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APA popularity


by Radosław Ozimek, Łukasz Szczygieł

 27 April 2020 

Taxpayers who carry out controlled transactions with associated enterprises are applying more and more often to the Head of the National Revenue Administration for Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs). The most recent statistical data published by the Ministry of Finance confirm the growing trend.

The Ministry publishes statistics on applications for APA every quarter. The data show how many Advance Pricing Agreements have been signed and details about them, such as the transfer pricing methods selected by the taxpayers and types of transactions covered by the APAs.

How many applications for APAs have been submitted?

The available data show that 376 applications for Advance Pricing Agreements were filed between 2006 and the end of 2019, of which 328 were for unilateral agreements, 44 for bilateral and 4 for multilateral. However, the number of applications did not grow steadily every year. In the first year when the respective legislation was passed it was 12 applications and in the following years the number hovered around several to a couple dozen annually. However, the number of applications reached 98 in 2018, which represented a huge increase in popularity. Out of that number 89 applications were for unilateral agreements, 8 for bilateral and 1 for multilateral. Also in 2018, 70 initial meetings took place to elaborate on the issues to be agreed. The chart below shows the evolution in the number of applications over the years.



Source: https://www.podatki.gov.pl/ceny-transferowe/procedury-map-i-apa-statystyki/uprzednie-porozumienia-cenowe-apa/statystyki/



The chart includes also the most recent data of 2019. The year ended with a record number of 192 APA applications, most of which were for unilateral agreements (177), followed by bilateral and multilateral ones (14 and 1, respectively). There were 53 initial meetings. Taxpayers were attracted by the new APA laws passed in November 2019. Significantly, transitional provisions of the new laws allowed new APAs to cover also the year before the application year (2018). This way taxpayers could recover some of the costs lost in that year. We asked for a public information disclosure and learnt that just the last week of December saw an influx of about 140 applications for APAs.

How long is the procedure?

Not all the applications end up successfully with an APA. The number of applications filed in a particular year does not translate directly into the number of agreements signed in that year. This is because the procedure takes months. According to the Finance Ministry’s statistics, the average processing time of an APA application is:


  • for unilateral agreements – 10 months;
  • for bilateral agreements – 29 months;
  • for multilateral agreements – 35 months.

Agreements actually signed

Merely one Advance Pricing Agreement was signed in the first year of APA legislation effectiveness. Several agreements per year were signed in subsequent years. Advance Pricing Agreements gained popularity in 2017 when 11 of them were signed. No doubt the increased interest stemmed from new transfer pricing legislation. APA became an alternative to drawing up transfer pricing documentation and this encouraged taxpayers to use that option. The trend continued in 2018 when 10 agreements were signed and in 2019 the number grew to 15. A total of 80 agreements have been since the beginning of APA in Poland. The chart below shows the number of APAs signed in each year since the APA were implemented in Polish legislation.



Source: https://www.podatki.gov.pl/ceny-transferowe/procedury-map-i-apa-statystyki/uprzednie-porozumienia-cenowe-apa/statystyki/



Transactions covered by APAs

The Ministry of Finance published also information on what the Advance Pricing Agreements cover. The transfer pricing methods and types of transactions covered by the above-mentioned 80 APAs have been analysed. The tables below summarise the findings.

Types of transactions covered by APAs


Source: https://www.podatki.gov.pl/ceny-transferowe/procedury-map-i-apa-statystyki/uprzednie-porozumienia-cenowe-apa/statystyki/



Transfer pricing methods in transactions covered by APAs


Source: https://www.podatki.gov.pl/ceny-transferowe/procedury-map-i-apa-statystyki/uprzednie-porozumienia-cenowe-apa/statystyki/



Importantly, the significant number of applications for APAs in recent years has not yet translated into the number of actually signed agreements due to the long processing time. As of 31 December 2019, 308 APA proceedings were pending. Therefore, a large number of signed APAs is expected in coming years.


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Joanna Tomczak

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