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I-T Dept asks Microsoft to pay Rs 700 cr tax
April, 03rd 2008

Software giant Microsoft has to pay about Rs 700 crore as income tax, including interest on royalty income generated from sale of software in India.

The Comission of Income Tax Appeals, which is hearing a case filed by the IT department, has held that price charged for use of Microsoft's software in India is royalty and tax is payable on it. It has determined that the royalty income is Rs 2,240 crore for the six years to 2005 (1999-2005) and not Rs 868 crore as originally assessed.

Accordingly, official sources said, Microsoft's estimated tax liability on royalty stands at Rs 700 crore, including interest.

Reacting to the decision, Microsoft spokesperson in India said, "The case is an old issue relating to financial year 1999 to 2004 and for an overseas Microsoft entity. Microsoft believes that it is in full compliance with Indian tax laws and the income tax treaty agreement between India and the US."

Since it is an appellate order, Microsoft is reviewing the order and will determine the course of action accordingly, the spokesperson added.

The sources said the CIT(A), handling international taxation cases in Delhi, held that the Gracemac Corporation, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Microsoft is liable to pay income tax on its gross royalty income earned out of licensing of softwares to Indian customers.

The total gross royalty income for the six assessment years starting from 1999 to 2005 is computed to be about Rs 2,240 crore. Going by 15 per cent tax on royalty, the total tax liability on the Microsoft subsidiary is calculated to be about Rs 350 crore. With addition of interest, the total liability is likely to be Rs 700 crore, they added.

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