Clarity on eligibility criteria for funds set up by Category I FPIs for exemption from taxable presence in India

Background

A special  taxation regime, provided under Section 9A of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (“IT Act”), exempts eligible offshore funds, with their fund managers located in India, from treating them as having taxable business presence in India. On satisfaction of the requirements set out in Section 9A of the IT Act, management of the funds through such Indian fund managers would not constitute the offshore fund’s ‘business connection’ in India. It is important to note that when an offshore fund, satisfying these conditions is not taxable in India on its business income under the domestic law, then the question of it not having permanent establishment under the applicable double taxation avoidance agreement (“DTAA”) becomes moot. Additionally, Section 9A also excludes an eligible investment fund from being treated as resident in India for tax purposes under the provision of ‘Place of Effective Management’ when the eligible fund manager undertakes fund management activities while situated in India.
Continue Reading Clarity on eligibility criteria for funds set up by Category I FPIs for exemption from taxable presence in India

Mauritian entities have found it difficult to benefit from the capital gains tax exemption under the India- Mauritius double taxation avoidance agreement (DTAA) upon exit from Indian investments with the tax department questioning the said benefits. Recently, the Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR), declined to give a ruling on taxability of a Mauritian resident in India, on the grounds that the transaction was prima facie designed for avoidance of tax.[1]


Continue Reading AAR declines ruling to a Mauritius resident, alleging that transaction was designed to avoid tax

MLI Impact on Treaty Benefit Tax Blog

The Base Erosion and Profit Shift (“BEPS”) programme, initiated by OECD, had recommended a host of action plans, which could be implemented by making changes to the international tax treaties. . However, there are more than 3000 bilateral tax treaties entered into by contracting countries and it would have taken years to amend them. To solve this problem, over 100  jurisdictions negotiated and concluded a multi-lateral instrument (“MLI”) in November 2016. Countries that agreed to change their tax treaties were required to sign and notify the OECD Secretariat.  India was amongst the first few signatories to the MLI in 2017 and ratified   it on June 25, 2019. Thus, its network of bilateral tax treaties would be impacted by the provisions of the MLI where its treaty partner is also a signatory. It is, therefore, necessary now to read the applicable tax treaty with MLI, based on the treaty partner’s position and reservations on the provisions of the MLI.
Continue Reading Have You Checked the Applicability of Multi-Lateral Instrument Impacting Your Treaty Benefit Claim?

 

Insurance Compensation Outside India for Loss of Interest in Indian Subsidiary Not Taxable in India

In M/s Adidas India Marketing (P.) Ltd. v. Income Tax Officer,[1] the Delhi Bench of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) held that the insurance compensation received by the foreign parent due to loss of financial interest in its Indian subsidiary is not the subsidiary’s income as alleged by the tax officer and, therefore, is not taxable in India.

Facts

Adidas India Marketing (P.) Ltd. (Assessee) is an Indian company engaged in the business of sourcing, distributing and marketing products of the brand ‘Adidas’. Nearly all (98.99 %) of the Assessee’s equity is held by another Indian company, Adidas India Private Ltd. (Adidas India), which, in turn, is a subsidiary of a German company, Adidas AG, Germany (Adidas Germany).
Continue Reading Insurance Compensation Outside India for Loss of Interest in Indian Subsidiary Not Taxable in India, Holds Delhi ITAT

Taxation of international digital transactions has been a perplexing issue. As per the international tax rules, where an enterprise is a resident in one state with income originating in another state (source country), international tax rules provide that the source country will have the taxing rights over such income only if it is established that the enterprise has a permanent establishment (PE) in the source country. Thus, for the source country to be able to tax profits arising from the digital economy, some physical presence of the non-resident enterprise is required in the source state.

However, today a non-resident can carry out a large amount of internet transactions in the source state without having any significant physical presence there. A website can be launched from anywhere and made available to users anywhere in the world. There is no central point, or physical location, for such a transaction and thus, it may not fall within any country’s jurisdiction for taxation purposes.

This opens up two possibilities: double taxation or non-taxation. The concerned people could be even further creative, and actually set up an online business at a place where none of the founders / promoters are present, thereby making it even more difficult to tax them.


Continue Reading Taxing the Digital Economy: The Rule of ‘Significant Economic Presence’

Permanent Establishment (PE) is a significant feature of bilateral tax treaties and is a key threshold adopted by source countries to tax profits earned by non-resident entities from the business activities carried out by the non-resident in the source country.

A ‘Fixed Place PE’ relates to a non-resident entity having a fixed place of business in the source country. But certain tax treaties also provide for a ‘Service PE’. A Service PE is established if: (i) the non-resident delivers services for longer than the prescribed threshold; and (ii) the said services are furnished in the source country through the employees or other personnel of the non-resident.

Traditionally, a Service PE required the physical presence of employees of the non-resident in the source country. However, in the present digital economy, this understanding is being challenged as more and more jurisdictions are doing away with this requirement.

The governments of Saudi Arabia and Israel, for example, have passed internal guidelines that suggest a non-resident would have a Service PE if it furnished services, including consultancy services, through employees or other personnel who are offshore and not physically present in the Source State. This would only be the case, however, if the activities continue (for the same or connected projects) within the Source State for more than 183 days in any 12-month period.


Continue Reading Service PE Does Not Require Physical Presence of Employees

Putting to rest the speculation surrounding the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with Singapore, the Government of India has finally announced that it has been revised. This announcement was made on December 30, 2016, and the text of the new protocol amending the India-Singapore DTAA (Protocol) has since been made available. The Protocol is along expected lines on the taxation of capital gains front. But, surprisingly, it has not granted incentives on taxation of interest income and Singapore based investors would be at a significant disadvantage as compared to Mauritius based investors.

KEY REVISIONS TO THE DTAA

Continue Reading India-Singapore DTAA Meets the Same Fate as Mauritius & Cyprus

India and Cyprus have recently revised the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) to be effective from April 01, 2017 and January 01, 2017 in India and Cyprus respectively.

Before 2013, Cyprus was a favoured jurisdiction for investments into India as capital gains from the sale of shares held by Cyprus based investors in Indian companies was not taxable in India. However, due to non-compliance of its information sharing obligations, India declared Cyprus a Notified Jurisdictional Area (NJA). This led to significant uncertainties. While the DTAA had not been rescinded, this development resulted in adverse implications for Cyprus based investors, including, inter alia, higher rate of withholding taxes, application of transfer pricing provisions to transactions with Cyprus based entities even though they are not related, etc. Thus, conducting regular business transactions between entities of both countries became difficult with many transactions getting deferred.

The revised DTAA is the culmination of prolonged negotiations and discussions between both the countries to address this situation. Pursuant to the execution of the revised DTAA, the notification declaring Cyprus as NJA has been rescinded.
Continue Reading Revision of the India-Cyprus DTAA: On Expected Lines

Long years of negotiations with Mauritius have finally culminated in the signing of the Protocol amending the Convention between Government of Mauritius and the Government of Republic of India (GOI) on May 10, 2016 (Protocol). This has resulted in a complete overhaul of the India – Mauritius Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).

A Few Key