Indian Revenue Authorities

First judgment on GAAR holds bonus-stripping to be an impermissible tax-avoidance arrangement

The provisions of General Anti-Avoidance Rules (“GAAR”) were implemented into Income Tax Act, 1961 (“IT Act”), for the first time with effect from the financial year 2017–18. The GAAR provisions provide the Indian Revenue Authorities (“IRA”) with wide powers, including even recharacterising a transaction, ignoring a part or the whole of a series of transactions, disallowing expenses incurred, etc., if the main purpose of the transaction was to obtain tax benefits. Considering the aggressive nature in which the IRA generally scrutinises the GAAR cases, the industry is always apprehensive that these GAAR provisions could be invoked in a wide-spread manner. However, much to the relief of the taxpayers, the IRA have rarely invoked these provisions.Continue Reading First judgment on GAAR holds bonus-stripping to be an impermissible tax-avoidance arrangement

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

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