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Upper House passes law scrapping retrospective taxation amid walkout

The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, which got Lok Sabha’s nod last week, was passed by Rajya Sabha through voice vote.

Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi |
August 10, 2021 3:57:54 am
But passage of the Bill was marred by a walkout by the entire Opposition, a move that drew scathing criticism from Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Parliament on Monday approved a Bill scrapping the controversial and contentious law brought in by the UPA in 2012 to tax companies retrospectively. The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, which got Lok Sabha’s nod last week, was passed by Rajya Sabha through voice vote.

But passage of the Bill was marred by a walkout by the entire Opposition, a move that drew scathing criticism from Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The Bill proposes to amend the Income Tax Act, 1961, to effectively end all retrospective taxation imposed on indirect transfer of Indian assets if the transaction was undertaken before May 28, 2012. Sitharaman hoped the law will be “appealing enough” to foreign investors since it puts an end to the “ghost which we have been carrying…from 2012”.

She said India had been bearing the “negativity” of the 2012 retrospective taxation amendment. She said scrapping retrospective taxation will “make India look a very clear, transparent and fair taxation land.”

At the same time, she asserted, “We are keeping the sovereign right of India to tax absolutely intact.”

To a question by BJD’s Amar Patnaik on whether the government has confirmation that Cairn Energy or Vodafone, against whom the retrospective tax law was invoked, will not pursue any further appeals after enactment of the law, Sitharaman said, “Once it is passed, we are confident that they will also find the provisions very useful for them and, probably, consider taking into consideration what we brought in.” She said in three cases the government will refund disputed amounts collected. “There is…Cairns, which has Rs 7,879.73 crore. There is…Vodafone, which has Rs.44.74 crore. The third one has about Rs 48 crore,” she said.

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