Skip to main content

Foreign Cost Sharing Agreement

Foreign Cost Sharing Agreements: Understanding the Basics

If you`re a business operating internationally, you may have heard of foreign cost sharing agreements (CSAs). These agreements can be an effective way for multinational companies to reduce their global tax burden, but they can also be complex and require careful consideration. In this article, we`ll provide an overview of CSAs and what you need to know about them.

What is a Cost Sharing Agreement?

A cost sharing agreement is a legal agreement between parties that outlines how the costs and risks of a particular project or venture will be allocated. In the case of a foreign CSA, the agreement applies specifically to the sharing of costs associated with research and development (R&D) activities across international borders.

The goal of a CSA is to allocate the costs of R&D fairly between different parties, taking into account factors such as the relative proportion of benefits that each party expects to receive from the R&D. The parties may be related entities or unrelated third parties, and the agreement can also specify how intellectual property rights and other valuable assets will be shared or licensed.

Why are Foreign CSAs Important?

Foreign CSAs are particularly important for multinational companies because they allow these companies to allocate R&D costs across different jurisdictions, which can help reduce their tax liability. By sharing R&D costs, related entities can reduce their tax burden by allocating those costs to lower tax jurisdictions where R&D is conducted. This is known as transfer pricing, and it is a key factor in determining the overall tax liability for multinational companies.

Another benefit of foreign CSAs is that they can promote collaboration and innovation across borders by allowing parties to share resources and expertise. This can lead to more efficient and effective R&D, as well as the development of new products and technologies.

Legal Considerations

Foreign CSAs are subject to a number of legal considerations and requirements. The most important of these is compliance with transfer pricing rules and regulations in the jurisdictions where the parties are located. These rules are designed to prevent artificial shifting of profits across borders, and failure to comply can result in penalties and fines.

It`s also important to consider the potential for disputes between parties, particularly if there is disagreement over the allocation of costs or the ownership of intellectual property. To mitigate these risks, it`s advisable to involve legal counsel and to have a clear and detailed agreement that outlines the rights and responsibilities of each party.


Foreign cost sharing agreements can be an effective tool for multinational companies looking to reduce their tax liability and promote collaboration across borders. However, these agreements require careful consideration and compliance with legal requirements and regulations. As with any legal agreement, it`s important to involve legal counsel and to ensure that the terms of the agreement are clear and detailed.