The arm’s length principle usually requires taxpayers and tax administrations to assess the prices/profits charged/earned by independent companies during uncontrolled transactions. These are then used as a basis for comparison of transactions and activities carried out by related parties. This exercise frequently necessitates the collection of a substantial amount of data. The statistical information accessible to the public may be incomplete and difficult to interpret. Other information, if it exists, may be difficult to obtain for various reasons (e.g. geographical location or confidentiality concerns).
Both OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and non-OECD countries frequently express concerns about the availability and quality of data that can be used for transfer pricing purposes. At its summit in March 2014, the G8 asked the OECD to find ways to address this issue.
Consequently, the OECD has set out 15 possible steps, including:
- Expanding access to data sources for comparables
- More effective use of data sources for comparables
- Approaches to reduce reliance on direct comparables
- Advance pricing agreements and mutual agreement proceedings for avoidance of double taxation.
As Teodora Alecu, Director in KPMG in Romania’s Tax Department, Transfer Pricing services, comments: “As it awaits a new approach to transfer pricing, the G8 itself is now under transformation. Given the broad range of possible actions which the OECD has suggested, further prioritisation based on country needs and resource availability will be necessary. We are particularly looking forward to seeing the implementation of the OECD’s recommendations.”