The World Customs Organization (WCO) has issued a guide on customs valuation and transfer pricing.
The interaction between customs and transfer pricing, an issue during recent years, concerns international transactions within a multinational group.
As noted in a June 2015 WCO release, customs authorities intend that the price of transactions related to imported goods not to be influenced by the relationship between the buyer and seller (based on the methodology for customs valuation contained in the WTO Valuation Agreement). On the other hand, tax administrations examine the same transactions to determine that the conditions are consistent with the arm’s length principle for profit tax purposes (generally following the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines).
The new WCO guide [PDF 3.51 MB] sets out in 101 pages, the relevant methodology for both customs and transfer pricing regimes and explores the links and possibilities for customs authorities to use transfer pricing information to examine related-party transactions.
For instance, transfer pricing studies, prepared primarily for direct taxation purposes, may be of use to customs authorities when examining related-party transactions for customs valuation purposes.
Customs and tax authorities are being encouraged to work together and exchange information and knowledge in this area, and businesses are being encouraged to take into account customs’ needs when preparing documentation such as transfer pricing studies and advance pricing agreements.