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Evelyn Nora Fuchs

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Simon Gruber

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In order to increase the consistency of international transfer pricing legislations and to provide developing countries with a toolbox for drafting and improving transfer pricing regulations, the UN has published their updated digital version of the Transfer Pricing Manual for Developing Countries (“TP Manual”) during a recent meeting on international cooperation in tax matters in New York.

The first edition of the TP Manual has been published in 2013. The updated version takes account of recent developments in the area of international tax cooperation such as the outcomes of the OECD/G20 steered BEPS Project , amongst others by providing updated guidance on comparability analysis, transfer pricing documentation as well as by including an additional section on commodity transactions in the methods chapter, which is drawn from the developing country practice.

The updated TP Manual has adopted a new format in order to provide a clearer and more comprehensible structure. The TP Manual consists of the following sections:

  • Part A relates to transfer pricing in a global environment and introduces fundamental concepts regarding the structure and particularities of multinational enterprises and their respective value chains as well as their transfer pricing approaches.
  • Part B of the TP Manual outlines the subject of transfer pricing in more detail by providing guidance on design principles and considerations for transfer pricing policy including substantive guidance on comparability analysis, transfer pricing methods and the arm’s length principle. In comparison to the first edition of the TP manual, the second edition includes also new parts that focus on topics of particular relevance, namely intra-group services, the treatment of intangibles and cost-contribution arrangements.
  • Part C addresses the practical implementation of a transfer pricing regime in developing countries including frameworks for transfer pricing rules and practical advice on capacity building within local tax authorities.
  • Finally, Part D contains an overview of country practices that partly deviate from the consensus view and hence from the arm’s length principle approach, covering transfer pricing practices in Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.

In general, the TP Manual aims at reflecting the realities of developing countries at their relevant stage of capacity development by providing guidance on the design principles and fundamental policy considerations, that include amongst others, a substantive guidance on the arm’s lengths principle and other key topics. Next to these fundamental concepts the focus of the revised TP Manual lies at providing best practices on some already established legal frameworks by some countries, in a way that policy makers are provided with hands on assistance on practical considerations regarding the implementation of transfer pricing regimes in developing countries.

This timely update should help both, developing countries aiming at adopting, implementing or further improving their transfer pricing regulations as well as multinational enterprises which could be provided with increased tax certainty and fair and predictable results regarding their transfer pricing practices in developing countries.