The OECD and the Future of Global Transfer Pricing

Today, the world’s taxing authorities are looking for more revenue from increasingly limited sources. Many developing nations, eager for their fair share of the tax pie, are enacting transfer pricing rules. But what form should those rules take? The arm’s-length standard as followed by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries is still by far the most common approach. Increasingly, however, the standard is coming under fire from developing nations and nongovernmental organizations who advocate a more formulary system.

A separate issue is intangibles transactions, which represent a huge concern for developed and developing countries alike. In the United States, the Obama administration is advocating a measure that would target “excess returns” from offshore transfers of intangibles. In India and China, auditors may assert that “marketing intangibles” have been created as a way to keep more income within the country’s borders. Meanwhile, the OECD, as it continues to work toward a definition of intangibles, is hearing from practitioners that that definition should be narrow, encompassing only legally protectable rights.

Day 1 of the Bloomberg BNA/Baker & McKenzie transfer pricing conference—June 6—will include an update on the OECD’s intangibles project and the status of continuing OECD analysis of transfer pricing issues related to emerging countries. Featured panelists will be Joseph Andrus, head of the OECD’s transfer pricing unit, and the former head of that unit, Caroline Silberztein. Mary Bennett, former head of the OECD’s Tax Treaty and Transfer Pricing Division, will moderate.

Molly Moses
Managing Editor, Transfer Pricing Report