Tax Executives Institute (TEI) recently submitted a letter in response to requested comments by the OECD re: revisions to its transfer pricing guidelines. The submission is well drafted and articulate, generally urging OECD to improve current practices rather than adopting new complex mechanisms.
An example of several suggestions is provided:
TEI suggests a number of elements should be included in future guidance to improve transfer pricing compliance practices. First, tax authorities should share their risk assessments with taxpayers so taxpayers can improve their compliance processes where appropriate, or engage in a discussion with tax authorities regarding their view of the taxpayer’s compliance risk. Second, to avoid transfer pricing disputes, Chapter IV should urge tax authorities to focus audit activity on transactions that are more likely to be tax motivated (i.e., between high and low tax jurisdictions), rather than simple intercompany transactions where the taxpayer makes reasonable efforts to price the transactions and where the possibility of a tax motivation is remote. For example, head office cost allocations between countries with relatively comparable tax rates should be viewed as low risk. Finally, the OECD should encourage countries to consider halting interest and penalties if dispute resolution takes longer than two years and if the country does not have a mandatory arbitration procedure.
TEI’s submission should be read in its entirety to further understand the direction of OECD and possible remedies in the complex world of transfer pricing.
The OECD is considering starting two new projects to revise the guidance in Chapter IV (administrative approaches) and Chapter VII (intra-group services) of the Transfer Pricing Guidelines.
OECD has issued scoping papers for public comments addressing transfer pricing disputes and intra-group services, provided for reference herein in addition to Deloitte’s Global TP Alert with insightful comments.
Comments on both subjects are due by June 20, 2018. Both topics are significant, thus a review of the scoping paper focus is recommended, with an opportunity to provide comments.
On 22 June 2017, the “Platform for Collaboration on Tax” (the Platform) – a joint effort of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), United Nations (UN), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group (WBG) – released a toolkit (the Toolkit) designed to help developing countries address the lack of “comparables” for transfer pricing analyses and better understand mineral product pricing practices.
This Toolkit should also be reviewed by multinationals (MNEs) in developing countries to address the potential lack of comparables to better understand how the tax authorities will approach a transfer pricing audit. The mining supplement is required reading for those working in that industry.
Additional toolkits will be forthcoming:
- TP documentation
- Indirect transfer of assets
- Base eroding payments
- Tax treaty negotiation capacity
- Supply chain management
- BEPS risk assessment
As the first edition of the Toolkit has now been published, it will be interesting to watch developing countries apply the tools prescribed, providing a baseline going forward. All international tax practitioners should be familiar with this latest joint endeavor, as it is an indication of the shared resource approach that is now our future.
EY’s Global Tax Alert provides additional details, and the OECD Toolkit are referenced for review.
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.