Tag: Net Profit Indicator/Profit Level Indicator (PLI)

The Net profit indicator or Profit Level Indicator (PLI) is the ratio of net profit to an appropriate base (e.g. costs, sales, assets). The transactional net margin method relies on a comparison of an appropriate net profit indicator for the controlled transaction with the same net profit indicator in comparable uncontrolled transactions.

Chapter I paragraph 1.9

The arm’s length principle has also been found to work effectively in the vast majority of cases. For example, there are many cases involving the purchase and sale of commodities and the lending of money where an arm’s length price may readily be found in a comparable transaction undertaken by comparable independent enterprises under comparable circumstances. There are also many cases where a relevant comparison of transactions can be made at the level of financial indicators such as mark-up on costs, gross margin, or net profit indicators. Nevertheless, there are some significant cases in which the arm’s length principle is difficult and complicated to apply, for example, in MNE groups dealing in the integrated production of highly specialised goods, in unique intangibles, and/or in the provision of specialised services. Solutions exist to deal with such difficult cases, including the use of the transactional profit split method described in Chapter II, Part III of these Guidelines in those situations where it is the most appropriate method in the circumstances of the case ...

Chapter II paragraph 2.64

The transactional net margin method examines the net profit relative to an appropriate base (e.g. costs, sales, assets) that a taxpayer realises from a controlled transaction (or transactions that are appropriate to aggregate under the principles of paragraphs 3.9-3.12). Thus, a transactional net margin method operates in a manner similar to the cost plus and resale price methods. This similarity means that in order to be applied reliably, the transactional net margin method must be applied in a manner consistent with the manner in which the resale price or cost plus method is applied. This means in particular that the net profit indicator of the taxpayer from the controlled transaction (or transactions that are appropriate to aggregate under the principles of paragraphs 3.9-3.12) should ideally be established by reference to the net profit indicator that the same taxpayer earns in comparable uncontrolled transactions, i.e. by reference to “internal comparables” (see paragraphs 3.27-3.28). Where this is not possible, the net margin that would have been earned in comparable transactions by an independent enterprise (“external comparables”) may serve as a guide (see paragraphs 3.29-3.35). A functional analysis of the controlled and uncontrolled transactions is required to determine whether the transactions are comparable and what adjustments may be necessary to obtain reliable results. Further, the other requirements for comparability, and in particular those of paragraphs 2.74-2.81, must be applied ...

Chapter II paragraph 2.70

There are also a number of weaknesses to the transactional net margin method. The net profit indicator of a taxpayer can be influenced by some factors that would either not have an effect, or have a less substantial or direct effect, on price or gross margins between independent parties. These aspects may make accurate and reliable determinations of arm’s length net profit indicators difficult. Thus, it is important to provide some detailed guidance on establishing comparability for the transactional net margin method, as set forth in paragraphs 2.74-2.81 below ...

Chapter II paragraph 2.76

The use of net profit indicators can potentially introduce a greater element of volatility into the determination of transfer prices for two reasons. First, net profit indicators can be influenced by some factors that do not have an effect (or have a less substantial or direct effect) on gross margins and prices, because of the potential for variation of operating expenses across enterprises. Second, net profit indicators can be influenced by some of the same factors, such as competitive position, that can influence price and gross margins, but the effect of these factors may not be as readily eliminated. In the traditional transaction methods, the effect of these factors may be eliminated as a natural consequence of insisting upon greater product and function similarity. Depending on the facts and circumstances of the case and in particular on the effect of the functional differences on the cost structure and on the revenue of the potential comparables, net profit indicators can be less sensitive than gross margins to differences in the extent and complexity of functions and to differences in the level of risks (assuming the contractual allocation of risks is arm’s length in accordance with Section D.1.2.1 of Chapter I). On the other hand, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case and in particular on the proportion of fixed and variable costs, the transactional net margin method may be more sensitive than the cost plus or resale price methods to differences in capacity utilisation, because differences in the levels of absorption of indirect fixed costs (e.g. fixed manufacturing costs or fixed distribution costs) would affect the net profit indicator but may not affect the gross margin or gross mark-up on costs if not reflected in price differences. See Annex I to Chapter II “Sensitivity of gross and net profit indicators” ...

Chapter II paragraph 2.77

Net profit indicators may be directly affected by such forces operating in the industry as follows: threat of new entrants, competitive position, management efficiency and individual strategies, threat of substitute products, varying cost structures (as reflected, for example, in the age of plant and equipment), differences in the cost of capital (e.g. self- financing versus borrowing), and the degree of business experience (e.g. whether the business is in a start-up phase or is mature). Each of these factors in turn can be influenced by numerous other elements. For example, the level of the threat of new entrants will be determined by such elements as product differentiation, capital requirements, and government subsidies and regulations. Some of these elements also may impact the application of the traditional transaction methods ...

Chapter II paragraph 2.81

Another important aspect of comparability is measurement consistency. The net profit indicators must be measured consistently between the associated enterprise and the independent enterprise. In addition, there may be differences in the treatment across enterprises of operating expenses and non-operating expenses affecting the net profits such as depreciation and reserves or provisions that would need to be accounted for in order to achieve reliable comparability ...

Chapter II paragraph 2.83

As a matter of principle, only those items that (a) directly or indirectly relate to the controlled transaction at hand and (b) are of an operating nature should be taken into account in the determination of the net profit indicator for the application of the transactional net margin method ...

Chapter II paragraph 2.84

Costs and revenues that are not related to the controlled transaction under review should be excluded where they materially affect comparability with uncontrolled transactions. An appropriate level of segmentation of the taxpayer’s financial data is needed when determining or testing the net profit it earns from a controlled transaction (or from transactions that are appropriately aggregated according to the guidance at paragraphs 3.9-3.12). Therefore, it would be inappropriate to apply the transactional net margin method on a company-wide basis if the company engages in a variety of different controlled transactions that cannot be appropriately compared on an aggregate basis with those of an independent enterprise ...

Chapter II paragraph 2.85

Similarly, when analysing the transactions between the independent enterprises to the extent they are needed, profits attributable to transactions that are not similar to the controlled transactions under examination should be excluded from the comparison. Finally, when net profit indicators of an independent enterprise are used, the profits attributable to the transactions of the independent enterprise must not be distorted by controlled transactions of that enterprise. See paragraphs 3.9-3.12 on the evaluation of a taxpayer’s separate and combined transactions and paragraph 3.37 on the use of non-transactional third party data ...

Chapter II paragraph 2.87

In those cases where there is a correlation between the credit terms and the sales prices, it could be appropriate to reflect interest income in respect of short-term working capital within the calculation of the net profit indicator and/or to proceed with a working capital adjustment, see paragraphs 3.47-3.54. An example would be where a large retail business benefits from long credit terms with its suppliers and from short credit terms with its customers, thus making it possible to derive excess cash that in turn may make it possible to have lower sales prices to customers than if such advantageous credit terms were not available ...