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Saudi Arabian TP: Mastering the Arm's Length Principle for Fair Taxation
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Navigating the Arm’s Length Principle in Saudi Arabian Transfer Pricing


The arm’s length principle is a fundamental concept in transfer pricing, aiming to ensure that related-party transactions are conducted as if they were between independent entities. In Saudi Arabia, the transfer pricing guidelines provide specific criteria for identifying related persons and determining effective control. This article delves into the intricacies of the arm’s length principle in Saudi Arabia, emphasizing the factors considered when establishing related-party relationships and the economic benefits associated with intangibles.

I. Identifying Related Persons:

According to Saudi Arabian regulations, companies are considered under common control if they are 50 per cent or more controlled by the same related person(s). Control refers to the ownership of rights to income or capital, voting rights or value, or any other beneficial interest directly or indirectly through subsidiaries. The determination of effective control is based on the examination of facts and circumstances.

II. Factors Determining Effective Control:

The Saudi Arabian transfer pricing guidelines highlight the importance of considering facts and circumstances to establish effective control. While there is a presumption of control through governance, funding, or business relationships, the taxpayer has the opportunity to demonstrate that there is no effective control if they believe otherwise. Adequate evidence and supporting documentation are necessary to substantiate such claims.

III. Economic Benefits of Intangibles:

In the realm of intangible assets, legal ownership does not automatically grant the owner the exclusive right to retain all economic benefits from their exploitation. Even if a company holds legal ownership, the determination of economic benefits requires a thorough analysis. The Saudi Arabian transfer pricing guidelines recognize that the returns generated from the utilization of intangibles should be fairly allocated based on their contribution to value creation.


The arm’s length principle serves as the cornerstone of transfer pricing regulations in Saudi Arabia. The guidelines ensure a level playing field and fair taxation for all entities involved in related-party transactions by establishing clear criteria for identifying related persons and determining effective control. Additionally, the recognition of economic benefits associated with intangibles promotes an equitable distribution of returns, aligning with international transfer pricing standards. Comprehending the intricacies of the arm’s length principle is vital for businesses operating in Saudi Arabia, enabling them to navigate transfer pricing complexities and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

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