OECD has issued its latest discussion draft on hard-to-value intangibles; comments are due by June 30, 2017.
OECD’s press release states: The Final Report on Actions 8-10 of the BEPS Action Plan (“Aligning Transfer Pricing Outcomes with Value Creation”) mandated the development of guidance on the implementation of the approach to pricing hard-to-value intangibles (“HTVI”) contained in Section D.4 of Chapter VI of the Transfer Pricing Guidelines.
This discussion draft, which does not yet represent a consensus position of the Committee on Fiscal Affairs or its subsidiary bodies, presents the principles that should underline the implementation of the approach to HTVI, provides examples illustrating the application of this approach, and addresses the interaction between the approach to HTVI and the mutual agreement procedure under an applicable treaty.
As intangibles are one of the most contested issues in transfer pricing, also fact specific with subjectivity, this discussion draft merits a review by all international tax practitioners to view the current thinking by the OECD, as well as a chance to provide comments in reaction.
EY’s Global Tax Alert and the Discussion Draft references are provided:
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.
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
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.
The IRS has indicated its willingness to share unilateral Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) information to align with BEPS Action 5 re: transparency and substance.
As other jurisdictions have provided taxpayers to submit summary information that will be shared in such exchange, the IRS has not yet indicated such procedures. Thus, it is advised that any multinational with such rulings attempt to obtain a copy of the information to be shared, prior to the automatic sharing process, to ensure its accuracy.
The EY Global Alert provides additional details of this new development.
Most importantly, any taxpayer with tax rulings should already be looking at the information that could be shared to address potential questions/issues by other tax authorities, especially if there are different transfer pricing arrangements in place.