Luxembourg: Principes de l'OCDE en matière de prix de transfert | Nouvelles lignes directrices sur l'allocation des risques

Last Updated: 19 December 2018
Article by Oliver R. Hoor
Most Read Contributor in Luxembourg, December 2018

Les Principes de l'OCDE fournissent de nouvelles lignes directrices pour l'allocation des risques : cependant, le cadre de l'analyse des risques ajoute une couche de complexité à l'analyse des prix de transfert. Les contribuables doivent adopter une position proactive en examinant et documentant attentivement l'allocation des risques dans le cadre de transactions contrôlées.

Le 10 juillet 2017, l'OCDE a publié une révision de ses Principes applicables en matière de prix de transfert à l'intention des entreprises multinationales et des administrations fiscales (les « Principes de l'OCDE »). Plusieurs chapitres des Principes de l'OCDE ont été considérablement réécrits suite aux travaux de l'Organisation dans le cadre de son projet sur l'érosion de la base et le transfert des bénéfices (« BEPS »), y compris le chapitre I, qui définit désormais un cadre détaillé pour la (ré)allocation des risques. Cet article analyse les nouvelles lignes directrices relatives à l'identification, la délimitation et l'allocation des risques dans le cadre de l'analyse fonctionnelle d'une étude de prix de transfert.

1. Introduction

Les prix de transfert ont constitué une grande partie des travaux de l'OCDE dans le cadre de son projet BEPS. Quatre des 15 actions BEPS étaient axées sur les prix de transfert et les exigences connexes en matière de documentation. L'objectif de l'OCDE était d'aligner les prix de transfert calculés sur la « création de valeur ». L'action 8 du projet EPS portait sur les actifs incorporels, l'action 9 sur le risque et le capital et l'action 10 sur ce qui a été identifié comme autres transactions à risque élevé ; l'action 13 traitait de la documentation des prix de transfert.

Lorsque l'OCDE a lancé son projet BEPS en 2013, les prix de transfert, et en particulier la possibilité pour les entreprises multinationales (« EMN ») de transférer les risques entre entreprises associées, ont été identifiés comme l'un des principaux éléments de pression dans le contexte de BEPS. Les travaux effectués dans le cadre de l'action 9 ont abouti à une refonte profonde du chapitre I, section D des Principes de l'OCDE (« Guide pour l'application du principe de pleine concurrence »). L'idée fondamentale derrière ces nouvelles lignes directrices est de s'attaquer à la répartition contractuelle des risques dont la rationalité commerciale des transactions non contrôlées fait défaut.

L'attribution du risque entre entreprises associées dans le contexte d'une transaction contrôlée est analysée dans le cadre d'une analyse fonctionnelle qui examine les fonctions exercées, les actifs utilisés et les risques assumés par les parties. L'expérience pratique montre que l'analyse du risque en relation avec des transactions contrôlées est plus complexe que l'analyse des fonctions et des actifs. Dès lors, les Principes révisés de l'OCDE adoptent une approche en 6 étapes afin d'identifier, de délimiter et d'allouer les risques dans le cadre de transactions contrôlées. Ce nouveau cadre a pour objet de parer aux situations dans lesquelles une entité touche une rémunération inappropriée uniquement parce qu'elle a contractuellement assumé des risques ou fourni du capital.

2. La notion de risque dans le contexte des prix de transfert

La version révisée des Principes de l'OCDE définit largement le terme de « risque » dans le contexte des prix de transfert comme étant « l'effet de l'incertitude sur les objectifs de l'entreprise ». Ainsi, l'incertitude existe et un risque est supporté dans chacune des mesures prises par le contribuable pour tirer parti d'une opportunité1.

Selon les Principes de l'OCDE, la partie qui assume le risque lié à une transaction contrôlée doit exercer le contrôle sur ce risque et doit posséder la capacité financière d'assumer et de supporter le risque2.

Le contrôle du risque implique d'avoir la capacité de prendre des décisions relatives aux opportunités porteuses de risques, et de décider de faire face ou non, et selon quelles modalités, aux risques associés à ces opportunités. Le contrôle du risque implique également l'exercice effectif de cette fonction de prise de décision3. La capacité financière d'assumer le risque nécessite un accès au financement nécessaire afin de couvrir les coûts escomptés en cas de réalisation du risque4.

Les nouvelles lignes directrices fournies dans les Principes de l'OCDE ont pour objectif de contrer les sociétés dites « cash boxes » et les autres structures dont la substance pour contrôler les risques ainsi que la capacité financière pour supporter un risque en relation avec une transaction sous-jacente font défaut5.

Les Principes révisés de l'OCDE distinguent les risques en relation avec le financement d'une transaction particulière (qui est le risque de financement ou financier) et les risques opérationnels qui sont liés à telle transaction ou activité. Quant à la rémunération du risque, une entité qui supporte le risque de financement ne doit pas percevoir plus qu'un rendement financier corrigé des risques et non un revenu résiduel, à moins que l'entité fournissant le financement contrôle aussi les risques opérationnels. Cependant, les Principes de l'OCDE restent muets sur la manière de déterminer le rendement corrigé des risques. Lorsqu'une entité, qui finance une transaction contrôlée ne contrôle même pas les risques liés au financement, une telle entité ne devrait avoir droit qu'à un taux de rendement sans risque6.

En principe, le risque et le rendement sont directement liés et la prise en charge de risques accrus devrait être compensée par une augmentation du rendement escompté. Cependant, les Principes de l'OCDE reconnaissent que le rendement réel peut ou non augmenter, en fonction du degré de matérialisation effective des risques7. Ainsi, si les risques se matérialisent et affectent négativement les rendements des contribuables, les autorités fiscales ne peuvent pas attendre de ceux-ci qu'ils réalisent des rendements plus élevés.

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Footnotes

1. Voir Paragraphe 1.71 du Chapitre I des Principes de l'OCDE.

2. Voir Paragraphe 1.64 et 1.65 dans le Chapitre I des Principes de l'OCDE.

3. Voir Paragraphe 1.65 dans le Chapitre I des Principes de l'OCDE.

4. Voir Paragraphe 1.64 dans le Chapitre I des Principes de l'OCDE.

5. Voir Sunny Kishore Bilaney, ''Understanding Risk in the Era of the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Initiative'', Bulletin for International Taxation, October 2016, p. 577.

6. Voir Paragraphe 1.100 – 1.103 dans le Chapitre I des Principes de l'OCDE

7. Voir Paragraphe 1.56 dans le Chapitre I des Principes de l'OCDE.

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