Indirect Tax Impacts of Transfer Pricing Adjustments: EU & US Approaches When the Price Evolves To Make It “Right”?

How do you handle the indirect tax (VAT/sales tax) impact of year-end transfer pricing profit adjustments between related members of a multinational group? This is, by definition, a worldwide question, since such groups operate across borders. Existing approaches (if any) vary across jurisdictions. The European Union and the United States are both grappling with this subject. Three key cases entailing the VAT consequences of such adjustments are currently before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Likewise, in various states in the United States, a growing number of cases reveal potential sales/use tax liabilities arising from transfer pricing adjustments. While awaiting the pending CJEU decisions, in this article, the authors explore, from a comparative perspective, how two fundamentally different systems are trying to address the same problem.