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D St FBT maths may hold for foreign listings
October, 25th 2007
Valuation guidelines for fringe benefit tax (FBT) on employee stock options (Esops) may be tweaked slightly. Companies listed on select international stock exchanges may get to follow the norm meant for listed companies in India as the government may include select overseas exchanges in the list of recognised bourses.

Several MNCs have issued stock options of the parent, listed on an overseas stock exchange, to employees of Indian subsidiaries. In fact, some Indian companies in the IT sector are also listed abroad. At present, these companies will have to follow the guidelines meant for unlisted companies, sources said.

Tax experts said the move would make it easier for foreign companies, as they will not have to get a valuation done for the overseas parent.

The government should consider at least some select overseas stock exchanges for MNCs on par with recognised stock exchanges for valuation purposes, Ernst & Young partner Amitabh Singh said.

According to BMR & Co partner Mukesh Butani, the guidelines had raised doubts if stock options given by foreign companies were covered under FBT, even though it was intended in the legislation. The move will clear the air, he said.

As per the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) norms notified on Tuesday, the fair market value (FMV) would be average of the opening and closing price on the date of vesting of option in the case of companies listed on recognised stock exchanges.
 
 
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