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Jenny Austin is a partner in Mayer Brown's Chicago office and a member of the Tax Controversy practice. She concentrates her practice on federal tax controversy and litigation, working across all industries, including medical device, pharmaceutical, health care, retail, and technology companies. She guides clients through all stages of tax controversies, from Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audits to administrative appeals, alternative dispute resolution proceedings, and litigation. Jenny is prepared to respond to a variety of both domestic and international issues that the IRS audits and challenges. Jenny favors strategies to resolve issues successfully with the IRS at the earliest possible stage without litigation.

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In a recent Legal Update[1], we discussed the emerging intersection between Tax and ESG and highlighted the various external stakeholders pressuring for greater visibility into the global tax positions of multinational companies (MNEs).  One increasingly vocal stakeholder group is activist shareholders.  Recently, a group of institutional investors of a Fortune 50 company initiated a shareholder proposal calling for the company to publicly disclose where and how much tax it pays around the world.  This is only the latest in what is becoming a regular request by activist shareholders.

Continue Reading Tax Meets ESG: Shareholder Activism Expanding to Tax Transparency

On January 20, 2022, the OECD released the latest version of its OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administrations. The 2022 Transfer Pricing Guidelines update the 2017 edition by incorporating guidance released by the OECD over the past few years on the transactional profit split method, hard-to-value intangibles, and financial transactions. Although there is no completely new guidance in the 2022 Transfer Pricing Guidelines, some of the previously released guidance now formally incorporated in the Guidelines is quite significant. This includes new Chapter X on financial transactions, which among other guidance incorporates proposed and controversial changes to the Commentary on Article 9 of the OECD Model Tax Convention.

Continue Reading The 2022 OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines: Mostly An Update

On December 20, 2021, the OECD released the Model Rules for Pillar Two or the “Global Anti-Base Erosion” (GloBE) Rules.[1] The GloBE Rules are the first step towards implementing the groundbreaking international agreement reached by more than 135 countries announced by the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework in October 2021.[2] Pillar Two provides for a minimum 15% tax on corporate profits for multinational enterprises (MNEs) with more than EUR 750 million in consolidated revenues.
Continue Reading The OECD’s Pillar Two Model Rules Have Arrived

On October 13, 2021, the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors issued a Communiqué formally endorsing the political agreement reached by 136 countries of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (IF) on a two-pillar framework to dramatically change the taxation of multinational enterprises (MNEs). The  Communiqué calls on the IF

On September 9, 2021, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued its Priority Guidance Plan for 2021-2022. The Priority Guidance Plan gives the public a sense of what regulations and other guidance the Treasury Department and the IRS might develop over the following 12 months. Among dozens of other pending and potential guidance projects, the Priority Guidance Plan lists the following two new potential section 482 regulations projects:

  • Regulations under §482 clarifying the effects of group membership (e.g., passive association) in determining arm’s length pricing, including specifically with respect to financial transactions.
  • Regulations under §482 further clarifying certain aspects of the arm’s length standard, including (1) coordination of the best method rule with guidance on specified methods for different categories of transactions, (2) discretion to determine the allocation of risk based on the facts and circumstances of transactions and arrangements, and (3) periodic adjustments.


Continue Reading Priority Guidance Plan Portends New Transfer Pricing Guidance

Many taxpayers are familiar with information document requests where taxpayers are notified that taxing authorities are inquiring into certain transactions based on their receipt of the request. But today, many types of foreign tax information exchanges occur without the taxpayer’s knowledge. Moreover, tax administrations around the world are expanding tax information exchange programs. For example, on May 19, 2021, the European Union (“EU”) approved a measure to spend an additional € 270 million to improve national information exchange programs with a particular emphasis on upgrading information technology systems and financing joint audits.

Taxpayers should: 1) refresh themselves on the major types of tax information exchanges, 2) know how that information is used, and 3) be prepared that anything they provide to one tax administration could likely end up in the hands of another.
Continue Reading No Secrets are Safe in an Era of Global Tax Information Exchange

On July 10, 2021, the G20 endorsed a broad framework to advance Pillars One and Two, which includes an aggressive timetable for bringing the new rules into force in 2023. The endorsement came in a Communiqué, which approved the July 1 statement by the 139-country Inclusive Framework. The G20 agreement represents a political consensus on

On June 5, 2021, the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of the G7 countries issued a Communiqué announcing their agreement on the conceptual framework for a substantial revision to global tax policy (the “Communiqué”). The Communiqué puts the G7’s stamp of approval on recent efforts by the OECD (supported by a big push by

In the dawn years of transfer pricing, when the bulk of international trade focused on tangible goods, relatively little attention was devoted to the analysis of transactions involving services.  The 1968 U.S. Treasury Regulations governing intercompany services focused on the allocation and apportionment of costs with respect to services undertaken for the benefit of the related parties, roughly in line with the current Services Cost Method, and provided a high level discussion of the services that were an integral part of the business activity of a member of a controlled group without elaborating on the methods to be used to test compliance with the arm’s length standard (Section 1.482-2(b) (1968)).  In the 1995 Transfer Pricing Guidelines from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”), the analysis of pricing of intracompany services occupied a mere 15 pages.  In the mid-2000s, there was a renewed focus on the pricing of intercompany services.  First to the stage were the U.S. Treasury Regulations in Section 1.482-9 promulgated in August of 2009, followed by several International Practice Units in 2014 through 2017, and then by the OECD with a revised Chapter VII in the 2017 OECD Guidelines.  The increased attention is not surprising:  over the last 20 years, from 1999 to 2019, the growth of trade in services far outpaced that of tangible goods (215% vs 137% for exports and 199% vs 143% for imports), with particularly robust performance in maintenance and repair, financial, and business services.
Continue Reading Intercompany Services: The Next Frontier of Transfer Pricing Disputes

Assume the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) is auditing your company’s transfer pricing. The administrative process is starting to break down, and it looks as if the IRS might assert a sizeable income adjustment. What is your duty to save documents for a potential upcoming court case?

Continue Reading Document Preservation for Transfer Pricing Litigation: What You Need to Know