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Costa Rica: Draft guidelines for processing advance pricing agreements (APAs)

Costa Rica: Draft guidelines for processing APAs

The tax administration (Administración Tributaria) released draft guidelines regarding the procedures for processing advance pricing agreements (APAs).


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The draft guidelines are contained in a draft resolution that is available on the website of the Ministerio de Hacienda and that is pending publication in the official gazette. According to the draft guidelines, the office responsible for processing and reviewing APA applications would be the Subdirección de Acuerdos Previos de Precios de Transferencia de la Dirección General de Tributación (SAPPT).

The draft guidelines state that APA applications would need to be addressed to the general tax office (Dirección General de Tributación) and submitted to the SAPPT office together with information required by resolution DGT-R-049-2019 in relation to Master file and Local file requirements.

Once approved, an APA would be effective for a period of five years (as determined under one of two methods):

  • The tax period in which the APA application is submitted and for the following four tax periods
  • The five years beginning with the tax period after the date of submission of the APA application

Notably, there is an article of confidentiality, stating that the information and documentation that is submitted by the taxpayer as part of the APA application would be for the exclusive use within the APA proceedings; thus, this information could not be used for other purposes.


According to the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines, an APA is formally initiated at the request of the taxpayer and implies a negotiation between the taxpayer and one or more related companies with one or more tax administrations. Under the APA process, the criteria for determining transfer prices are established, prior to the execution of an intercompany transaction, for a certain period of time. The objective of the APA process is to provide the taxpayer with an alternative with regard to challenges or responsibilities associated with transfer pricing issues. With an APA, the taxpayer is afforded a degree of certainty for transfer pricing compliance for intercompany transactions covered by the APA.

Read a December 2019 report (Spanish and English) [PDF 67 KB] prepared by the KPMG member firm in Costa Rica

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