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Panel call on Voda

Action time

New Delhi, May 12: An inter-ministerial group is expected to meet later this week to decide on India’s stand on the arbitration notice served by British telecom giant Vodafone on a Rs 20,000-crore tax dispute.

The government will defend its demand for tax deducted at source on Vodafone’s acquisition of Hutchison Whampoa’s stake in Hutchison Essar in 2007, officials said.

Though the new government will have a final say on the case, the Centre is expected to stick to its guns.

In February, the cabinet had asked the tax authorities to continue conciliation talks with Vodafone despite the taxmen seeking to end the negotiations, which they felt had not yielded any results.

The cabinet also asked the revenue authorities to stick to their stand that a separate Rs 3,700-crore transfer pricing case before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) should not be clubbed with the capital gains tax case.

The revenue department consequently requested Vodafone through a letter dated March 11, to “engage seriously in the proceedings before the ITAT” and review the conciliations.

However, Vodafone said it would go ahead with international arbitration to resolve the long-pending tax dispute.

Swiss tax

India will ask Switzerland to share bank account details of Indian citizens who have allegedly stashed money there, finance minister P. Chidambaram said today.

Last week, around 46 countries, including Switzerland and Singapore, adopted the declaration for automatic exchange of information in tax matters under the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

“Efforts made by India and other OECD/G20 countries are bearing fruit. I believe the day is not far off when all major financial centres will be parties to an effective exchange of information on an automatic basis,” Chidambaram said.

India will pressurise Switzerland to ratify the convention and abide by its obligations under the OECD declaration to share information, he added.

 
 
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