By Hook or By Crook - When IT dept. sought to tax rights issue as unexplained cash credit but Tribunal refused

Background

In general, tax can only be levied on an amount, which falls within the meaning of the term ‘income’ or ‘deemed income’. Capital receipts are not taxable except where they are characterised as ‘income’ through specific provisions in the Income-tax Act, 1961 (“IT Act”). Thus, amounts received by way of share capital, whether the amount representing face value or premium, being capital receipt are not characterised as ‘income’ of a company, and therefore not taxed. However, it has been seen that this exemption under the law can be misused. A time-tested strategy aimed at laundering an individual’s unaccounted funds involves incorporation of sham entities with huge capital at premium, which in turn invests these funds in the individual’s legitimate businesses by way of subscription to shares at a premium. Section 68 (‘Cash Credits’) of the IT Act attempts to deter such practices by bringing to tax any sum found credited in the books of an assessee if the assessee offers no or unsatisfactory explanations on the nature and source of the credit.
Continue Reading By Hook or By Crook: When IT dept. sought to tax rights issue as unexplained cash credit but Tribunal refused

Tax And White-Collar Crimes - Corporate Strategies – Part 2

Introduction

COVID-19 has put an unexpected brake on the economy, resulting in loss of jobs, opportunities, income for businesses and reduced demand for many products, leading to reduced production capacity in many cases. This reduction could be a result of a variety of factors, ranging from paucity of funds, lack of availability of labour or due to strict lockdowns imposed by Governments, which has resulted in restriction on movement of raw materials and finished goods. All of these could potentially also lead to an increase in tax related white-collar crimes, as discussed in the first part of this series.

In Part 1 of the series, we gave an overview, analysing the regulatory framework put in place to check white-collar crimes such as tax evasion, money laundering and financial fraud. This article deals with corporate strategies that companies may consider for the purposes of mitigating risks arising out of the potential violation of law, while also discussing global practices put in place to curb tax avoidance and evasion. Here we shall also deal with the risk of liabilities of directors and key managerial personnel with respect to such white-collar crimes.
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“Heads I win, tails you lose” approach of tax authorities rejected by Kolkata ITAT bench

In its recent ruling[1], Kolkata bench of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (“ITAT”) rejected the retrospective application of General Anti-Avoidance Rule (“GAAR”) on a scheme of amalgamation approved by the Punjab & Haryana High Court (“HC”) and Delhi HC.

Background

M/s. JCT Limited (“Assessee”) is a public limited company, engaged in the business of manufacturing, sale and export of textiles, nylon and different varieties of yarns. M/s Gupta and Syal Ltd. (“Subsidiary”) was a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Assessee. During Assessment Year (“AY”) 2011-12, the business of the Subsidiary was amalgamated with the Assessee by a scheme of amalgamation approved by the Punjab & Haryana HC as well as the Delhi HC. Prior to the amalgamation, the Subsidiary had no substantial business activity and the only income earned by the Subsidiary in that financial year was in the nature of rent and receipts from sale of a land. Upon amalgamation, the long-term capital gains (“LTCG”) from the sale of land of the Subsidiary were set off against the losses and unabsorbed depreciation of the Assessee for AY2011-12.
Continue Reading “Heads I win, tails you lose” approach of tax authorities rejected by Kolkata ITAT bench

The ripples from the 2008 global financial crisis (GFC) were felt all around the world, causing unprecedented strain on national exchequers and on companies’ balance sheets for several years. The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to cause greater economic hardship than even the GFC or the great depression of 1929[1]. Such events often lead to policy makers pushing for aggressive tax regimes aimed at bulking up national exchequers and tightening of regulatory frameworks to prevent leakages from their economies through tax evasion, money laundering and other such white-collar crimes.

In keeping with the global trend, India has, in the recent past, adopted a very strict approach towards offenses such as tax evasion, money laundering and benami transactions. The current pandemic and its economic repercussions are sure to test the regulatory framework as individuals and corporates alike are tempted to push the envelope. Even prior to the pandemic, the Indian Income Tax department had detected approximately INR 37,946 crore worth of tax fraud in financial year 2018-19 and INT 6,520 crore in April-June 2019.[2]


Continue Reading Tax and White-Collar Crimes: The whole nine yards (Part I)

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?

Recently, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) rejected Ajanta Pharma Limited’s (Ajanta Pharma) scheme of amalgamation and arrangement (Scheme) between the company and its shareholder Gabs Investments Private Limited (Gabs Investments) on the grounds of General Anti Avoidance Rules (GAAR).

Continue Reading NCLT Smell Tests GAAR! Rejects Ajanta Pharma’s Scheme of Merger on Grounds of Tax Avoidance