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Malaysia's New Transfer Pricing Rules & APA Rules 2023

In 2023, Malaysia introduced significant changes to its transfer pricing (TP) regulations, which aim to enhance transparency, compliance, and certainty in intercompany transactions. 

 

These changes affect various aspects of transfer pricing documentation, arm’s length pricing mechanisms, and the process of entering into Advanced Pricing Arrangements (APAs). 

  

In this article, we reveal the key highlights of Malaysia’s new Transfer Pricing Rules and APA Rules 2023, their implications for businesses, and more.

About Transfer Pricing in Malaysia

In Malaysia, transfer pricing regulations have long been aligned with international standards, particularly the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines. 

 

The arm’s length principle governs transfer pricing transactions, ensuring that prices for transactions between related parties are comparable to those between unrelated parties. 

 

 

To provide certainty and clarity, Malaysia introduced the concept of Advanced Pricing Arrangements (APAs) in 2009, allowing taxpayers to negotiate transfer pricing methods with the tax authority.

Overview of Malaysia's New APA Rules 2023

The new APA Rules in Malaysia introduce several changes to the process of negotiating and implementing APAs. Key highlights include:

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1. Types of APAs

Companies can enter into unilateral, bilateral, or multilateral APAs, depending on the jurisdiction of the overseas party involved. Bilateral or multilateral APAs are limited to jurisdictions with double taxation agreements with Malaysia.

2. APA Processing Rules

The new rules extend the timeline for submitting APA applications and renewals, providing taxpayers with more time to prepare and submit their requests. Additionally, the rules specify fees for APA applications and renewals, which enhances transparency in the process.

3. Rollback Provisions

The rules outline conditions for implementing rollbacks of APA outcomes, limiting the scope of rollbacks to three years preceding the covered period. This provision aims to ensure consistency in transfer pricing methodologies over time.

Key Changes in Malaysia's New Transfer Pricing Rules 2023

The recent amendments to Malaysia’s Transfer Pricing Rules 2023 mark a significant shift in the country’s approach to transfer pricing compliance. Among the key highlights:

1. Contemporaneous Transfer Pricing Documentation

The new rules mandate the preparation of contemporaneous TP documentation before the due date for filing tax returns. This documentation must include detailed information on Multinational Enterprise Group, Taxpayer Business Information, and Cost Contribution Arrangement.

2. Arm's Length Range

The rules establish a narrow “arm’s length range” for determining the arm’s length price in controlled transactions. Prices falling within this range are considered acceptable, while those outside the range may undergo adjustments by the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (IRB).

3. Enhanced Comparability Analysis

The rules provide further guidance on conducting comparability analysis, emphasizing the accurate delineation of controlled transactions and the selection of appropriate profit level indicators.

4. Intangible Property Considerations

Emphasis is placed on the accurate attribution of income derived from intangible property, particularly through the Development, Enhancement, Maintenance, Protection, and Exploitation (DEMPE) analysis.

Implications of Malaysia's New Transfer Pricing Rules

The introduction of stringent documentation requirements and the emphasis on contemporaneous preparation pose challenges for businesses operating in Malaysia. 

 

Compliance demands meticulous record-keeping, strong data analysis, and a proactive approach to transfer pricing management

 

Additionally, the tightening of the arm’s length range and the IRB’s authority to make adjustments highlight the importance of thorough transfer pricing studies and documentation.

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Adapting to Malaysia's Evolving Transfer Pricing Environment

As Malaysia’s transfer pricing landscape evolves, businesses must adapt their compliance strategies to meet new regulatory requirements and new challenges. Proactive measures include:

1. Comprehensive Transfer Pricing Policies

Businesses should develop strong transfer pricing policies that align with Malaysia’s new regulations and international best practices. This includes conducting thorough transfer pricing analyses and documenting intercompany transactions meticulously.

2. Strategic Use of APAs

Companies seeking certainty and predictability in their transfer pricing arrangements should explore the possibility of entering into APAs with the IRB. By proactively engaging with tax authorities, businesses can mitigate the risk of disputes and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

3. Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing

Collaboration between the finance team and tax professionals, such as accounting services firms, is essential for overcoming complex transfer pricing regulations effectively. Continuous knowledge sharing and training initiatives can help build internal capabilities and enhance compliance efforts.

In a Nutshell

The introduction of Malaysia’s new Transfer Pricing Rules and APA Rules in 2023 marks a significant shift towards enhanced transfer pricing compliance in the country. 

 

While these changes pose challenges for businesses, they also present opportunities for greater transparency, certainty, and alignment with international standards. 


In this regard, businesses can overcome the new transfer pricing complexity with confidence and resilience by adopting proactive compliance strategies and leveraging the flexibility offered by APAs.

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