Four Important Judgements On Transfer Pricing Law

The following important judgements are:

Transfer Pricing: Adjustment to profit margin for “capacity underutilization” can be made. In choosing comparables, there cannot be a cherry picking for deciding parameters of rejection. All comparables must face the same test
Under Rule 10B (1)(e)(ii), an adjustment to the net profit margin has to be made for “capacity underutilization”. Capacity underutilization by enterprises is an important factor affecting net profit margin in the open market because lower capacity utilization results in higher per unit costs, which, in turn, results in lower profits. Of course, the fundamental issue, so far as acceptability of such adjustments is concerned, is reasonable accuracy embedded in the mechanism for such adjustments, and as long as such an adjustment mechanism can be found, no objection can be taken to the adjustment. On facts, the CIT(A)’s approach is reasonable and the adjustments are on a conceptually sound basis

Transfer Pricing: TPO cannot sit in judgement on commercial expediency. RBI approval means the payment is at ALP. If overall TNMM analysis done, royalty cannot be analyzed separately
The TPO is not entitled to sit on judgment on the business and commercial expediency of the assessee in paying royalty to its’ parent company as per the provisions of the Act as laid down clearly by the Delhi High Court in EKL Appliances 345 ITR 241. It is also noted that various Tribunals such as DCIT vs. Sona Okegawa Precision Forgings (ITA No. 5386/Del/2010), Hero Motocorp (ITA No 5130/Del/2010),ThyssenKrupp Industries (ITA No 6460/Mum/2012), Abhishek Auto Industries (ITA No 1433/Del/2009) have taken a view that RBI approval of the Royalty rates itself implies that the payments are at Arm’s Length and hence no further adjustment needs to be made viewed from this angle too. Furthermore, we are of the opinion that once TNMM has been applied to the assessee company’s transaction, it covers under its ambit the Royalty transactions in question too and hence separate analysis and consequent deletion of the Royalty payments by the TPO seems erroneous. We draw support fromCadbury India (ITA No 7408/Mum/2010 and ITA No.7641/Mum/2010 wherein the ITAT upheld the use of TNMM for Royalty

Transfer Pricing: No bar on reliance of private database u/R 10D(3). Nuances of the CUP Method under Rule 10B(1)(a)(i) explained
(i) Rule 10 D(3) is only illustrative in nature and merely describes the information required to be maintained by the assessee under section 92D “shall be supported by authentic documents, which may include the following …”. The logic employed by the Transfer Pricing Officer that since databases compiled by private entities is not included in rule 10D (3), such databases cannot be relied upon by the assessee is clearly fallacious inasmuch as an item not being included in illustrative list of required documents does not take outside the ambit of ‘acceptable document’ for the required purposes. In any event, all that Tips Software does is to collect the data, compile the same in easy to refer format and make it available to the end-user of such data online. The data is public data maintained by the customs department at various ports. It was also open to the TPO to, if he had any doubts, call for further information from this database supplier and examine authenticity of the data so furnished. His summary rejection of the data as unreliable on a technical ground is not tenable in law

Transfer Pricing: Unaudited segmental accounts can be relied upon for comparing profitability of controlled transactions with uncontrolled transactions. While size is relevant in entity level comparison, it is not relevant in transaction level comparison within the same entity

(i) In applying the Transactional Net Margin Method (TNMM) under Rule 10B(1)(e) it is not necessary that the net profit computations, in the case of internal comparables (i.e. assessee’s transactions with independent enterprise), have to be based on the audited books of accounts or the books of accounts regularly maintained by the assessee. All that is necessary for the purpose of computing arm’s length price, under TNMM on the basis of internal comparables, is computation of net profit margin, subject to comparability adjustments affecting net profit margin of uncontrolled transactions, on the same parameters for the transactions with AEs as well as Non AEs, i.e. independent enterprises, and as long as the net profits earned from the controlled transactions are the same or higher than the net profits earned on uncontrolled transactions, no ALP adjustments are warranted. It is not at all necessary that such a computation should be based on segmental accounts in the books of accounts regularly maintained by the assessee and subjected to audit

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