The OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines have included guidance on the transactional profit split method since their first iteration in 1995. Since the revision to the Guidelines in 2010, the transactional profit split method has been applicable where it is found to be the most appropriate method to the case at hand. This basic premise is unchanged. However, this revised guidance, while not being prescriptive, clarifies and significantly expands the guidance on when a profit split method may be the most appropriate method.
The transactional profit split method seeks to establish arm’s length outcomes or test reported outcomes for controlled transactions in order to approximate the results that would have been achieved between independent enterprises engaging in a comparable transaction or transactions. The method first identifies the profits to be split from the controlled transactions—the relevant profits—and then splits them between the associated enterprises on an economically valid basis that approximates the division of profits that would have been agreed at arm’s length.
As is the case with all transfer pricing methods, the aim is to ensure that profits of the associated enterprises are aligned with the value of their contributions and the compensation which would have been agreed in comparable transactions between independent enterprises for those contributions.
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