Transfer pricing – IAS 12 Best complete read

Transfer pricing
 for
transactions between related parties

A transfer price is the price charged between related parties (e.g., a parent company and its controlled foreign corporation) in an inter-company transaction. Although inter-company transactions are eliminated when consolidating the financial results of controlled foreign corporations and their domestic parents, for preparation of individual tax returns each entity (or a tax consolidation unit of more than one entity in the group in one and the same tax jurisdiction) prepares stand-alone (or a tax consolidation unit) tax returns.

See also:

IAS 24 Related parties narrative IFRS 15 Revenue narrative IAS 12 Income tax narrative

Transfer prices directly affect the allocation of group-wide taxable income across national tax jurisdictions. Hence, a group’s transfer-pricing policies can directly affect its after-tax income to the extent that tax rates differ across national jurisdictions.

Arm’s length transaction principle

Most OECD countries rely upon the OECD TP Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administrations, that were originally released in 1995 and subsequently updated in 2017 (OECD TP Guidelines). The OECD TP Guidelines reaffirmed the OECD’s commitment to the arm’s length transaction principle.

In fact, the arm’s length transaction principle is considered “the closest approximation of the workings of the open market in cases where goods and services are transferred between associated enterprises.” The arm’s length principle implies that transfer prices between related parties should be set as though the entities were operating at arm’s length (i.e. were independent enterprises).

The application of the arm’s length transaction principle is generally based on a comparison of all the relevant conditions in a controlled transaction with the conditions in an uncontrolled transaction (i.e. a transaction between independent enterprises).

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Goodwill or bargain on acquisition

Goodwill or bargain on acquisition – in short

Goodwill is initially measured at cost, being the excess of the aggregate of the consideration transferred, the amount recognised for non-controlling interests and any fair value of the Group’s previously held equity interests in the acquiree over the identifiable net assets acquired and liabilities assumed.

If the sum of this consideration and other items is lower than the fair value of the net assets acquired, the difference is, after reassessment, recognised in profit or loss as a gain on bargain purchase.

Business combinations

Business combinations are accounted for using the acquisition method. Cost of an acquisition is measured at the fair value of the assets given and liabilities incurred or assumed at the date of exchange. Identifiable assets acquired and liabilities assumed in a business combination (including contingent liabilities) are measured initially at their fair values at the acquisition date. There are no non-controlling interest in the Group’s subsidiaries.

The Dorolco acquisition – On xx October 202x Dorco Loan PLC acquired 100% of the Dorolco operations, by acquiring 100% of all voting shares in the legal entities now part of this Group.

Assets acquired and liabilities assumed – Because the holding companies established in structuring the Dorolco acquisition have been incorporated on behalf of this transaction, the opening balance sheet as at xx October 202x shown in the Consolidated Financial Statements as comparatives to the balance sheet as at 31 December 202x is the balance sheet at incorporation date. Shares issued were paid on acquisition date, except for the share option plan shares issued at closing date (1,000,000 shares issued, of which as at 31 December 202x 155,000 were not yet granted and paid up).

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Software as a service

What is cloud computing and more specific software as a service?

Cloud computing is essentially a model for delivering information technology services in which resources are retrieved from the internet through web-based tools and applications, rather than a direct connection to a server. Data and software packages are stored in servers. Cloud computing structures allow access to information as long as an electronic device has access to the internet.

This type of system allows employees to work remotely. Cloud computing is so named because the information being accessed is found in the ‘clouds’, and does not require a user to be in a specific place to gain access to it. Companies may find that cloud computing allows them to reduce the cost of information management, since they are not required to own their own servers and can use capacity leased from third parties. Additionally, the cloud-like structure allows companies to upgrade software more quickly.

There are various types of cloud computing arrangements. Cloud services usually fall into one of three service models: infrastructure, platform and software. Here the focus is on software as a service (SaaS).

What is SaaS?

SaaS is a software distribution model in which the customer does not take possession of the supplier’s hardware andSoftware as a service application software. Instead, customers accesses the supplier’s hardware and application software from devices over the internet or via a dedicated line. In these types of arrangements, the customer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure, including the network, servers, operating systems, storage, and even individual application software capabilities, with the possible exception of limited user-specific application software configuration settings, nor is the customer responsible for upgrades to the underlying systems and software.

The key issues

In practice, it is clear that there are various application issues relating to the customer’s accounting in SaaS arrangements. These arrangements may often be bundled with other products and services, such as implementation, data migration, business process mapping, training, and project management.

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Licensing of intellectual property

Licensing of intellectual property – in summary

The standard provides application guidance for the recognition of revenue attributable to a distinct licence of intellectual property (IP).

The general model is that if the licence is distinct from the other goods or services, then an entity assesses the nature of the licence to determine whether to recognise revenue allocated to the licence at a point in time or over time and to estimate variable consideration.

But with complex topics like licensing of intellectual property, there is also guidance separate from the general model for estimating variable consideration, on the recognition of sales- or usage-based royalties on licences of IP when the licence is the sole or predominant item to which the royalty relates.

What is intellectual property?

One could say almost everything could be intellectual property! Licensing of intellectual property

Here is a description (not a definition!) from the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation):

Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.

IP is in general protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create. A difficult balance exists between striking the interests of innovators and the wider public interest, businesses operating in IP have to foster an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish.

Just take a look at the (public) discussion between open source software (Apache OpenOffice) and licensed software (Microsoft Office365).

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Stand-alone selling price

The best evidence of standalone selling price is the price that the entity charges for the good or service in a separate transaction with a customer. However, in many cases goods or services are sold exclusively as a package with other goods or services rather than on an individual basis (e.g. nonrenewable customer support).

Licensing provides rights to a customer

LicensingLicensing establishes a customer’s rights to the intellectual property of an entity. Licenses of intellectual property may include, but are not limited to, licenses of any of the following:


  1. Software (other than software subject to a hosting arrangement) and technology
  2. Motion pictures, music, and other forms of media and entertainment
  3. Franchises Licensing
  4. Patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Licensing

In addition to a promise to grant a license (or licenses) to a customer, an entity may also promise to transfer other goods or services to the customer. Those promises may be explicitly stated in the contract or implied by an entity’s customary business practices, published policies, or specific statements. As with other types of contracts, when a contract with a customer includes Read more

Distinct goods or services

Distinct goods or services is a cornerstone of IFRS 15 Revenue from contracts with customers. Distinct means the customer can benefit directly from the service

Option for discounted software

Option for discounted software in general the entity shall allocate a discount proportionately to all performance obligations in the contract with the customer.

Calculating the value of an acquisition – How 2 complete it best

Calculating the value of an – This is a detailed example of calculating the fair value of an Read more