RoyaltyStat Blog

Harold McClure

Harold McClure (Ph.D.) has over 25 years of transfer pricing and valuation experience. Dr. McClure began his transfer pricing career at the IRS and went on to work at several Big 4 accounting firms before becoming the lead economist in Thomson Reuters’ transfer pricing practice. Dr. McClure received his Ph.D. in economics from Vanderbilt University in 1983.
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Recent Posts

The Premature Death of the Comparable Uncontrolled Transaction (Price) Method

Posted by Harold McClure

A recent TaxNotes piece called for a substantial rewrite of Section 1.482-4, which addresses the transfer of intangible assets. The author, Ryan Finley, suggests that the Comparable Uncontrolled Transaction (CUT/CUP) approach should be relegated to a much more limited role. While many of the his assessments are fair, we would urge caution before relegating CUT too far to the backbench. There are certainly situations where CUT approaches are not only useful, but necessary as part of a larger framework to capture the issues and facts of the specific intercompany issue, examples of which we note later on.

Adecco Intercompany Royalty Litigation: CUP v. TNMM

Posted by Harold McClure

Swiss multinational employment service provider Adecco recently prevailed in a case brought by the Danish tax authority (Skattestyrelsen or SKAT) challenging the 2% sales royalty paid by Adecco affiliate in Denmark for the use of various intangible assets, including trademarks and know-how.

The arguments put forth by the taxpayer and SKAT represented the classic tension between market versus profits-based approaches to evaluating arm’s length royalties. The 3-2 split decision and SKAT’s less-than-comprehensive analysis in its argument also may have left room for the possibility that a more robust analysis could have led to a different result.

The Limited Risk Transfer Pricing Canard During a Pandemic

Posted by Harold McClure

Transfer pricing practitioners fell in love with the concept of a “limited risk distribution” (LRD) on the hope that they could convince tax authorities in high tax jurisdictions to accept the premise that the local distribution affiliate should be happy with a low operating margin. This pandemic, however, has generated a lot of new transfer pricing advice that appears to contradict the original LRD argument.

Controversy Aside, IKEA on Solid Economic Footing in Royalty Dispute

Posted by Harold McClure

European affiliates of multinationals such as IKEA face scrutiny from a variety of agencies including the European Union (EU), which issued EU Council Directive 2011/16 also known as DAC6. The stated purpose of DAC6, which became effective on June 25, 2018, is to provide transparency and fairness in taxation. DAC6 applies to cross-border tax arrangements between EU affiliates and tax havens. One of these cross-border tax arrangements is intercompany royalty payments from EU affiliates to affiliate in tax havens such as Liechtenstein. Such intercompany payments by European affiliates of IKEA are being challenged by the European Commission in a State Aid inquiry, which was initiated on December 18, 2017, according to an EC press release:

Translating Credit Ratings into Credit Spreads in Intercompany Financing

Posted by Harold McClure

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released its Transfer Pricing Guidance on Financial Transactions on February 11, 2020 just before the COVID-19 crisis mushroomed. Some commentators have noted that U.S. affiliates may have to rely on intercompany financing from their foreign parents just as tax authorities and multinationals are reviewing what this new guidance implies in terms of the pricing of intercompany loans.