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

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

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

CBDT NOTIFIES RELAXATION IN FAIR VALUATION NORMS- ARE THEY ENOUGH

Income-tax Act, 1961 (“IT Act”) provides for certain anti-avoidance provisions, like Section 56(2)(x) and Section 50CA, which seek to impose tax on certain assets, that were received or transferred for an inadequate consideration. Section 56(2)(x) of the IT Act stipulates that where certain assets, including shares and securities are received for a value which is less than their fair market value (“FMV”), then the difference between the FMV and actual consideration paid would be subject to tax in the hands of the recipient under the ‘other incomes’ head. Similarly, in the hands of the seller / transferor, Section 50CA provides for deeming the FMV of unquoted shares as the sale consideration for computing the capital gains arising from the transfer of such shares at a value which is less than the FMV.
Continue Reading CBDT NOTIFIES RELAXATION IN FAIR VALUATION NORMS- ARE THEY ENOUGH?

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 DTAAContinue 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