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I-T Dept aims to clear record 50 advance pricing pacts in FY16
January, 21st 2016

The Income Tax department is looking at clearing as many as 50 advance pricing agreements (APAs) by March, which would help India become the second country to conclude 50 or more APAs in a year, an I-T official said today.

APA provides for signing of an agreement between a taxpayer and the I-T Department on an appropriate transfer pricing methodology for determining the value of assets and ensuing taxes on intra-group overseas transactions.

The mechanism, aimed at avoiding future transfer pricing disputes, was introduced in 2012 and the fiscal year ended March 2013 was the first cycle.

A total of 22 APAs have already taken place so far in the current fiscal and 10 more such agreements are likely to happen by the month-end. Thus, the department is looking at completing 50 APAs in the current fiscal.

As of now, USA is the only country in the world which accounts for around 100 APAs per annum, the official told PTI, requesting anonymity.

There were merely 10 APAs in India during the past two years. The number of such agreements pending for clearance before the Department was 575 as on March 31 last year, and this is likely to cross 775 by March 2016.

Elaborating on the reason for delay in clearance, the official said that unlike in the USA, where there are 70 officials involved in processing APAs, India has only 15 people who have been engaged for the job.

Maintaining critical assumptions do take place in India while resolving issues relating to APAs, he said "we do go for critical assumptions while tackling APAs. However, it depends on each case and we negotiate with taxpayers while doing so to safeguard the interest of both parties involved."

"APA started happening in the country since the fiscal year 2013-14 and so far 32 APAs (22 in FY16 so far and 10 in FYs 14 & 15) have already happened. The number may cross 50 by the fiscal-end," KPMG head transfer pricing India, Rohan K Phatapherkar, said.

"The problem is there were still 575 APA applications pending before the department (as on March 31 last year) and the number may cross 775 by the fiscal-end," he added.

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