Govt to resolve several tax issues soon Jaitley

India will resolve some pending tax disputes in the next few days through judicial or executive resolutions, finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday, as he sought to reassure investors about the government’s investment-friendly policies.He, however, did not specify the disputes in question.

“A number of tax disputes have been put to rest and we are trying over the next few days itself so that many others can be put to sleep, either by a judicial resolution or an executive resolution,” he told the India Economic Convention organized by India Foundation.

The government announced earlier this month that it will amend the income-tax Act to exempt foreign portfolio investors from paying the minimum alternate tax (MAT), which was a sticking point with foreign investors and had threatened to turn into another long-drawn tax dispute between the government and foreign investors.

The decision followed a report by the justice A.P. Shah committee that recommended exempting both foreign portfolio investors and foreign firms with no permanent establishments in India from MAT. However, with the matter pending before the Supreme Court, the government has not made any formal announcement so far about a MAT waiver for foreign firms.

The matter reached the apex court after Mauritius-based Castleton Investment took the income-tax department to court over the levy of MAT on capital gains. The matter is likely to be taken up for hearing on 29 September in the apex court. The government is expected to clarify its stand on the issue then.

In his remarks on Thursday, Jaitley added that his government is considering ways to improve the ease of doing business and resolve tax disputes. He said that though the proposed goods and services tax is stuck because of political reasons, the government is working on a bankruptcy code, dispute resolution in major contracts, speedy arbitration procedures and a public procurement law.

HT Mint, New Delhi, 18th Sept. 2015

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