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.
As UAE’s (and some other GCC States) VAT regime, effective 1/1/2018, becomes closer, it is clear that multinationals (MNEs) need to prepare now re: VAT assessments, information required, system review, etc. to plan effectively for this new indirect tax.
Additionally, India’s new scheme also is in effect starting this year, and a similar exercise should be conducted re: operations conducted in India.
As VAT is an indirect tax, all MNE’s should ensure such local filings are coordinated with regional / global compliance governance controls.
EY’s Global Tax Alert provides additional details re: the GCC’s upcoming rules.
The 2016 draft of the UN TP Manual includes India’s latest expression of alignment, as well as differing views from the OECD BEPS Actions 8-10 and 13.
Accordingly, the Indian tax administration is of the view that the guidance flowing from the final report of the BEPS project on Actions 8-10 should be utilized by both the transfer pricing officers (TPOs) and taxpayers in situations of ambiguity in interpretation of the law. However, India has not endorsed the guidance in the BEPS report pertaining to low value adding intra group services under Action 10 and has not opted for the simplified approach. Further, India has endorsed the recommendations contained in the BEPS final report on Action 13, which supported the three-tiered documentation regime comprising a Local File, a Master File and a Country-by-Country Report and has already carried out legislative changes in its domestic law.
India is known for its creativity, non-technical aggressive positions, and the number of years required to appeal initial assessments. Some of these positions, currently in litigation and dispute, have been reiterated as a further stance in their hard line position on transfer pricing to enhance its economic fisc. Accordingly, interested international tax practitioners should be cognizant of these positions, as other countries will surely “look and see” if such positions could also benefit their economic fisc similarly.
EY’s Global Tax Alert is provided for reference.
EY’s Global Tax Alert provides recent developments for BEPS by Australia, Austria, Belgium, EU, Germany, Iceland, India, Niger, and Romania.
- Australia: Local File is OECD +, going beyond OECD’s recommendations, including transactional detail. This development is proving that global consistency is a rapidly fading ideal, as countries legislate what they think benefits them the most. Unfortunately, this adds to the cost, time and complexity of preparing global reports.
- Austria: Transfer pricing documentation draft regulations follows the OECD.
- Economic and Financial Affairs Council of the European Union (ECOFIN): EU Member States Finance Ministers, envision adopting the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive on 17 June 2016, subject to amendments. Legal agreement was also reached on adoption of the Directive on the exchange of non-public country-by-country tax information. Conclusions were also adopted on the European Commission communication on an external tax strategy and tax treaty abuse measures.
- Germany: Transfer pricing technical draft introducing transfer pricing documentation standards as recommended by the OECD. Master File and Local File documentation requirements introduced.
- India: A 6% Equalization Levy (EL) to apply on gross payments for certain digital services received by a nonresident.
- Niger: Thin capitalisation rules introduced.
- Romania: To become a BEPS Associate and participate in the OECD’s framework.
As the above developments note, BEPS guidelines and intent remains very strong in the global community, with many changes already made and many more to come.
India’s Ministry of Finance has issued draft guiding principles for determining the place of effective management (POEM). The Finance Act of 2015 contained provisions providing for the significant change in determining POEM, to be effective April 2016. The guidelines have a comment period until 2 January 2016; a link to the guidelines is provided:
The guidelines present subjective determinations of determining POEM based on substance over form and a recurring annual test. There are presumptions, such as location for a majority of Board meetings, with exceptions based on facts and circumstances.
As drafted, the new guidelines present increased uncertainty for multinationals having any operations or services with Indian residents, thus this latest report should merit high priority due to the April 2016 effective date, as well as brief period provided for comments.