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Vodafone case: Govt not to appeal against Bombay HC order

India Blooms News Service | 29 Jan 2015, 05:49 am
New Delhi, Jan 28 (IBNS) The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has decided to accept the order of the High Court of Bombay in the case of Vodafone India Services Private Limited (VISPL) dated Nov 10 last year.

This is a major correction of a tax matter which has adversely affected investor sentiment.

Based on the opinion of Chief Commissioner of Income-tax (International Taxation), Chairperson (CBDT) and the Attorney General of India, the Cabinet decided to:

"i. accept the order of the High Court of Bombay in WP No. 871 of 2014, dated 10.10.2014; and not to file SLP against it before the Supreme Court of India," read a government statement.

"ii. accept of orders of Courts/ IT AT/ DRP in cases of other taxpayers where similar transfer pricing adjustments have been made and the Courts/ IT AT/ DRP have decided/decide in favour of the taxpayer," it said.

The government said the Cabinet decision will bring greater clarity and predictability for taxpayers as well as tax authorities, thereby facilitating tax compliance and reducing litigation on similar issues.

This will also set at rest the uncertainty prevailing in the minds of foreign investors and taxpayers in respect of possible transfer pricing adjustments in India on transactions related to issuance of shares, and thereby improve the investment climate in the country.

The Cabinet came to this view as this is a transaction on the capital account and there is no income to be chargeable to tax. So applying any pricing formula is irrelevant.

"VISPL is a wholly owned subsidiary of a non-resident company, Vodafone Tele-Services (India) Holdings Limited, Mauritius. On 21.8.2008, VISPL issued shares (at a premium of Rs.8509/-) which resulted in VISPL receiving a total consideration of Rs.246.39 crore from Vodafone Mauritius, on issue of shares and this was shown as 'Capital Receipts' in the books of accounts. VISPL reported this transaction as an 'International Transaction' and stated that this transaction does not affect its income," read the government statement.

"The Transfer Pricing Officer (TPO), vide order dated 28.01.2013, determined the Arm`s Length Price of the shares issued by VISPL on the basis of Net Asset Value, at Rs.53,775/- per share and made an upward adjustment of Rs.1,308.91 crore. In addition, the difference Rs.1,308.91 crore between the transaction price and the Arm`s Length Price was treated as `deemed loan` given by VISPL to the holding company; and interest that would have been payable on the loan in an arm`s length transaction was computed at Rs.88.35 crore. In total, transfer pricing adjustment of Rs.1,397.26 crore was proposed by the TPO for Assessment Year 2009-10. The matter was agitated by VISPL at the stage of Draft AO itself and therefore the tax payable could not be crystallized. However, the tax rate of 33 percent was applicable for Assessment Year 2009-10," it said.

The DRP, on 11.2.2014, held that the premium determined by the TPO, to the extent not received, is an income arising from issue of shares, and that the AO and the TPO have jurisdiction.

VISPL filed a 2nd Writ Petition in the High Court of Bombay.

The Bombay High Court quashed the reference dated 11.7.2011 by the AO to the TPO, order dated 28.1.2013 of the TPO, draft AO dated 22.3.2013 of the AO and order dated 11.2.2014 of the DRP on the preliminary issue of jurisdiction to tax, setting them aside as being without jurisdiction, null and void.

Vodafone case: Govt not to appeal against Bombay HC order

India Blooms News Service
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