International Financial Law Prof Blog

Editor: William Byrnes
Texas A&M University
School of Law

Saturday, September 5, 2020

OECD and Brazil's federal revenue authority invite taxpayer input on transfer pricing issues relating to the design of safe-harbour provisions and other comparability considerations

As part of the implementation phase of a joint transfer pricing project between the OECD and Brazil, the OECD Secretariat and Receita Federal do Brasil (RFB) have launched a survey to seek public input to inform the work related to the development of safe harbours as well as other simplification measures and measures that can contribute to enhanced tax certainty.


The OECD and RFB jointly launched the "Transfer Pricing in Brazil" project in February 2018 to review and analyse the differences in the Brazilian transfer pricing rules as compared to the OECD standard. On 18 December 2019, the findings of the project were presented to the public with the publication of a joint report, Transfer Pricing in Brazil: Towards Convergence with the OECD Standard 1. The report identifies two options for Brazil to converge with the OECD standard, while enhancing the positive attributes of its existing transfer pricing framework. Both options contemplate full adherence to the arm's length principle, which is at the core of the OECD standard, while seeking to preserve simplicity and certainty. In this regard, consideration will be given to incorporating targeted, carefully designed safe harbours in appropriate circumstances. Safe harbours, which constitute simplified approaches for determining or approximating the arm’s length price – can achieve important benefits in terms of simplicity and certainty, if properly designed (in line with the arm’s length principle) and applied in appropriate circumstances (under specified eligibility criteria). They also reduce tax compliance costs for taxpayers and contribute to more efficient tax administration and tax certainty. Other measures and practices can also contribute to tax certainty in situations where safe harbours may not be an appropriate tool. Such measures and practices may include advance pricing arrangements (APAs), which also may provide a framework for achieving tax certainty in more complex and higher risk transactions.


The survey document – available in both English and Portuguese – contains an open invitation particularly to taxpayers with business interests in Brazil and businesses interested in investing in Brazil as well as other stakeholders to contribute to the ongoing OECD/RFB project by providing their specific experience or comments on elements relevant to the development of safe-harbour regimes and other measures contributing to tax certainty in Brazil. This input should help to understand the specific situations and needs of taxpayers, where issues may arise when performing comparability analysis and also where the design of safe harbours or other similar measures contributing towards tax certainty would be especially needed.

To structure the input, a survey was designed containing 17 questions related to:

  • Identifying situations where specific safe-harbour regimes may be needed;
  • Use of the available comparables data;
  • Considerations for the use of advance pricing arrangements (APAs); and
  • Other simplification measures.

The questions are preceded by an introductory note providing the background and context of the questions. The OECD guidance on safe harbours in Chapter IV of the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines, which represents the policy framework for the development of safe harbours, is included as an annex.

Interested stakeholders are invited to send their input no later than Friday, 18 September 2020, by e-mail to [email protected] and copied to [email protected].

Please note that this survey is strictly confidential; no individual or organisation-specific information will be disclosed. Results may only be made available in aggregated format.

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