3 How MAP works
3.9. Recommended timelines for MAP
Whilst the time taken to complete a MAP case may vary according to its complexity, most competent authorities endeavour to complete a case within two (2) years from the date of acceptance of the taxpayer’s MAP request. The chart in Annex 1 suggests an ideal timeline for a typical MAP process. Of course timelines may be extended or cut short depending upon the facts and circumstances of a particular case.
Regular updates to taxpayers and the other competent authority can be a valuable tool to focus a competent authority (and more specifically competent authority analysts) on the specific timelines of a case. During the evaluation stage, the competent authorities may find it particularly useful to advise each other on their progress at least every three (3) months. Regular reports may be provided by way of telephone, briefing notes, correspondence, teleconferencing, face-to-face meetings or any other form of communication acceptable to the competent authorities. The objective of these communications is to ensure that both competent authorities are kept informed of a case’s progress to facilitate timely resolution.
A common goal of four (4) to six (6) months for a competent authority to provide an initial position paper is widely considered to be realistic and appropriate. This time period would most appropriately begin with the latter of: (i) the receipt of a complete submission of pertinent information and (ii) the receipt by the competent authority responsible for drafting the initial position paper of confirmation of the competent authorities’ mutual understanding to accept the case. If this goal is not achievable, advising the other competent authority in writing as to the reasons for the delay and the likely timeframe for producing a paper would help competent authorities to manage cases, office workload, and resources.
It is expected that the evaluation and response (written or verbal) by the other competent authority be within the six (6) months following receipt of the position paper. Should it be necessary, supplementary questions and responses prior to a meeting can be helpful to explain any remaining unclear issues. In addition, it would be constructive to exchange relevant information well in advance of a face-to-face meeting in order to conduct more efficient and productive meetings. This will allow competent authorities to have sufficient time prior to the meeting to give due consideration to a particular case or issue.
In some instances a competent authority may not be able to meet a two-year timeframe, or other timeframe agreed upon by the competent authorities, to complete a case (See Annex 1 for an ideal timeline for MAP). For example, this may occur when information is not received in a timely manner or the particular case is unusually complicated. In such situations, the competent authorities may simply continue their discussions or may find it useful to agree to a reasonable extension of the timeframe within which they expect to be able to resolve the case. For cases that have exceeded, or are likely to exceed, a reasonable period of time, it is advisable for senior officials of the competent authorities to undertake a review of the case to determine the reasons for the delay and then agree upon an approach to ensure the efficient completion of the case.
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