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Advanced Pricing Agreement Guidelines – details

Following the introduction of the Advanced Pricing Agreement (APA) regime under the Amended Tax Administration Law, Amended Corporate Income Tax Law and Decree 83/2013/ND-CP dated 22 July 2013, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) has issued Circular 201/2013/TT-BTC dated 20 December 2013 providing detailed guidance on Advance Pricing Agreements (Circular 201) which will be effective from 5 February 2014.
Key points of Circular 201 have been summarized as follows.

Scope of application
An APA is available to Vietnamese corporate income taxpayers with related-party business transactions. There is no restriction on the taxpayer in terms of the size of business (such as minimum revenue or capital thresholds) and it appears that an APA may apply to both domestic and international transactions.
The APA may be unilateral/bilateral/multilateral in nature and is based on the following principles:

- voluntary request by taxpayer;
- cooperative discussion and conclusion between the tax authority, taxpayers and/or relevant treaty partners;
- the prospective application; and
- is focused on predetermined related-party transactions only.
APA process
The APA process consists of five main steps as follows:
- pre-filing consultation;
- formal application;
- evaluation
- discussion and negotiation; and
- conclusion and circulation.
The GDT is responsible for the overall process with assistance from the provincial tax departments in negotiating, organizing and implementing the APA application, whilst the MOF is responsible for the APA framework itself.
There is no fee for an APA application.

An APA will be effective for no more than 5 years with the date of submission of the APA request being the earliest date possible. An APA can be renewed but for no more than another 5 years and if there are no material changes to the transaction(s) to which the APA applied.
Throughout the tenure of the APA, the taxpayer is required to submit an annual report together with its CIT return. If there are any material changes which may impact the APA, the taxpayer is required to submit an ad-hoc report within 30 days of the changing event.
The taxpayer is also responsible for making the necessary adjustments, in line with the agreed APA, throughout the APA period.

- Information confidentiality is to be observed by all parties and any information/documentation provided during the APA application process shall not be used for other purposes, such as audits, investigations, etc.
- Taxpayers seeking application of a bilateral or multilateral MAP can submit a MAP request. The GDT will contact the competent tax authority within 30 days of the request and will inform the taxpayer of the corresponding response within 15 days of the receipt of the same.

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