Transfer Pricing and Royalty Payments: Compliance Considerations for Nigerian Businesses.


In an era characterized by rapid technological advancements and global business expansion, the exchange of intangible assets such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights has become a common practice among multinational enterprises (MNEs). For Nigerian businesses engaged in international transactions involving royalty payments, adherence to transfer pricing regulations and the arm’s length principle is crucial to ensure fair and transparent business practices. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of managing transfer pricing in royalty payments and the compliance considerations for Nigerian companies.

Understanding Royalty Payments in Transfer Pricing

Royalty payments involve compensation paid by one entity to another for the use of intangible property. These payments often relate to the use of intellectual property, such as technology, brand names, or artistic works. In the context of transfer pricing, it is imperative that these payments are priced at arm’s length, meaning they should reflect the price that unrelated parties would agree upon in similar circumstances.

Key Compliance Considerations for Nigerian Businesses:

Nigerian companies engaged in royalty payments for intangible assets should take the following compliance considerations into account:

  1. Comparable Analysis: Conduct a thorough analysis to identify comparable transactions involving similar intangible assets. This analysis helps establish a benchmark for the arm’s length price of the royalty payment.
  2. Functional Analysis: Evaluate the functions, assets, and risks associated with the intangible asset to determine the appropriate allocation of royalties among related entities.
  3. Selection of Transfer Pricing Method: Choose the most suitable transfer pricing method for pricing royalty payments. Common methods include the Comparable Uncontrolled Price (CUP) method, the Resale Price Method (RPM), and the Profit Split Method (PSM).
  4. Data Reliability: Ensure that the data used for the analysis is reliable and accurately reflects market conditions and the specific characteristics of the intangible asset.
  5. Documentation and Record Keeping: Maintain comprehensive transfer pricing documentation that outlines the analysis conducted, the chosen transfer pricing method, and the rationale behind the arm’s length price determination.

Challenges in Determining Arm’s Length Royalty Payments:

Navigating transfer pricing in royalty payments comes with its own set of challenges:

  1. Unique Nature of Intangible Assets: Intangible assets are often unique, making it difficult to find direct comparables in the market.
  2. Valuation Complexity: Determining the value of intangible assets for royalty payments can be complex, requiring expert valuation methodologies.
  3. Tax and Regulatory Considerations: Royalty payments may have tax implications and must comply with both transfer pricing regulations and local tax laws.

Expert Assistance and Professional Guidance:

Given the intricacies involved in determining arm’s length royalty payments, Nigerian businesses are strongly advised to seek professional assistance from accounting and tax experts with expertise in transfer pricing. Experienced professionals can help navigate the challenges, select the appropriate transfer pricing method, and ensure compliance with both transfer pricing regulations and local tax requirements.


Compliance with transfer pricing regulations and the arm’s length principle is paramount for Nigerian businesses engaged in royalty payment transactions. By following the compliance considerations outlined above, maintaining comprehensive documentation, and seeking expert guidance, businesses can ensure that their royalty payments are priced fairly, mitigate transfer pricing risks, and contribute to transparent and equitable international trade practices.

For professional advice on Accountancy, Transfer Pricing, Tax, Assurance, Outsourcing, online accounting support, Company Registration, and CAC matters, please contact Sunmola David & CO (Chartered Accountants & Tax Practitioners) at Lagos, Ogun state Nigeria offices, You can also reach us via WhatsApp at +2348038460036.