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Govt sets up advisory group on international taxation
March, 22nd 2012

The Finance Ministry has constituted a 12-member advisory group headed by the Revenue Secretary on the controversial amendments in the Income Tax Act that seek to tax overseas deals with retrospective effect.

The group, which will also have representatives from the industry chambers, will suggest to the government ways to reduce tax litigation in such cases, including transfer pricing, Finance Ministry sources said.

The amendment to the I-T Act proposed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in his Budget speech last week generated a lot of controversy as it seeks to bring into net the deals such as the Vodafone-Hutchison acquisition, against the backdrop of the Supreme Court order that went against the tax authorities.

"The group can have consultations on emerging issues of taxation in the area of international taxation and transfer pricing. The group can also advice the government about legislative amendments and administrative measures which can help reduce tax litigation and bring in more tax certainty," the terms of reference of the committee said.

No deadline has, however, been stipulated for the group to finalise and submit its recommendations to the government.

The formation of the group, according to a senior Finance Ministry official, was approved by Mukherjee with a view to "bring on-board all the views and resolve misgivings in international taxation cases".

While the panel will be headed by the Revenue Secretary, the other members of the group are -- Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Director General of International Taxation (Income Tax), two Joint Secretaries of Foreign Taxation and Tax Research in the CBDT, one representative each of industry bodies like CII, FICCI, Assocham, ICAI, a reputed tax advisor nominated by the team head and one other expert on the subject that the committee "may" wish to invite.

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