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  • Nov 13, 2019
  • Arresting tax avoidance by MNCs

    In the face of global outrage at the little or no tax paid by some of the world’s largest multinationals, the G20 appointed the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) a few years ago to design alternatives to end these abuses. In response, on October 9, 2019, the OECD put forward proposals for a new international tax system that may be imposed on the world in the coming decades. We are talking about a major issue. In the US, for example, 60 of the 500 largest firms — including Amazon, Netflix and General Motors — paid no taxes in 2018 despite a cumulative profit of $79 billion. These misappropriations, often legal, are based on complex arrangements but derived from a simple principle.

  • Nov 12, 2019
  • Profits from digital business: India against OECD formula for taxation

    India’s share of tax from multinational digital companies like Google and Facebook, among others, would be substantially lower than the current mop-up under equalisation levy if the taxation formula suggested in the OECD consultative paper is applied. The OECD formula seeks to distribute ‘residual profit’ among jurisdictions where taxability is established. The government collected about Rs. 900 crore in equalisation levy for FY19. India and other developing countries want that the entire profit of these companies should be in play for taxation. The portion of total profit liable for taxation in a given territory should be proportional to the sales made by the firm within the jurisdiction, an official said. But the consultative paper released by OECD said that the ‘residual profit’ should be apportioned among countries.

  • Nov 11, 2019
  • Income Tax task force report suggests complete rejig of tax slabs, saving govt Rs 55,000 crore

    The government could boost its revenues by more than Rs 55,000 crore if it implements a task force report that calls for a complete rejig of income tax slabs and capital gains tax regime, two persons familiar with the content of the report said. “There could be an overall gain in revenues if the recommendations are implemented in full,” one of the persons said. The government has begun examining the report of the task force on direct taxes, and it is expected that some its recommendations may find place in the upcoming budget. The report, which is yet to be made public, has suggested a radical shift to taxation approach by suggesting no prosecution or reopening of assessment for people who declare and pay higher income tax for a past period of up to six years with interest and 50 per cent penalty. “It has been seen that taxpayers do not pay higher tax for a past period for fear of reopening of assessment and prosecution,” said the second person cited earlier.

  • Nov 06, 2019
  • Digital tax on MNCs: India seeks changes in OECD math

    India has sought changes in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) proposal on digital taxation, saying it would deny the country its proper share of taxes from multinationals such as Google, Facebook, Uber and Netflix, which generate substantial revenues locally. The government has proposed a more balanced principle for the taxation of such companies based on place of revenue generation. “We want a fair share in revenues that accrue to the company from the country,” said a government official aware of the development. India has submitted its concerns to the body. The OECD had on October 9 released a draft on taxing digital companies for public comment. Discussions on the proposal are to be held on November 21-22. All countries have to agree for the rules to be enforced.

  • Nov 02, 2019
  • India, US Commit to Further Enhance Cooperation in Tackling Money Laundering

    India and the US on Friday committed to enhance cooperation in tackling money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism. In a joint statement issued after the seventh Meeting of the Economic and Financial Partnership (EFP), the two countries noted that their relationship has strengthened over time as both sides have developed a holistic approach on tackling money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), which are the issues of shared concern. The Indian delegation was led by Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance and the US side was led by Steven Mnuchin, the US Secretary of the Treasury. "Our cooperation includes but is not limited to, information exchanges to combat global terrorist financing and to support the designation of specific terrorist facilitators and financiers, coordinating on AML/CFT and maintaining the integrity of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) global standards for AML/CFT," the statement said.

  • Oct 31, 2019
  • Revenue concerns for the government make immediate tax cuts tough

    Abolishing dividend distribution tax, securities transaction tax and long-term capital gains tax on shares could burn a Rs 80,000 crore hole in tax revenue, making it difficult for the government to offer any immediate concessions. The government has already slashed corporate tax rates, foregoing Rs 1.45 lakh crore, and more tax concessions will have to be made up for by increasing income tax on the super-rich or cutting welfare spending, both of which are not feasible, a government official aware of the matter told ET. The benchmark BSE Sensex crossed the 40,000 mark on Wednesday, building on the big gains of Tuesday after reports that the government may abolish the three equity transaction-related taxes. There are limited options to absorb the revenue loss if these taxes are abolished, said the official, adding that welfare expenditure for schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) and MGNREGS cannot be cut, given weak demand and rural stress. The Reserve Bank of India said the country’s GDP growth will slow to 6.1% this year from 6.8% last year.

  • Oct 30, 2019
  • Income tax on gains from stocks, equity mutual funds set to be revamped: Report

    The government is considering a revamp of the income tax structure on equities to boost investor sentiment, television channel CNBC Awaaz reported, citing sources. The existing long term capital gains (LTCG) tax, the securities transaction tax (STT) and dividend distribution tax (DTT) are under review, the report said. This comes in the wake of a sharp cut in corporate tax rates last month. The Sensex was up 600 points in afternoon trade.

  • Oct 30, 2019
  • Government virtually rules out any cut in income tax rates

    The government has virtually ruled out a reduction in personal income tax, including in the forthcoming Budget, with well-placed sources citing examples of higher rates in several countries such as China, the US and the UK, apart from the lack of fiscal space to reduce the levy.

  • Oct 25, 2019
  • Govt mulls personal I-T relief while scrapping some exemptions: Report

    Government is considering tax relief for individuals as it looks at measures to accelerate consumer demand and boost economic growth, people with direct knowledge of the matter said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is mulling a proposal to hike the taxable income limits, especially the 1 million rupee slab, which attracts a 30% rate at present, the people said, asking not to be identified as the discussions are private.

  • Oct 24, 2019
  • India mulls personal income tax relief while scrapping some exemptions

    India is considering tax relief for individuals as it looks at measures to accelerate consumer demand and boost economic growth, people with direct knowledge of the matter said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is mulling a proposal to hike the taxable income limits, especially the Rs 10 lakh slab, which attracts a 30% rate at present, the people said, asking not to be identified as the discussions are private. The move will be accompanied by scrapping some tax breaks, including the one offered on house rent payments and interest earned on some bank deposits.

  • Oct 23, 2019
  • Just 15% of outstanding arrears of corporate tax recovered in five years

    The government has been able to recover just 15 per cent of the total outstanding arrears of corporate tax of Rs 20,78,267 crores in the last five years. The data presented by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to the Lok Sabha while replying to a written question in July this year, reveals that arrears of Rs 3,19,248 crore have been recovered from defaulters. Data shows that in the last three fiscals, the government was unable to collect even 20 per cent of the corporate tax arrears annually.

  • Oct 23, 2019
  • Companies undergoing restructuring attract taxman's gaze

    A Gujarat-based listed conglomerate that merged one of its companies with another — a smaller unit was taken over by the umbrella group entity — is now under the income tax lens. While around 60% of the cost paid to the smaller entity was toward plant, machinery and land, the rest was an intangible asset later listed on financial statements as goodwill. The tax department is of the view that the group orchestrated the restructuring exercise merely to escape taxes — and not just the Gujarat conglomerate. Hundreds of companies that had undertaken restructuring or mergers within the group are under scrutiny for “artificially” creating goodwill merely to lower their tax outgo.

  • Oct 19, 2019
  • Bombay High Court directs tax department to refund Rs 788.39 crore to Vodafone-Idea

    The Bombay High Court has directed the income tax department to refund Rs 788.39 crore to Vodafone Idea Ltd. (VIL) within three weeks, bringing some relief to the loss-making telecom operator which has also sought the government’s help to ease its financial stress. The refund order – more than Rs 630 crore due to Vodafone India and over Rs 150 crore to Idea Cellular – was issued by the court last week. The tussle between the telco – formed following the August 2018 merger of Vodafone Idea and Idea Cellular – and the IT department erupted from the assessment order for 2017-2018 financial year, when the two companies together suffered losses of more than Rs 6,600 crore. The IT department had held back the refund on the grounds that they had declared income of nearly Rs 287 crore during the assessment year 2016-2017 but incurred a big loss the next year, and therefore their returns for 2017-2018 should be investigated.

  • Oct 17, 2019
  • Tax department issues ITR scrutiny notices. Here’s what to expect and how to file a reply

    A little more than 58,000 taxpayers, who filed their income tax returns (ITR) for financial year (FY) 2017-18, have been served notices of scrutiny. The income tax department has selected 58,322 cases for scrutiny, under the first phase, under the e-Assessment Scheme 2019 for income tax returns (ITR) filed for FY18 or assessment year (AY) 2018-19. The e-notices were served before 30 September 2019.

  • Oct 14, 2019
  • Foreign companies may be protected from retro changes

    After cutting corporate tax rates, India is now examining if it can provide some assurance to foreign investors that there will be no retrospective policy action. It is also proposing to create a special mechanism under which investors looking to set up a base in the country would be handheld till the stage of groundbreaking. "Most foreign investors are wary of any retrospective policy change … This issue is under serious consideration as a part of the policy to promote investments," said Guruprasad Mohapatra, the secretary at the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.

  • Oct 12, 2019
  • Number of income tax payers jumps 13.8% to 84.5 million

    The number of income tax payers rose to 84.5 million in the 2018-19 assessment year, a jump of 13.8% from the previous year in line with double-digit growth in tax receipts and the number of returns filed, official data showed on Friday. Data also showed that since the roll-out of the goods and services tax (GST) in 2017, the share of income tax in the central government’s total tax receipts has also gone up.

  • Oct 11, 2019
  • OECD proposal: Global tech firms’ tax liability here may rise

    The basic framework to tax digital companies as released by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) could potentially bring companies like Google, Facebook and Netflix among others under larger tax liabilities than what they currently pay in jurisdictions like India. The proposal would be finalised by end of next year with formulae to calculate allocation of profits and corresponding taxing rights to countries and jurisdictions. An internal document of the tax department had earlier proposed a line similar to the new ‘unified approach’ laid out in OECD’s consultation documents by seeking to establish nexus rule for companies which would not be defined by mere physical presence. Instead, the department said, the tax liability for such digital firms in India would arise once they breach a certain revenue threshold from consumers here. This would be applicable to highly digitalised businesses and consumer facing businesses, both business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C).