OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administrations

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2076-9717 (online)
ISSN: 
2076-9709 (print)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/20769717
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The OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprise and Tax Administrations provide guidance on the application of the “arm’s length principle”, which is the international consensus on transfer pricing, i.e. on the valuation for tax purposes of cross-border transactions between associated enterprises. In a global economy where multinational enterprises (MNEs) play a prominent role, transfer pricing continues to be high on the agenda of tax administrations and taxpayers alike. Governments need to ensure that the taxable profits of MNEs are not artificially shifted out of their jurisdiction and that the tax base reported by MNEs in their country reflects the economic activity undertaken therein. For taxpayers, it is essential to limit the risks of economic double taxation that may result from a dispute between two countries on the determination of the arm’s length remuneration for their cross-border transactions with associated enterprises.

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OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administrations 2017

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Author(s):
OECD
10 July 2017
Pages:
608
ISBN:
9789264265127 (PDF) ;9789264262737(print)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/tpg-2017-en

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This 2017 edition of the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines incorporates the substantial revisions made in 2016 to reflect the clarifications and revisions agreed in the 2015 BEPS Reports on Actions 8-10 Aligning Transfer pricing Outcomes with Value Creation and on Action 13 Transfer Pricing Documentation and Country-by-Country Reporting. It also includes the revised guidance on safe harbours approved in 2013 which recognises that properly designed safe harbours can help to relieve some compliance burdens and provide taxpayers with greater certainty. Finally, this edition also contains consistency changes that were made to the rest of the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines.  The OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines were approved by the OECD Council in their original version in 1995.
 

 

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  • Foreword

    These Guidelines are a revision of the OECD Report Transfer Pricing and Multinational Enterprises (1979). They were approved in their original version by the Committee on Fiscal Affairs on 27 June 1995 and by the OECD Council for publication on 13 July 1995.

  • Preface

    The role of multinational enterprises (MNEs) in world trade has continued to increase dramatically since the adoption of these Guidelines in 1995. This in part reflects the increased pace of integration of national economies and technological progress, particularly in the area of communications. The growth of MNEs presents increasingly complex taxation issues for both tax administrations and the MNEs themselves since separate country rules for the taxation of MNEs cannot be viewed in isolation but must be addressed in a broad international context.

  • Abbreviations and Acronyms
  • Glossary
  • The Arm's Length Principle

    This Chapter provides a background discussion of the arm's length principle, which is the international transfer pricing standard that OECD member countries have agreed should be used for tax purposes by MNE groups and tax administrations. The Chapter discusses the arm's length principle, reaffirms its status as the international standard, and sets forth guidelines for its application.

  • Transfer Pricing Methods

    Parts II and III of this chapter respectively describe “traditional transaction methods” and “transactional profit methods” that can be used to establish whether the conditions imposed in the commercial or financial relations between associated enterprises are consistent with the arm's length principle. Traditional transaction methods are the comparable uncontrolled price method or CUP method, the resale price method, and the cost plus method. Transactional profit methods are the transactional net margin method and the transactional profit split method.

  • Comparability Analysis

    General guidance on comparability is found in Section D of Chapter I. By definition, a comparison implies examining two terms: the controlled transaction under review and the uncontrolled transactions that are regarded as potentially comparable. The search for comparables is only part of the comparability analysis. It should be neither confused with nor separated from the comparability analysis. The search for information on potentially comparable uncontrolled transactions and the process of identifying comparables is dependent upon prior analysis of the taxpayer’s controlled transaction and of the economically relevant characteristics or comparability factors (see Section D.1 of Chapter I).

  • Administrative Approaches to Avoiding and Resolving Transfer Pricing Disputes

    This chapter examines various administrative procedures that could be applied to minimise transfer pricing disputes and to help resolve them when they do arise between taxpayers and their tax administrations, and between different tax administrations. Such disputes may arise even though the guidance in these Guidelines is followed in a conscientious effort to apply the arm’s length principle. It is possible that taxpayers and tax administrations may reach differing determinations of the arm’s length conditions for the controlled transactions under examination given the complexity of some transfer pricing issues and the difficulties in interpreting and evaluating the circumstances of individual cases.

  • Documentation

    This chapter provides guidance for tax administrations to take into account in developing rules and/or procedures on documentation to be obtained from taxpayers in connection with a transfer pricing enquiry or risk assessment. It also provides guidance to assist taxpayers in identifying documentation that would be most helpful in showing that their transactions satisfy the arm’s length principle and hence in resolving transfer pricing issues and facilitating tax examinations.

  • Special Considerations for Intangibles

    Under Article 9 of the OECD Model Tax Convention, where the conditions made or imposed in the use or transfer of intangibles between two associated enterprises differ from those that would be made between independent enterprises, then any profits that would, but for those conditions, have accrued to one of the enterprises, but, by reason of those conditions, have not so accrued, may be included in the profits of that enterprise and taxed accordingly.

  • Special Considerations for Intra-Group Services

    This chapter discusses issues that arise in determining for transfer pricing purposes whether services have been provided by one member of an MNE group to other members of that group and, if so, in establishing arm’s length pricing for those intra-group services. The chapter does not address except incidentally whether services have been provided in a cost contribution arrangement, nor, in such a case, the appropriate arm’s length pricing. Cost contribution arrangements are the subject of Chapter VIII.

  • Cost Contribution Arrangements

    This chapter discusses cost contribution arrangements (CCAs) between two or more associated enterprises. The purpose of the chapter is to provide some general guidance for determining whether the conditions established by associated enterprises for transactions covered by a CCA are consistent with the arm’s length principle. The analysis of the structure of such arrangements should be informed by the provisions of this chapter and other provisions of these Guidelines and should be based on an adequate documentation of the arrangement.

  • Transfer Pricing Aspects of Business Restructurings

    There is no legal or universally accepted definition of business restructuring. In the context of this chapter, business restructuring refers to the cross-border reorganisation of the commercial or financial relations between associated enterprises, including the termination or substantial renegotiation of existing arrangements. Relationships with third parties (e.g. suppliers, sub-contractors, customers) may be a reason for the restructuring or be affected by it.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Annexes

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    • Annex to the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines

      In July 1995, the OECD Council approved for publication the Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administrations (“the Guidelines”), submitted by the Committee on Fiscal Affairs (“the Committee”). At the same time, the OECD Council endorsed the Committee’s recommendation that the Guidelines be reviewed and updated periodically as appropriate based upon the experience of member countries and the business community with the application of the principles and methods set forth in the Guidelines.

    • Annex I to Chapter II. Sensitivity of Gross and Net Profit Indicators

      See Chapter II, Part III, Section B of these Guidelines for general guidance on the application of the transactional net margin method. The assumptions about arm’s length arrangements in the following examples are intended for illustrative purposes only and should not be taken as prescribing adjustments and arm’s length arrangements in actual cases of particular industries. While they seek to demonstrate the principles of the sections of the Guidelines to which they refer, those principles must be applied in each case according to the specific facts and circumstances of that case.

    • Annex II to Chapter II. Example to Illustrate the Application of the Residual Profit Split Method

      See Chapter II, Part III, Section C of these Guidelines for general guidance on the application of the profit split method. The adjustments and assumptions about arm’s length arrangements in the examples that follow are intended for illustrative purposes only and should not be taken as prescribing adjustments and arm’s length arrangements in actual cases or particular industries. While they seek to demonstrate the principles of the Sections of the Guidelines to which they refer, those principles must be applied in each case according to the specific facts and circumstances of that case.

    • Annex III to Chapter II. lllustration of Different Measures of Profits When Applying a Transactional Profit Split Method

      See Chapter II, Part III, Section C of these Guidelines for general guidance on the application of the transactional profit split method. The assumptions about arm’s length arrangements in the following examples are intended for illustrative purposes only and should not be taken as prescribing adjustments and arm’s length arrangements in actual cases of particular industries. While they seek to demonstrate the principles of the sections of the Guidelines to which they refer, those principles must be applied in each case according to the specific facts and circumstances of that case.

    • Annex to Chapter III. Example of a Working Capital Adjustment

      See Chapter III, Section A.6 of these Guidelines for general guidance on comparability adjustments. The assumptions about arm’s length arrangements in the following examples are intended for illustrative purposes only and should not be taken as prescribing adjustments and arm’s length arrangements in actual cases of particular industries. While they seek to demonstrate the principles of the sections of the Guidelines to which they refer, those principles must be applied in each case according to the specific facts and circumstances of that case.

    • Annex I to Chapter IV. Sample Memoranda of Understanding for Competent Authorities to Establish Bilateral Safe Harbours

      This Annex contains sample Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) for use by Competent Authorities in negotiating bilateral safe harbours for common categories of transfer pricing cases involving low risk distribution functions, low risk manufacturing functions, and low risk research and development functions. It is intended to provide countries with a tool to adapt and use in addressing, through bilateral safe harbours, important classes of transfer pricing cases that now take up a great deal of time and effort when processed on a case by case basis. Competent authorities are of course free to modify, add or delete any provision of the sample agreement when concluding their own bilateral agreements.

    • Annex II to Chapter IV. Guidelines for Conducting Advance Pricing Arrangements under the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP APAs)

      Advance Pricing Arrangements (“APAs”) are the subject of extensive discussion in the Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administrations at Chapter IV, Section F.

    • Annex I to Chapter V. Transfer Pricing Documentation – Master file
    • Annex II to Chapter V. Transfer Pricing Documentation – Local file

      A description of the management structure of the local entity, a local organisation chart, and a description of the individuals to whom local management reports and the country(ies) in which such individuals maintain their principal offices.

    • Annex III to Chapter V. Transfer Pricing Documentation – Country-by-Country Report
    • Annex IV to Chapter V. Country-by-Country Reporting Implementation Package

      In order to facilitate a consistent and swift implementation of the Country-by-Country Reporting developed under Action 13 of the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Action Plan (BEPS Action Plan, OECD, 2013), a Country-by-Country Reporting Implementation Package has been agreed by countries participating in the OECD/G20 BEPS Project. This implementation package consists of (i) model legislation which could be used by countries to require the ultimate parent entity of an MNE group to file the Country-by-Country Report in its jurisdiction of residence including backup filing requirements and (ii) three model Competent Authority Agreements that are to be used to facilitate implementation of the exchange of Country-by-Country Reports, respectively based on the 1) Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, 2) bilateral tax conventions and 3) Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs). It is recognised that developing countries may require support for the effective implementation of Country-by-Country Reporting.

    • Annex to Chapter VI. Examples to Illustrate the Guidance on Intangibles

      Premiere is the parent company of an MNE group. Company S is a wholly owned subsidiary of Premiere and a member of the Premiere group. Premiere funds R&D and performs ongoing R&D functions in support of its business operations. When its R&D functions result in patentable inventions, it is the practice of the Premiere group that all rights in such inventions be assigned to Company S in order to centralise and simplify global patent administration. All patent registrations are held and maintained in the name of Company S.

    • Annex to Chapter VIII. Examples to Illustrate the Guidance on Cost Contribution Arrangements
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