Photo of Thangadurai V.P

Senior Associate in the Tax Practice at the New Delhi office of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Thangadurai specialises in providing advisory and litigation services on various aspects of direct tax laws viz. corporate tax, international tax and transfer pricing. He has made representations and has assisted other reputed tax practitioners in making representations before various judicial fora including CIT(A), ITAT, High Court and Supreme Court of India.  He can be reached at thangadurai.vp@cyrilshroff.com.

Revenue Recognition Policy of Telecom Companies Attains Finality

The Indian telecommunications sector has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years due to the significant increase in the subscriber base, with an increasing percentage of them looking for pre-paid connections. The sector now reaches out to every nook and corner of the country. What is even more praiseworthy is the fact that this has been achieved at very low cost and consumers have also prospered from availing such services at one of the lowest charge-out rates.

The above was possible because Indian telecommunication players were able to come up with extremely innovative invoicing options and accordingly also adopted very different revenue recognition mechanisms. As most of the growth was seen in the pre-paid section, the revenue recognition methodology adopted by the industry was also subject to a vigorous amount of scrutiny by the tax authorities and there has been a significant amount of litigation on account of the same. The controversy primarily arose because the contracts entered into by the telecom companies with prepaid customers were large in numbers and got modified frequently.
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 Are the Assets or monies distributed to retiring partners taxable

Disputes involving whether capital gains taxes are leviable on sums/assets paid to retiring partners has been a subject matter of litigation for several decades now. In order to bring clarity, the legislature introduced a new provision (i.e. section 45(4)) into the Income tax Act, 1961 (IT Act), which provided that capital gains tax should be levied in the hands of the partnership firm at the time of distribution of assets. This seems, however, to have further complicated the situation.

Bangalore Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) in the case of Savitri Kudur[1] and the Madras High Court (HC) in the case of National Company[2] have delivered noteworthy decisions recently. The Bangalore ITAT held that the cash consideration paid to the retiring partner on the basis of the amount lying in his/her capital account would not be subject to capital gains tax under the IT Act by relying on the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) in the case of Mohanbhai Pamabhai[3]. The Madras HC, on the other hand, held that even the allotment of immovable properties to the retiring partners would not be subject to capital gains tax by relying on the same SC decision in the case of the Mohanbhai Pamabhai (supra).
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cbdt direct tax

In the Chamber of Tax consultants & ors v. CBDT and Union of India)[1], the Hon’ble Bombay High Court (HC) set aside a portion of the Central Board of Direct Taxes’ (CBDT) action plan that sought to incentivise commissioners of income tax (Appeals) (CIT(A)) whose orders have led to enhanced tax demand from the tax payers. The HC noted that the proviso to the section 119 of the Income tax Act, 1961 (IT Act) specifically prohibits it from issuing any such directions to make a specific assessment or dispose a case in a particular manner.

Facts

Sometime back, the CBDT issued a Central Action Plan for the financial year 2018-19 (CAP) inter alia for the purposes of setting out targets for tax collection, fixing timelines for disposal of cases by income tax authorities and for awarding certain reward points for such disposals. However, since the said CAP proposed to incentivise CIT(A)s who were passing orders favouring the Government, it raised a huge issue and there were widespread protests against such a move.
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