Is the EU tide turning towards reduced Transfer Pricing compliance?
July, 22nd 2014
The EU’s Joint Transfer Pricing Forum has made a number of proposals to resolve inconsistencies between Member States’ approaches to transfer pricing. The following article examines these proposals in more detail.
I. Introduction In the current transfer pricing environment, recently dominated by threats of crackdowns on “tax avoiders” vilified for not paying their “fair share”, taxpayers have become used to the notion that the legislative burden of transfer pricing is increasing. With strong indications that numerous additional measures (spearheaded by the OECD’s BEPS initiative, including the oft-maligned country-by-country reporting), will soon be part of ongoing compliance requirements, the burden of maintaining a compliant transfer pricing structure is increasing. While some territories have already begun implementing legislation dealing with the questions raised by BEPS, little analysis has been done on how the EU nations as a multinational collective may approach certain key concepts.
The EU Joint Transfer Pricing Forum (known as the “JTPF”) was established in 2002 as a group of experts selected to “find pragmatic solutions to problems arising from the application of the [arm's length principle] within the EU” 1 . Periodically, the JTPF publishes recommendations relating to specific projects it has been allocated within the field of transfer pricing, previously including the frequently-referenced report on routine services 2 . Further, tax authorities commonly make specific reference to recommendations of the JTPF, as the sole transfer pricing forum with oversight of the member states of the EU, the majority of which closely adopt OECD principles on transfer pricing….