Advancements in Advance Pricing Agreements: A Global Perspective

September 11, 20230

In the evolving landscape of international taxation, recent developments in Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) across various jurisdictions have been making waves. This article looks into the updates and modifications introduced by tax authorities in Israel, Guatemala, the United Kingdom, and Greece concerning their respective APA procedures. These changes are aimed at enhancing transparency, efficiency, and effectiveness in addressing transfer pricing issues. Tax professionals, investors, and businesses with international operations will find this information valuable for sating up to date in the complex world of cross-border taxation. 

 

Israel: Aligning with BEPS Principles 

The Israeli Tax Authority (ITA) recently issued updated guidance on Mutual Agreement Procedures (MAPs), in line with the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project led by the OECD. This development, dated August 17, 2023, is a significant step toward making MAP more accessible, clear, and efficient. 

The key highlights of the updated guidance include: 

  • Elaboration on different types of MAP, including bilateral, multilateral, and procedures initiated by the ITA or a treaty country’s competent authority. 
  • Expansion of the documentation requirements for filing a MAP request. 
  • Appointment of the International Tax Department as the Competent Authority, ensuring independence from tax assessing officers. 
  • A comprehensive list of typical cases suitable for engaging in MAP. 
  • Clarifications on the scope of MAP, excluding issues related to Israeli taxation of Israeli residents or nondiscriminatory administrative requirements. 
  • Guidance on timing for filing MAP requests, handling closed years, and addressing recurring issues. 
  • Detailed examination of treaty interpretation, income allocation, and arm’s length principles. 
  • Insight into interactions between MAP, audit, and appeal procedures. 
  • These updates offer clarity on ITA’s approach to MAP, providing companies with more stability and consistency when dealing with intercompany arrangements, Israel-sourced income, profit allocation to/from Israel, and other treaty-related matters. 

 

Guatemala: A Sector-Focused Inspection Model 

Guatemala’s Superintendency of Tax Administration has introduced a new tax inspection risk model, effective August 23, 2023. This model focuses on taxpayers subject to Income Tax, prioritizing 7,085 taxpayers representing 80% of tax revenue collection. The segmentation by economic sector enables precise analysis and monitoring tailored to each segment’s peculiarities, reducing discretion in case selection. 

The benefits of this model include: 

  • Precise identification of tax noncompliance risks. 
  • Early detection of atypical compliance patterns. 
  • Increased transparency in the inspection process. 

By streamlining the inspection process, Guatemala aims to strengthen tax compliance, ensuring fairness in identifying and rectifying noncompliance. 

 

United Kingdom: Updates to Advance Pricing Agreements 

The United Kingdom’s HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) recently updated its Statement of Practice on Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs). These updates, effective September 4, 2023, provide valuable insights for businesses considering APAs in the UK. Key changes include: 

  • Addressing the interaction between APA applications and unresolved tax audits. 
  • Expecting businesses seeking unilateral APAs to first approach treaty partner countries. 
  • Clarifying pre-filing stage requirements. 
  • Setting a timeframe for accepting or rejecting APA applications. 
  • Seeking to agree on timelines and joint information requests with competent authorities. 
  • Requiring tax computations to align with proposed pricing during the APA process. 
  • Targeting a 30-month timeline to reach agreement. 

These updates enhance clarity and efficiency in the APA process, offering businesses a structured approach to transfer pricing certainty. 

 

Greece: Streamlining Advance Pricing Agreements 

In Greece, Decision A.1107/2023 by the Independent Authority for Public Revenues (AADE) replaced the previous circular concerning APAs. Effective July 28, 2023, this decision introduces several modifications to the APA procedure: 

  • Removing the 30-day limit to submit an APA application. 
  • Setting a specific two-month timeframe for submitting additional information. 
  • Extending the period for issuing APA decisions to 30 days. 
  • Requiring annual reports of compliance within 90 days. 
  • Allowing retroactive effect for APAs. 

These changes align the Greek APA procedure with international standards and provide more predictability for businesses. 

 

Conclusion 

The dynamic nature of international taxation demands constant adaptation. These updates in Israel, Guatemala, the United Kingdom, and Greece signify a commitment to modernizing and streamlining APA processes, ultimately benefiting taxpayers by providing greater clarity, efficiency, and fairness in addressing transfer pricing issues. For tax professionals, investors, and businesses, staying informed about these changes is crucial for staying up to date in the complex world of cross-border taxation. 

 

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