Google Adwords program is not taxable as either “royalty” or “Fee for technical services” in India

The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, Bangalore (“Tribunal”), recently in Google Ireland Ltd. v. DCIT[1] allowed an appeal by Google Ireland Ltd (“Google Ireland”) and held that the payments received from Google India Pvt Ltd (“Google India”) for granting marketing & distribution rights of Google AdWords program were not in the nature of “royalty” or fee for technical services (“FTS”) and consequently it could not be brought to tax in India.Continue Reading Google Adwords program is not taxable as either “royalty” or “Fee for technical services” in India

Are TDS provisions tedious? Opportune time for simplification

The Tax Deducted at Source (“TDS”) provisions under the Indian Income Tax Act of 1961 (“IT Act”) have been the cornerstone of the country’s tax architecture. A payer (or a deductor) is expected to be vigilant at the time of entering into any transaction, so that the required taxes are duly deducted and deposited with the Government where required, to avoid any adverse implications including penal consequences later. TDS mechanism, under Indian tax laws, has been a useful tool to collect taxes, targeting income at source itself. Continue Reading Are TDS provisions tedious? Opportune time for simplification

Unfolding tax tools to invigorate resolution of companies under IBC

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), introduced in 2016, was conceived as a game-changer, a potent tool to expedite debt recovery from insolvent companies within a stipulated timeframe. Eight years into its existence, the IBC has witnessed a mixed track record. While it has successfully revitalised some companies grappling with financial turmoil, it has also faced criticism. The aim of the IBC was not only to aid the revival of struggling companies, but also to enhance the quality of lenders’ balance sheets and empower distressed asset buyers.Continue Reading Unfolding tax tools to invigorate resolution of companies under IBC

Introduction

The intricacies of tax law often unfold through nuanced interpretations and amendments aimed at addressing loopholes. One such facet is the taxation of capital contributions by partners in partnership firms (including limited liability partnerships), as delineated under section 45(3) of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (“IT Act”). This provision deals with taxing transactions

Supreme Court lays to rest the Most Favoured Nation Controversy

The Most Favored Nation Clause

A Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (“DTAA”) with one country might have a different treatment for the same income as compared to DTAA with another country. To ensure that such differential treatment is avoided, and similar benefits are available across different DTAAs, DTAAs may include the Most Favored Nation (“MFN”) clause. The MFN clause is not a part of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (“OECD”) or the United Nation’s model tax conventions and is also not a standard clause of all DTAAs. Such a clause can be negotiated and included at the discretion of the contracting states for certain income (typically investment income).Continue Reading Supreme Court lays to rest the Most Favoured Nation Controversy

Background

The Income-tax Act, 1961 (“IT Act”) contains various machinery provisions which enable tax authorities to recover tax dues from taxpayers. When payments are made to non-residents that are chargeable to tax under the IT Act, payers (both resident and non-resident) are obligated to withhold tax at applicable rates prior to remittance of funds. Typically, no such obligation arises if the payments are not subject to tax in India. Thus, there are times when taxpayers don’t withhold tax on payments, believing they should not be subject to tax under the IT Act. However, if the Indian tax authorities take a different view, they may initiate proceedings under section 201 of the IT Act against such taxpayers, i.e., the person responsible for withholding taxes.Continue Reading Orders for default in withholding tax on payments made to non-residents must be passed in a reasonable time

Cognizant’s High Court approved scheme of arrangement was held to be a colorable device by Chennai ITAT

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

Share subscription above fair market value would be subject to angel tax

The Bombay High Court has recently allowed a writ, challenging a reassessment notice served on the Assessee (by the income tax department) for FY11-12 on share premium issued by it. The assessing officer, however, failed to come up with any reasonable grounds that led him to believe that income had escaped assessment during the relevant FY. 

Section 56(2)(viib) was introduced into the (Indian) Income Tax Act, 1961 (“IT Act”) as an anti-abuse provision with effect from FY12-13, according to which, if a company issues shares at a value higher than its fair market value, then it will have to pay tax (angel tax) on such incremental value. Rule 11UA of the (Indian) Income Tax Rules, 1962 (“IT Rules”) provides mechanism for computing fair market value.Continue Reading Share subscription above fair market value would be subject to angel tax

Salary reimbursement of seconded employees not taxable in the hands of foreign company

The Hon’ble Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (“ITAT”), Delhi has recently held that salary reimbursement of seconded employees paid to the original employer without any profit element is not taxable as fee for technical services.

This case[1] pertains to Ernst and Young LLP, USA (“EY USA”), which is set up in the US. It had sent its employees on secondment (“Seconded Personnel”) to work with various EY member firms in India (“EY India”). During the assessment proceedings, the tax officer held that the cost-to-cost reimbursement of salary of Seconded Personnel is taxable as fee for technical services (“FTS”) as per Article 12 of the India-US Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (“DTAA”) in the hands of EY USA.Continue Reading Salary reimbursement of seconded employees not taxable in the hands of foreign company: Delhi ITAT

Income Tax Act

In the case of Manas Vs. Income Tax Officer[1], the Hon’ble Madras High Court (“HC”) took serious objection to the taxpayer’s attempt at misleading the Court. The taxpayer had filed a writ petition seeking quashing of the reassessment proceedings and satisfaction order passed under Section 148A of Income Tax Act, 1961 (“IT Act”).Continue Reading Madras High Court takes taxpayer to task for mischief with costs