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In appraisal action involving sale of public company, court says sale process had “objective indicia of reliability,” justifying use of deal price for fair value determination. 

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Coca-Cola Co. v. Comm'r

Coca-Cola had been applying a transfer pricing method called the 10-50-50 since it entered into a closing agreement with the IRS in 198, covering the years 1987 to 1995. Coca-Cola had consistently followed that transfer pricing method; the IRS had audited Coca-Cola annually and “signed off” on that transfer pricing method for over a decade. Upon examination of Coca-Cola’s tax returns for 2007 to 2009, the IRS determined that Coca-Cola’s transfer pricing methodology did not reflect arm’s-length norms because it overcompensated the supply point and undercompensated Coca-Cola. The IRS reallocated income between Coca-Cola and its supply points employing the comparable profits method (CPM) pursuant to Reg. Sec. 1.482-5. The IRS increased Coca-Cola’s taxable income by over $9 billion assessing over $3 billion in additional taxes!

2020’s Most Important Transfer Pricing Case—Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola had been applying a transfer pricing method called the 10-50-50 since it entered into a closing agreement with the IRS in 1986, covering the years 1987 to 1995. Coca-Cola had consistently followed that transfer pricing method; the IRS had audited Coca-Cola annually and “signed off” on that transfer pricing method for over a decade. Upon examination of Coca-Cola’s tax returns for 2007 to 2009, the IRS determined that Coca-Cola’s transfer pricing methodology did not reflect arm’s-length norms because it overcompensated the supply point and undercompensated Coca-Cola. The IRS reallocated income between Coca-Cola and its supply points employing the comparable profits method (CPM) pursuant to Reg. Sec. 1.482-5. The IRS increased Coca-Cola’s taxable income by over $9 billion assessing over $3 billion in additional taxes!

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