Transfer Pricing: Its Meaning and Objective
Transfer pricing refers to Pricing transactions among subsidiaries in the same group that operates under common control. Both local and international deals may be subject to transfer pricing. Typically, transfer prices align with the current market value of the product or service offered by one division, subsidiary, or holding company.
" refers to the prices of transactions between related parties like the parent and subsidiary, which may take place under the conditions differing from those taking place between independent enterprises. The transfer price between relevant parties may not be at par when compared to the transfer price on transactions with unrelated parties.
Suppose, a company A purchased the good for Rs. 100/- and sells it to its associated company B in another country amounted for Rs. 200/-, who in turn sells in the open market for Rs. 400/-. If company A had sold it directly in the latter country, it would have made a profit of Rs. 300/-. But by routing it through company B, it restricted the profit to Rs. 100/-, permitting company B to appropriate the balance. The transactions between A and B is arranged and are not governed by market forces. The profit amounting to Rs. 200/- is, thereby, shifted to country of B. The goods are transferred on a price (transfer price) which is arbitrary or dictated (Rs. 200/-), but not on the market price (Rs. 400/-).
To protect interests of the revenue, the Income Tax Act, 1961 ("the Act") has vide its chapter X framed specific provisions. The basic principle enunciated through such provisions is to be considered "arm's length price" for the international transactions. Almost every entity associated with an international entity faces the issue of transfer price regulation in India. We help those entities in determining the correct transfer pricing in India in the form of providing transfer pricing reports for indian companies within the timeframe adopting complete legal framework.
According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), transfer pricing in intra-company deals must be the same as for third-party deals.
By imposing transfer pricing rules, taxpayers can ensure they never engage in transactions with related or affiliated businesses that are not at arm's length. Therefore, the primary objective of the laws is to ensure that taxpayers maintain records that show all inter-company transactions are conducted on an arms-length basis.
The taxpayer must promptly provide these records to the Transfer Pricing Officer ("TPO") upon request. This will assist the taxpayer in meeting the legal burden of proof.
Transfer Pricing Rules Adopted in India
To implement the Transfer Pricing Regulations (TPR), new sections 92A through 92F were added to the Income Tax Act ('Act'), and corresponding rules 10A through 10E were added to the Income Tax Rules, 1962, as part of the Finance Act of 2001. Foreign deals that were legally binding and met specific criteria after April 1, 2001, are subject to these rules.
TPR was enacted in 2001 to protect India's revenue stream from loss because of price gouging and profit shifting in cross-border trade, and the purpose of the TPR was to prevent transfer pricing fraud, as explained in the Finance Bill, 2001. Before the specific clauses were added, the Act did not fully implement the principles of Transfer Pricing Laws in India.
The Act was amended under TPR to include new sections 92A through 92F addressing issues such as calculating income from international transactions based on arm's length pricing, defining an affiliated firm, defining the scope of international transactions, determining whether an international transaction is arm's length, and dealing with major purposes.
Transfer Pricing Methods
There are several methods for determining the arm’s length price of transactions for transfer pricing Income Tax, which can be applied to ascertain whether the commercial or financial relations between related parties are consistent with the arm’s length principle.
The method to find out the arm’s length price should be selected so that it is the most appropriate way for a given case, and the choice thereof depends on the facts and circumstances of each case. The various methods of determining arm’s length price are:
1: Comparable Uncontrolled Price (CUP) method
The comparable uncontrolled price method compares the price and conditions of goods or services in a controlled transaction between related parties with those of an uncontrolled transaction between independent enterprises. To make this comparison, the CUP method needs the transaction taking place between the associated enterprises to be extremely similar to the transaction happening between independent enterprises.
2: Resale Price Method
The resale price method uses the selling price of a product or service, otherwise known as the resale price. This amount is then reduced with a gross margin, determined by comparing the gross margins in comparable transactions made by similar but unrelated organisations. Then, the costs associated with purchasing the product, such as custom duties, are deducted from the total. The final figure is considered an arm’s length price for a controlled transaction made between related enterprises.
3: The Cost-Plus Method
The cost-plus method analyses a controlled transaction between an associated purchaser and supplier. It is generally used when semi-finished goods are transacted between associated entities or when related parties have long-term arrangements for ‘buy and supply’. The costs of the supplier are added to markup for the product or service so that the supplier makes an appropriate profit that takes into account the functions they performed and the current conditions of the market. The combined price is the arm’s length price for the transaction.
Transactional Net Margin Method
The Transactional Net Margin Method helps determine transfer prices by looking at the net profit of a transaction between related parties. Then this net profit is compared to the net profits in comparable transactions of unrelated enterprises.
This method is the most commonly used and broadly applicable type of transfer pricing methodology as under this method, transactions to qualify as comparable don’t have to be exactly similar to the controlled transactions.
5: The Profit Split Method
Associated enterprises sometimes engage in very interrelated transactions. Hence, they cannot be evaluated on a separate basis. Related enterprises usually agree to split the profits for these types of transactions.
The Profit Split Method for transfer pricing India examines the terms & conditions of these types of controlled transactions by finding out the division of profits that unrelated enterprises would have realised from engaging in those transactions.
Having invested a good quantum of time in the above processes, we can provide sound technical advice in different business and economic scenario and Statutory Audit of companies. Solutions being provided are practical, useful and implementable. Help CFOs and Tax Managers in decision making on Transfer Prices within their Group Companies.
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Having invested a good quantum of time in the above processes, we can provide sound technical advice in different business and economic scenario. Solutions being provided are practical, useful and implementable. Help CFOs and Tax Managers in decision making on Transfer Prices within their Group Companies.
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