Monthly Archives: February 2013

Transfer Pricing Laws And Regulations In India Need Clarification

Transfer Pricing Laws And Regulations In India Need ClarificationForeign direct investment (FDI), foreign exchange management and transfer pricing laws in India are in limelight these days. For instance, transfer pricing order has been issued against Vodafone India. Similarly, Nokia has been accused of violating income tax and transfer pricing laws of India. Shell India also received a transfer pricing order from Indian tax authorities.

Further, Income Tax Act, 1961 of India also incorporates provisions pertaining to avoidance of income-tax by transactions resulting in transfer of income to non residents and avoidance of tax by certain transactions in securities. Despite all these provisions, the transfer pricing regulatory framework of India needs further clarification form Indian government.

The finance ministry is now in the process of devising clear guidelines for contentious transfer pricing cases, especially for handling the grey areas. We at Perry4Law and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) believe that this clarification of the transfer pricing laws and regulations of India would be beneficial for both foreign companies and FDI entities and Indian government.

We also welcome the move of Indian government and Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) for analysing the modalities for handling transfer pricing cases in India. An I-T department’s committee has been assigned with the task of drafting rules for foreign tax credit and it is also looking at transfer pricing issues. The committee will work out the modalities for handling such cases and submit its report to the finance ministry.

Avoidance Of Tax By Certain Transactions In Securities

Avoidance Of Tax By Certain Transactions In SecuritiesPerry4Law and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) have already discussed the legal issues pertaining to transfer pricing laws in India. We have also discussed avoidance of income-tax by transactions resulting in transfer of income to non residents.

In this article we would discuss a related concept that results in tax evasion by mode of certain transactions in securities.

Section 94 (1) of the Act provides that where the owner of any securities (in this sub-section and in subsection (2) referred to as “the owner”) sells or transfers those securities, and buys back or reacquires the securities, then, if the result of the transaction is that any interest becoming payable in respect of the securities is receivable otherwise than by the owner, the interest payable as aforesaid shall, whether it would or would not have been chargeable to income-tax apart from the provisions of this sub-section, be deemed, for all the purposes of this Act, to be the income of the owner and not to be the income of any other person.

Explanation.-The references in this sub-section to buying back or reacquiring the securities shall be deemed to include references to buying or acquiring similar securities, so, however, that where similar securities are bought or acquired, the owner shall be under no greater liability to income-tax than he would have been under if the original securities had been bought back or reacquired.

Section 94 (2) of the Act provides that where any person has had at any time during any previous year any beneficial interest in any securities, and the result of any transaction relating to such securities or the income thereof is that, in respect of such securities within such year, either no income is received by him or the income received by him is less than the sum to which the income would have amounted if the income from such securities had accrued from day to day and been apportioned accordingly, then the income from such securities for such year shall be deemed to be the income of such person.

Section 94 (3) of the Act provides that the provisions of sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall not apply if the owner, or the person who has had a beneficial interest in the securities, as the case may be, proves to the satisfaction of the Assessing Officer-

(a) That there has been no avoidance of income-tax, or

(b) That the avoidance of income-tax was exceptional and not systematic and that there was not in his case in any of the three preceding years any avoidance of income-tax by a transaction of the nature referred to in sub-section (1) or sub-section (2).

Section 94 (4) of the Act provides that where any person carrying on a business which consists wholly or partly in dealing in securities, buys or acquires any securities and sells back or retransfers the securities, then, if the result of the transaction is that interest becoming payable in respect of the securities is receivable by him but is not deemed to be his income by reason of the provisions contained in sub-section (1), no account shall be taken of the transaction in computing for any of the purposes of this Act the profits arising from or loss sustained in the business.

Section 94 (5) of the Act provides that sub-section (4) shall have effect, subject to any necessary modifications, as if references to selling back or retransferring the securities included references to selling or transferring similar securities.

Section 94 (6) of the Act provides that the Assessing Officer may, by notice in writing, require any person to furnish him within such time as he may direct (not being less than twenty-eight days), in respect of all securities of which such person was the owner or in which he had a beneficial interest at any time during the period specified in the notice, such particulars as he considers necessary for the purposes of this section and for the purpose of discovering whether income-tax has been borne in respect of the interest on all those securities.

Section 94 (7) of the Act provides that where-

(a) Any person buys or acquires any securities or unit within a period of three months prior to the record date;<

(b) Such person sells or transfers-

(i) Such securities within a period of three months after such date; or

(ii) Such unit within a period of nine months after such date;

(c) The dividend or income on such securities or unit received or receivable by such person is exempt, then, the loss, if any, arising to him on account of such purchase and sale of securities or unit, to the extent such loss does not exceed the amount of dividend or income received or receivable on such securities or unit, shall be ignored for the purposes of computing his income chargeable to tax.

Section 94 (8) of the Act provides that where-

(a) Any person buys or acquires any units within a period of three months prior to the record date;

(b) Such person is allotted additional units without any payment on the basis of holding of such units on such date

(c) Such person sells or transfers all or any of the units referred to in clause (a) within a period of nine months after such date, while continuing to hold all or any of the additional units referred to in clause (b), then, the loss, if any, arising to him on account of such purchase and sale of all or any of such units shall be ignored for the purposes of computing his income chargeable to tax and notwithstanding anything contained in any other provision of this Act, the amount of loss so ignored shall be deemed to be the cost of purchase or acquisition of such additional units referred to in clause (b) as are held by him on the date of such sale or transfer.

Explanation.-For the purposes of this section,

(a) “Interest” includes a dividend;

(aa) “Record date” means such date as may be fixed by-

(i) A company for the purposes of entitlement of the holder of the securities to receive dividend; or

(ii) A Mutual Fund or the Administrator of the specified undertaking or the specified company as referred to in the Explanation to clause (35) of section 10, for the purposes of entitlement of the holder of the units to receive income, or additional unit without any consideration, as the case may be;

(b) “Securities” includes stocks and shares;

(c) Securities shall be deemed to be similar if they entitle their holders to the same rights against the same persons as to capital and interest and the same remedies for the enforcement of those rights, notwithstanding any difference in the total nominal amounts of the respective securities or in the form in which they are held or in the manner in which they can be transferred;

(d) “Unit” shall have the meaning assigned to it in clause (b) of the Explanation to section 115AB.

Avoidance Of Income-Tax By Transactions Resulting In Transfer Of Income To Non Residents

Avoidance Of Income-Tax By Transactions Resulting In Transfer Of Income To Non ResidentsSo far Perry4Law and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) have discussed the legal issues pertaining to transfer pricing laws in India. In this post we would discuss a related concept that results in tax evasion by transferring income to non residents.

Section 93 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 deals with the provision pertaining to avoidance of income-tax by transactions resulting by transfer of income to non residents. This way income tax liability is reduced that is otherwise payable.

Section 93 (1) of the Act provides that where there is a transfer of assets by virtue or in consequence whereof, either alone or in conjunction with associated operations, any income becomes payable to a non-resident, the following provisions shall apply-

(a) Where any person has, by means of any such transfer, either alone or in conjunction with associated operations, acquired any rights by virtue of which he has, within the meaning of this section, power to enjoy, whether forthwith or in the future, any income of a nonresident person which, if it were income of the first-mentioned person, would be chargeable to income-tax, that income shall, whether it would or would not have been chargeable to income-tax apart from the provisions of this section, be deemed to be income of the first mentioned person for all the purposes of this Act;

(b) Where, whether before or after any such transfer, any such first mentioned person receives or is entitled to receive any capital sum the payment whereof is in any way connected with the transfer or any associated operations, then any income which, by virtue or in consequence of the transfer, either alone or in conjunction with associated operations, has become the income of a non-resident shall, whether it would or would not have been chargeable to income-tax apart from the provisions of this section, be deemed to be the income of the first mentioned person for all the purposes of this Act.

Explanation.-The provisions of this sub-section shall apply also in relation to transfers of assets and associated operations carried out before the commencement of this Act.

Section 93 (2) of the Act provides that where any person has been charged to income-tax on any income deemed to be his under the provisions of this section and that income is subsequently received by him, whether as income or in any other form, it shall not again be deemed to form part of his income for the purposes of this Act.

Section 93 (3) of the Act provides that the provisions of this section shall not apply if the first-mentioned person in sub-section (1) shows to the satisfaction of the [Assessing] Officer that-

(a) Neither the transfer nor any associated operation had for its purpose or for one of its purposes the avoidance of liability to taxation; or

(b) The transfer and all associated operations were bona fide commercial transactions and were not designed for the purpose of avoiding liability to taxation.

Explanation.-For the purposes of this section,

(a) References to assets representing any assets, income or accumulations of income include references to shares in or obligation of any company to which, or obligation of any other person to whom, those assets, that income or those accumulations are or have been transferred;

(b) Any body corporate incorporated outside India shall be treated as if it were a non-resident;

(c) A person shall be deemed to have power to enjoy the income of a nonresident if-<

(i) The income is in fact so dealt with by any person as to be calculated at some point of time and, whether in the form of income or not, to enure for the benefit of the first-mentioned person in sub-section (1), or

(ii) The receipt or accrual of the income operates to increase the value to such first-mentioned person of any assets held by him or for his benefit, or

(iii) Such first-mentioned person receives or is entitled to receive at any time any benefit provided or to be provided out of that income or out of moneys which are or will be available for the purpose by reason of the effect or successive effects of the associated operations on that income and assets which represent that income, or

(iv) Such first-mentioned person has power by means of the exercise of any power of appointment or power of revocation or otherwise to obtain for himself, whether with or without the consent of any other person, the beneficial enjoyment of the income, or

(v) Such first-mentioned person is able, in any manner whatsoever and whether directly or indirectly, to control the application of the income;

(d) In determining whether a person has power to enjoy income, regard shall be had to the substantial result and effect of the transfer and any associated operations, and all benefits which may at any time accrue to such person as a result of the transfer and any associated operations shall be taken into account irrespective of the nature or form of the benefits.

Section 93 (4) of the Act provides that-

(a) “Assets” includes property or rights of any kind and “transfer” in relation to rights includes the creation of those rights;

(b) “Associated operation”, in relation to any transfer, means an operation of any kind effected by any person in relation to-

(i) Any of the assets transferred, or<

(ii) Any assets representing, whether directly or indirectly, any of the assets transferred, or

(iii) The income arising from any such assets, or

(iv) Any assets representing, whether directly or indirectly, the accumulations of income arising from any such assets

(c) “Benefit” includes a payment of any kind;

(d) “Capital sum” means—

(i) Any sum paid or payable by way of a loan or repayment of a loan; and

(ii) Any other sum paid or payable otherwise than as income, being a sum which is not paid or payable for full consideration in money or money’s worth.

Transfer Pricing Order Issued Against Vodafone India

Transfer Pricing Order Issued Against Vodafone IndiaTax related regulatory affairs are in limelight in India these days. The chief among these issues is the transfer pricing laws of India that are claimed to be violated by many multi national telecom companies in India.

For instance, Shell India has received a transfer pricing order from Indian tax authorities. Similarly, Nokia has been accused of violating income tax and transfer pricing laws of India. So much so that forensics analysis of Nokia’s computer used to download software in India has been undertaken by tax officials.

Similarly, the vexing tax troubles of Vodafone are not coming to an end. Vodafone is still struggling with the retrospective tax demands by Indian tax authorities. It has been claimed that Vodafone may invoke arbitration for fresh tax demands by India. Now the tax authorities of India have issued a transfer pricing order against Vodafone.

Vodafone will challenge this order that arose due to the sale of shares of its Indian unit to a Mauritius-based group company. Vodafone maintains that share subscriptions are not covered by transfer pricing rules either in India or internationally and it has no basis in law.

Vodafone has also filed a writ petition challenging the jurisdictional issues on the basis of precedent established in the recent Vodafone International Holdings BV – Hutchison Supreme Court judgement.

Meanwhile Indian legislature has also undertaken few legislative steps to strengthen taxation laws of India and to prevent tax evasion in India. The next session of the Parliament may witness some regulatory issues in this regard.

Nokia Accused Of Violating Income Tax And Transfer Pricing Laws Of India

Nokia Accused Of Violating Income Tax And Transfer Pricing Laws Of IndiaTransfer pricing laws of India and income tax provisions are in limelight these days in India. Related issue like foreign direct investment (FDI) is also raised from time to time. Indian government would ascertain beneficiary in Walmart probe to ascertain possible violation of Indian laws.

In a significant and related regulatory development, the Competition Commission of India (Procedure in Regard to the Transaction of Business Relating to Combinations) Regulations, 2011 have also been formulated by the Competition Commission of India in 2011 to regulate anti competition combinations. The same may be pressed more frequently in the year 2013.

Vodafone is already managing a tax dispute with Indian government. In fact, Vodafone may invoke arbitration for fresh tax demands by India. Similarly, recently Shell India received a transfer pricing order from Indian tax authorities. Now Nokia has been accused of income tax and transfer pricing laws of India.

The income tax department believes that besides income tax violations, Nokia India may have flouted transfer pricing norms as well. The total tax implication for the Nokia could be over Rs 10,000 crore. It is also alleged that the Indian subsidiary of Nokia transferred profits to its headquarters and the same will now be reversed and considered as income, which would be around Rs 30,000 crore. On this amount, there will be a 30 per cent tax, which works out to Rs 9,000 crore.

Further, Nokia India also downloaded software from its parent company in Finland to manufacture mobile devices worth Rs 30,000 crore at its Indian plant. Royalty is paid for the software downloaded. This, in turn, attracts a 10 per cent tax deduction at source (TDS) amounting to Rs 3,000 crore.

According to income tax officials, Nokia had failed to do this and pay to the Government. Officials in Delhi will now issue an order on the amount, including penalty if any, payable by Nokia. Meanwhile, Nokia is claiming that it has complied with all the applicable laws of India and is fully cooperating with the authorities.

For our readers, we at Perry4Lawand Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) have provided a research report titled Global Taxation and Anti Competition Regulatory Issues In 2012 And Projections Report for 2013 by Perry4Law that is discussing these issues. The report highlights global taxation issues including the recent allegations of tax avoidance labeled against Amazon, Google and Starbucks regarding UK Tax Laws.

Shell India Received Transfer Pricing Order From Indian Tax Authorities

Shell India Received Transfer Pricing Order From Indian Tax AuthoritiesTransfer pricing laws of India are frequently invoked by Indian income tax department these days. The main reason for the same is to enrich government exchequers with additional revenues.

One such transfer pricing order has been received by Shell India that alleges that Shell under priced its shares to the extent of Rs 15,000 crore while issuing shares to it’s sole parent Shell Gas BV in March, 2009.

Shell India has alleged that the order was based on incorrect interpretation of Indian transfer pricing laws. In fact, Shell believes that taxing the money received by Shell India is, in effect, a tax on foreign direct investment. Shell believes that this is not only in violation of Indian law but also giving a bad signal to the international FDI community.

Considering the tax evasion reports as baseless, Shell India is now planning to challenge the order of income tax authorities strongly and is evaluating all options for redress. The company is confident of its stand as the valuation of the shares was undertaken by a certified independent valuer who assessed the value to be below Rs 10 per share and the issue was made at Rs 10 per share. Shell claims that such valuation is in accordance with the foreign investment and exchange control laws. The valuation certificates were also filed with the regulatory authorities.

At Perry4Lawand Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) we believe that the transfer pricing laws and valuation of the unlisted company needs further clarification from our legislature. Otherwise, litigations would keep on surfacing unnecessary.

In a listed company, the valuation is based on Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) formula, which is the average of six-month or two-week share price, whichever is higher. But in unlisted companies, the valuation can be based on fair market price, or book value, or returns on share based on a certification by an independent valuer.

Transfer Pricing Laws In India, International Transaction And Arm’s Length Price

Transfer Pricing Laws In India, International Transaction And Arm’s Length PriceThe Income Tax 1961 of India deals with taxation of international transactions and transfer pricing laws, regulations and issues in India. The objective of these provisions is to curb tax evasion on the part of taxable entities and individuals.

However, the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961 in the past proved to be inadequate and ineffective to curb tax evasions, especially long term capital gains, arising out of foreign transactions having Indian ramifications.

One such incidence involves the company Vodafone where there is a present tax dispute between the company and Indian government. In fact, Vodafone may invoke arbitration for fresh tax demands by India. Vodafone taxation, parliament, international treaty and taxation issues of India need a fresh outlook on the part of our Parliament and Indian government.

We at Perry4Lawand Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) have provided a research report titled Global Taxation and Anti Competition Regulatory Issues In 2012 And Projections Report for 2013 by Perry4Law that is discussing these issues. The report highlights global taxation issues including the recent allegations of tax avoidance labeled against Amazon, Google and Starbucks regarding UK Tax Laws.

Even the foreign direct investment (FDI) are strict actions have been initiated by Indian government. After canceling the telecom licenses of many telecom companies, now Indian government would ascertain beneficiary in Walmart probe to ascertain possible violation of Indian laws. The Competition Commission of India (Procedure in Regard to the Transaction of Business Relating to Combinations) Regulations, 2011 have also been formulated by the Competition Commission of India in 2011 to regulate anti competition combinations. The same may be pressed more frequently in the year 2013.

It is obvious that transfer pricing laws in India and laws pertaining to international transactions and arm’s length dealing in India need a total rejuvenation. The present provisions incorporated in the Income Tax Act, 1961 are inadequate in this regard.

Computation Of Income From International Transaction Having Regard To Arm’s Length Price

Section 92(1) of the Act prescribes that any income arising from an international transaction shall be computed having regard to the arm’s length price. The explanation to Section 92(1) provides that the allowance for any expense or interest arising from an international transaction shall also be determined having regard to the arm’s length price.

Section 92(2) of the Act prescribes that where in an international transaction, two or more associated enterprises enter into a mutual agreement or arrangement for the allocation or apportionment of, or any contribution to, any cost or expense incurred or to be incurred in connection with a benefit, service or facility provided or to be provided to any one or more of such enterprises, the cost or expense allocated or apportioned to, or, as the case may be, contributed by, any such enterprise shall be determined having regard to the arm’s length price of such benefit, service or facility, as the case may be.

Section 92(3) of the Act prescribes that the provisions of this section shall not apply in a case where the computation of income under sub-section (1) or the determination of the allowance for any expense or interest under that sub-section, or the determination of any cost or expense allocated or apportioned, or, as the case may be, contributed under subsection (2), has the effect of reducing the income chargeable to tax or increasing the loss, as the case may be, computed on the basis of entries made in the books of account in respect of the previous year in which the international transaction was entered into.

Associated Enterprise Under Indian Tax Laws

Section 92A (1) of the Act provides that for the purposes of this section and sections 92, 92B, 92C, 92D, 92E and 92F, “associated enterprise”, in relation to another enterprise, means an enterprise—

(a) Which participates, directly or indirectly, or through one or more intermediaries, in the management or control or capital of the other enterprise; or

(b) In respect of which one or more persons who participate, directly or indirectly, or through one or more intermediaries, in its management or control or capital, are the same persons who participate, directly or indirectly, or through one or more intermediaries, in the management or control or capital of the other enterprise.

Section 92A (2) of the Act provides that for the purposes of sub-section (1), two enterprises shall be deemed to be associated enterprises if, at any time during the previous year:

(a) One enterprise holds, directly or indirectly, shares carrying not less than twenty-six per cent of the voting power in the other enterprise; or

(b) Any person or enterprise holds, directly or indirectly, shares carrying not less than twenty-six per cent of the voting power in each of such enterprises; or

(c) A loan advanced by one enterprise to the other enterprise constitutes not less than fifty-one per cent of the book value of the total assets of the other enterprise; or

(d) One enterprise guarantees not less than ten per cent of the total borrowings of the other enterprise; or

(e) More than half of the board of directors or members of the governing board, or one or more executive directors or executive members of the governing board of one enterprise, are appointed by the other enterprise; or

(f) More than half of the directors or members of the governing board, or one or more of the executive directors or members of the governing board, of each of the two enterprises are appointed by the same person or persons; or

(g) The manufacture or processing of goods or articles or business carried out by one enterprise is wholly dependent on the use of know how, patents, copyrights, trade-marks, licences, franchises or any other business or commercial rights of similar nature, or any data, documentation, drawing or specification relating to any patent, invention, model, design, secret formula or process, of which the other enterprise is the owner or in respect of which the other enterprise has exclusive rights; or

(h) Ninety per cent or more of the raw materials and consumables required for the manufacture or processing of goods or articles carried out by one enterprise, are supplied by the other enterprise, or by persons specified by the other enterprise, and the prices and other conditions relating to the supply are influenced by such other enterprise; or

(i) The goods or articles manufactured or processed by one enterprise, are sold to the other enterprise or to persons specified by the other enterprise, and the prices and other conditions relating thereto are influenced by such other enterprise; or

(j) Where one enterprise is controlled by an individual, the other enterprise is also controlled by such individual or his relative or jointly by such individual and relative of such individual; or

(k) Where one enterprise is controlled by a Hindu undivided family, the other enterprise is controlled by a member of such Hindu undivided family or by a relative of a member of such Hindu undivided family or jointly by such member and his relative; or

(l) Where one enterprise is a firm, association of persons or body of individuals, the other enterprise holds not less than ten per cent interest in such firm, association of persons or body of individuals; or

(m) There exists between the two enterprises, any relationship of mutual interest, as may be prescribed.

Meaning Of International Transaction Under Indian Tax Laws

Section 92B (1) of the Act provides that for the purposes of this section and sections 92, 92C, 92D and 92E, “international transaction” means a transaction between two or more associated enterprises, either or both of whom are non-residents, in the nature of purchase, sale or lease of tangible or intangible property, or provision of services, or lending or borrowing money, or any other transaction having a bearing on the profits, income, losses or assets of such enterprises, and shall include a mutual agreement or arrangement between two or more associated enterprises for the allocation or apportionment of, or any contribution to, any cost or expense incurred or to be incurred in connection with a benefit, service or facility provided or to be provided to any one or more of such enterprises.

Section 92B (2) of the Act provides that a transaction entered into by an enterprise with a person other than an associated enterprise shall, for the purposes of sub-section (1), be deemed to be a transaction entered into between two associated enterprises, if there exists a prior agreement in relation to the relevant transaction between such other person and the associated enterprise, or the terms of the relevant transaction are determined in substance between such other person and the associated enterprise.

Computation Of Arm’s Length Price Under Indian Tax Laws

Section 92C (1) of the Act prescribes the procedure to calculate the arm’s length price for an international transaction. As per Section 92C (1) the arm’s length price in relation to an international transaction shall be determined by any of the following methods, being the most appropriate method, having regard to the nature of transaction or class of transaction or class of associated persons or functions performed by such persons or such other relevant factors as the Board may prescribe, namely:

(a) Comparable uncontrolled price method;

(b) Resale price method;

(c) Cost plus method;

(d) Profit split method;

(e) Transactional net margin method;

(f) Such other method as may be prescribed by the Board.

Section 92C (2) of the Act provides that the most appropriate method referred to in sub-section (1) shall be applied, for determination of arm’s length price, in the manner as may be prescribed.

The proviso to Section 92C (2) provides that where more than one price is determined by the most appropriate method, the arm’s length price shall be taken to be the arithmetical mean of such prices, or, at the option of the assessee, a price which may vary from the arithmetical mean by an amount not exceeding five per cent of such arithmetical mean.

Section 92C (3) of the Act provides that where during the course of any proceeding for the assessment of income, the Assessing Officer is, on the basis of material or information or document in his possession, of the opinion that-

(a) The price charged or paid in an international transaction has not been determined in accordance with sub-sections (1) and (2); or

(b) Any information and document relating to an international transaction have not been kept and maintained by the assessee in accordance with the provisions contained in sub-section (1) of section 92D and the rules made in this behalf; or

(c) The information or data used in computation of the arm’s length price is not reliable or correct; or

(d) The assessee has failed to furnish, within the specified time, any information or document which he was required to furnish by a notice issued under sub-section (3) of section 92D,

the Assessing Officer may proceed to determine the arm’s length price in relation to the said international transaction in accordance with sub-sections (1) and (2), on the basis of such material or information or document available with him:

Provided that an opportunity shall be given by the Assessing Officer by serving a notice calling upon the assessee to show cause, on a date and time to be specified in the notice, why the arm’s length price should not be so determined on the basis of material or information or document in the possession of the Assessing Officer.

Section 92C (4) of the Act provides that where an arm’s length price is determined by the Assessing Officer under subsection (3), the Assessing Officer may compute the total income of the assessee having regard to the arm’s length price so determined:

Provided that no deduction under section 10A [or section 10AA] or section 10B or under Chapter VI-A shall be allowed in respect of the amount of income by which the total income of the assessee is enhanced after computation of income under this sub-section:

Provided further that where the total income of an associated enterprise is computed under this sub-section on determination of the arm’s length price paid to another associated enterprise from which tax has been deducted [or was deductible] under the provisions of Chapter XVIIB, the income of the other associated enterprise shall not be recomputed by reason of such determination of arm’s length price in the case of the first mentioned enterprise.

Reference To Transfer Pricing Officer

Section 92CA (1) of the Act provides that where any person, being the assessee, has entered into an international transaction in any previous year, and the Assessing Officer considers it necessary or expedient so to do, he may, with the previous approval of the Commissioner, refer the computation of the arm’s length price in relation to the said international transaction under section 92C to the Transfer Pricing Officer.

Section 92CA (2) of the Act provides that where a reference is made under sub-section (1), the Transfer Pricing Officer shall serve a notice on the assessee requiring him to produce or cause to be produced on a date to be specified therein, any evidence on which the assessee may rely in support of the computation made by him of the arm’s length price in relation to the international transaction referred to in sub-section (1).

Section 92CA (3) of the Act provides that on the date specified in the notice under sub-section (2), or as soon thereafter as may be, after hearing such evidence as the assessee may produce, including any information or documents referred to in sub-section (3) of section 92D and after considering such evidence as the Transfer Pricing Officer may require on any specified points and after taking into account all relevant materials which he has gathered, the Transfer Pricing Officer shall, by order in writing, determine the arm’s length price in relation to the international transaction in accordance with sub-section (3) of section 92C and send a copy of his order to the Assessing Officer and to the assessee.

Section 92CA (3A) of the Act provides that where a reference was made under sub-section (1) before the 1st day of June, 2007 but the order under sub-section (3) has not been made by the Transfer Pricing Officer before the said date, or a reference under sub-section (1) is made on or after the 1st day of June, 2007, an order under sub-section (3) may be made at any time before sixty days prior to the date on which the period of limitation referred to in section 153, or as the case may be, in section 153B for making the order of assessment or reassessment or recomputation or fresh assessment, as the case may be, expires.

Section 92CA (4) of the Act provides that On receipt of the order under sub-section (3), the Assessing Officer shall proceed to compute the total income of the assessee under sub-section (4) of section 92C in conformity with the arm’s length price as so determined by the Transfer Pricing Officer.

Section 92CA (5) of the Act provides that with a view to rectifying any mistake apparent from the record, the Transfer Pricing Officer may amend any order passed by him under sub-section (3), and the provisions of section 154 shall, so far as may be, apply accordingly.

Section 92CA (6) of the Act provides that where any amendment is made by the Transfer Pricing Officer under subsection (5), he shall send a copy of his order to the Assessing Officer who shall thereafter proceed to amend the order of assessment in conformity with such order of the Transfer Pricing Officer.

Section 92CA (7) of the Act provides that the Transfer Pricing Officer may, for the purposes of determining the arm’s length price under this section, exercise all or any of the powers specified in clauses (a) to (d) of sub-section (1) of section 131 or sub-section (6) of section 133.

The Explanation to Section 92CA provides that for the purposes of this section, “Transfer Pricing Officer” means a Joint Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner or Assistant Commissioner authorised by the Board to perform all or any of the functions of an Assessing Officer specified in sections 92C and 92D in respect of any person or class of persons.

Maintenance And Keeping Of Information And Document By Persons Entering Into An International Transaction

Section 92D (1) of the Act provides that every person who has entered into an international transaction shall keep and maintain such information and document in respect thereof, as may be prescribed.

Section 92D (2) of the Act provides that without prejudice to the provisions contained in sub-section (1), the Board may prescribe the period for which the information and document shall be kept and maintained under that sub-section.

Section 92D (3) of the Act provides that the Assessing Officer or the Commissioner (Appeals) may, in the course of any proceeding under this Act, require any person who has entered into an international transaction to furnish any information or document in respect thereof, as may be prescribed under sub-section (1), within a period of thirty days from the date of receipt of a notice issued in this regard:

Provided that the Assessing Officer or the Commissioner (Appeals) may, on an application made by such person, extend the period of thirty days by a further period not exceeding thirty days.

Report From An Accountant To Be Furnished By Persons Entering Into International Transaction

Section 92E of the Act provides that every person who has entered into an international transaction during a previous year shall obtain a report from an accountant and furnish such report on or before the specified date in the prescribed form duly signed and verified in the prescribed manner by such accountant and setting forth such particulars as may be prescribed.

Definitions Of Certain Terms Relevant To Computation Of Arm’s Length Price, Etc

Section 92F of the Act provides that in sections 92, 92A, 92B, 92C, 92D and 92E, unless the context otherwise requires-

(i) “Accountant” shall have the same meaning as in the Explanation below sub-section (2) of section 288;

(ii) “Arm’s length price” means a price which is applied or proposed to be applied in a transaction between persons other than associated enterprises, in uncontrolled conditions;

(iii) “Enterprise” means a person (including a permanent establishment of such person) who is, or has been, or is proposed to be, engaged in any activity, relating to the production, storage, supply, distribution, acquisition or control of articles or goods, or know-how, patents, copyrights, trade-marks, licences, franchises or any other business or commercial rights of similar nature, or any data, documentation, drawing or specification relating to any patent, invention, model, design, secret formula or process, of which the other enterprise is the owner or in respect of which the other enterprise has exclusive rights, or the provision of services of any kind, [or in carrying out any work in pursuance of a contract,] or in investment, or providing loan or in the business of acquiring, holding, underwriting or dealing with shares, debentures or other securities of any other body corporate, whether such activity or business is carried on, directly or through one or more of its units or divisions or subsidiaries, or whether such unit or division or subsidiary is located at the same place where the enterprise is located or at a different place or places;

(iiia) “Permanent establishment”, referred to in clause (iii), includes a fixed place of business through which the business of the enterprise is wholly or partly carried on;

(iv) “Specified date” shall have the same meaning as assigned to “due date” in Explanation 2 below sub-section (1) of section 139;]

(v) “Transaction” includes an arrangement, understanding or action in concert,

(a) Whether or not such arrangement, understanding or action is formal or in writing; or

(b) Whether or not such arrangement, understanding or action is intended to be enforceable by legal proceeding.

Perry4Law and PTLB hope this research work would prove useful to all concerned.

Cloud Computing: Legal And Regulatory Issues In India

In this research work, Perry4Lawand Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) are discussing about the techno legal regulatory requirements that must be complied with by the cloud computing service providers of India and foreign  jurisdictions operating in India.
Cloud computing is a buzz word in the business circles of India. Many cloud computing service providers are over enthusiastic and are ready to grab a pie share of promising cloud computing business of India. Even from the governmental circles positive reports regarding possible use of cloud computing for governmental functions has come. However, not everything is as easy, positive and comfortable as is portrayed by governmental officers or cloud computing service providers.
The bigger question now is whether cloud computing would be successful in Asia in general and India in particular? Techno legal experts have opined against such use of cloud computing in India due to inherent weaknesses of Indian cyber laws, privacy and data protection laws and defective e-governance and ICT policies in India.
Besides technological and security issues, there are also a variety of other regulatory, compliance and legal issues to consider when moving to the cloud infrastructure in India. Cloud computing stakeholders must realise and accept that regardless of which computing model they use, whether cloud based or otherwise, they need to consider the legal issues, specifically those around any data they might collect, store and process.
For instance, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is one of the most important health related legislations of United States (US). HIPPA ensures health care coverage, privacy protection, electronic information security, and fraud prevention regarding health care related issues. If you are storing health related information on a cloud infrastructure, you are required to comply with concerned laws in this regard.
At present we have no dedicated e-health laws and regulations in India but these laws would be formulated in the near future. Even essential attributes of these laws like privacy protection, data protection, data security, cyber security, confidentiality maintenance, etc would be governed by dedicated laws in future.
Similarly, online sales of prescribed medicines in India is still unregulated and illegal and unregulated online sales of prescribed medicines in India is happening right under the nose of Indian government. Electronic trading of medical drugs in India and HIPAA compliances in India would raise further cloud computing regulation issues in India. 
The Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules 2011 of India has prescribed cyber law due diligence requirements in India. The cyber laws due diligence requirements for companies in India are strenuous in nature and Internet intermediaries in India need to take care of the same to avoid legal troubles. In particular, online payment platforms, online travel agencies, Internet service providers ISPs), banks, foreign websites, cloud service providers, etc are vulnerable to legal actions if they fail to observe cyber due diligence in India.
Even appropriate legal actions against foreign websites can be taken in India. Further, cyber litigations against such foreign websites would increase in Indiain the near future. It is of utmost importance for these foreign cloud computing companies and websites to follow Indian laws in true letter and spirit.

In many cases the concerned CFO and CEO may be jointly or/and severably prosecuted for violation of Indian laws. Indian laws require designation of a specific person to manage and comply with Indian laws and a failure to do so may result in prosecution of concerned CFO and CEO.

Perry4Law and PTLB hope this research work would prove useful to all cloud computing solution providers of India and abroad and they would comply with the requirements of various laws as mentioned in this research work.

Direct Tax Benefits Issues Relating To Export Of Computer Software

The Government of India, through its Ministry of Finance/ Department of Revenue/ Central Board of Direct Taxes, has issued a clarificatory Circular No. 01/2013, F. No. 178/84/2012-ITA.I, dated 17th January 2013 pertaining to issues relating to export of computer software and corresponding direct tax benefits.
Perry4Lawand Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) are hereby discussing the Direct Tax Benefits Issues Relating to Export of Computer Software for our readers. We hope all the stakeholders would find this discussion useful.

The Indian Software Industry has been the beneficiary of direct tax incentives under the provisions like Sections 10A, 10AA & 10B of the Income -tax Act, 1961 in respect of their profits derived from the export of computer software. These provisions prescribe incentives to “units” or “undertakings”, established under different schemes, which are/were deriving profits from export of computer software subject to fulfilling the prescribed conditions.

It has been represented by the software companies that several issues arising from the above mentioned provisions are giving rise to disputes between them and the Income-tax authorities leading to denial of tax benefits and consequent litigation and, therefore, require clarification. Various issues highlighted by the Software Industry have been examined by the Board and the following clarifications are hereby issued -

(i) (a) Whether “on-site” development of computer software qualifies as an export activity for tax benefits under sections 10A, 10AA and 10B of the income tax act, 1961; and
(b) Whether receipts from deputation of technical manpower for such “on-site” software development abroad at the client’s place are eligible for deduction under sections 10A, 10AA and 10B.

(a) CBDT had earlier issued a Circular (Circular No. 694 dated 23.11.1994) which provided that a unit should not be denied tax-holiday under sections 10A or 10B on the ground that the computer software was prepared ‘on-site’, as long as it was a product of the unit, i.e., it is produced by the unit. However, certain doubts appear to have arisen following the insertion of Explanation 3 to sections 10A and 10B (vide Finance Act, 2001) and Explanation 2 to section 10AA (vide Special Economic Zones Act, 2005) providing that “the profits and gains derived from on site development of computer software (including services for development of software) outside India shall be deemed to be the profits and gains derived from the export of computer software outside India”, and a clarification has been sought on the impact of the Explanation on the tax-benefits as compared to the situation that existed prior to the amendments.
The matter has been examined. In view of the position of law as it stands now, it is clarified that the software developed abroad at a client’s place would be eligible for benefits under the respective provisions, because these would amount to ‘deemed export’ and tax benefits would not be denied merely on this ground. However, since the benefits under these provisions can be availed of only by the units or undertakings set up under specified schemes in India, it is necessary that there must exist a direct and intimate nexus or connection of development of software done abroad with the eligible units set up in India and such development of software should be pursuant to a contract between the client and the eligible unit. To this extent, Circular No. 694 dated 23.11.1994 stands further clarified.
(b) It has also been brought to notice that it is a common practice in the software industry to depute Technical Manpower abroad (at the client’s place) for software development activities (like upgradation, testing, maintenance, modification, trouble-shooting etc.), which often require frequent interaction with the clients located outside India. Due to the peculiar nature of software development work, it has been suggested that such deputation of Technical Manpower abroad should not be considered detrimental to the benefits of the exemption under sections 10A, 10AA and 10B merely because such activities are rendered outside the eligible units /undertakings.
The matter has been examined. Explanation 3 to sections 10A and 10B and Explanation 2 to section 10AA clearly declare that profits and gains derived from ‘services for development of software’ outside India would also be deemed as profits derived from export. It is therefore clarified that profits earned as a result of deployment of Technical Manpower at the client’s place abroad specifically for software development work pursuant to a contract between the client and the eligible unit should not be denied benefits under sections 10A, 10AA and 10B provided such deputation of manpower is for the development of such software and all the prescribed conditions are fulfilled.
(ii) Whether it is necessary to have separate master service agreement (MSA) for each work contract and to what extent it is relevant.
As per the practice prevalent in the software development industry, generally two types of agreement are entered into between the Indian software developer and the foreign client. Master Services Agreement (MSA) is an initial general agreement between a foreign client and the Indian software developer setting out the broad and general terms and conditions of business under the umbrella of which specific and individual Statement of Works (SOW) are formed. These SOWs, in fact, enumerate the specific scope and nature of the particular task or project that has to be rendered by a particular unit under the overall ambit of the MSA. Clarification has been sought whether more than one SOW can be executed under the ambit of a particular MSA and whether SOW should be given precedence over MSA.
The matter has been examined. It is clarified that the tax benefits under sections 10A, 10AA and 10B would not be denied merely on the ground that a separate and specific MSA does not exist for each SOW. The SOW would normally prevail over the MSA in determining the eligibility for tax benefits unless the Assessing Officer is able to establish that there has been splitting up or reconstruction of an existing business or non-fulfilment of any other prescribed condition.
(iii) Whether research and development (R&D) activities pertaining to software development would be covered under the definition of “computer software” stipulated under explanation 2 to sections 10A and 10B.
The definition of “computer software” stipulated under Explanation 2 to sections 10A and 10B includes “any customized electronic data or any product or service of similar nature, as may be notified by the Board….”. The CBDT had already issued Notification No. 890(E) dated 26.09.2000 specifying such items. The notification includes Engineering and Design but does not specifically include Research and Development activities related to software development in respect of which clarification has been sought.
After examining the matter, it is clarified that the services covered by the aforesaid Notification, in particular, the ‘Engineering and Design’ do have the inbuilt elements of Research and Development. However, for the sake of clarity, it is reiterated that any Research and Development activity embedded in the ‘Engineering and Design’, would also be covered under the said Notification for the purpose of Explanation 2 to the above provisions.
(iv) Whether tax benefits under sections 10A, 10AA and 10B would continue to remain available in case of a slump-sale of a unit/undertaking.
The vital factor in determining the above issue would be facts such as how a slump-sale is made and what is its nature. It will also be important to ensure that the slump sale would not result into any splitting or reconstruction of existing business. These are factual issues requiring verification of facts. It is, however, clarified that on the sole ground of change in ownership of an undertaking, the claim of exemption cannot be denied to an otherwise eligible undertaking and the tax holiday can be availed of for the unexpired period at the rates as applicable for the remaining years, subject to fulfilment of prescribed conditions.
(v) Whether it is necessary to maintain separate books of account for an assessee in respect of its eligible units claiming tax benefits under sections 10A and 10B.
Since there is no requirement in law to maintain separate books of account, the same cannot be insisted upon. However, since the deductions under these sections are available only to the eligible units, the Assessing Officer may call for such details or information pertaining to different units to verify the claim and quantum of exemption, if so required.
(vi) Whether tax benefits under section 10AA can be enjoyed by an eligible SEZ unit consequent to its transfer to another SEZ.
This issue relates to cases where an eligible SEZ unit is shifted from one SEZ to another SEZ on account of commercial exigencies. This shifting is permissible under Instruction No.59 (F.No.C-4/2/2010-SEZ) issued by Department of Commerce (SEZ Division), provided approval from the Board of Approvals (BOA) has been obtained. Doubts have been raised whether such shifting of an eligible unit would deprive the unit/undertaking of tax benefits, provided there is no splitting or reconstruction of an existing business. The matter has been examined and it is clarified that the tax holiday should not be denied merely on the ground of physical relocation of an eligible SEZ unit from one SEZ to another in accordance with Instruction No. 59 of Department of Commerce (referred to above) and if all the prescribed conditions are satisfied under the Income-tax Act, 1961. It is further clarified that the unit so relocated will be eligible to avail of the tax benefit for the unexpired period at the rates applicable to such years.
(vii) Whether new units/undertakings set up in the same location where there is an existing eligible unit/undertaking would amount to expansion of the existing unit/undertaking.
Whether setting up of new unit/undertaking in a location (covered by sections 10A, 10AA or 10B), where an eligible unit is already existing, would amount to expansion of such already existing unit is a matter of fact requiring examination and verification. However, it is clarified that setting up of such a fresh unit in itself would not make the unit ineligible for tax benefits, as long as the unit is setup after obtaining necessary approvals from the competent authorities; has not been formed by splitting or reconstruction of an existing business; and fulfils all other conditions prescribed in the relevant provisions of law.

Courts Automation Systems In India, E-Courts And Online Dispute Resolution

Indian courts have been using information and
communication technology (ICT) for effective judicial functioning.
New features like online cause lists, filing of cases on digital
mediums like CDs, providing of judgments online, use of video
conferencing, etc. are already being used by courts of India.

However, automation of courts systems in India is
still far from satisfactory. We are