WTS India Private Limited

Transfer Pricing Flash Draft rules on “Safe Harbours” for FY 2012-13 and 2013-14 The CBDT has released its official statement regarding the safe harbour rules. Safe harbour is defined as circumstances in which the income-tax authorities shall accept the transfer price declared by the taxpayer. The Finance Act, 2009 had introduced a new Section 92CB in the Income Tax Act, 1961 (“the Act”) with a view to provide transfer pricing certainty and contain the increasing number of prolonged transfer pricing disputes. The provision authorises the CBDT to prescribe ‘safe harbour rules’. The CBDT released the detailed draft Rules 10TA to 10TG on 14 August 2013, to be inserted in the Income Tax Rules, 1962 after they are finalised based on public comments to be provided by 26 August 2013.

Salient features of the Draft Safe Harbour Rules

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Applicable tax years: the safe harbours shall be available for financial years 2012-13 and 201314 Eligible taxpayer: taxpayers are eligible to opt for safe harbour if they make the prescribed application and if they enter into any of the following transactions: i. Engaged in providing software development services, Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) services or information technology enabled service (ITeS), with insignificant risk to a nonresident associated enterprise (AE) (or foreign principal) ii. Made any intra-group loan to its wholly-owned non-resident subsidiary sourced in Indian Rupees and excludes loans / credit lines that do not carry a fixed term for repayment iii. Provided corporate guarantee to its wholly-owned non- resident subsidiary in respect of a short-term or long-term borrowing by the latter iv. Engaged in providing contract research and development (R&D) services wholly or partly in relation to the software development, with insignificant risk to its non-resident AE v. Engaged in providing contract R&D services wholly or partly in relation to generic pharmaceutical drugs, with insignificant risk to its non-resident AE vi. Engaged in manufacture and export of core and non-core auto components where more than 90% of the revenue during the relevant FY are in the nature of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) sales Eligible international transactions and safe harbours: following safe harbours are prescribed for eligible taxpayers for transactions with its non-resident AE

Eligible International Transaction provision of Software development services ‘with insignificant risk’ provision of IT enabled services (ITES) ‘with insignificant risk’

Threshold (in INR)

Safe harbour circumstance

not to exceed 100 crores (1 billion)

operating profit margin in relation to operating expense incurred is 20% or more

not to exceed 100 crores (1 billion)

operating profit margin in relation to operating expense incurred is 20% or more

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provision of KPO services ‘with insignificant risk’

not to exceed 100 crores (1 billion)

operating profit margin in relation to operating expense incurred is 30% or more

advancing of Intra-group loan sourced in Indian Rupees of fixed tenure

not to exceed 50 crores (500 million)

1.5% plus Base Rate of State Bank of India (SBI) as on 30th June of the relevant FY or more

advancing of Intra-group loan sourced in Indian Rupees of fixed tenure

exceeding 50 crores (500 million)

3% plus Base Rate of SBI as on 30th June of the relevant FY

providing corporate guarantee

guaranteed amount does not exceed 100 crores (1 billion)

2% or more of the amount guaranteed

provision of contract research and development services wholly or partly relating to software development ‘with insignificant risk’

no threshold

operating profit margin in relation to operating expense incurred is 30% or more

provision of contract research and development services wholly or partly relating to generic pharmaceutical drugs ‘with insignificant risk’

no threshold

operating profit margin in relation to operating expense incurred is 29% or more

manufacture and export of core auto components

no threshold

operating profit margin in relation to operating expense incurred is 12% or more

manufacture and export of non-core auto components

no threshold

operating profit margin in relation to operating expense incurred is 8.5% or more

Definitions prescribed Operating margin = Operating revenue - Operating costs Operating revenue shall specifically exclude interest income, gain on translation of foreign currency items, provision no longer required written back, extraordinary items, income on sale of assets/ investments. Operating costs shall specifically exclude interest expense, loss on translation of foreign currency items, provision on unascertained liabilities, extraordinary items, loss on sale of assets / investments and pre-operating expenses.

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Definitions: definitions for software development services, ITeS, KPO services, contract research services in relation to software development, core and non-core auto components, intra-group loan, and corporate guarantee are provided. No definition is prescribed for contract R&D services in generic pharmaceutical drugs. Guidelines for identification of eligible taxpayer with insignificant risks: as seen in the safe harbours table, one fundamental requirement is for the taxpayer / applicant company to bear ‘insignificant risk’ with respect to provision of its services. Following five key factors have been prescribed for determining whether the taxpayer bears insignificant risk (as also prescribed in the recently issued Circular 6 issued by the CBDT) www.wts.co.in

WTS India Private Limited



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The foreign principal should perform economically significant functions

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Capital and funds & economically significant assets should be provided by the foreign principal

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Foreign principal directly supervises and controls the taxpayer’s work

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Taxpayer does not bear economically significant risks

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Taxpayer does not have any legal or economic ownership of the intangible generated or on the outcome which rests with the foreign principal

Crucial aspects if safe harbour is opted »

Comparability adjustments will not be available

»

The tolerance band (currently 1% to 3%) will not be available

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Taxpayer shall be required to maintain the usual mandatory transfer pricing documentation under section 92D (of course benchmarking / comparables would not be required but a more detailed functional analysis would be required and conclusion / reasoning of why it falls under a particular type of definition for e.g. software development vs. contract R&D etc. would be required)

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Taxpayer shall furnish an Accountant Report under section 92E

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Taxpayer opting for safe harbour are not eligible to invoke mutual agreement procedure (MAP) under the tax treaty to avoid any economic double taxation for the MNC group of which it is a part

Application form and due date: eligible taxpayer shall furnish an application Form 3CEG to the Assessing Officer (AO) on or before the due date for filing the return of income for the relevant assessment year (i.e., for FY 2012-13 the due date will be 30 November 2013). This form is required to be signed by the person authorised to sign the return of income under Section 140. Procedure »

The AO shall verify the correctness of the application and the safe harbour claim. The AO is also authorised to refer the verification to the Transfer Pricing Officer (TPO)

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The taxpayer will be required by the AO/ TPO to furnish the necessary information and documents to support the safe harbour claim

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The AO/ TPO can invalidate the claim of the taxpayer by order and after providing an opportunity of being heard on several grounds such as not furnishing required documents/information, not fulfilling the conditions to be eligible for exercising the option of safe harbour etc.

»

If a safe harbour claim is found invalid by the income-tax authorities, the arm’s length price shall be determined by applying the transfer pricing methods and the safe harbour rules regarding the profit margin or price shall not apply

Not available for transactions with no tax / low tax jurisdiction or countries / territories notified under section 94A: a no tax or low tax jurisdiction has been defined as a country / territory whose maximum marginal tax is zero or less than 15%. As of date, no country / territory has been notified under section 94A which would be ones where there is a lack of effective exchange of information with India.

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WTS India Private Limited

Our Comments This is definitely a step in the right direction with Transfer Pricing litigation and uncertainty is at its peak in India and with the depth and breadth of adjustments carried out in the last several years of Transfer Pricing audits. Government of India keeping with its promise to bring certainty and reducing litigation, formed a committee headed by former tax board chairman N Rangachary to essentially suggest a framework for safe harbour rules in five sectors, including information technology and ITenabled services, contract R&D in the IT and pharma, financial transactions related to outbound loans and corporate guarantees and the OEM business for auto parts. Safe Harbours in general are not arm’s length and essentially is a premium that tax payer may opt to agree to avoid compliance and litigation burden. In light of this, while some profit margins prescribed in the range of 20% and corporate guarantee rate of 2% seem moderate and may find takers in the industry but the mark-ups for others like 29 or 30% or high interest rates linked to base rate do need some re-consideration

August 2013

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Transfer Pricing Flash - WTS

Aug 14, 2013 - Engaged in providing software development services, Knowledge Process ... requirement is for the taxpayer / applicant company to bear 'insig-.

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