23/11/2012 - On 12-14 November 2012, transfer pricing experts from governments met with more than 100 private sector representatives to consider transfer pricing issues raised in discussion drafts on Intangibles, Safe Harbours and Timing Issues that were released for public comments on 6 June by the OECD. Following the release of the discussion drafts, almost 1400 pages of comments were received, including 132 comment letters from business representatives, one from academia and one from a tax journalist. No comments were received from non governmental organisations or other non business civil society. The session material, including the agenda and presentations submitted by private sector participants, as well as a list of participants, has now been published.
The two and a-half days of open and candid discussions at the consultation focused on:
- Possible ways of simplifying transfer pricing compliance and enforcement, including the adoption of targeted safe harbour provisions; and
- Approaches to clarifying transfer pricing rules for transactions involving intangibles, including rules aimed at limiting the opportunities for using transfers of intangibles for tax advantage by attributing income to parties that only hold the legal title to the intangible, without economically contributing to its development or maintenance.
Mr. Will Morris, Chairman of the Tax Committee of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC), expressed appreciation for the early release of the discussion drafts and the opportunity for business to participate with a broad range of OECD and non-OECD countries in the development of revised guidance on important transfer pricing issues involving intangibles. He stressed the seriousness of issues relating to base erosion and profit shifting for both governments and business, and emphasized the need to address such issues within a neutral and predictable transfer pricing framework and in a way that will encourage innovative activities and economic growth.
Ms. Michelle Levac, the Chair of Working Party No. 6 of the Committee on Fiscal Affairs, indicated that the goal of the Working Party is to address transfer pricing issues involving intangibles within the framework of the arm’s length principle and to provide clear guidance that reflects a consensus view among countries. She thanked all commentators and participants at the consultation for their valuable contributions. She indicated that the Working Party will consider the public comments received and the discussions at the consultation and will seek to release final guidance on safe harbour provisions and a revised discussion draft on intangibles in 2013.
The transfer pricing projects on intangibles and simplification are part of the broader OECD project on base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS).