Transfer pricing

Transfer prices are set in a company or between affiliated companies for goods and services. They often do not correspond to the market price established in competition. In the cross-border exchange of services and goods within a group of companies, transfer prices are an important factor for the definition of income between affiliated companies.

Als Maßstab gilt im internationalen Steuerrecht der Arm's length comparison (dealing-at-arm’s-length-Prinzip). Verrechnungspreise sollen dem Preis entsprechen, den fremde Dritte für eine vergleichbare Leistung vereinbart hätten. Der Fremdvergleichsmaßstab wurde von der deutschen Financial management („Verwaltungsgrundsätze für die Prüfung der Einkunftsabgrenzung bei international verbundenen Unternehmen“; § 1 AStG) sowie von internationalen Organisationen („OECD-Bericht über Verrechnungspreise und multinationale Unternehmen“; Art. 9 OECD-Musterabkommen) konkretisiert.
Transfer pricing can be determined using the price comparison, markup, or resale pricing method. If direct individual billing is not possible, the services can only be billed indirectly via cost allocations. As an alternative to the standard methods, methods of comparing profits are discussed. An income correction by the tax authorities based on an appropriateness test can lead to double taxation.

One measure to largely eliminate double taxation would be to carry out simultaneous, coordinated tax audits across the border. Companies can secure their transfer pricing by providing advance information (APA). In addition, a corresponding counter-adjustment is possible in the other country (Article 9 II of the OECD Model Convention; European Convention on Arbitration).

According to Section 90 (3) AO, companies must be able to provide documentation of their transfer prices. A statutory ordinance has been issued on the content of the documentation (Profit Record Delimitation Ordinance; GAufzV). Failure to comply may result in penalties. An estimate is also possible. In many OECD countries there are now regulations on transfer pricing documentation.

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