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INSIGHT: Advance Pricing Arrangement Series—Europe

In the years following the introduction of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) action plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), KPMG is expecting a significant increase in transfer pricing controversy. This rise of transfer pricing controversy is fueled by an increase in exchange of information between tax authorities, the number and qualification of tax auditors, tax authority aggressiveness, tax authorities’ use of technology to identify transfer pricing risks and inconsistencies, developing tax laws and regulations, and public pressure on governments to increase revenues generated from corporate income taxes.

Tax authorities have been fighting tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance through increased transparency. The importance of providing greater tax certainty to taxpayers to support trade, investment and economic growth remain an important focus area for both taxpayers and governments. At the same time, the European economy is encountering the debt crisis, Brexit, trade wars, and tariff discussions. Against this background, multinationals have an increasing demand for legal and planning certainty. Thus, KPMG has seen an increase of Advance Pricing Arrangement (APA) applications covering countries in Europe. This article analyzes these programs in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the UK.

European Commission investigation into individual Belgian “excess profit” tax rulings

On September 16, 2019, the European Commission launched an investigation into whether the “excess profit” tax rulings granted to 39 companies by Belgium constitute State aid within the meaning of EU law (See the European Commission’s press release).This investigation is a response to the General Court's decision in case T-131/16 annulling the Commission's initial decision that these rulings formed part of a Belgian aid scheme that was incompatible with EU law (see Euro Tax Flash 395). 

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