A pre-price agreement (APA) is a prior agreement between a tax payer and a tax authority on an appropriate transfer pricing method (TPM) for a number of transactions involved during a specified period (“covered transactions”). However, it is possible that a subject may be able to negotiate a unilateral APA involving only the taxpayer and the IRS. In this case, both parties negotiate an appropriate TPM only for U.S. tax purposes. If the taxpayer is involved in a dispute with a foreign tax authority over the registered transactions, he can apply for a discharge by asking the competent US authority to initiate a procedure of mutual agreement. This, of course, implies the entry into force of an applicable foreign income tax agreement. The Pre-Price Agreement (APA) is a advance notice that gives companies legal certainty regarding their future transactions between two related companies. The Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP), which is independent of internal remedies, aims to resolve situations of double taxation or situations in which taxation does not comply with a bilateral tax treaty. Pre-pricing (APA) is a tax decision that gives companies legal certainty for their future intragroup transactions. An APA is an administrative approach that aims to avoid transfer pricing disputes by establishing criteria for applying the arm length principle to transactions prior to such transactions. This contrasts with traditional audit techniques that verify whether transactions that have already taken place reflect the application of the arm length principle.
Such approaches were relatively new at the time the 1995 OECD Council adopted the guidelines, and the tax committee therefore indicated, in point 4.161 of the transfer pricing guidelines, that it intended to “carefully monitor any extensive use of the APA and promote greater consistency in practice among countries that choose to use them.” In addition, point 4.163 of the guidelines states that “if possible, an APA must be concluded on a bilateral or multilateral basis between the relevant authorities as part of the treaty`s mutual agreement procedure.” Bilateral and multilateral APAs are generally bilateral or multilateral, i.e. they also enter into agreements between the subject and one or more foreign tax administrations under the control of the Mutual Agreement Procedure (POP) under the tax treaties.  The subject benefits from such agreements, since he is assured that income from covered transactions is not subject to double taxation on the part of the IRS and the relevant foreign tax authorities. The IRS policy is to “encourage” taxpayers to apply for bilateral or multilateral APA where there are provisions of the competent authority. The appendix begins with the definition of the different types of APA and describes the objectives of the APA process. The ability to participate in an APA MAP is considered with respect to contractual issues and other factors such as the audit status of the subject. Issues relating to multilateral GPAs (i.e., where there is more than one bilateral agreement) are also addressed. The central point of the annex deals in detail with the whole MAP-APA procedure, starting with the meetings before the presentation, on the presentation of a proposal, its evaluation by the tax authorities, the discussion and conclusion of the mutual agreement, the implementation of this mutual agreement and, finally, the follow-up of the agreement and a possible extension. While the Schedule focuses on the direction of tax authorities, it takes the opportunity to discuss how the taxpayer can best contribute to this process.