The Act introduced significant changes to Nigeria’s transfer pricing regime, aligning it with international best practices to prevent base erosion and profit shifting. As an audit firm dedicated to educating and empowering our prospective customers, this article delves into the implications of the Nigeria Finance Act 2020 on transfer pricing regulations in the country. Understanding these implications is vital for multinational companies operating in Nigeria, as well as businesses engaged in related-party transactions, to ensure compliance, mitigate risks, and optimize tax planning strategies.
- Adoption of the Arm’s Length Principle:
The Finance Act 2020 solidified the adoption of the arm’s length principle in transfer pricing transactions. Under this principle, related-party transactions must be conducted as if they were between independent parties at fair market value. Businesses must ensure that the pricing of goods, services, and intangibles in related-party transactions is consistent with what would have been agreed upon between unrelated parties.
- Penalties for Non-Compliance:
The Act introduced more stringent penalties for non-compliance with transfer pricing regulations. Businesses that fail to maintain contemporaneous transfer pricing documentation or engage in transactions that do not comply with the arm’s length principle may face significant penalties. Adherence to transfer pricing compliance requirements is crucial to avoid penalties and reputational risks.
- Introduction of the Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) Program:
The Finance Act 2020 introduced the Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) program, allowing taxpayers to obtain advance certainty on their transfer pricing methods. Businesses can now apply for an APA with the tax authorities to agree on an acceptable pricing methodology for related-party transactions. This program provides greater predictability and reduces transfer pricing disputes.
- Mandatory Transfer Pricing Documentation:
The Act made it mandatory for businesses with related-party transactions exceeding ₦300 million to prepare and maintain transfer pricing documentation. This documentation should include details of the related-party transactions, the methodology used for pricing, and evidence supporting the arm’s length nature of the transactions. Proper documentation is essential to demonstrate compliance during tax audits.
- Risk Assessment and Compliance Reviews:
The Finance Act 2020 empowers tax authorities to conduct risk assessments and compliance reviews of businesses engaging in related-party transactions. Tax authorities may review transfer pricing documentation, pricing methodologies, and the economic substance of the transactions. Businesses must be prepared for increased scrutiny and ensure that their transactions stand up to tax authority scrutiny.
- Controlled Foreign Company (CFC) Rules:
The Act introduced Controlled Foreign Company (CFC) rules to prevent profit shifting to low-tax jurisdictions. Under these rules, the income of foreign subsidiaries or affiliates of Nigerian companies may be attributed to the Nigerian parent company if certain conditions are met. Businesses need to be aware of these rules to assess their potential impact on group structures and tax planning.
- Impact on Multinational Companies:
Multinational companies operating in Nigeria should reevaluate their transfer pricing policies and ensure compliance with the new regulations. Accurate transfer pricing documentation, adherence to the arm’s length principle, and participation in the APA program can help multinational companies manage their transfer pricing risks effectively.
The Nigeria Finance Act 2020 has significant implications for transfer pricing regulations in the country. Businesses engaged in related-party transactions must adapt to the new requirements, prepare comprehensive transfer pricing documentation, and ensure compliance with the arm’s length principle. As an audit firm, we are committed to assisting our prospective customers in understanding and navigating the implications of the Finance Act 2020 on transfer pricing regulations, providing them with the knowledge and guidance needed to comply with the regulations, mitigate risks, and optimize their tax planning strategies in the evolving Nigerian tax environment.
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