Strategizing International Tax Best Practices – by Keith Brockman

Archive for the ‘Transfer Pricing’ Category

Hybrid mismatches: EU / Rest of World

On May 29. 2017 the EU Council adopted the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD), to be effective by 1/1/2020 between EU and the rest of world for hybrid mismatch arrangements.  This Directive is known as ATAD-2 and follows the intent of BEPS Action 2, hybrid mismatch arrangements.

ATAD 2 expands the scope to address hybrid permanent establishment (PE) mismatches, hybrid transfers, imported mismatches, reverse hybrid mismatches and dual resident mismatches.

EY’s Global Tax Alert provides additional details; all hybrid mismatch arrangements will be of limited use going forward to the extent they are included in these new rules.

http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/EU_Council_adopts_Directive_ATAD_2_to_address_hybrid_mismatches_with_third_countries/$FILE/2017G_03493-171Gbl_EU%20Council%20adopts%20Directive%20to%20address%20hybrid%20mismatches%20with%20third%20countries.pdf

Double Tax disputes: Draft EU Directive

The Council of the European Union has proposed a draft EU Directive, to be in effect by June 30 2019, that would resolve double taxation disputes between Member States.  A summary of the Draft Directive is provided, as well as referenced herein.

This proposal is based upon the foundation of the Union Arbitration Convention (90/436/EEC) re: cross-border tax disputes.

Key points:

  • 3 years, from first notification, to file a complaint by the taxpayer
  • Each competent authority (CA) acknowledges receipt within 2 months
  • Additional 3 months by CA’s to request additional information, by which the taxpayer has 3 months to provide
  • Approx. 6 months later, CA’s decide to accept or reject the complaint; or a CA can decide to resolve unilaterally by which the Directive is terminated
  • Taxpayer may appeal per national rules a rejection of the complaint
  • CA’s try to resolve issue within 2 years, which may be extended by 1 year
  • Upon taxpayer’s request, an Advisory Commission shall be established where the complaint is rejected by not all of the relevant CA’s, or a failure by CA’s to reach agreement.  This request can be denied by a Member State on a case by case basis where a question of dispute does not involve double taxation.
  • Advisory Commission = Chair, 1-2 representatives of each CA, and 1-2 independent persons by each CA
  • Advisory Commission to adopt a decisions within 6 months
  • CA’s may, alternatively, set up an Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission instead of the Advisory Commission; this commission has freedom of techniques to settle
  • Professional secrecy standards are prescribed
  • Advisory or Alternative Commission opines in 3-6 months
  • CA’s shall agree within 6 months of the opinion on how to resolve the complaint; they can decide on a decision that deviates from the opinion or be bound by the opinion
  • Final decision does not constitute a precedent
  •  (Redacted) decision is published and maintained in an online central repository
  • Evaluation of process by June 30, 2024 and issue a report

As the key point summary infers, there are many provisions in the Draft Directive, requiring a proactive effort by the taxpayer and relevant CA’s.  The Directive can be reviewed via the attached link:

http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-9420-2017-INIT/en/pdf

Financing risk roadmap: ATO

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has issued a roadmap and risk guidelines re: intercompany financing parameters.  Taxpayers have an 18-month amnesty period to move their related party financing arrangements to a “green” low-risk zone.  EY’s Global Tax Alert provides further details.

Rest of World: All countries watch what other tax administrations are legislating, thus this roadmap/risk rating process may be arising in many other countries.  This should be an additional warning signal to multinationals to review such arrangements, as what one considers “arm’s-length” may not be completely nil risk dependent on the legislation of particular countries.  Unfortunately, this will lead to additional complexity and probably double taxation consequences.  

http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/Australian_Taxation_Offices_compliance_approach_for_cross-border_related_party_financing_arrangements_has_major_impact_on_multinational_businesses/$FILE/2017G_03234-171Gbl_TP_AU%20TOs%20compliance%20approach%20for%20cross-border%20related%20party%20financing%20arrangements.pdf

India’s APA results

India has released its APA annual report, providing valuable insight into recently filed APAs and the process.

  • Intragroup services by the Indian applicants have been the most covered international transactions in the bilateral APAs.
  • The transaction net margin method has been used in 70% of the unilateral cases and 90% of the bilateral cases.
  • India has concluded unilateral APAs in 29 months and bilateral APAs in 39 months.

As India is recognized as very creative and aggressive in its transfer pricing practices, this report should be reviewed to test whether an APA should be filed, as well as in other countries for additional certainty.

EY’s Global Tax Alert provides additional details, included for reference.

http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/India_issues_APA_annual_report/$FILE/2017G_03043-171Gbl_TP_India%20issues%20APA%20annual%20report.pdf

 

Australia’s DPT: License to tax

EY’s Global Tax Alert provides details on Australia’s new Diverted Profits Tax (DPT), effective in 2018 for calendar year taxpayers.

  • Penalty up to 40% can be assessed
  • Interaction with transfer pricing documentation and country-by-country (CbC) risk assessment
  • Diverted profits taxed at less than 24% are vulnerable
  • Proactive review of one’s documentation and risk assessment is recommended

Australia has patterned their DPT after the UK implemented a similar scheme, although posing some different characteristics.

As countries are reaching out to tax profits that are subject to a lower rate of tax elsewhere, this is providing a license to tax that cannot be ignored by multinationals with Australian operations.

http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/Australia_passes_Diverted_Profits_Tax_and_Penalties_law/$FILE/2017G_01485-171Gbl_Australia%20passes%20Diverted%20Profits%20Tax%20and%20Penalties%20law.pdf

EU: Broader CbC public disclosures envisioned

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have put forth additional recommended disclosures and requirements for the Accounting Directive of public Country-by-Country (CbC) reporting, prior to enactment of the original proposal.

The Accounting Directive allows a simple majority for passage, and involves additional complexities and cost as the OECD model is now just a starting point for new information.

The Parliament would also like to extend the proposal to include the following information in company reports:

  • The geographical location of the activities
  • The number of employees employed on a full-time equivalent basis
  • The value of assets and annual cost of maintaining those assets
  • Sales and purchases
  • The value of investments broken down by tax jurisdiction
  • The amount of the net turnover, including a distinction between the turnover made with related parties and the turnover made with unrelated parties
  • Stated capital
  • Tangible assets other than cash or cash equivalents
  • Public subsidies received
  • The list of subsidiaries operating in each tax jurisdiction both inside and outside the EU and data for those subsidiaries corresponding to the data requirements on the parent undertaking
  • All payments made to governments on an annual basis as defined in the Directive, including production entitlements, income taxes, royalties and dividends
  • The report shall not only be published on the website of the company in at least one of the official languages of the EU, but the undertaking shall also file the report in a public registry managed by the Commission

EY’s Global Tax Alert, referenced herein, provides the relevant details, although it appears the CbC report is not being construed as one tool for total transfer pricing assessment, but a public tool to determine one’s fair share of tax irrespective of the legal laws and limitations in each country.  

An alternative approach would be to design a standard (transfer pricing) audit template for the tax authorities that would include some, or all, of the above factors to the extent deemed important to assess a company’s tax liability in that relevant jurisdiction.  However, this non-public and Best Practice audit tool is not the focus in this post-BEPS world, to date.  

http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/EU_Parliament_members_submit_amendments_to_public_County-by-Country_Reporting_proposal/$FILE/2017G_00761-171Gbl_EU%20Parliament%20members%20submit%20amendments%20to%20public%20CbCR%20proposal.pdf

TP & Developing Economies: World-Bank Handbook

The attached link provides access to an invaluable transfer pricing (TP) handbook which is an excellent resource for all international tax practitioners/advisors.

With the advent of the BEPS era and new/novel approaches to arms’s-length pricing are voiced, this resource is a great desktop reference with experience gained by the authors in both applying TP principles as well as teaching those principles to tax administrations in developing economies.    

Examples and “boxes” of summary content are provided in the handbook, in addition to a discussion on TP disputes that is inevitable with BEPS Actions and unilateral actions (both legislative and “soft law”) being applied across the world.

A summary of the chapter titles provides a summary of the details therein:

  • TP, Corporate strategy, and the Investment Climate
  • The International Legal Framework
  • Drafting a TP Legislation
  • Applying the Arm’s-Length Principle
  • Selected Issues in TP
  • Promoting Taxpayer Compliance through Communication, Disclosure Requirements, TP Documentation, and Penalties
  • Avoiding and Resolving TP Disputes
  • Developing a TP Audit Program

https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/25095

%d bloggers like this: