Advance pricing agreements

Availability

Does the country have an advance pricing agreement (APA) programme? If so, is the programme widely used? Are unilateral, bilateral and multilateral APAs available?

In February 2015, the Minister of Finance released an instruction governing the process of APA. Based on this instruction, unilateral, bilateral and multilateral APAs are possible. However, no such programme is yet used in practice.

Process

Describe the process for obtaining an APA, including a brief description of the submission requirements and any applicable user fees.

The process is structured in six phases:

  • pre-filing meeting;
  • APA application;
  • assessment;
  • negotiation;
  • drafting and execution; and
  • annual compliance reporting.

An initial non-refundable fee of 50,000 leks is paid before the pre-filing phase and after that 300,000 leks for unilateral APAs and 1.2 million leks for bilateral and multilateral APAs.

Time frame

How long does it typically take to obtain a unilateral and a bilateral APA?

There is no official practice showing how long it takes; however, based on the time limits for each phase mentioned above it should take between 260 and 350 days.

Duration

How many years can an APA cover prospectively? Are rollbacks available?

An APA may cover a maximum of five years with the exception of APAs related to the application of agreements ratified by the Albanian parliament. No rollbacks are allowable. In addition, only requests for controlled transactions exceeding €30 million will be considered.

Scope

What types of related-party transactions or issues can be covered by APAs?

There are no limitations based on the type of transactions. All types of controlled transactions may be subject to an APA.

Independence

Is the APA programme independent from the tax authority’s examination function? Is it independent from the competent authority staff that handle other double tax cases?

The APA programme is handled within the GTD under the Transfer Pricing Sector, as part of the Operational Directorate. The staff who handle double tax treaties report to the technical director.

Advantages and disadvantages

What are the key advantages and disadvantages to obtaining an APA with the tax authority?

As indicated above, the advantages of an APA have not yet been tested in practice. Theoretically, the advantage will be clarity on applying the transfer pricing.