Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Superorganic World of Transfer Pricing

Business anthropology is an emerging sub-discipline in anthropology. As an academic discipline, business anthropologists study business practices and organizations from a cultural and cross cultural perspective. As an applied discipline, the Business anthropologist works with business owners and corporations to solve cultural and cross cultural problems that arise in the course of international business and/or working with a socially and culturally diverse workforce, market place and business environment.

One problem unique to the international business corporation is the impact of "transfer pricing" on the corporation's organizational structure and operational processes. This is a concept that the business anthropologist should become familiar with when working with international\global corporation.

Transfer Pricing is an accounting tool used in international business to account for sales between a parent company and its subsidiaries located in a different tax jurisdiction. Transfer pricing deals with the problem companies face when they have operations in several different taxing jurisdictions and engage in intra-company sales of goods and services. It can also be a tool that can be used to maximize corporate income taxes savings.

A recent NPR interview on Fresh Air with reporter Jesse Drucker, from Bloomberg News, describes how this tool is being used by such global corporations as Google,Forest Laboratories and other companies to save billions of dollars of taxes.

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