The ITAT recently dismissed an appeal and slammed Cognizant India Private Limited (“Cognizant India”) for what it perceived as using a colorable device to evade taxes during its INR 190 billion share buyback exercise.Continue Reading Cognizant’s High Court approved scheme of arrangement was held to be a colorable device by Chennai ITAT
The Finance Minister (“FM”) introduced her promised ‘never like before Budget’, with the objective of stimulating economic growth through higher spending on healthcare and infrastructure, against the backdrop of the economic slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The FM has also proposed a slew of reforms under the Finance Bill, 2021 (“Bill”), to rationalize the extant provisions of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (“IT Act”). Certain proposals introduced in the Bill could significantly impact M&A deals and change the traditional modus operandi of M&A transactions in India. The ensuing paragraphs will focus on a few such significant amendments proposed in the Bill, which may require close consideration by stakeholders before entering an M&A transaction, be it amalgamation, share acquisition or an acquisition of business as a going concern.
Continue Reading Bumpy Road Ahead for M&A Transaction: Budget 2021
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.
Continue Reading Revenue Recognition Policy of Telecom Companies Attains Finality
With increasing globalisation of the world economy, the continuous movement of people from one jurisdiction to another has become imminent. However, such decisions have also created a significant amount of uncertainty, not only because of the social impact of such movement, but also because it creates tax complexities.
In a recent case, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) had the occasion to examine the tax implications of reimbursement of salaries and other expenses in the case of AT&T Communications Services (India) Pvt. Ltd. v. Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax. The ITAT held that reimbursement made by AT&T Communication Services (India) Pvt. Ltd. (AT&T India) for salary and other costs to AT&T World Personnel Services Inc., USA (AWPS) for the seconded employees working in India did not constitute fees for technical services (FTS) or fees for included services (FIS) under section 9(1)(vii) of Income Tax Act, 1961 (IT Act) or Article 12 of India-US Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA). Hence, AT&T India was not required to withhold taxes under section 195 of the IT Act.
Continue Reading Control and Supervision is the Important Factor to Determine the Nature of Reimbursements in Secondment Agreements
Stock Appreciation Rights (SARs) are recognised globally as one of the most popular instruments of stock-based compensation. SARs are alternatives adopted for implementing equity-based compensation plans like an employee stock option or employee stock purchase. SARs can be structured as either ‘equity settled’ or ‘cash settled’. As a concept, SARs contemplate passing on of appreciation in the value of a certain number of equity shares to employees.
The Income Tax Act, 1961 (IT Act) did not have any specific provision to tax such income; specific provisions were introduced in 1999 to provide for taxation of benefits provided by an employer to its employees under share benefit rewards. From 1999 onwards, Section 17(2) of the IT Act specifies the payments that come within the ambit of ‘salary’ and ‘perquisites’, and covers benefits available to employees therefrom.
For the period prior to 1999, the issue of taxability of amounts received from various employee benefit programmes, including amounts received from the redemption of SARs, was always under dispute. The special bench of the Mumbai Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) in the case of Sumit Bhattacharya held that the amount received on redemption of SARs should be taxable as salary because it was an employment related benefit, in the nature of deferred wages, bonuses or incentives received as a fruit of employment. However, the issue remained inconclusive and litigious. The Supreme Court (SC) appears to have settled this issue in the case of Bharat V. Patel, wherein it has been held that the amount received on account of SARs redemption prior to amendment to section 17(2) would not be taxed as salaries.Continue Reading SC Holds that Income from SARs is Taxed as Capital Gains Only
This is the fourth post in the our new blog series on the Budget 2018. Following our earlier posts (here, here, here and here) on the impact of the Budget on the Direct, Indirect Tax regimes and the Healthcare sector, this piece focuses on the amendments to the advance ruling system under the Customs Act. We hope you enjoy reading this as much as we have enjoyed putting this together.
The Finance Act, 2017 consolidated the Authority for Advance Rulings (AAR) for customs law and direct taxes, to promote the ease of doing business in India. In continuation to that, as well as the introduction of the Goods and Service Tax (GST), the Union Budget 2018 (Budget) proposes various amendments to the Customs Act, 1962 (Customs Act). Such amendments not only include enhancement in the scope of the advance ruling system in India, but also entail revamping of its procedural aspects.
Scope of AAR
The regulatory environment is proposed to be made more conducive by enlarging the ambit of the eligible persons entitled to make an application for advance ruling. Presently, only a joint venture in India, a non-resident person setting up a joint venture in collaboration with a non-resident/ resident, a wholly owned subsidiary of a foreign company, or certain other notified persons (i.e. PSU’s, resident companies and firms, residents importing from Singapore) can apply for an advance ruling.
The amendments proposed in the Budget would allow any person holding a valid Importer-Exporter Code, exporting any goods to India, or having a justifiable cause to the satisfaction of the AAR, to make an application for advance ruling. The said proposal grants wide discretionary powers to the proposed AAR to be constituted under the Customs Act (Customs AAR) to entertain any applicant having a justifiable cause to its satisfaction. This potentially extends the said facility to all persons, including foreign individuals, looking to independently set up business in India or export to India. Additionally, in line with the intent of ensuring the ease of doing of business in India, the proposals include amendments to allow foreign persons intending to export goods to India to be represented by an authorised Indian resident for advance ruling purposes. Interestingly, it is also proposed that the ambit of Customs law be expanded to include persons out of India. This would facilitate the effective regulation of import-export transactions undertaken by foreign suppliers.Continue Reading Authority for Advance Rulings under Customs Law: A Metamorphosis
This is the third post in the our new blog series on the Budget 2018. Following our earlier posts (here, here and here) on the impact of the Budget on the Direct and Indirect Tax regimes, this piece focuses on the initiatives proposed under this Budget in the Healthcare sector. We hope you enjoy reading this as much as we have enjoyed putting this together.
A healthcare focused Budget. Universal healthcare on the anvil.
“India cannot realise its demographic dividend without its citizens being healthy”…. Mr. Arun Jaitley, Hon’ble Finance Minister of India in his budget speech of February 1, 2018.
One of the key constituents of the Union Budget for the year 2018-2019 is healthcare. With the Budget envisaging a boost to the healthcare insurance, service provider and pharmaceutical sector, share prices of some key pharmaceutical companies showed a spike during the speech.
The Hon’ble Finance Minister announced two new initiatives under the “Ayushman Bharat Programme“:Continue Reading First Impressions of the Budget 2018 – Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences
This is the second post in the our new blog series on the Budget 2018. Following our two-part post (here and here) on the impact of the Budget on the Direct Tax regime, this piece focuses on the amendments proposed under this Budget in the Indirect Tax space. We hope you enjoy reading this as much as we have enjoyed putting this together.
With the Indian economy recovering from a transitional slump post the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) of July 01, 2017, the Union Budget 2018 (Budget), tabled in the Lok Sabha on February 01, 2018, reinforces the commitment of Central Government to its “Make in India” and “Digital India” initiatives.
Though the Budget does not propose any significant changes in GST legislation, it recommends changes on the customs front, with a clear intent to vitalise the domestic manufacturing sector, while maintaining investor interest. The key amendments proposed to customs law are detailed below:
Tariff – For the first time in over a decade and a half, the government has increased customs duty rates ostensibly with a view to boost domestic manufacturing in terms of the “Make in India” initiative. The sectors impacted are electronics, automobile, medical devices, packaged food, cosmetics, textile, etc. The duty hike on mobile phones, smart watches, perfumes, fruit juices, television parts such as printed circuit boards and cabinets, cosmetics, silk fabrics, etc. is expected to create a push for suppliers to manufacture or source components in these sectors, locally.Continue Reading First Impressions of the Budget 2018 – Indirect Tax
Published here is Part II, the concluding section, of our blog piece on the key amendments proposed under Budget 2018 to the Income Tax Act. You can view Part I here. We hope you enjoy reading this as much as we have enjoyed putting this together.
- Amendments in Relation to Income Computation Disclosure Standards (ICDS): Recently, the Delhi High Court had held that some provisions of the ICDS are unconstitutional for want of legislative backing and their variance from applicable judicial precedents. In order to provide a requisite legislative framework for ICDS, the Budget now proposes to make various amendments in the provisions of the IT Act, pertaining to the deduction of marked to market losses computed in accordance with ICDS, for treating the gains or losses, computed in accordance with ICDS, as income or loss and to provide for a method of valuations in cases of inventory, goods, services and securities, etc.
- Facilitating Measures for Companies under Insolvency Proceedings:
- Relief from MAT: The Budget proposes to provide MAT relief for companies whose application for a corporate insolvency resolution process under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) has been admitted by the Adjudicating Authority. Accordingly, the aggregate amount of unabsorbed depreciation and loss brought forward shall be allowed to be reduced from the book profit to determine MAT.
- Benefit of carry forward and set off of losses: The provisions of section 79 of the IT Act relating to carry forward and set off losses would not apply to companies whose resolution plan has been approved under the IBC.
This is the first post in the our new blog series on the Budget 2018. This is a two-part piece on the amendments proposed under this Budget to the Income Tax Act; published here is Part I. We hope you enjoy reading this as much as we have enjoyed putting this together.
On 1st February, 2018, the Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley presented the last full-year Union Budget before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. It was delivered against a backdrop of economic slowdown caused by demonetisation in November, 2016 and the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) legislations. The Budget focuses on strengthening agriculture and the rural economy, providing social security benefits and infrastructure creation.
The Finance Minister stated that the Indian economy is reviving and predicted that its Gross Domestic Product will rise to 7-7.5% in 2018-19, and that India is expected to become one of the world’s fastest and largest economies.
In the paragraphs below, we present a snapshot of some of the proposed amendments to the Income Tax Act, 1961 (IT Act) presented in this Budget:Continue Reading First Impressions of the Budget 2018: Income Tax Act – Part I