Jeremy Scott Tax Law

A bag of money and piles of coins in relation to transfer pricing and international business taxation for Canadian companies
A bag of money and piles of coins in relation to transfer pricing and international business taxation for Canadian companies

In the rapidly globalizing economy, Canadian businesses are looking beyond borders to expand their operations, tap into new markets, and leverage cost efficiencies. However, with international expansion comes the complexity of navigating the multifaceted world of international business taxation. And the concept of transfer pricing lies at the heart of it. Given the ever-increasing scrutiny by tax authorities worldwide and the repercussions associated with non-compliance with applicable tax laws, understanding and complying with transfer pricing regulations is vital for Canadian companies operating on the international stage. If you need guidance from a lawyer to ensure you are properly applying tax laws, contact Jeremy Scott Law. The law firm has been providing legal guidance to individuals and businesses across Canada for various tax-related matters. Call (902) 403-7201 to schedule your consultation. 

What Is Transfer Pricing?

Transfer pricing refers to the prices at which services and goods are traded across borders between related or associated enterprises within a multinational company. It plays a pivotal role in determining a company’s taxable income in different countries and thereby its overall tax liability. For Canadian businesses involved in cross-border transactions with their affiliates, transfer pricing is not just a compliance issue but a strategic business decision that can significantly impact after-tax income, operational efficiency, and competitive positioning. The transfer pricing law, which is codified under Section 247 of the Income Tax Act (ITA), applies to taxpayers and partnerships with whom they are not dealing at arm’s length.

What Is the Arm’s Length Principle?

Under the Canadian tax law, parties who transact with each other are generally considered not to be dealing with each other at arm’s length when one or more of the following factors apply to the transaction: 

  • The bargaining for both parties is directed by a common mind; 
  • The parties act in coordination without separate interests; or
  • One of the parties has de facto control over the other party. 

Furthermore, the Tax Act also provides that parties that meet the definition of “related persons” are not considered to be dealing with each other at arm’s length. The following parties are defined as related persons under the law:

  • Businesses under common control; 
  • Two businesses where one controls the other; and
  • Individuals connected by marriage, blood, common-law partnership, or adoption. 

According to the official website of the Government of Canada, when entities within a multinational group need to transact with one another, these transactions must occur under arm’s length terms and conditions. If you need further guidance on whether transfer pricing applies to your business and how this can affect your company’s international business taxation, consider contacting a tax lawyer at Jeremy Scott Law. 

Transfer Pricing & Taxation

The price your company pays for services or goods plays a monumental role from a tax perspective. When purchasing something, you – as the Purchaser – can claim deductions when calculating your income for tax purposes. When selling something, the Seller will generally include the amount they receive from the Purchaser in their income for tax purposes. 

However, when the Purchaser and Seller are two entities that belong to the same multinational group or are otherwise related, they may artificially increase or decrease the price of the transaction to get tax benefits. For example, if the Seller must pay a high income tax rate, the parties may seek to reduce the transfer price. The transfer pricing law was designed to counteract such incentives and eliminate the tax advantages. 

What Is the Role of Transfer Pricing? 

Proper transfer pricing practices ensure that profit allocation across jurisdictions is aligned with economic activities and value creation, which minimizes tax risks and capitalizes on legal tax optimization opportunities.

Compliance with CRA Regulations

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has established comprehensive guidelines that align with the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administrations. Canadian companies are expected to establish transfer prices that would have been charged by unrelated parties in arm’s length transactions. Failure to comply with these guidelines can result in substantial penalties, including adjustments to taxable income, double taxation, and interest on unpaid taxes.

Risk Management

Beyond compliance, effective transfer pricing strategies can protect Canadian businesses from significant risks, including financial, reputational, and operational risks. By ensuring that transfer pricing policies are well-documented and supported by solid economic analysis, companies can defend their tax positions against audits and inquiries from tax authorities.

Strategic Planning

Transfer pricing also offers strategic planning opportunities. By aligning transfer pricing strategies with overall business objectives, companies can achieve tax efficiencies and optimize their global tax burden. This can include structuring international operations in a way that aligns with both business strategy and international tax planning principles.

My Company Is Facing Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Audit Over Transfer Pricing, Now What?

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) maintains a vigilant eye on transactions between related entities in different countries to ensure that they are conducted at arm’s length, thereby preventing profit shifting and tax evasion. Facing a CRA audit over transfer pricing can be a daunting prospect for any business owner. The CRA conducts audits to verify compliance with Canada’s transfer pricing legislation, ensuring that businesses report and pay the appropriate amount of taxes. These audits are part of the CRA’s broader efforts to crack down on tax avoidance and protect the integrity of Canada’s tax base.

Several factors can trigger a CRA audit on transfer pricing, including:

  • Significant transactions with related parties in jurisdictions with lower tax rates.
  • Inconsistent financial performance relative to industry peers.
  • Lack of proper documentation supporting the arm’s length nature of transfer pricing policies.

But how can you withstand the scrutiny of a CRA audit and continue thriving on the global stage? This is the question you might want to address to your tax lawyer who can assess your situation and advise you on the right course of action. Your lawyer can communicate with the CRA on your behalf, negotiate settlements, and challenge audit findings if necessary. 

Consult with a Tax Lawyer at Jeremy Scott Law

If you run a company in Canada, you might want to consider contacting a lawyer. Throughout his 20 years of experience, the tax lawyer at Jeremy Scott Law has cultivated a deep understanding of the Canadian tax system, including federal and provincial tax laws, as well as international business taxation rules. This knowledge is crucial for business owners, especially those who operate in multiple countries. Jeremy Scott can guide you through the complexities of the tax landscape and ensure you comply with all legal requirements, including transfer pricing rules. Schedule your consultation now by calling (902) 403-7201.