Post-BEPS Application of the Arm’s Length Principle to Intangibles Structures

The arm’s length principle, as embedded in article 9 of the OECD Model Convention, is not an anti-avoidance rule and has been misidentified as the primary tool to tackle certain abusive behaviours of multinational enterprises. This article refers to the new OECD guidelines on intangibles as background and provides an overview of the new approaches to transfer pricing analysis in the context of intellectual property; analyses the impact thereof on existing business models; and defines the limitations imposed by the arm’s length principle, as a general principle of international tax law, on making transactional adjustments and disregarding intellectual property arrangements by the tax authorities.