comparability of the contractual ... Read more
US vs. Amazon, March 2017, US Tax Court, Case No. 148 T.C. No 8

US vs. Amazon, March 2017, US Tax Court, Case No. 148 T.C. No 8

Amazon is an online retailer that sells products through Amazon.com and related websites. Amazon also sells third-party products for which it receives a commissions. In a series of transactions  in 2005 and 2006, Amazon US transferred intangibles to Amazon Europe, a newly established European HQ placed in Luxembourg. A Cost Sharing Arrangement (“CSA”), whereby Amazon US and Amazon Europe agreed to share costs of further research, development, and marketing in proportion to the benefits A License Agreement, whereby Amazon US granted Amazon Europe the right to Amazon US’s Technology IP An Assignment Agreement, whereby Amazon US granted Amazon Europe the right to Amazon US’s Marketing IP and Customer Lists. For these transfers Amazon Europe was required to make an upfront buy-in payment and annual payments according to the cost sharing arrangement for ongoing developments of the intangibles. In the valuation, Amazon had considered the intangibles to have a lifetime of 6 to 20 years. On that basis, the buy-in payment for pre-existing ... Read more
US vs. Medtronic Inc. June 2016, US Tax Court

US vs. Medtronic Inc. June 2016, US Tax Court

The IRS argued that Medtronic Inc failed to accurately account for the value of trade secrets and other intangibles owned by Medtronic Inc and used by Medtronic’s Puerto Rico manufacturing subsidiary in 2005 and 2006 when determening the royalty payments from the subsidiary. In 2016 the United States Tax Court found in favor of Medtronic, sustaining the use of the CUT method to analyze royalty payments. The Court also found that adjustments to the CUT were required. These included additional adjustments not initially applied by Medtronic Inc for know-how, profit potential and scope of product. The decision from the United States Tax Court has been appealed by the IRS in 2017. US-Memo-2016-112-Medtronic-v.-Commissioner ... Read more
France vs. PHARMATIQUE INDUSTRIE, July 1994, CAA, No 92PA01392

France vs. PHARMATIQUE INDUSTRIE, July 1994, CAA, No 92PA01392

The Pharmatique Industrie case shows the high comparability standard required by the courts of France. The tax authorities used five similar license agreements in the same pharmaceutical sector, as comparables in a transfer pricing dispute regarding payments of royalties for the use of knowhow and trademarks. Judgement of the Court The court ruled in favour of the tax authorities. Excerpt “.., is not confirmed by a reading of the contracts attached to the file not only the granting of trademarks for the specialities in question, but also, as in the grants put forward by way of comparison by the administration, of manufacturing processes or know-how, the service must be regarded as providing proof of the exaggerated nature and therefore non-deductible nature of the said royalties in the above-mentioned proportion; that in any case, and without it being necessary to examine whether the royalties are deductible in principle, it follows that the company PHARMATIQUE INDUSTRIE is not entitled to maintain that ... Read more