Transfer Pricing: Operational guidance: real time working of transfer pricing issues (excluding thin capitalisation)
HMRC recognises that real time working of issues, including TP, can provide earlier certainty for the business and allows HMRC to examine issues when information and relevant business personnel are more easily accessed.
CRMs and case teams are expected to engage with customers about a wide range of potential risks and can welcome information about the business and their TP policies to inform their annual risk review processes. However it is important to be clear that HMRC will only engage in discussion and provide comment on TP issues under the Advanced Pricing Agreement (APA) process or when those issues are under enquiry.
HMRC provides a statutory clearance mechanism, the APA process, which facilitates real time working. The formal APA process is the only way that a customer can be given certainty about the TP treatment of future transactions. INTM422000 and Statement of Practice 02/10 provide a full explanation.
If HMRC or the customer do not wish to pursue an APA and the case team perceive a significant risk or concern with the TP arrangements the case team should consider a real time enquiry. This enquiry will be subject to the normal TP governance and will involve a MTC submission to the appropriate TP Panel.
Where a TP issue is neither suitable for an APA, nor does it warrant an enquiry, CRMs and case teams should not engage with the customer in discussions on that issue.
On no account should a low-risk opinion or any other indication as to the perceived level of risk in the TP arrangements be given outside the APA or TP governance frameworks.
Any potential interest in applying for an APA should be referred to the following contact point, who will consider whether it is appropriate for the APA programme. CRMs and case teams can also get in touch to discuss the likely suitability of an APA for their customer:
Nick Stevart (APA Lead)
CTIS Business International
11th Floor East, Euston Tower, 286 Euston Road, London NW1 3UH
Telephone: 03000 585659
Fax: 03000 586915
INTM480550 explains the separate approach which is needed for thin capitalisation work.