Tag: Transactional net margin method (TNMM)

The transactional net margin method examines the net profit relative to an appropriate base (e.g. costs, sales, assets) that a taxpayer realises from a controlled transaction. The net profit indicator/profit level indicator of the taxpayer from the controlled transaction should ideally be established by reference to the net profit indicator that the same taxpayer earns in comparable uncontrolled transactions (“internal comparables”). Where this is not possible, the net margin that would have been earned in comparable transactions by an independent enterprise (“external comparables”) may serve as a guide (see paragraphs 3.29-3.35). A functional analysis of the controlled and uncontrolled transactions is required to determine whether the transactions are comparable and what adjustments may be necessary to obtain reliable results. Other requirements for comparability must also be applied.

India vs Olympus Medical Systems India Pvt. Ltd., April 2022, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal - New Delhi, Case No 838/DEL/2021

India vs Olympus Medical Systems India Pvt. Ltd., April 2022, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal – New Delhi, Case No 838/DEL/2021

Olympus Medical Systems India is a subsidiary of Olympus Corp and engaged in the import, sale and maintenance of medical equipment in India. For FY 2012 and 2013 the company reported losses. An transfer pricing audit was initiated by the tax authorities and later an assessment was issued. Since Olympus India had failed to provide audited financials of its associated enterprises to determine the overall profits of the group, it adopted the Resale Price Method using the Bright Line Test approach. An appeal was then filed by Olympus with the Tax Appellate Tribunal. Olympus India argued that the tax authorities was erroneous in adopting the Residual Profit Split Method in determining the arm’s length price of the AMP expenses and furthermore that the tax authorities could not make an adjustment without having information on the total profits of the group. Judgement of the Tax Appellate Tribunal The tribunal held that Olympus India should not benefit for non-cooperation in providing audited ... Read more
Bulgaria vs Rubbertek Bulgaria EOOD, April 2022, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 3453

Bulgaria vs Rubbertek Bulgaria EOOD, April 2022, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No 3453

By judgment of 22 May 2020, the Administrative Court upheld the complaint filed by “Rubbertek Bulgaria” and set aside an assessment for FY 2015-2016 issued by the tax authorities on the determination of the arm’s length income resulting from related party transactions. According to the Administrative court, the tax assessment was unfounded and unsubstantiated. An appeal was filed by the tax authorities with the Supreme Administrative Court in which the authorities stated that the decision of the Administrative Court was incorrect. The court erred in finding that the decision of the tax authorities referred to other comparable companies than those in Rubbertek Bulgaria’s documentation. Furthermore, the court uncritically accepted Rubbertek Bulgaria’s claim that the reason for the deviation of the declared income from the median for 2015 and 2016 was a relocation of assets from the German company to the Bulgarian company. Judgement of the Supreme Administrative Court The Supreme Administrative Court decided in favour of the tax authorities and ... Read more
Costa Rica vs GlaxoSmithKline Costa Rica S.A., February 2022, Supreme Court, Case No 4-001638-1027-CA

Costa Rica vs GlaxoSmithKline Costa Rica S.A., February 2022, Supreme Court, Case No 4-001638-1027-CA

GlaxoSmithKline Costa Rica S.A. manufactures pharma products which is sold to both independent customers in the region and to group companies abroad. For FY 2004 and 2005 pricing of the controlled transactions had been determined based on the TNMM method using return on total costs (ROTC) as PLI. GSK said the range of return on total costs “for the comparable independent companies ranges from 4.7 per cent to 14.5 per cent, with a median of 9.6 per cent. GSK CR obtained an average ROTC of 50.6 percent during fiscal years 2004 and 2005, which was not below the range identified for comparable independent companies. Accordingly, the transfer prices used by GSK CR in its controlled transactions did not distort GSK CR’s profitability and satisfied the arm’s length principle set out in the OECD Guidelines. In 2009 the tax authorities issued an assessment for FY 2004 and 2005 based on the internal CUP method. “…between the transactions under study, namely sales ... Read more
India vs Kellogg India Private Limited, February 2022, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal - Mumbai, Case NoITA No. 7342/Mum/2018

India vs Kellogg India Private Limited, February 2022, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal – Mumbai, Case NoITA No. 7342/Mum/2018

Kellogg India Private Limited is engaged in manufacturing and sales of breakfast cereals and convenience foods and it operates as a licensed manufacturer under the Kellogg brand. During the year under consideration, Kellogg India had commenced business of distributing Pringles products in the Indian markets. Kellogg India purchases the pringles product from its AE Pringles International Operations SARL, based in Singapore. Singapore AE does not manufacture pringles, but in turn gets it manufactured from a third party contract manufacturer. Thereafter, the goods are supplied at a cost plus mark up of 5% on third party manufacturer’s cost. These Pringles are later imported by Kellogg India from its AE and distributed in the Indian market. Kellogg India characterised itself as a distributor of Pringles products and is responsible for the strategic and overall management of Pringles business in India. Singapore AE, being the least complex entity, was selected as the tested party for benchmarking the international transaction of import of finished ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II Annex I paragraph 5

Under Illustration 3, if a controlled transaction is performed as in case 1 while the third party “comparables” are operating as in case 2, and assuming that the difference in the capacity utilisation is not identified due to insufficiently detailed information on the third party “comparables”, then the risk of error when applying a gross margin method could amount to 16 (2% x 800) instead of 50 (5% x 1000) if a net margin method is applied. This illustrates the fact that net profit indicators can be more sensitive than gross mark-ups or gross margins to differences in the capacity utilisation, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case and in particular on the proportion of fixed and variable costs and on whether it is the taxpayer or the “comparable” which is in an over-capacity situation ... Read more
TPG2022 Chapter II Annex I paragraph 4

TPG2022 Chapter II Annex I paragraph 4

Consequently, enterprises performing different functions may have a wide range of gross profit margins while still earning broadly similar levels of net profits. For instance, business commentators note that the transactional net margin method would be less sensitive to differences in volume, extent and complexity of functions and operating expenses. On the other hand, the transactional net margin method may be more sensitive than the cost plus or resale price methods to differences in capacity utilisation, because differences in the levels of absorption of indirect fixed costs (e.g. fixed manufacturing costs or fixed distribution costs) would affect the net profit but may not affect the gross margin or gross mark-up on costs if not reflected in price differences, as illustrated below. Illustration 3: Effect of a difference in manufacturers’ capacity utilization The example below is for illustration only and is not intended to provide any guidance on the selection of the transfer pricing method or of comparables, or on arm’s ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II Annex I paragraph 3

Under Illustration 2, if a controlled transaction is performed as in case 1 while the third party “comparables” are operating as in case 2, and assuming that the difference in the level of risks is not identified due to insufficiently detailed information on the third party “comparables”, then the risk of error when applying a gross margin method could amount to 60 (6% x 1 000) instead of 10 (1% x 1 000) if a net margin method is applied. This illustrates the fact that, depending on the circumstances of the case and in particular of the effect of the differences in the level of risks on the cost structure and on the revenue of the “comparables”, net profit margins can be less sensitive than gross margins to differences in the level of risks (assuming the contractual allocation of risks is arm’s length) ... Read more
TPG2022 Chapter II Annex I paragraph 2

TPG2022 Chapter II Annex I paragraph 2

Under Illustration 1, if a taxpayer is operating with an associated manufacturer as in case 2 while the third party “comparables” are operating as in case 1, and assuming that the difference in the extent and complexity of the marketing function is not identified because of for instance insufficiently detailed information on the third party “comparables”, then the risk of error when applying a gross margin method could amount to 120 (12% x 1 000), while it would amount to 20 (2% x 1 000) if a net margin method was applied. This illustrates the fact that, depending on the circumstances of the case and in particular of the effect of the functional differences on the cost structure and on the revenue of the “comparables”, net profit margins can be less sensitive than gross margins to differences in the extent and complexity of functions. Illustration 2: Effect of a difference in the level of risk assumed by a distributor The ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter VI paragraph 6.198

In a transfer pricing analysis where the most appropriate transfer pricing method is the resale price method, the cost-plus method, or the transactional net margin method, the less complex of the parties to the controlled transaction is often selected as the tested party. In many cases, an arm’s length price or level of profit for the tested party can be determined without the need to value the intangibles used in connection with the transaction. That would generally be the case where only the non-tested party uses intangibles. In some cases, however, the tested party may in fact use intangibles notwithstanding its relatively less complex operations. Similarly, parties to potentially comparable uncontrolled transactions may use intangibles. Where either of these is the case, it becomes necessary to consider the intangibles used by the tested party and by the parties to potentially comparable uncontrolled transactions as one comparability factor in the analysis ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II paragraph 2.185

As discussed in these Guidelines, there are concerns regarding the use of the transactional net margin method, in particular that it is sometimes applied without adequately taking into account the relevant differences between the controlled and uncontrolled transactions being compared. Many countries are concerned that the safeguards established for the traditional transaction methods may be overlooked in applying the transactional net margin method. Thus, where differences in the characteristics of the transactions being compared have a material effect on the net profit indicators being used, it would not be appropriate to apply the transactional net margin method without making adjustments for such differences. See paragraphs 2.74-2.81 (the comparability standard to be applied to the transactional net margin method) ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II paragraph 2.152

Where the contributions of the parties are such that some can be reliably valued by reference to a one-sided method and benchmarked using comparables, while others cannot, the application of a residual analysis may be appropriate. A residual analysis divides the relevant profits from the controlled transactions under examination into two categories. In the first category are profits attributable to contributions which can be reliably benchmarked: typically less complex contributions for which reliable comparables can be found. Ordinarily this initial remuneration would be determined by applying one of the traditional transaction methods or a transactional net margin method to identify the remuneration of comparable transactions between independent enterprises. Thus, it would generally not account for the return that would be generated by a second category of contributions which may be unique and valuable, and/or are attributable to a high level of integration or the shared assumption of economically significant risks. Typically, the allocation of the residual profit among the parties ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II paragraph 2.113

The facts are the same as in paragraph 2.42. However, the amount of the warranty expenses incurred by Distributor A proves impossible to ascertain so that it is not possible to reliably adjust the gross profit of A to make the gross profit margin properly comparable with that of B. However, if there are no other material functional differences between A and B and the net profit of A relative to its sales is known, it might be possible to apply the transactional net margin method to B by comparing the margin relative to A’s sales to net profits with the margin calculated on the same basis for B ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II paragraph 2.112

A similar approach may be required when there are differences in functions performed by the parties being compared. Assume that the facts are the same as in the example at paragraph 2.44 except that it is the comparable independent enterprises that perform the additional function of technical support and not the associated enterprise, and that these costs are reported in the cost of goods sold but cannot be separately identified. Because of product and market differences it may not be possible to find a CUP, and a resale price method would be unreliable since the gross margin of the independent enterprises would need to be higher than that of the associated enterprise in order to reflect the additional function and to cover the unknown additional costs. In this example, it may be more reliable to examine net margins in order to assess the difference in the transfer price that would reflect the difference in function. The use of net margins ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II paragraph 2.111

By way of illustration, the example of cost plus at paragraph 2.59 demonstrates the need to adjust the gross mark-up arising from transactions in order to achieve consistent and reliable comparison. Such adjustments may be made without difficulty where the relevant costs can be readily analysed. Where, however, it is known that an adjustment is required, but it is not possible to identify the particular costs for which an adjustment is required, it may, nevertheless, be possible to identify the net profit arising on the transaction and thereby ensure that a consistent measure is used. For example, if the supervisory, general, and administrative costs that are treated as part of costs of goods sold for the independent enterprises X, Y and Z cannot be identified so as to adjust the mark up in a reliable application of cost plus, it may be necessary to examine net profit indicators in the absence of more reliable comparisons ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II paragraph 2.110

See in particular paragraphs 3.18-3.19 for guidance on the tested party, paragraphs 3.55-3.66 for guidance on the arm’s length range, and paragraphs 3.75-3.79 for guidance on multiple year data ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II paragraph 2.109

While it is not specific to the transactional net margin method, the issue of the use of non-transactional third party data is in practice more acute when applying this method due to the heavy reliance on external comparables. The problem arises because there are often insufficient public data to allow for third party net profit indicators to be determined at transactional level. This is why there needs to be sufficient comparability between the controlled transaction and the comparable uncontrolled transactions. Given that often the only data available for the third parties are company-wide data, the functions performed by the third party in its total operations must be closely aligned to those functions performed by the tested party with respect to its controlled transactions in order to allow the former to be used to determine an arm’s length outcome for the latter. The overall objective is to determine a level of segmentation that provides reliable comparables for the controlled transaction, based ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II paragraph 2.108

A situation where Berry ratios can prove useful is for intermediary activities where a taxpayer purchases goods from an associated enterprise and on-sells them to other associated enterprises. In such cases, the resale price method may not be applicable given the absence of uncontrolled sales, and a cost plus method that would provide for a mark-up on the cost of goods sold might not be applicable either where the cost of goods sold consists in controlled purchases. By contrast, operating expenses in the case of an intermediary may be reasonably independent from transfer pricing formulation, unless they are materially affected by controlled transaction costs such as head office charges, rental fees or royalties paid to an associated enterprise, so that, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, a Berry ratio may be an appropriate indicator, subject to the comments above ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II paragraph 2.107

The selection of the appropriate financial indicator depends on the facts and circumstances of the case, see paragraph 2.82. Concerns have been expressed that Berry ratios are sometimes used in cases where they are not appropriate without the caution that is necessary in the selection and determination of any transfer pricing method and financial indicator. See paragraph 2.98 in relation to the use of cost-based indicators in general. One common difficulty in the determination of Berry ratios is that they are very sensitive to classification of costs as operating expenses or not, and therefore can pose comparability issues. In addition, the issues raised at paragraphs 2.99-2.100 above in relation to pass-through costs equally arise in the application of Berry ratios. In order for a Berry ratio to be appropriate to test the remuneration of a controlled transaction (e.g. consisting in the distribution of products), it is necessary that: The value of the functions performed in the controlled transaction (taking account ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II paragraph 2.106

“Berry ratios” are defined as ratios of gross profit to operating expenses. Interest and extraneous income are generally excluded from the gross profit determination; depreciation and amortisation may or may not be included in the operating expenses, depending in particular on the possible uncertainties they can create in relation to valuation and comparability ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter II paragraph 2.105

Other net profit indicators may be appropriate depending on the facts and circumstances of the transactions. For instance, depending on the industry and on the controlled transaction under review, it may be useful to look at other denominators where independent data may exist, such as: floor area of retail points, weight of products transported, number of employees, time, distance, etc. While there is no reason to rule out the use of such bases where they provide a reasonable indication of the value added by the tested party to the controlled transaction, they should only be used where it is possible to obtain reliable comparable information to support the application of the method with such a net profit indicator ... Read more