A recent Tax Notes article analyzes the “standard of review” that the Tax Court will apply to the IRS’s transfer pricing adjustments. In transfer pricing cases, the Tax Court determines whether the IRS has abused its discretion by proposing an adjustment that is “arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable.” Although courts often describe this standard as a
John is an experienced advocate in federal tax disputes faced by multi-national corporations. He has represented clients in some of the most complex tax litigation in the country. The amounts at stake in federal tax disputes can often be staggering. So big, in fact, that it often seems cases become “too big to settle,” as the positions of the tax authorities and taxpayers are separated by hundreds of millions, and even billions, of dollars. John is adept at bridging this gap, having participated in multiple settlements of multiple disputes in which the dollars at stake reached into ten digits.
Benchmarking—the process of screening, selecting, and analyzing comparable companies—is time consuming. Analysts can spend innumerable hours every year preparing transfer pricing documentation, with a substantial portion of that time dedicated to benchmarking. Even with improvements in the quality of databases (which offer a vast array of quantitative and qualitative data), the sets of potential comparables that analysts must sift through are often enormous.
With the applications of artificial intelligence (or “AI”) expanding by the day, it is time to start thinking about whether AI could automate parts of the benchmarking process.
Last week, the IRS issued new guidance that addresses “telescoping” in mutual agreement procedure (“MAP”) and advance pricing agreement (“APA”) cases. Very generally, the guidance disallows (subject to a $10 million materiality exception) telescoping for tax years starting in 2018, when the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) came into effect, while continuing to allow telescoping for pre-2018 years in appropriate cases. According to the IRS’s Advance Pricing and Mutual Agreement (“APMA”) program, the new guidance was needed to address the impact of the TCJA “and its many interlocking provisions that require careful determination (and redetermination, as needed) of a U.S. taxpayer’s taxable income and tax attributes.” The new guidance has the potential to drive up compliance costs by increasing the number of tax returns that taxpayers must file to resolve MAP and APA resolutions for post-TCJA years (and resolutions spanning both pre- and post-TCJA years).
Continue Reading Telescoping into the Void
Hold on a second. Cost sharing is a tax shelter? For over five decades, cost sharing has been a transfer pricing structure endorsed by Congress, regulated by Treasury and the OECD, agreed to by the IRS and foreign tax authorities alike, and widely embraced by taxpayers. How can it be a “tax shelter”? And yet that is precisely the headline from a recent district court decision in the Western District of Washington.
How did this happen? Is it right? And should we, as taxpayers, be worried about the reach of this holding somehow expanding to other tried-and-true vehicles similarly embraced by the tax law?…
Continue Reading Cost Sharing Is a Tax Shelter Now. Wait, What?
The IRS recently released informal guidance in the form of “Frequently Asked Questions” discussing its “observations of best practices and common mistakes in preparing transfer pricing documentation” under section 6662. Particularly right now, as many taxpayers find themselves in the throes of drafting and updating annual transfer pricing documentation reports, a review of these FAQs can provide critical insights into the IRS’s thinking that may improve the efficiency of future audits.
Continue Reading New IRS FAQs on Section 6662 Transfer Pricing Documentation Discuss Best Practices