Tag: Workforce in place

US vs Amazon, August 2019, US Court of Appeal Ninth Circut, Case No. 17-72922

US vs Amazon, August 2019, US Court of Appeal Ninth Circut, Case No. 17-72922

In the course of restructuring its European businesses in a way that would shift a substantial amount of income from U.S.-based entities to the European subsidiaries, appellee Amazon.com, Inc. entered into a cost sharing arrangement in which a holding company for the European subsidiaries made a “buy-in” payment for Amazon’s assets that met the regulatory definition of an “intangible.” See 26 U.S.C. § 482. Tax regulations required that the buy-in payment reflect the fair market value of Amazon’s pre-existing intangibles. After the Commissioner of Internal Revenue concluded that the buy-in payment had not been determined at arm’s length in accordance with the transfer pricing regulations, the Internal Revenue Service performed its own calculation, and Amazon filed a petition in the Tax Court challenging that valuation. At issue is the correct method for valuing the preexisting intangibles under the then-applicable transfer pricing regulations. The Commissioner sought to include all intangible assets of value, including “residual-business assets” such as Amazon’s culture of ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter IX paragraph 9.68

Business restructurings sometimes involve the transfer of an ongoing concern, i.e. a functioning, economically integrated business unit. The transfer of an ongoing concern in this context means the transfer of assets, bundled with the ability to perform certain functions and assume certain risks. Such functions, assets and risks may include, among other things: tangible property and intangibles; liabilities associated with holding certain assets and performing certain functions, such as R&D and manufacturing; the capacity to carry on the activities that the transferor carried on before the transfer; and any resource, capabilities, and rights. The valuation of a transfer of an ongoing concern should reflect all the valuable elements that would be remunerated between independent parties in comparable circumstances. See Section A.4.6 of Chapter VI. For example, in the case of a business restructuring that involves the transfer of a business unit that includes, among other things, research facilities staffed with an experienced research team, the valuation of such ongoing concern ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter VIII paragraph 8.27

While all contributions should be measured at value (but see paragraph 8.28 below), it may be more administrable for taxpayers to pay current contributions at cost. This may be particularly relevant for development CCAs. If this approach is adopted, the pre-existing contributions should recover the opportunity cost of the ex ante commitment to contribute resources to the CCA. For example, a contractual arrangement (i.e. the CCA) that commits an existing R&D workforce to undertake work for the benefit of the CCA should reflect the opportunity cost of alternative R&D endeavours (e.g. the present value of the arm’s length mark-up over R&D costs) in the pre-existing contributions, while contributing current activities at cost (see Example 1A in the Annex to this chapter) ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter VI paragraph 6.208

It should also be recognised that comparability adjustments for factors other than differences in the nature of the intangibles used may be required in matters involving the use of intangibles in connection with a controlled sale of goods or services. In particular, comparability adjustments may be required for matters such as differences in markets, locational advantages, business strategies, assembled workforce, corporate synergies and other similar factors. While such factors may not be intangibles as that term is described in Section A. 1 of this chapter, they can nevertheless have important effects on arm’s length prices in matters involving the use of intangibles ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.156

Moreover, it should also be noted that access to an assembled workforce with particular skills and experience may, in some circumstances, enhance the value of transferred intangibles or other assets, even where the employees making up the workforce are not transferred. Example 23 in the Annex to Chapter VI illustrates one fact pattern where the interaction between intangibles and access to an assembled workforce may be important in a transfer pricing analysis ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.155

It should be noted, however, that in some situations, the transfer or secondment of one or more employees may, depending on the facts and circumstances, result in the transfer of valuable know-how or other intangibles from one associated enterprise to another. For example, an employee of Company A seconded to Company B may have knowledge of a secret formula owned by Company A and may make that secret formula available to Company B for use in its commercial operations. Similarly, employees of Company A seconded to Company B to assist with a factory start-up may make Company A manufacturing know-how available to Company B for use in its commercial operations. Where such a provision of know-how or other intangibles results from the transfer or secondment of employees, it should be separately analysed under the provisions of Chapter VI and an appropriate price should be paid for the right to use the intangibles ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.154

The foregoing paragraph is not intended to suggest that transfers or secondments of individual employees between members of an MNE group should be separately compensated as a general matter. In many instances the transfer of individual employees between associated enterprises will not give rise to a need for compensation. Where employees are seconded (i.e. they remain on the transferor’s payroll but work for the transferee), in many cases the appropriate arm’s length compensation for the services of the seconded employees in question will be the only payment required ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.153

In some business restructuring and similar transactions, it may be the case that an assembled workforce is transferred from one associated enterprise to another as part of the transaction. In such circumstances, it may well be that the transfer of the assembled workforce along with other transferred assets of the business will save the transferee the time and expense of hiring and training a new workforce. Depending on the transfer pricing methods used to evaluate the overall transaction, it may be appropriate in such cases to reflect such time and expense savings in the form of comparability adjustments to the arm’s length price otherwise charged with respect to the transferred assets. In other situations, the transfer of the assembled workforce may result in limitations on the transferee’s flexibility in structuring business operations and create potential liabilities if workers are terminated. In such cases it may be appropriate for the compensation paid in connection with the restructuring to reflect the potential ... Continue to full case

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.152

Some businesses are successful in assembling a uniquely qualified or experienced cadre of employees. The existence of such an employee group may affect the arm’s length price for services provided by the employee group or the efficiency with which services are provided or goods produced by the enterprise. Such factors should ordinarily be taken into account in a transfer pricing comparability analysis. Where it is possible to determine the benefits or detriments of a unique assembled workforce vis-à- vis the workforce of enterprises engaging in potentially comparable transactions, comparability adjustments may be made to reflect the impact of the assembled workforce on arm’s length prices for goods or services ... Continue to full case