The OECD has announced the release of new mutual agreement procedure statistics and country awards on the resolution of international tax disputes. The statistics and awards were presented during the OECD Tax Certainty Day event held on 22 November 2022.
OECD releases new mutual agreement procedure statistics and country awards on the resolution of international tax disputes
22/11/2022 – The OECD releases today the latest mutual agreement procedure (MAP) statistics covering 127 jurisdictions and practically all MAP cases worldwide. These statistics form part of the BEPS Action 14 Minimum Standard and the wider G20/OECD tax certainty agenda to improve the effectiveness and timeliness of tax-related dispute resolution mechanisms.
The 2021 MAP Statistics show the following trends:
- Significantly more MAP cases were closed in 2021. Approximately 13% more MAP cases were closed in 2021 than in 2020, with both transfer pricing cases (+22%) and other cases (almost +7%) closed being significantly more than in 2020. Competent authorities were able to close more cases in 2021 due to the greater use of virtual meetings, the prioritisation of simpler cases and greater collaboration to solve common issues collectively that could be applied across multiple MAP cases. Further, jurisdictions noted that increases in staff and the experience of these staff are now reflected in their ability to be able to resolve more cases.
- Fewer new cases in 2021. The number of new MAP cases opened in 2021 decreased (almost -3%) (see trends since 2016) compared to 2020. This is attributed to a significant decrease in new transfer pricing cases being opened (almost -10.5%), while the number of other cases opened increased (almost +4%) compared to 2020.
- Outcomes remain generally positive. Around 75% of the MAPs concluded in 2021 fully resolved the issue both for transfer pricing and other cases (similar to 76% for transfer pricing cases and 74% for other cases in 2020). Approximately 2% of MAP cases were closed with no agreement compared to 3% in 2020.
- Cases still take a long time. On average, MAP cases closed in 2021 took 32 months for transfer pricing cases (35 months in 2020) and approximately 21 months for other cases (18.5 months in 2020). Some jurisdictions experienced delays, especially for more complex cases, and the COVID-19 crisis affected the quality of their communication with some treaty partners.
- Competent authorities have continued to adapt. MAP continued to be available throughout the pandemic with several actions taken by competent authorities. Jurisdictions noted that, especially towards the end of 2021, there has been an increase in MAP engagement with treaty partners. Further, while jurisdictions welcomed the resumption of face-to-face meetings, the continued use of virtual meetings has allowed for opportunities to progress individual cases in between face-to-face meetings. This hybrid approach is a welcome practice that many jurisdictions continue to apply to expedite MAP resolutions and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their MAP programmes.
This year's MAP Awards, given in recognition of efforts by competent authorities, saw the following winners: Spain and Ireland for the shortest time in closing transfer pricing cases and other cases respectively; Canada for the smallest proportion of pre-2016 cases in end inventory; and Ireland and New Zealand for the most effective caseload management. The award for the pairs of jurisdictions that dealt the most effectively with their joint caseload went to France-United States for transfer pricing cases and to Ireland-Germany for other cases. Finally, the award for the most improved jurisdiction, which also highlights the efforts taken by competent authorities to resolve MAP cases in 2021, went to Germany, which closed an additional 144 cases with positive outcomes (+41% increase) compared to 2020 with increases for both transfer pricing and other cases.
The 2021 MAP Statistics and the 2021 MAP Awards were presented during the fourth OECD Tax Certainty Day where tax officials and stakeholders took stock of the tax certainty agenda and discussed ways to further improve dispute prevention and resolution. MAP Statistics play an important role in the monitoring of BEPS Action 14 Minimum Standard, providing an objective and global frame of reference, as well as a country-specific view, which together allow measurement of progress but also show where further work is needed.