New Delhi, Jan. 11: The government has expressed its willingness to “discuss” a deal with Vodafone Plc on the telephone giant’s tax dues from its $11.2-billion buyout of Hutchison Essar’s operations in April 2007.
Top finance officials confirmed that a letter in response to Vodafone’s request for opening a dialogue was sent last evening.
“We are ready to engage with Vodafone and the talks at the government’s end will be conducted by revenue secretary Sumit Bose as well as Dr Poonam Kishore, chairperson of the Central Board Direct Taxes (CBDT),” said officials.
The letter does not mention any time frame for the dialogue or any terms for settling the dispute. Sources, however, said a deal between Vodafone and the government could see the UK-based firm paying only the original tax demand of Rs 7,900 crore with the government waiving off the interest component and penalty.
Vodafone has “said all along” that it wants to reach an amicable settlement with the Indian government, Ben Padovan, the company’s spokesperson, said today.
Vodafone had maintained that it wasn’t liable to pay the tax as it was the buyer and not the recipient of the proceeds from the deal.