International Tax Review is part of the Delinian Group, Delinian Limited, 8 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 00954730
Copyright © Delinian Limited and its affiliated companies 2023

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

OECD transfer pricing meetings: Grant Thornton’s take

Grant Thornton’s Wendy Nicholls spoke about categorising intangible assets at the OECD transfer pricing drafts consultation last week. Here she provides her overall impressions of the discussion.

Key areas of the debate

There was a significant amount of debate around the meaning of paragraph 40, in particular the reference to the performance of functions: "It is expected ... the entity claiming entitlement to intangible related returns will physically perform, through its own employees, the important functions related to the development, enhancement, maintenance and protection of the intangibles."

Many delegates had taken this statement at face value and had assumed that outsourcing of functions would not constitute performance of a function by the owner of the intangible.

In a welcome set of comments, Joe Andrus, the head of the OECD's transfer pricing unit, confirmed the OECD WP6 had assumed that controlling or managing an outsourced function was akin to the performance of a function. Joe put his comments in the context of CROs (contract research organisations), where the IP owner frames the terms of reference for the service provider who nevertheless has to be independent and have autonomy in the conduct of clinical trials.

There was also a degree of acceptance by the attendees that when considering the options realistically available to the parties, there was no need to consider an exhaustive list of all and every available alternative.

Contentious issues

The desirability and possibility of closely defining the term intangible remains an area where business and advisers appear to have a difference of opinion with WP6. The latter (for example, the IRS) generally suggested that any definition needed to be very broad to combat potentially abusive behaviour whereas business and advisers wanted clear definitions to ensure certainty and avoid double taxation.

One further example was the position noted by the representative of the Indian tax authority. India considers, where a local Indian company has built up a local market, it is entitled to the intangible returns arising from doing business in that market. Delegates around the table were generally of a different view.

Overall, Grant Thornton strongly welcomed the opportunity for business to participate in the debate while the draft is still being fine-turned and trusts that the final version will be improved as a result of the more open process that Joe Andrus and WP6 engaged in.

By principal TPWeek correspondents for the UK, Wendy Nicholls ( and Elizabeth Hughes ( of Grant Thornton.

More coverage:

How the OECD can improve its consultation process in tax policyValuation is biggest bugbear in OECD intangibles workCritics round on vague anti-abuse provisions in OECD intangibles draftWhy business wants multilateral safe harbours and why they must be optional

more across site & bottom lb ros

More from across our site

ITR’s latest quarterly PDF is going live today, leading on the EU’s BEFIT initiative and wider tax reforms in the bloc.
COVID-19 and an overworked HMRC may have created the ‘perfect storm’ for reduced prosecutions, according to tax professionals.
Participants in the consultation on the UN secretary-general’s report into international tax cooperation are divided – some believe UN-led structures are the way forward, while others want to improve existing ones. Ralph Cunningham reports.
The German government unveils plans to implement pillar two, while EY is reportedly still divided over ‘Project Everest’.
With the M&A market booming, ITR has partnered with correspondents from firms around the globe to provide a guide to the deal structures being employed and tax authorities' responses.
Xing Hu, partner at Hui Ye Law Firm in Shanghai, looks at the implications of the US Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act for TP comparability analysis of China.
Karl Berlin talks to Josh White about meeting the Fair Tax standard, the changing burden of country-by-country reporting, and how windfall taxes may hit renewable energy.
Sandy Markwick, head of the Tax Director Network (TDN) at Winmark, looks at the challenges of global mobility for tax management.
Taxpayers should look beyond the headline criteria of the simplification regime to ensure that their arrangements meet the arm’s-length standard, say Alejandro Ces and Mark Seddon of the EY New Zealand transfer pricing team.
In a recent webinar hosted by law firms Greenberg Traurig and Clayton Utz, officials at the IRS and ATO outlined their visions for 2023.