On the back of its new electoral mandate, the Modi Sarkar 2.0 government recently presented its first budget. The budget focuses primarily on infrastructure spending and boosting investment from private and foreign investors, with the government forecasting that the Indian economy will grow to $5 trillion by 2025. Following the budget announcement, a slew of reforms and policies are expected in the coming months, including a draft of the much-awaited Direct Tax Code.
The Bombay High Court recently considered whether a taxpayer, which was resident in India and the sole owner of a business that provided personnel on an as-needed basis to foreign companies, had been required to deduct tax under Section 195 of the Income Tax Act when paying an employee who it had loaned to a Kuwait-based company. Section 195 of the act requires taxpayers to deduct tax on any payment (other than salary payments) made to non-residents.
With a clear mandate from Indian citizens, the newly elected government is expected to bring a fresh perspective to tax matters when it issues its budget on 5 July 2019. The tax rates are unlikely to change substantially and the amendments made in the interim budget will remain intact. However, to increase India's competitiveness from an investment perspective, the government may reduce the peak tax rate for all businesses and entities.
The Mumbai Tax Tribunal recently ruled in a case concerning the threshold for determining whether a taxpayer has a service permanent establishment in India, finding that the multiple counting of employees on a particular day is prohibited under the India-UK tax treaty. Further, the tribunal held that since the employee in question had been on leave and no other employee of the taxpayer had rendered services in India, the employee's leave period had to be excluded from the threshold calculation.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has authorised the principal director general of income tax (systems) to share taxpayer information with the Goods and Service Tax Network (GSTN). The CBDT also confirmed that in order to facilitate the provision of information, it will enter into a memorandum of understanding with the GSTN, which will set out, among other things, the nature of data exchanges, the ways in which confidentiality will be maintained and mechanisms for the safe preservation of data.