The Central government on August 5 proposed the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill in parliament, with the intent to withdraw the retrospective tax. The Finance Minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman tabled the bill in the Lok Sabha.
According to the statement issued by the Finance Ministry, the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill seeks to amend the Income-tax Act, 1961 in order to quash any tax demand that shall be raised in the future on the basis of retrospective amendments if the transaction was done before the 28th May 2012.
The statement further stated, “It seeks to provide that the demand raised for indirect transfer of Indian assets made before 28th May 2012 shall be nullified on fulfillment of specified conditions such as withdrawal or furnishing of undertaking for withdrawal of pending litigation, etc.” It will amend the Finance Act, 2012 with the intent to cease the tax demands under section 119 of the Finance Act, 2012 when certain laid down conditions are fulfilled.
Indian economy is in need of quick recovery after severely getting hit by the shockwaves of the Covid 19 pandemic. In order to revive the economy major financial and infrastructural developments have been initiated which had boosted investment figures in the economy but the retrospective amendment is a sore point with potential investors.
The UPA government introduced the retrospective tax in 2012 when it decided to impose capital gains tax on some companies like Cairn.
This Taxation Laws Amendment Bill will impact two big companies Cairn Energy Plc and Vodafone Group of UK. The bill was tabled in the middle of India’s Cairn Energy arbitration case. Cairn Energy sued Air India seeking to recover $1.2 billion in arbitration from the Indian government. Cairn company is monitoring recent developments in India.