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O.E.C.D. Discussion Draft on Financial Transactions – A Listing of Sins, Little Practical Guidance

O.E.C.D. Discussion Draft on Financial Transactions – A Listing of Sins, Little Practical Guidance

In July, the O.E.C.D. Centre for Tax Policy and Administration released Public Discussion Draft on B.E.P.S. Actions 8-10: Financial transactions (the “Discussion Draft”) addressing financial transactions (e.g., loans, guarantees, cash pools, captive insurance, and hedging). Michael Peggs and Scott R. Robson review the draft guidance and express disappointment. The Discussion Draft is not a thought leader, as tax authorities have successfully litigated the issues inherent in intercompany loans. Decided cases generally reflect a “not in my back yard” approach to deductions for interest expense. The Discussion Draft makes statements regarding allocation of risks in financial transactions that are inconsistent with arm’s length evidence. It also promotes decisions based on 20-20 hindsight. All these lead to several unanswered questions: What is the ultimate meaning of the term “arm’s length” when used in a cross-border financial transaction? Is it the terms and conditions that exist in actuality among lenders and borrowers, or is it the terms and conditions that should exist in the mindset of the tax authorities?

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Managing a Transfer Pricing Exam? Wash Your Hands with Soap and Water

Managing a Transfer Pricing Exam? Wash Your Hands with Soap and Water

For management of a U.S. subsidiary of a foreign parent, the process by which the I.R.S. conducts an examination of a tax return creates a heightened stress level.  It begins with the arrival of an information document request ("I.D.R.") for transfer pricing documentation, which often comes as a surprise to a company.  Typically, two or three years have passed since the close of the year under examination and little is recalled about transactions.  From there, the expressed positions of I.R.S. examiners and management often are at odds.  Drawing on many years of experience in defending intercompany transfer pricing policies, Michael Peggs takes a step back from the fray to examine how opposing, pre-conceived notions on both sides combine with the Semmelweis Reflex to exacerbate what should be a straightforward tax examination.

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Can the Arm’s Length Standard Beat the R.A.P.? Transfer Pricing After the T.C.J.A.

Can the Arm’s Length Standard Beat the R.A.P.? Transfer Pricing After the T.C.J.A.

Experienced tax litigators know that Congress often protects the I.R.S. when an important case is lost.  Yes, the taxpayer wins.  But Congress codifies the I.R.S. position by an amendment to the law.  The T.C.J.A. revised Code §482 legislatively, thereby reversing Tax Court decisions in the Amazon and Veritas cases that dismissed two arguments raised by the I.R.S. in transfer pricing litigation – mandatory use of aggregate basis of valuation (grouping of intangibles for valuation purposes) and the realistic alternative principle (challenging the business judgment for the transaction).  Michael Peggs and Sheryl Shah explain this attack on the arm’s length principle of taxation.

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O.E.C.D. Releases Mutual Agreement Procedure Peer Review Report for the U.S.

O.E.C.D. Releases Mutual Agreement Procedure Peer Review Report for the U.S.

The B.E.P.S. Action 14 Report, Making Dispute Resolution Mechanisms More Effective, acknowledged that the actions to counter B.E.P.S. must be complemented with effective dispute resolution mechanisms.  Participating countries agreed to have their compliance with the minimum standard reviewed by their peers.  The U.S. is among the first few countries that have been reviewed.  Neha Rastogi and Michael Peggs summarize the M.A.P. report card issued for the U.S. 

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Eaton A.P.A. Cancellations Were an Abuse of I.R.S. Discretion

Eaton A.P.A. Cancellations Were an Abuse of I.R.S. Discretion

A recent U.S. Tax Court decision involving Eaton Corporation affirmed that the I.R.S. cannot arbitrarily circumvent administrative rules that are set down in revenue procedures and relied upon by the I.R.S. and a taxpayer.  As a result, the I.R.S. must reasonably exercise its discretion when seeking to terminate an advance pricing agreement with a taxpayer.  Michael Peggs looks at the process of obtaining an advanced pricing agreement and comments on the court’s decision.

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