With the expansion of information and communication technology, the supply and procurement of digital goods and services have undergone exponential expansion everywhere, including India. The digital economy is growing at ten per cent per year, significantly faster than the global economy as a whole.

Currently in the digital domain, business may be conducted without regard to national boundaries and may dissolve the link between an income-producing activity and a specific location. From a certain perspective, business in digital domain doesn’t seem to occur in any physical location but instead takes place in the nebulous world of “cyberspace.” Persons carrying business in digital domain could be located anywhere in the world. Entrepreneurs across the world have been quick to evolve their business to take advantage of these changes. It has also made it possible for the businesses to conduct themselves in ways that did not exist earlier, and given rise to new business models that rely more on digital and telecommunication network, do not require physical presence, and derives substantial value from data collected and transmitted from such networks.

These new business models have created new tax challenges. The typical direct tax issues relating to e-commerce are the difficulties of characterizing the nature of payment and establishing a nexus or link between a taxable transaction, activity and a taxing jurisdiction, the difficulty of locating the transaction, activity and identifying the taxpayer for income tax purposes. The digital business fundamentally challenges physical presence-based permanent establishment rules. If permanent establishment (PE) principles are to remain effective in the new economy, the fundamental PE components developed for the old economy i.e. place of business, location, and permanency must be reconciled with the new digital reality.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has recommended, in Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project under Action Plan 1, several options to tackle the direct tax challenges which include modifying the existing Permanent Establishment (PE) rule to include that where an enterprise engaged in fully de-materialized digital activities would constitute a PE if it maintained a significant digital presence in another country’s economy. It further recommended a virtual fixed place of business PE in the concept of PE i,e creation of a PE when the enterprise maintains a website on a server of another enterprise located in a jurisdiction and carries on business through that website. It also recommended to impose of a final withholding tax on certain payments for digital goods or services provided by a foreign e-commerce provider or imposition of a equalisation levy on consideration for certain digital transactions received by a non-resident from a resident or from a non-resident having permanent establishment in other contracting state.

Considering the potential of new digital economy and the rapidly evolving nature of business operations it is found essential to address the challenges in terms of taxation of such digital transactions as mentioned above. In order to address these challenges, it is proposed to insert a new Chapter titled “Equalisation Levy” in the Finance Bill, to provide for an equalisation levy of 6% of the amount of consideration for specified services received or receivable by a non-resident not having permanent establishment (‘PE’) in India, from a resident in India who carries out business or profession, or from a non-resident having permanent establishment in India.

Further, in order to reduce burden of small players in the digital domain, it is also provided that no such levy shall be made if the aggregate amount of consideration for specified services received or receivable by a non-resident from a person resident in India or from a non-resident having a permanent establishment in India does not exceed one lakh rupees in any previous year.

To provide certainty and to avoid interpretational issues, it is also proposed to define certain terms and expressions used therein. Further it also proposes to provide for the procedure to be adopted for collection and recovery of equalisation levy.

In order to provide for the administrative mechanism of the equalisation levy, it also proposes to provide for statutory authorities and also prescribes the duties and powers of the authorities to administer the equalisation levy. In order to ensure effective compliance, it also proposes to provide for interest; penalty and prosecution in case of defaults with sufficient safeguards.

Further, it also proposes to confer the power on the Central Government to make rules for the purposes of carrying out the provisions of this Chapter and further provides that every rule made under this Chapter shall be laid before each House of Parliament.

In order to avoid double taxation, it is proposed to provide exemption under section 10 of the Act for any income arising from providing specified services on which equalisation levy is chargeable.

In order to ensure compliance with the provisions this Chapter, it is further proposed to provide that the expenses incurred by the assessee towards specified services chargeable under this Chapter shall not be allowed as deduction in case of failure of the asseseee to deduct and deposit the equalisation levy to the credit of Central government.

This Chapter will take effect from the date appointed in the notification to be issued by the Central Government.

Clause 7 of Finance Bill 2016

Clause 7 of the Bill seeks to amend section 10 of the Income-tax Act relating to incomes not included in total income.

Sub-clause (E) of the said clause seeks to insert a new clause (50) in the said section so as to provide that any income arising from specified services provided on or after the date on which the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Finance Act, 2016, comes into force and chargeable to equalisation levy under that Chapter shall be exempt. It is further proposed to provide an Explanation under the proposed clause (50) so as to provide that the expression “specified service” shall have the meaning assigned to it in clause (i) of section 161 of the Chapter VIII of the Finance Act, 2016.

This amendment will take effect from 1st June, 2016.

Clause 22 of Finance Bill 2016

Clause 22 of the Bill seeks to amend section 40 of the Income-tax Act relating to amounts not deductible.

The provisions of section 40 specify the amounts which shall not be deducted in computing the income chargeable under the head “Profits and gains of business or profession”.

It is proposed to insert a new sub-clause (ib) in clause (a) of the aforesaid section so as to provide that any consideration paid or payable to a non-resident for a specified service on which equalisation levy is deductible under Chapter VIII of the Finance Act, 2016, and such levy has not been deducted, or, after deduction, has not been paid on or before the due date specified in sub­section (1) of section 139.

It is further proposed that where in respect of any such consideration, the equalisation levy has been deducted in any subsequent year, or, has been deducted during the previous year but paid after the due date specified in sub-section (1) of section 139, such sum shall be allowed as a deduction in computing the income of the previous year in which such levy has been paid.

These amendments will take effect from 1st June, 2016.

Clause 160 of Finance Bill 2016

Clause 160 of the Bill provides that the said chapter shall come into force on such date as Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.

Clause 177 of Finance Bill 2016

Clause 177 of the Bill confers power on the Central Government to issue orders for removal of any difficulty arising in giving effect to the provisions of this Chapter. This power is available to the Central Government for a period of two years from the date on which the provisions of this Chapter come into force. Every order made under this clause shall be laid before each House of Parliament.

These amendments will take effect from the date appointed in the notification to be issued by the Central Government.

————

Related Provisions in Proposed Finance Bill 2016 related to EQUALISATION LEVY

( EQUALISATION LEVY is covered in CHAPTER VIII  of Finance Bill 2016)

Extent, commencement and application

Section 160. (1) This Chapter extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

(2) It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.

(3) It shall apply to consideration received or receivable for specified services provided on or after the commencement of this Chapter.

Definitions.

Section 161. In this Chapter, unless the context otherwise requires,—

(a) “Appellate Tribunal” means the Appellate Tribunal constituted under section 252 of the Incometax Act;

(b) “Assessing Officer” means the Income-tax Officer or Assistant Commissioner of Income-tax or Deputy Commissioner of Income-tax or Joint Commissioner of Income-tax or Additional Commissioner of Income-tax who is authorised by the Board to exercise or perform all or any of the powers and functions conferred on, or assigned to, an Assessing Officer under this Chapter;

(c) “Board” means the Central Board of Direct Taxes constituted under the Central Boards of Revenue Act, 1963;

(d) “equalisation levy” means the tax leviable on consideration received or receivable for any specified service under the provisions of this Chapter;

(e) “Income-tax Act” means the Income-tax Act, 1961 (f) “online” means a facility or service or right or benefit or access that is obtained through the internet or any other form of digital or telecommunication network;

(g) “permanent establishment” includes a fixed place of business through which the business of the enterprise is wholly or partly carried on;

(h) “prescribed” means prescribed by rules made under this Chapter;

(i) “specified service” means online advertisement, any provision for digital advertising space or any other facility or service for the purpose of online advertisement and includes any other service as may be notified by the Central Government in this behalf;

(j) words and expressions used but not defined in this Chapter and defined in the Income-tax Act, or the rules made thereunder, shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in that Act.

Charge of equalisation levy.

Section 162. (1) On and from the date of commencement of this Chapter, there shall be charged an equalisation levy at the rate of six per cent. of the amount of consideration for any specified service received or receivable by a person, being a non-resident from––

(i) a person resident in India and carrying on business or profession; or

(ii) a non-resident having a permanent establishment in India.

(2) The equalisation levy under sub-section (1) shall not be charged, where––

(a) the non-resident providing the specified service has a permanent establishment in India and the specified service is effectively connected with such permanent establishment;

(b) the aggregate amount of consideration for specified service received or receivable in a previous year by the non-resident from a person resident in India and carrying on business or profession, or from a non-resident having a permanent establishment in India, does not exceed one lakh rupees; or

(c) where the payment for the specified service by the person resident in India, or the permanent establishment in India is not for the purposes of carrying out business or profession.

Collection and recovery of equalisation levy.

section 163. (1) Every person, being a resident and carrying on business or profession or a non-resident having a permanent establishment in India (here in this Chapter referred to as assessee) shall deduct the equalisation levy from the amount paid or payable to a non-resident in respect of the specified service at the rate specified in section 162, if the aggregate amount of consideration for specified service in a previous year exceeds one lakh rupees.

(2) The equalisation levy so deducted during any calendar month in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (1) shall be paid by every assessee to the credit of the Central Government by the seventh day of the month immediately following the said calendar month.

(3) Any assessee who fails to deduct the levy in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (1) shall, notwithstanding such failure, be liable to pay the levy to the credit of the Central Government in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (2).

Furnishing of statement.

Section 164. (1) Every assessee shall, within the prescribed time after the end of each financial year, prepare and deliver or cause to be delivered to the Assessing Officer or to any other authority or agency authorised by the Board in this behalf, a statement in such form, verified in such manner and setting forth such particulars as may be prescribed, in respect of all specified services during such financial year.

(2) An assessee who has not furnished the statement within the time prescribed under sub-section (1) or having furnished a statement under sub-section (1), notices any omission or wrong particular therein, may furnish a statement or a revised statement, as the case may be, at any time before the expiry of two years from the end of the financial year in which the specified service was provided.

(3) Where any assessee fails to furnish the statement under sub-section (1) within the prescribed time, the Assessing Officer may serve a notice upon such assessee requiring him to furnish the statement in the prescribed form, verified in the prescribed manner and setting forth such particulars, within such time, as may be prescribed.

Processing of statement

Section 165. (1) Where a statement has been made under section 164 by the assessee, such statement shall be processed in the following manner, namely:––

(a) the equalisation levy shall be computed after making the adjustment for any arithmetical error in the statement;

(b) the interest, if any shall be computed on the basis of sum deductible as computed in the statement;

(c) the sum payable by, or the amount of refund due to, the assessee shall be determined after adjustment of the amount computed under clause (b) against any amount paid under sub-section (2) of section 163 or section 167 and any amount paid otherwise by way of tax or interest;

(d) an intimation shall be prepared or generated and sent to the assessee specifying the sum determined to be payable by, or the amount of refund due to, him under clause (c); and

(e) the amount of refund due to the assessee in pursuance of the determination under clause (c) shall be granted to him:

Provided that no intimation under this sub-section shall be sent after the expiry of one year from the end of the financial year in which the statement is furnished.

(2) For the purposes of processing of statements under sub-section (1), the Board may make a scheme for centralised processing of such statements to expeditiously determine the tax payable by, or the refund due to, the assessee as required under that sub-section.

Rectification of mistake.

Section 166. (1) With a view to rectifying any mistake apparent from the record, the Assessing Officer may amend any intimation issued under section 165, within one year from the end of the financial year in which the intimation sought to be amended was issued.

(2) The Assessing Officer may make an amendment to any intimation under sub-section (1), either suo motu or on any mistake brought to his notice by the assessee.

(3) An amendment to any intimation, which has the effect of increasing the liability of the assessee or reducing a refund, shall not be made under this section unless the Assessing Officer has given notice to the assessee of his intention so to do and has given the assessee a reasonable opportunity of being heard.

(4) Where any such amendment to any intimation has the effect of enhancing the sum payable or reducing the refund already made, the Assessing Officer shall make an order specifying the sum payable by the assessee and the provisions of this Chapter shall apply accordingly.

Interest on delayed payment of equalisation levy.

Section 167. Every assessee, who fails to credit the equalisation levy or any part thereof as required under section 163 to the account of the Central Government within the period specified in that section, shall pay simple interest at the rate of one per cent. of such levy for every month or part of a month by which such crediting of the tax or any part thereof is delayed.

Penalty for failure to deduct or pay equalisation levy

Section 168. Any assessee who––

(a) fails to deduct the whole or any part of the equalisation levy as required under section 163; or

(b) having deducted the equalisation levy, fails to pay such levy to the credit of the Central Government in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (2) of that section, shall be liable to pay,—

(i) in the case referred to in clause (a), in addition to paying the levy in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (3) of that section, or interest, if any, in accordance with the provisions of section 167, a penalty equal to the amount of equalisation levy that he failed to deduct; and

(ii) in the case referred to in clause (b), in addition to paying the levy in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (2) of that section and interest in accordance with the provisions of section 167, a penalty of one thousand rupees for every day during which the failure continues, so, however, that the penalty under this clause shall not exceed the amount of equalisation levy that he failed to pay

Penalty for failure to furnish statement.

Section 169. Where an assessee fails to furnish the statement within the time prescribed under sub-section (1) or sub-section (3) of section 164, he shall be liable to pay a penalty of one hundred rupees for each day during which the failure continues.

Penalty not to be imposed in certain cases

Section 170. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 168 or section 169, no penalty shall be imposable for any failure referred to in the said sections, if the assessee proves to the satisfaction of the Assessing Officer that there was reasonable cause for the said failure.

(2) No order imposing a penalty under this Chapter shall be made unless the assessee has been given a reasonable opportunity of being heard.

Appeal to Commissioner of Income-tax (Appeals)

Section 171. (1) An assessee aggrieved by an order imposing penalty under this Chapter, may appeal to the Commissioner of Income-tax (Appeals) within a period of thirty days from the date of receipt of the order of the Assessing Officer.

(2) An appeal under sub-section (1) shall be in such form and verified in such manner as may be prescribed and shall be accompanied by a fee of one thousand rupees.

(3) Where an appeal has been filed under sub-section (1), the provisions of sections 249 to 251 of the Income-tax Act shall, as far as may be, apply to such appeal.

Appeal to Appellate Tribunal.

Section 172. (1) An assessee aggrieved by an order made by the Commissioner of Income-tax (Appeals) under section 171 may appeal to the Appellate Tribunal against such order.

(2) The Commissioner of Income-tax may, if he objects to any order passed by the Commissioner of Income-tax (Appeals) under section 171, direct the Assessing Officer to appeal to the Appellate Tribunal against such order.

(3) An appeal under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall be filed within sixty days from the date on which the order sought to be appealed against is received by the assessee or by the Commissioner of Income-tax, as the case may be.

(4) An appeal under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall be in such form and verified in such manner as may be prescribed and, in the case of an appeal filed under sub-section (1), it shall be accompanied by a fee of one thousand rupees.

(5) Where an appeal has been filed before the Appellate Tribunal under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2), the provisions of sections 253 to 255 of the Income-tax Act shall, as far as may be, apply to such appeal.

Punishment for false statement.

Section 173. (1) If a person makes a false statement in any verification under this Chapter or any rule made thereunder, or delivers an account or statement, which is false, and which he either knows or believes to be false, or does not believe to be true, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, an offence punishable under sub-section (1) shall be deemed to be non-cognizable within the meaning of that Code.

Institution of prosecution.

Section 174. No prosecution shall be instituted against any person for any offence under section 173 except with the previous sanction of the Chief Commissioner of Income-tax.

Application of certain provisions of Income-tax Act.

Section 175. The provisions of sections 120, 131, 133A, 138, 156, Chapter XV and sections 220 to 227, 229, 232, 260A, 261, 262, 265 to 269, 278B, 280A, 280B, 280C, 280D, 282 and 288 to 293 of the Income-tax Act shall so far as may be, apply in relation to equalisation levy, as they apply in relation to income-tax.

Power to make rules.

Section 176. (1) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules for carrying out the provisions of this Chapter.

(2) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may provide for all or any of the following matters, namely:––

(a) the time within which and the form and the manner in which the statement shall be delivered or caused to be delivered or furnished under section 164;

(b) the form in which an appeal may be filed and the manner in which it may be verified under sections 171 and 172;

(c) any other matter which is to be, or may be, prescribed.

(3) Every rule made under this Chapter shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is made, before each House of Parliament, while it is in session, for a total period of thirty days which may be comprised in one session or in two or more successive sessions, and if, before the expiry of the session immediately following the session or the successive sessions aforesaid, both Houses agree in making any modification in the rule or both Houses agree that the rule should not be made, the rule shall thereafter have effect only in such modified form or be of no effect, as the case may be; so, however, that any such modification or annulment shall be without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under that rule.

Power to remove difficulties.

Section 177. (1) If any difficulty arises in giving effect to the provisions of this Chapter, the Central Government may, by order published in the Official Gazette, not inconsistent with the provisions of this Chapter, remove the difficulty: Provided that no such order shall be made after the expiry of a period of two years from the date on which the provisions of this Chapter come into force.

(2) Every order made under this section shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is made, before each House of Parliament.

More Under Income Tax

Posted Under

Category : Income Tax (20875)
Type : Articles (10816)
Tags : Budget 2016 (434) Equalisation Levy (15)

Search Posts by Date