Wealth & Risk Management Blog

William Byrnes (Texas A&M) tax & compliance articles

State Aid: What is the Arm’s Length Return for Starbucks Netherlands?

Posted by William Byrnes on October 28, 2019


For the complete paper see https://ssrn.com/abstract=3464990

The crux of the legal issue is the EU Commission’s contention, required as the third Starbucks_Coffee_Logo.svgcondition for a finding of State aid, that the Netherlands-Starbucks APA conferred a selective advantage on Starbucks’ Netherlands manufacturing subsidiary (SMBV, aka the “roasting operation”) that resulted in a lowering of SMBV’s tax liability in the Netherlands as compared with what SMBV would have paid under the Netherlands’ general corporate income tax system dealing with third parties.

And the crux of the dispute that determines the legal issue outcome is whose choice of transfer pricing method (the Commission or The Netherlands/Starbucks) is the most reliable.

However, the most interesting aspect of the controversy is how to allocate the residual between SMBV and Starbucks intermediary IP management limited partnership? In a broader framework, not part of the analysis contemplated by the applicable 1995 OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines, is how to allocate the residual among Starbucks’ global value chain. For the complete paper see https://ssrn.com/abstract=3464990

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