TPG2022 Chapter II paragraph 2.76

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The use of net profit indicators can potentially introduce a greater element of volatility into the determination of transfer prices for two reasons. First, net profit indicators can be influenced by some factors that do not have an effect (or have a less substantial or direct effect) on gross margins and prices, because of the potential for variation of operating expenses across enterprises. Second, net profit indicators can be influenced by some of the same factors, such as competitive position, that can influence price and gross margins, but the effect of these factors may not be as readily eliminated. In the traditional transaction methods, the effect of these factors may be eliminated as a natural consequence of insisting upon greater product and function similarity. Depending on the facts and circumstances of the case and in particular on the effect of the functional differences on the cost structure and on the revenue of the potential comparables, net profit indicators can be less sensitive than gross margins to differences in the extent and complexity of functions and to differences in the level of risks (assuming the contractual allocation of risks is arm’s length in accordance with Section D.1.2.1 of Chapter I). On the other hand, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case and in particular on the proportion of fixed and variable costs, 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 indicator but may not affect the gross margin or gross mark-up on costs if not reflected in price differences. See Annex I to Chapter II “Sensitivity of gross and net profit indicators”.

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