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The Finance minister, today, announced to defer the implementation of controversial GAAR provisions by 3 years. Some of the major recommendations of expert committee have been accepted, with some modifications, and the following decisions have been taken by the Government;
1) It has been decided that the provisions of GAAR shall come into force with effect from April 1, 2016 (as against the current provision of April 1, 2014);
2) The tax auditor will be required to report any tax avoidance arrangement;
3) An arrangement, with main purpose of obtaining a tax benefit, would be considered as an impermissible avoidance arrangement;
4) The AO will be required to issue a SCN to the assessee before invoking the provisions of GAAR;
5) The assessee shall have an opportunity to prove that the arrangement is not an impermissible avoidance arrangement;
6) There will be only one provision defining a ‘connected person’ unlike the present structure which includes two distinct definitions namely, ‘associated person’ and ‘connected person’;
7) The fact that an exit route was provided by the arrangement are not sufficient to determine whether the arrangement is an impermissible avoidance arrangement;
8) The directions of AP shall be binding on the assessee and on the Income-tax authorities;
9) Consequential adjustment arising from impermissible avoidance arrangement will be allowed to ensure that the same income is not taxed twice;
10) Investments made before August 30, 2010 will be grandfathered;
11) GAAR will not apply to FIIs not opting for taxation under DTAA;
12) GAAR will not apply to non-resident investors in FIIs;
13) There will be a monetary threshold of Rs. 3 crore of tax benefit in order to attract the provisions of GAAR;
14) Advance Ruling can be sought only on that part of arrangement which is impermissible and not in respect of the whole arrangement;
15) Where GAAR and SAAR are both in force, only one of them will apply to a given case, and guidelines will be made regarding their applicability;
16) Statutory forms will be prescribed for the different authorities to exercise their powers; and
17) Time limits will be provided for action by the various authorities under GAAR.
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- the area of single largest undivided piece of note presented is less than or equal to 50% of area of the note for denominations of Re. 1, Rs. 2, Rs. 5, Rs. 10 and Rs. 20.
- the area of the single largest undivided piece of the note is less than 40 percent for denominations of Rs.50, Rs. 100, Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000.
- cannot be identified with certainty as a genuine note for which the Bank is liable under the Act,has been made imperfect or mutilated, thereby causing the note to appear to be of a higher denomination, or has been deliberately cut, torn, defaced, altered or dealt with in any other manner, not necessarily by the claimants, enabling the use of the same for making of a false claim under these rules or otherwise to defraud the Bank or the public,\
- carries any extrinsic words or visible representations intended to convey or capable of conveying any message of a political or religious character or furthering the interest of any person or entity,
- has been imported into India by the claimant from any place outside India in contravention of the provision of any law.
Advanced IT course for students who have registered for chartered accountants (CA) course after August 1 will now be compulsory.
This advanced IT course of 150-hour duration will supplement 100 hours of IT course that they need to undergo prior to joining article ship and will deal with software such as Oracle, SAP, ERP.
They need to undergo this training in the third year of their article ship or practical training for the CA course.
Disclosing this to reporters on the sidelines of a two-day state-level CA students’ conference organised by SIRC of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), Vijay Kumar, director, board of studies of ICAI, said the institute is keen on imparting both soft skills and IT skills to CA students’ to enable them to keep pace with fast paced changes. The ICAI has 150 computer labs with 6,000 plus computers and training is imparted across India.
The circular dated November 30, 2012, was issued after internal review meetings held in late November and has been forwarded to Employee Provident Fund offices across India.
Historically, most companies have been computing provident fund (PF) contributions (at 12% each by the employer and employee) against basic salary and dearness allowance only. However, the definition of basic wages has been a contentious issue, with PF authorities claiming that companies split the basic wages into various allowances to reduce the quantum of PF contributions.
Last year, the Madras high court and the Madhya Pradesh high court in two separate cases had held that various allowances paid by the employer to its employees under different heads such as conveyance, education, food concession, medical, special holidays, night shift incentives, city compensatory allowance, etc., qualified as basic wages under section 2(b) of the PF Act and needed to be included while computing the PF contribution.
Based on these judgements, PF officials carried out audits on India Inc and raised demands to recover the differential PF contributions. Later, pending dismissal of the writ petitions filed by these companies, the audits were held in abeyance.
“Following this circular, the PF officials may once again, commence audits of Indian companies to ascertain whether the PF contribution has been rightly computed and deposited,” says Yatin Pathak, chartered accountant.
Sonu Iyer, partner, Ernst and Young, points out a possible shelter that could be available in respect of employees in India. Proviso to paragraph 26A of the PF Scheme allows PF contributions by the employee as well as the employees on a maximum notional level of Rs 6,500 per month, instead of the entire salary (including various allowances). The rate remains the same at 12% each for the employer and employee contributions respectively.
“Not many employers have opted for this route, as PF is part of the employees cost to company and it also gives a tax shield to the employees. Now, if the employer organisation suddenly wishes to exercise this option and compute PF contributions only against Rs 6, 500 per month, it is not clear whether the PF authorities will oblige,” Iyer explains.
Expatriate workers from India also have to contribute to PF, even if their salary is paid outside India (unless they have exemption owing to a social security arrangement with the country to which they have been deputed). Unfortunately, for them this notional limit of Rs 6,500 doesn’t apply. “If an employer has expat workers, there is a higher likelihood of their being subject to scrutiny by PF authorities,” adds Iyer.
A similar matter is up for interpretation before the Supreme Court, but until then, PF authorities are likely to commence audits and raise demands on India Inc, based on the circular