In continuation to our advocacy efforts on GST legislative and procedural issues, USISPF met with GSTN officials. Tax colleagues from across industry participated and discussed issues relevant to their sector.
In continuation to our advocacy efforts on GST legislative and procedural issues, USISPF is planning to engage with few important state tax departments. The idea is apprise and also to get guidance on some of the key long standing GST policy issues. While we continue to engage with the GST council secretariate and also the GST policy wing at Ministry of Finance, we felt it’s also important to engage with states which have an important representation at the GST council meetings. To start with, we did a close door virtual session with Punjab tax department and next will be with the State of Gujarat To participate.
January 9 2021 6:30pm to 8:30pm IST| 8:00am-9:00am EST
The Cairn Energy and Vodafone awards by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague under Bilateral Investment Agreements are one of a kind landmark rulings on retrospective taxation which could bear a far-reaching impact on tax policy. USISPF is supporting the IFA India Branch & IFA India Academy’s Masterclass discussing the same. The Masterclass is designed as a combination of lectures (on investment arbitration and aspects of the two awards by the PCA) and panel discussion.
On December 8, USISPF hosted an rountable discussion with Mr. Rajat Bansal, IRS who is a member of the UN’s subcommittee on Tax Challenges of the Digitalization of the Economy. The UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters, at its 20th session, agreed to consider adding new provisions addressing the taxation of the digital economy to the UN Model Convention. Mr Bansal presented an alternative approach to tax the digital economy through a new tax treaty article redefining nexus and profit allocation.
On December 3, 2020 Forum hosted an industry consultation with CBIC to discuss issues faced by industry on Faceless Customs and CAROTAR 2020. To get a recording of the session and for queries if any please write to Ms Shweta Kathuria @ firstname.lastname@example.org
The All India Customs consultative group meeting was held on November 19, 2020. The Forum participated in the meeting to discuss customs issues of our member companies. The meeting was chaired by Member (Customs) and several officials from the CBIC and state custom authorities were present to address specific concerns as submitted by the forum.
The dynamic QR code in case of B2C supplies is currently proposed to be implemented from December 1, 2020. There are some prevailing concerns and ambiguities which our members are apprehensive about and basis the same we have submitted a detailed note with the CBIC and also held a closed door meeting with CBIC in relation to this.
The OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on BEPS on October 12, 2020, released its Pillar One and Pillar Two Blueprint Reports which reflects the latest stage of this work, which is meant to provide a basis for political agreement across the Inclusive Framework member countries. While OECD’s Pillar One Blueprint provides the technical framework for re-allocation of taxing rights to market economies for certain digital and consumer facing business, the Pillar Two Blueprint lays down the contours for introducing a minimum global tax. On November 2, 2020 USISPF hosted an interactive session with Mr Rashmi Ranjan Das, Joint Secretary (FT&TR), Central Board of Direct Taxes, Ministry Finance to discuss the key features of the aforesaid developments, their impact from an India perspective and what the future holds in terms of timelines, consensus and way forward.
In a landmark arbitral award published on September 25, 2020 by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, the bilateral investment treaty tribunal ruled in favour of Vodafone with respect to the Government of India’s retrospective tax claim of ~US$ 5.5 billion (inclusive interest & penalty). On October 8 2020 , USISPF organied a close-door discussion with Ms. Anuradha Dutt, Founding & Managing Partner (Delhi) and Ms. Fereshte Sethna, Founding & Managing Partner (Mumbai), who represented Vodafone as Counsel at the international investment treaty arbitral tribunal proceedings, to discuss the journey and share valuable insights in terms of tax planning, tax structuring and policy risk for foreign investors in India
Ministry of Finance, Government of India, introduced the first and second phase of country-wide faceless assessment in June 2020 and August 2020, respectively. Considering the encouraging results, CBIC has decided to roll out the faceless assessment across India, at all ports of import and for all imported goods by 31 October 2020. Introduction of faceless assessment is part of the string of reforms called “Turant Customs”. This includes paperless customs through intelligent e-Sanchit and Machine Release, or end-to-end automated clearance, without officer interface at any stage. In this regards USISPF hosted an Interactive session on Trade Facilitation measures including Faceless Assessment under Customs with Central Board of Indirect taxes & Customs officials and Deloitte India.
Forum co-hosted a webcast on Making an Atmanirbhar Bharat – Make in India – An Indirect Tax Perspective. We would like to cordially invite you to join in a webcast themed “Atmanirbhar Bharat – Make In India – An Indirect Tax Perspective”. The event was inaugurated and Presided over by the Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs, India, Shri Anurag Singh Thakur. The webcast was co-hosted by the Directorate General of Taxpayer Services – Central Board of Indirect Tax and Customs (CBIC), in association with the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), the Manufactures Association for Information Technology (MAIT) and Deloitte India – the Knowledge Partners to USISPF. This interaction was a part of Series of Government – Industry interactions being hosted by the DGTS-CBIC.
On July 28, USISPF conducted an interactive discussion with GST council with an objective of briefing the the council of key legislative and procedural issues and to get the council’s perspective on the same through a virtual policy roundtable before the next GST council meeting scheduled to happen soon.
On July 14, 2020 forum hosted an interactive discussion on the implications of recent amendments under section 9A of Income tax Act, 1961 jointly with KPMG in India and DMD Advocates. The Finance Act, 2019 amended one of the conditions for availing safe harbour under section 9A by removing the requirement for the eligible fund manager to receive an arm’s length remuneration for performing the fund management activity and replacing it with a minimum fee to be prescribed by the CBDT. Thereafter there have been a series of amendments including the recent amendment to Rule 10V through the Income-tax (10th Amendment) Rules, 2020.
USISPF in association with Foreign Investors India Forum (FIIF) hosted a webinar to discuss how India can succeed in this goal from a tax-policy perspective and some potential solutions that can be put forth to the government that can potentially attract billions of dollars into the Indian economy. The webinar was presented by our knowledge partners, DMD Advocates.
India, in recent times, has witnessed a slew of initiatives to improve tax administration with the latest and most prominent one being the reforms related to e-assessments. The Finance Act 2020, has expanded the remit for this reform to include e-appeals and e-penalty. E-assessments, despite their merits, have also been the epicentre for tax disputes owing to some inherent pitfalls. Tax collections, credit claims and refunds are all bound to be impacted given these technical and procedural impediments and therefore need urgent attention from the authorities to de-weed the process to achieve its full effectiveness. The recent introduction of a citizen’s charter for both direct and indirect tax statutes is a step in that direction, to enforce existing rights. USISPF with KPMG in India team hosted an interactive session to help decode the merits and illustrate the areas of focus for this critical journey the government has embarked on.
On May 26, 2020, Ministry of commerce organised an industry consultation to discuss provisions in the Finance Act, 2020 pertaining to the e-commerce sector including expansion in the scope of equalisation levy and TDS on e-commerce companies. USISPF was invited to represent their member companies impacted by these provisions and we used the opportunity to highlight ambiguities under both the provisions.
The expanded scope of Equalisation Levy, having now received Presidential assent and enacted as a law effective 01 April 2020, still leaves the industry grappling with several unanswered questions. While the request for a deferral of the levy continues to be a larger industry ask, USISPF continues with its efforts to make its voice heard on some of the key clarifications required under the law. To achieve this, we have been actively engaged with the industry and the Government of India. In an effort to drive further momentum, we invite you join us for an interactive discussion with Mr. Akhilesh Ranjan, Former Member, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) who will provide an expert view on some of the finer nuances relating to the law and deliberate on the way forward.
As the World continues to reel under the threat of a widespread global pandemic, the Government of India, with a view to mitigate the paralysing effects of this, has announced several important relief measures on statutory and regulatory matters across sectors. It is expected that these measures would provide companies a much needed breather and help them focus on more pressing issues caused by a distressed and strained economy. However, in an environment that was already extremely capricious, this recent world event has only added to the challenges in so far as GST is concerned. USISPF hosted a webinar covering an update on these measures introduced from a GST perspective on the 7th of April 2020.
In June 2019, India ratified the Multilateral Instrument (MLI) to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS). MLI seeks to modify India’s tax treaties in an attempt to curb revenue loss through treaty abuse and BEPS strategies. As a result of the MLI ratification, India’s tax treaties with some of its key treaty partners are expected to be modified from 1 April 2020. From a U.S. perspective, it may have a significant impact on MNCs’, especially in cases where investments have been made via intermediary jurisdictions in India. To discuss the potential implications of the above development, On Monday, 30 March 2020 USISPF in partnership with KPMG in India hosted a webinar.
On March 13, 2020, Ministry of Corporate Affairs issued a circular inviting public comments on the draft Companies (Corporate Social Responsibility Policy) Amendment Rules, 2020 (“Amendment Rules”) available here. On March 25,2020, Wednesday USISPF in association with DMD Advocates conducted a webinar to discuss the draft Amendment Rules and address member queries if any.
The ‘Vivad se Vishwas Scheme 2020′ introduced to provide for dispute resolution in respect of pending income tax litigation has received the President’s assent and has been notified as the “Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Act 2020”. As next steps, Rules will be prescribed and forms will be notified shortly. The Scheme aims to settle pending income tax litigation and benefit taxpayers by providing certainty around the long-drawn litigation process. US India Strategic Partnership Forum in association with the IFA-India Branch Western Region Chapter hosted an online Interaction on Dispute Resolution Scheme (“Direct Tax – Vivad se Vishwas Scheme 2020”) with Mr Kamlesh Varshney, JS (TPL 1).
In a move to curb fake invoices the Government of India implemented the mechanism of electronic invoices under GST voluntarily for select companies. Pursuant to the same all invoices for business-to-business sales by entities beyond a specified turnover threshold will be generated on a centralised government portal. Forum organized an industry consultation with the GST policy wing to pass on industry recommendations the most critical one seeking an extension to the date of mandatory implementation.
The All India Customs consultative group meeting was held on March 5, 2020 in New Delhi. The Forum participated in the consultation sharing customs issues of our member companies. The meeting was chaired by Member (Customs) and several officials from the CBIC and state custom authorities were present to address specific concerns as submitted by the forum.