Income Tax Act Subsection 247
Transfer prices are the prices at which services, tangible property, and intangible property are traded across international borders between related parties.
Canada’s transfer pricing legislation requires, for tax purposes, terms and conditions between related parties in their commercial or financial relations to be those that would have been expected had the parties not been related (i.e. acting at arm’s length).
- Microsoft Canada licenses software from Microsoft US;
- These are related companies; and
- The terms and conditions of the license agreement must be similar to non-related parties.
If transfer pricing legislation did not exist, then companies could use tax havens to shelter all profits made in Canada, and companies would have little to no taxes owing here in Canada.
Canadian legislation requires that companies keep contemporaneous documentation related to the transfer pricing transaction. What this means is that companies must keep daily documentation about their choices when it comes to transfer pricing.
The typical method that the Canada Revenue Agency will accept is the cost-plus method. If the cost to one company is $100, then CRA will allow cost-plus a certain percentage as an acceptable transfer price.
There are other methods that CRA will allow, however they get continually more complicated.
Transfer pricing is an incredibly complex, and difficult area of the law. It is continually in the headlines because multinational companies are using tax havens to shelter profits, and Canada is receiving less and less taxes from these companies.
The seminal case on this issue is the Glaxosmithkline case found below. It went to the Supreme Court before being sent back down to the Tax Court. If you are interested in learning about transfer pricing & vehicle expenses, read the Glaxo case first and foremost.
IC87-2R International Transfer Pricing – ic87-2r-e.htm
Canada v GalaxoSmithKline Inc., 2012 SCC 52 – Relevant Circumstances in Transfer Price Determinations – Consideration of Other Agreements Between the Parties
More detailed case law analysis may be found here: http://ita-annotated.ca/RecentDecisions/category/substantive-provision/transfer-pricing/