|Alan Robertson is a new entry this year|
Shortly after the judgement in Altera (see Paige Marvel), the Chevron case in Australia became the second decision to grab the attention of transfer pricing professionals everywhere.
Judge Alan Robertson, of the Federal Court of Australia, was the man in the hotseat, handing down his decision on October 23 last year. He ruled that the US multinational energy group had not provided enough proof that the credit facility agreement under which Chevron Australia had borrowed A$2.5 billion ($1.7 billion) from a US subsidiary was at arm's-length. The case covered the issue of arm's-length consideration where a taxpayer had acquired property under an international agreement; the cross-border transfer pricing rules; and the transfer pricing rules in Australia's double tax agreements, particularly that with the US.
It was a moment in the spotlight for Robertson, who joined the Federal Court bench in April 2011 after 28 years at the New South Wales bar, where he practised mainly in public law including constitutional law, administrative law and revenue law.
Probably nowhere have the issues of appropriate corporate tax planning and tax avoidance been argued more fiercely in public than in Australia. Media interest is at an all-time high and the Senate undertook a public inquiry into corporate tax avoidance in 2015. The Chevron case, which is under appeal, is another ingredient in the mix.