TPG2022 Chapter IV paragraph 4.163

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Concerns have also been expressed that, because of the nature of the APA procedure, it will interest taxpayers with a good voluntary compliance history. Experience in some countries has shown that, most often, taxpayers which would be interested in APAs are very large corporations which would be audited on a regular basis, with their pricing methodology then being examined in any event. The difference in the examination conducted of their transfer pricing would be one of timing rather than extent. As well, it has not been demonstrated that APAs will be of interest solely or principally to such taxpayers. Indeed, there are some early indications that taxpayers, having experienced difficulty with tax administrations on transfer pricing issues and not wishing these difficulties to continue, are often interested in applying for an APA. There is then a serious danger of audit resources and expertise being diverted to these taxpayers and away from the investigation of less compliant taxpayers, where these resources could be better deployed in reducing the risk of losing tax revenue. The balance of compliance resources may be particularly difficult to achieve since an APA programme tends to require highly experienced and often specialised staff. Requests for APAs may be concentrated in particular areas or sectors, e.g. global trading, and this can overstretch the specialist resources already allocated to those areas by the authorities. Tax administrations require time to train experts in specialist fields in order to meet unforeseeable demands from taxpayers for APAs in those areas.

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