Tag: Timing issues

Spain vs BIOMERIEUX ESPAÑA SA, February 2021, National Court, Case No 2021:416

Spain vs BIOMERIEUX ESPAÑA SA, February 2021, National Court, Case No 2021:416

BIOMERIEUX ESPAÑA SA is active in the business of clinical and biological analysis, production, distribution, training and technical assistance. Likewise, the provision of computer services and, in particular, the computer management of laboratories. Following an audit the tax authorities found that the controlled prices agreed for the acquisition of instruments and consumables between bioMérieux España and its related entities, bioMérieux SA and bioMérieux Inc, did not provided bioMérieux España with an arm’s length return on is controlled activities. A tax assessment was issued for FY 2008 on the basis af a thorough critical analysis of the benchmark study provided by the BIOMERIEUX, and detailed reasoning and analysis in regards to comparability and market developments. Judgement of the National Court The Audiencia Nacional dismissed the appeal of Biomerieux España SA and decided in favour of the tax authorities. Excerpts “As we already reasoned in our SAN (2nd) of 6 March 2019 (Rec. 353/2015 ), it is legitimate to resort to what ... Continue to full case

OECD COVID-19 TPG paragraph 29

As with other analyses under the OECD TPG, numerous considerations may come into play, including the availability and choice of potential transfer pricing methods and comparables, and the interrelationship among them and the parameters of the testing periods (e.g. a transaction-based method may have a different time frame from a profit-based method). Just as it may improve reliability to use separate or more carefully circumscribed testing periods (or price setting periods) in some fact patterns (see paragraph 27), in other fact patterns the use of combined periods (that include both years that are impacted by the pandemic and years that are not impacted) may improve reliability.14 This approach would aggregate the financial results of FY2020, which may be exceptional, with the more normal results of prior years in order to test the arm’s length nature of the transfer pricing policy applied in FY2020. 14 Paragraphs 3.75 and 3.79 of Chapter III of the OECD TPG ... Continue to full case

OECD COVID-19 TPG paragraph 28

This aspect is also relevant in performing the comparability analysis. For instance, assume government intervention forces a taxpayer to close its distribution facilities for three months. In undertaking a benchmark analysis, care should be taken in verifying that comparable enterprises have faced similar restrictions or conditions. Otherwise, it might be necessary to adjust the period over which the comparison is performed (e.g. excluding the economic data corresponding to the three months where the taxpayer was unable to operate). Taxpayers and tax administrations should determine on a case-by-case basis the extent to which these adjustments are necessary in circumstances where the potential differences may not have a material impact on the comparability. In this respect, the guidance in paragraphs 3.50 to 3.52 of the OECD TPG is relevant ... Continue to full case

OECD COVID-19 TPG paragraph 27

As a pragmatic means of addressing divergent economic conditions in the pre- or post-pandemic period, and when the pandemic was in effect and its effects on economic conditions were material, it may be appropriate to have separate testing periods (and periods considered for price setting) for the duration of the pandemic or for the period when certain material effects of the pandemic were most evident. This may be appropriate, so long as the data from independent comparables can be measured over a similar period in a consistent manner. Care should be taken to ensure the financial data of years affected by the pandemic do not unduly distort results from pre- or post-pandemic periods. In addition, government intervention in a market may materially affect the performance of activities. For example, in certain situations, the activities that otherwise normally would have occurred absent the pandemic may not occur in the same manner (or at all) during the period that the government intervention ... Continue to full case

OECD COVID-19 TPG paragraph 26

The principles outlined in Section B.5 of Chapter III of the OECD TPG regarding the use of multiple year data and averages remain applicable. In ordinary circumstances, the use of multiple year data and multiple year averages for comparability analyses may have certain advantages. For example, it can be used as a means to mitigate the impact of accounting differences, appropriately measure the effects on profitability for the tested party based on its business and product life cycles, and to evaluate the same for the comparables, such that the reliability of the comparison is increased.13 13 Paragraph 3.77 of Chapter III of the OECD TPG ... Continue to full case

OECD COVID-19 TPG paragraph 17

However, not every application of the TNMM will in principle require contemporaneous information for FY 2020. For example, a long term arrangement covering FY 2019 through FY 2022 may be in place, including an arm’s length price based on comparables contemporaneous with the negotiation of the arrangement, that insulates the tested party from risks that the tested party does not assume like those that play out during the pandemic. See also paragraph 10 ... Continue to full case

OECD COVID-19 TPG paragraph 16

In other instances, it may be more challenging to use contemporaneous uncontrolled transactions as part of a comparability analysis, notably in the application of the transactional net margin method (“TNMM”). When applying the TNMM, taxpayers and tax administrations typically rely on historical information from commercial databases in order to set and test prices. FY 2020 information will typically not be available until mid FY 2021 at the earliest because commercial databases use publicly available information derived from financial statements and these financial statements tend to be lodged only after several months after the period to which they relate. This suggests that in these circumstances taxpayers will need to perform a comparability analysis based on available prior year financial information and, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, utilising whatever current year information is available to support their transfer prices ... Continue to full case

OECD COVID-19 TPG paragraph 15

In some instances, comparability analysis can be performed using contemporaneous (or near contemporaneous) uncontrolled transactions. For example, publicly available commercial databases typically have current or recent information on financial transactions between unrelated parties, which may provide reliable information on which to base comparability analyses under current economic conditions. Similarly, taxpayers are more likely to have current information on potential internal comparables, where these can be used to price related party transactions ... Continue to full case

OECD COVID-19 TPG paragraph 14

Information relating to the conditions of comparable uncontrolled transactions undertaken during the same period as the controlled transaction (“contemporaneous uncontrolled transactions”) is the most reliable information to use in a comparability analysis. Such information reflects how independent parties behave in an economic environment that is the same as or substantially similar to the economic environment of the controlled transaction.9 9 Section B of Chapter III of the OECD TPG ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter III paragraph 3.74

Data from years following the year of the transaction may also be relevant to the analysis of transfer prices, but care must be taken to avoid the use of hindsight. For example, data from later years may be useful in comparing product life cycles of controlled and uncontrolled transactions for the purpose of determining whether the uncontrolled transaction is an appropriate comparable to use in applying a particular method. The conduct of the parties in years following the transaction will also be relevant in accurately delineating the actual transaction ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter III paragraph 3.71

Both the arm’s length price-setting and the arm’s length outcome-testing approaches, as well as combinations of these two approaches, are found among OECD member countries. The issue of double taxation may arise where a controlled transaction takes place between two associated enterprises where different approaches have been applied and lead to different outcomes, for instance because of a discrepancy between market expectations taken into account in the arm’s length price-setting approach and actual outcomes observed in the arm’s length outcome-testing approach. See paragraphs 4.38 and 4.39. Competent authorities are encouraged to use their best efforts to resolve any double taxation issues that may arise from different country approaches to year-end adjustments and that may be submitted to them under a mutual agreement procedure (Article 25 of the OECD Model Tax Convention) ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter III paragraph 3.70

In other instances, taxpayers might test the actual outcome of their controlled transactions to demonstrate that the conditions of these transactions were consistent with the arm’s length principle, i.e. on an ex post basis (hereinafter “the arm’s length outcome-testing” approach). Such test typically takes place as part of the process for establishing the tax return at year-end ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter III paragraph 3.69

In some cases, taxpayers establish transfer pricing documentation to demonstrate that they have made reasonable efforts to comply with the arm’s length principle at the time their intra-group transactions were undertaken, i.e. on an ex ante basis (hereinafter “the arm’s length price-setting” approach), based on information that was reasonably available to them at that point. Such information includes not only information on comparable transactions from previous years, but also information on economic and market changes that may have occurred between those previous years and the year of the controlled transaction. In effect, independent parties in comparable circumstances would not base their pricing decision on historical data alone ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter III paragraph 3.68

In principle, information relating to the conditions of comparable uncontrolled transactions undertaken or carried out during the same period of time as the controlled transaction (“contemporaneous uncontrolled transactions”) is expected to be the most reliable information to use in a comparability analysis, because it reflects how independent parties have behaved in an economic environment that is the same as the economic environment of the taxpayer’s controlled transaction. Availability of information on contemporaneous uncontrolled transactions may however be limited in practice, depending on the timing of collection ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter III paragraph 3.67

There are timing issues in comparability with respect to the time of origin, collection and production of information on comparability factors and comparable uncontrolled transactions that are used in a comparability analysis. See paragraphs 5.27 and 5.36 of Chapter V for indications with respect to timing issues in the context of transfer pricing documentation requirements ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter II paragraph 2.71

Application of any arm’s length method requires information on uncontrolled transactions that may not be available at the time of the controlled transactions. This may make it particularly difficult for taxpayers that attempt to apply the transactional net margin method at the time of the controlled transactions (although use of multiple year data as discussed in paragraphs 3.75-3.79 may mitigate this concern). In addition, taxpayers may not have access to enough specific information on the profits attributable to comparable uncontrolled transactions to make a valid application of the method. It also may be difficult to ascertain revenue and operating expenses related to the controlled transactions to establish the net profit indicator used as the profit measure for the transactions. Tax administrators may have more information available to them from examinations of other taxpayers. See paragraph 3.36 for a discussion of information available to tax administrators that may not be disclosed to the taxpayer, and paragraphs 3.67-3.79 for a discussion of ... Continue to full case