Transfer Pricing State Audits on the Upswing

While the Internal Revenue Service has long scrutinized cross-border intercompany transactions, state tax authorities are increasingly focusing on state transfer pricing. This trend poses new challenges for company groups operating in multiple states. In states with separate tax reporting, each entity within an affiliated group is treated as a separate taxpayer for state income tax purposes, which can lead to profit shifting by manipulating transfer prices between affiliated entities in different states. In this regard, state tax authorities are taking a more proactive approach to examine and audit state transfer pricing positions. Recent significant state transfer pricing case law highlights the importance of preparing and maintaining adequate documentation to support intercompany transactions during state audits. Specifically, preparing an adequate transfer pricing study can be crucial for risk management by minimizing potential challenges from state tax authorities.