Purpose of the manual
The overall purpose of this manual is the continued improvement of the MAP process as it applies in countries' treaty relationships. For both OECD Member countries and non-OECD economies, this means the promotion of greater consistency in how MAP issues are dealt with, as well as improving the speed and effectiveness of the process.
This manual should be a general guide for the MAP process that highlights the best practices of the competent authorities of the OECD Member countries. As such, the MEMAP will encourage countries to improve the effectiveness of MAP. While the MEMAP does not impose a set of binding rules upon tax authorities or taxpayers, it is intended to describe recommended approaches for conducting MAP activities. The best practices for MAP developed by the MEMAP will facilitate and support the resolution of double taxation cases and other eligible cases for MAP consideration, while remaining general enough to be applicable to most jurisdictions.
“Best practice” is the term used in this manual to describe what is generally thought to be the most appropriate manner to deal with a MAP process or procedural issue, and best practices are generally the practices followed by most OECD countries. They are grouped functionally and there is no priority or significance associated with their order or length of discussion. There maybe certain situations where a best practice as described in the MEMAP is not applicable or is not necessarily the “best” approach to resolving a problem or issue in a particular case. Although taxpayers and tax administrations should ideally strive towards implementing these best practices, it is recognised that there may be situations where their application may not be appropriate.
The OECD website includes a series of country profiles on Mutual Agreement Procedures for OECD Member countries, with information about the specific practices of the Member countries. In situations where specific country guidance is not available for MAP, this manual should provide general guidance on the process and on obtaining assistance from a competent authority.
The MEMAP is intended as a guide to increase awareness of the MAP process and how it should function. It does not, and is not intended to, modify, restrict or expand any rights or obligations contained in the provision of any tax convention. To the extent that there are any statements or information in the MEMAP which appear to conflict, or to be incompatible with a convention, domestic guidance provided by a country, the OECD Model Tax Convention or the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines, then the latter guidance is controlling.