March 2019: ATO – Risk assessment of inbound distribution arrangements

The Guideline outlines ATO’s compliance approach to the transfer pricing outcomes associated with the following activities of inbound distributors:

  • distributing goods purchased from related foreign entities for resale, and
  • distributing digital products or services where the intellectual property in those products or services is owned by related foreign entities

Such activities, together with any related activities involving the provision of ancillary services, are referred to in this Guideline as ‘inbound distribution arrangements’.

This Guideline applies to inbound distribution arrangements of any scale.

The framework in the Guideline is used to assess the transfer pricing risk of inbound distribution arrangements and tailor our engagement with you. Where this Guideline applies, we rate the transfer pricing risk of your inbound distribution arrangements having regard to a combination of quantitative and qualitative factors.

If an inbound distribution arrangements fall outside the low transfer pricing risk category, the transfer pricing outcomes of the arrangements can be expected to be monitor, tested and/or verified.

The framework set out in the Guideline can be used to:

  • assess the transfer pricing risk of inbound distribution arrangements
  • understand the compliance approach given the transfer pricing risk profile of the inbound distribution arrangements
  • mitigate the transfer pricing risk of the inbound distribution arrangements

Structure of the Guideline

The Guideline is structured as follows:

  • the main body sets out general principles relevant to our framework for assessing transfer pricing risk and applying compliance resources to inbound distribution arrangements to which the Guideline applies, and
  • the schedules set out quantitative and qualitative indicators relevant to distributors generally or based on their industry sector, including those that operate in the life science, information and communication technology (ICT) and motor vehicle industries.

This Guideline does not provide advice or guidance on the technical interpretation or application of Australia’s transfer pricing rules or other tax provisions.

ATO transfer pricing issues related to inbound distribution arrangementspdf