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Indonesia’s rapid transfer pricing evolution

Indonesia completed the last step in the introduction of new transfer pricing regulations late last year, report Iwan Hoo, Aaron Brunier and Fachrur Rifqi Nugroho of KPMG. While the regulations covering the master file, local file and country-by-country reporting were issued in 2016, the implementing regulations for CbCR were not completed until late December 2017.

Local transfer pricing legislation changes

The only change from a regulatory point of view was the introduction of implementing regulations for country-by-country reporting (CbCR):

  • If a qualifying competent authority agreement is available and the country of residence of the parent entity requires the filing of a country-by-country (CbC) report, the Indonesian subsidiary is only required to file a notification;
  • A list of qualifying agreements is available on the website of the Director General of Taxation (DGT) and the list is still growing;
  • The regulations do allow for surrogate filing;
  • The threshold for filing the CbC report is a consolidated revenue of IDR 11 trillion ($765 million) for a domestic group or €750 million ($874 million) for an overseas group, or the local threshold in the country of residence of the parent entity;
  • The filing deadline for financial year 2016 is 16 months after the financial year end;
  • For subsequent years, the deadline is 12 months after the financial year end;
  • The online notification report and the CbC report must be submitted online in XML, unless that is not possible;
  • The deadline for US-based groups was extended until May 31 2018, at the last moment; and
  • The DGT issued a template for the preparation of the CbC report. There are not many differences with internationally accepted standards, although some parts have to be translated into Indonesian.

The local file and master file regulations have remained unchanged since they were first issued in 2016 and no additional guidance has been issued. The general TP guidance was last updated in 2011 and has not changed since.

Release of new administrative guidance by local tax administration

Indonesia has already implemented regulations covering debt-to-equity ratios, allowing a maximum ratio of four to one. Other than that, there have been few developments in this field. It is rare for the DGT to issue public rulings.

The DGT, during public presentations, announced that it intends to raise matters related to business restructuring and exit charges, but nothing has been formalised yet.

BEPS-related developments

There have been no official announcements on any regulatory changes, although the DGT on a few occasions has mentioned it intends to tax global trade and internet commerce, either by deeming them a permanent establishment or requiring the foreign entity to incorporate a local subsidiary in Indonesia. However, no details are available as yet.

Developments in relation to country-by-country reporting

Master file and local file

The local file/master file concept is now in its second year after its introduction in late 2015. The master file requirements are generally in line with international standards, although more information must be provided, such as a list of shareholders, business activities and management of each entity in the group. Also information on which entities in the group contribute to the development of intellectual property should be disclosed.

One other major difference is the emphasis the regulators put on the application of the ex-ante concept in the setting of the transfer prices. This is based on Article 5.27 of the OECD guidelines. However, as a practical matter, auditors in the field tend to concentrate on actual numbers (and thus taxes paid) rather than following theoretical approaches. This leads to many disputes, in particular when budgets and actual numbers differ substantially.

Although not a new development, an important matter to consider is the deadline involved, this being four months after the end of the financial year. This is particularly important for the master file, bearing in mind that the master file and local file must be prepared in the local language.

Country-by-country reporting

As noted above, the relevant notification must be submitted online. However, what many taxpayers have discovered to their surprise is that the format in practice is very different from the published form. Instead of completing the form and uploading it, the online notification consists of a number of yes/no questions which guide the taxpayer through the process. An added complication is that the CbC report must be in the local language.

There were also some practical issues during the filing process of the CbC reports, with tax office servers going down and last-minute regulatory changes, but overall we encountered few issues.

Indonesia is also one of the 68 signatories to the CbC multilateral competent authority agreement. At the time of writing, Indonesia has 49 activated exchange of information arrangements in place, although the effective date of some of the agreements is after 2016, so taxpayers with parent entities in for example Malaysia, Singapore and Switzerland cannot yet enjoy the filing exemption. In mid-June, the US and Indonesia announced the completion of the negotiations on a bilateral competent authority agreement. The exchange of information regarding the CbC reports will apply for fiscal years commencing on or after January 1 2015.

US tax reform

The Indonesian regulations contain various thresholds for related-party transactions, and if the transactions do not exceed a certain amount, neither a master file nor a local file need to be prepared by the taxpayer. However, based on the prevailing guidance, the Indonesian Tax Office (ITO) is still able to question those transactions.

Under the new US tax reform, the corporate income tax rate is reduced to 21%. As this rate is lower than the Indonesian rate of 25%, this means that the TP documentation thresholds do not apply and the taxpayer needs to document each transaction with related parties in the US, regardless of materiality.

Transfer pricing compliance activities by local tax administration

A review of the TP policies and practices is almost always included in tax audits and many Indonesian taxpayers are subject to an annual tax audit due to the peculiarities of the Indonesian tax system. The main focus is often on services, with the tax auditors arguing that services have not been rendered or that they provide no benefits. In this respect it is very important to collect contemporaneous documents to provide proof that the services were indeed rendered and beneficial. Any reports, memos, training records, and so on, will be invaluable to substantiate the service charges. The level of any mark-up on costs is often not so much under discussion.

A second issue that arises in many audits is licensing transactions, which are often frowned upon. The issues raised often concentrate on the duration of the transaction if the contract has already continued for many years. In particular, royalties for know-how can come under such scrutiny. Again the most effective focus for defence is often in providing tangible evidence of the existence of the know-how through patents and registrations.

Finally, benchmarking analyses are also often subject to scrutiny, with the ITO either performing its own benchmarking analysis or rejecting selected (high-margin) comparables in the taxpayer's benchmarking study. Adjustments based on single-year data are frequently imposed, although the regulations indicate that multiple-year data should be used.

Dispute resolution

There are no important developments in dispute resolution, although the DGT is actively negotiating advance pricing agreements (APAs) and mutual agreement procedures (MAPs) with various jurisdictions, both within the region and outside.

Litigation

The knowledge and understanding of the tax court judges is increasing. However, one of the main complications with the litigation process is that it is very time-consuming. Having to attend ten or more hearings is the norm. The most commonly used strategy is to provide as much tangible evidence as possible to the judges.

In a number of TP-related cases, taxpayers have succeeded in convincing the judges that the pricing was correct. However, if the taxpayer successfully appeals its case in the tax court, the ITO now more often than not appeals to the Supreme Court, adding more time to the dispute resolution process.

Other relevant updates

There have been no other TP-related updates or notes from the DGT other than the CbC reporting in the past year. The Indonesian TP regulations are already quite extensive and cover various topics, such as technical guidance, audit instructions, MAPs, APAs and regulations on the master file, local file and CbC reporting. Hence, no further formal guidance on existing regulations is needed. However, if the DGT holds true to its intention to introduce exit taxes, or would want to introduce other issues, more regulations will be required.

Conclusion

The TP landscape has been evolving rapidly since the publication of the first TP regulations in 2010. It now seems that the ITO, DGT and taxpayers understand the importance of implementing correct TP policies and how to address many technical issues. The judiciary also seems to be coming along, and Indonesia is falling more closely in line with nations with more advanced TP practices. However, frequent tax audits and related issues still make Indonesia a complicated jurisdiction in which to operate.

Iwan Hoo

Partner
KPMG in Indonesia

33fl, Wisma GKBI, 28 Jl Jend Sudirman, Jakarta 10210
+62 21 5704 888
iwan.hoo@kpmg.co.id

Iwan Hoo has managed numerous projects for multinational companies across a broad spectrum of industries in Indonesia, Singapore and the Netherlands.

Before joining KPMG in Indonesia, he was with the KPMG global transfer pricing services group in Singapore for almost four years and in the Netherlands for more than one year. Before that, he was with the international tax group of another organisation in Amsterdam and Jakarta for more than 20 years in total.

Iwan has been involved with various projects such as TP documentation, planning and audit defence, as well as advance pricing agreement (APA) negotiations.

Examples of Iwan's relevant experience include: TP documentation and planning for all relevant industries; audit defence in TP disputes; supply chain transformation projects in the chemicals, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and commodities sectors; and extensive experience with TP and tax issues of Japanese business groups, including several trading houses (sogo shosha).

Iwan holds an LLM in tax law from the University of Leiden, the Netherlands.


Aaron Brunier

Director
KPMG in Indonesia

33fl, Wisma GKBI, 28 Jl Jend Sudirman, Jakarta 10210
+62 21 5704 888
aaron.brunier@kpmg.co.id

Aaron Brunier is a director in the transfer pricing division of tax services for KPMG in Indonesia.

Aaron has extensive experience in providing international and TP tax services. He has been involved in managing a number of TP projects encompassing TP audits, planning, compliance and documentation for a variety of Fortune 500 clients and medium-sized local companies.

Additionally, Aaron has been involved in advanced pricing agreements (APA) and tax rulings with tax authorities. He has also participated in business reorganisation and global tax efficient supply chain management projects.

Before joining KPMG in Indonesia, Aaron worked in the TP and international tax division at another Big 4 organisation in the US and in Switzerland for close to eight years in total.

Aaron holds a number of degrees: a master's of political economy from Rice University, US; a master's of business administration (MBA) from Laval University, Canada; and a bachelor's of business engineering from Euromed Management, France.


Fachrur Rifqi Nugroho

Director
KPMG in Indonesia

33fl, Wisma GKBI, 28 Jl Jend Sudirman, Jakarta 10210
+62 21 5704 888
fachrur.nugroho@kpmg.co.id

Fachrur Rifqi Nugroho is a manager in tax services for KPMG in Indonesia. He is an experienced transfer pricing professional with expertise including planning, advice, compliance, documentation and advance pricing agreement (APA) applications. He also has experience in handling tax audits and tax court proceedings, including objections and appeals.

In addition, Fachrur wrote an article titled 'Talking About Transfer Pricing in Indonesia' published by Tax Planning International Asia Pacific Focus, Bloomberg BNA.

Fachrur is certified as a TP specialist by the Chartered Institute of Taxation, UK and is an Indonesian chartered accountant of the Institute of Indonesia Chartered Accountants (IAI).

Fachrur holds the following degrees: a master's of accounting from the University of Indonesia, Jakarta; accounting professional education from the University of Indonesia, Jakarta; and a bachelor's of accounting from Diponegoro University, Semarang.


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