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Pooja Bhatt gets a breather in tax case
November, 18th 2008

Actress Pooja Bhatt has got a reprieve from the tax demand on the $6,000 she received for performing in Canada. A tax tribunal has ruled that she is liable to pay tax only in Canada, the place where the income was generated.

The Income-tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), Mumbai, said the India-Canada double taxation avoidance agreement (DTAA) provides for taxing the income earned by artists at the source country. The income under question belongs to assessment year 1994-95.

Ms Bhatt had already paid $900 in Canada as tax deducted at source. The IT department, however, raised a demand on the artist, on the presumption that under the Income-tax Act of India, the entire global income of Ms Bhatt can be taxed in India the country of her residence. The departments order was upheld by the commissioner (appeal) the first appellate authority on tax matters. Ms Bhatt then approached the ITAT, Mumbai.

The ITAT, in its order last month, held that Ms Bhatts income could not be taxed in India in the context of India-Canada DTAA, which clearly states that income may be taxed in the source country. The ITAT took into account a similar issue that came up before the Madhya Pradesh High Court in the case of Torqouise Investment & Finance.

In this case, the court, following the decision of the Madras High Court in the case of SRM Firm and others, held that income arising on the sale of immovable property in Malaysia cannot be taxed in India. In this case, the Supreme Court had affirmed the view of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

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