RoyaltyStat Blog

Asset Intensity Adjustments in Transfer Pricing Lack Merit

Posted by Ednaldo Silva

Asset intensity adjustments to operating profits, which I reviewed performing audit assistance, lack economic or statistical merit and are inconsistent with guidance provided in the transfer pricing regulations.

Pfizer’s Galactic Operating Profit Markup

Posted by Ednaldo Silva

The company-level operating profit markup can be estimated as a power function or a linear function between Net Sales (SALE) and Total Cost = XOPR = COGS + XSGA. The difference between Net Sales and Total Cost (measured by XOPR) is OIBDP (operating income [profit] before depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA). Some analysts include DP (depreciation and amortization) in total cost; however, DP is subject to substantial accounting discretion (such as including acquisition related impairment charges), which can prejudice cross-section comparisons.

Working Capital Adjustments in Transfer Pricing

Posted by Geoff Morris

As a transfer pricing practitioner with many years' experience across many industries and transactions, I’ve heard many reasons for making working capital adjustments (WCA). I’ve seen it described as ‘standard’ or ‘automatic’, as well as ‘unreliable’ and ‘rarely to be performed’. I’ve also heard some describe it as an adjustment they ‘believe in’, or an economic factor that an arm’s length party would ‘always’ take into account in their pricing. To untangle this knot, I’ve set out below some of the issues that I would consider before undertaking a WCA.

Multi-Year Analysis of Profit Indicators

Posted by Ednaldo Silva

The OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines (2017, ¶ 6.192) makes a perfunctory reference to multi-year data analysis covering intangibles. The guidance about using multi-year analysis of profit indicators is described on ¶ 3.75 to ¶ 3.79 (“examining multiple year data is often useful in a comparability analysis, but it is not a systematic requirement.”). One expects more competence in economics and statistical principles from the OECD Guidelines, instead of the misleading quote. Unsystematic requirement is nonsense.

Return on Operating Assets Using Error Corrected Regression

Posted by Ednaldo Silva

Here, I show that the return on operating assets (ROA) can be specified as the return on investment (ROI).

Economic time series may have one-period autoregressive errors (AR(1)).

Before Newey-West, the Cochrane-Orcutt or the Prais-Winsten AR(1) error correction was pervasive in applied research. Estimating time-dependent economic variables, such as the individual company’s (tested party and comparables) return on operating assets, without the AR(1) error correction will result in inefficient parameter estimates, and the standard errors will be inconsistent. Hence, the unaware reader can begrime the arm’s length range of comparable return on operating assets.

The CPM/TNMM is a Multiplier Theory

Posted by Ednaldo Silva

To grasp the legalese of my initial encounters with the 1968 US transfer pricing regulations (under section 482 published in the Federal Register (33 FR 5848), April 16, 1968), I translated the three specified transfer pricing methods (CUP, resale price and cost plus) into algebra and found a multiplier formula tying them together.

I created a two equation system including an accounting equation and a stochastic equation, and obtained the reduced-form equation to estimate the price (CUP) or the selected gross profit indicator. Using the same multiplier procedure, I developed the CPM/TNMM in 1989.

The Berry Ratio is Illegitimate Under the TNMM

Posted by Ednaldo Silva

Le secret d’ennuyer est celui de tout dire. Voltaire (1694-1778)

The Berry ratio is vulnerable to the flexible accounting allocation of costs and expenses among the tested party and its comparables.

A Proposed Transfer Pricing Safe Harbor for US Retailers

Posted by Ednaldo Silva

You better stop the things you do. Jay Hawkins (1929-2000), “I Put a Spell on You.”

US-listed retailers data show that a simple formula can be used to provide reliable estimates of a controlled retailer’s operating profits for transfer pricing purposes.

To enhance tax certainty, I recommend that US state tax authorities allow retailers to use the profit margin based on this formula as a transfer pricing safe harbor.

The regression method proposed here can be applied to any industry, including to provide safe harbors for inbound controlled wholesale distributors or to provide safe harbors for outbound controlled suppliers or for outbound controlled service providers.

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: