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HMRC internal manual

International Manual

Transfer pricing: methodologies: Advance Pricing Agreements: expression of interest

Initial contact - the expression of interest process

The APA process is initiated by the business but HMRC always strongly recommend that an enterprise interested in applying for an APA contacts it first to informally discuss its plans before presenting a formal application. This is to ensure that the resources of the business are not wasted on an unsuitable application and to ensure that the detailed work that will need to be undertaken by the business in finalising its application is focused on relevant issues. It also gives HMRC an opportunity to outline a realistic anticipated timetable for agreeing an APA based on past experience, or to discuss other practical “process” issues with the business.

The contact details for an Expression of Interest in an APA and for making an APA application in all cases is:

Nick Stevart (APA Lead)
HMRC, CTIS Business International
11th Floor East, Euston Tower, 286 Euston Road, London NW1 3UH

Telephone: 03000 585659
Fax: 03000 586915

The Expression of Interest should generally cover:

  1. The nature of the transfer pricing issues intended to be covered by an APA.
  2. Details of the tax residence of the parties involved and the importance to the wider business of the transactions intended to be covered.
  3. If decided upon, a description of the proposed transfer pricing method.
  4. An indication of the nature of any current transfer pricing enquiries, competent authority claims, and any other relevant issues that the business is aware of in the context of the suggested APA.

HMRC’s experience is that discussion of these issues at a meeting is much speedier and more productive than correspondence.

An Expression of Interest can best be evaluated where the identity of the business is known. However, if a business wishes to preserve anonymity until a decision in principle is made to proceed with the application, HMRC will be prepared to enter discussions without knowing the identity of the business providing all other information relevant to the proper evaluation of the request is supplied. However, HMRC will not make any commitment over acceptance into the APA Programme until the identity of the business is known. Otherwise, HMRC is usually able to indicate at the conclusion of an Expression of Interest discussion whether it will be prepared to consider an application for an APA.

In the event that HMRC considers that an application should not be admitted into the APA Programme, HMRC will advise the business of the reasons why HMRC takes that view, and will allow the business the opportunity to make further representations.