The Harmonisation of Transfer Pricing: the Obstacles, the Arm's Length Principle and the OECD Guidelines
This essay argues that the complete harmonisation of transfer pricing rules with the arm’s length principle is unattainable for three reasons. First, states are not under a legal obligation to apply the principle outside of treaty or domestic law. Second, the theoretical shortcomings of the principle are creating a divergence from the OECD guidelines on how the principle should be applied. Third, the perception held by states that multinational enterprises are not paying a fair share of tax is also creating a divergence from the OECD guidelines on the principle. The resultant divergence is a significant obstacle to transfer pricing harmonisation.