The Depository Receipts Scheme, 2014 has been notified by the Department of Economic affairs (DEA) vide Notification F.No. 9/1 /2013–ECB dated 21st October, 2014. This scheme replaces “Issue of Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds and Ordinary Shares (through depository receipt mechanism) Scheme, 1993”.

The current taxation scheme of income arising in respect of depository receipts under the Act is aligned with the earlier scheme which was limited to issue of Depository Receipts (DRs) based on the underlying shares of the company issued for this purpose (i.e sponsored GDR) or FCCB of the issuing company and where the company was either a listed company or was to list simultaneously. Besides, the holder of such DRs was a non-resident only.

As per the new scheme, DRs can be issued against the securities of listed, unlisted or private or public companies against underlying securities which can be debt instruments, shares or units etc; Further, both the sponsored issues and unsponsored deposits and acquisitions are permitted. DRs can be freely held and transferred by both residents and non-residents.

Since the tax benefits under the Act were intended to be provided in respect of sponsored GDRs and listed companies only, it is proposed to amend the Act in order to continue the tax benefits only in respect of such GDRs as defined in the earlier depository scheme.

These amendments will take effect from the 1st day of April, 2016 and will, accordingly, apply to the assessment year 2016-17 and subsequent assessment years.

NOTE ON RELEVANT CLAUSES  OF FINANCE BILL 2015

Clause 28 of the Bill seeks to amend section 115ACA of the Income-tax Act relating to tax on income from Global Depository Receipts purchased in foreign currency or capital gains arising from their transfer.

Clause (a) of the Explanation to the aforesaid section defines the expression “Global Depository Receipts” for the purposes of the section to mean an instrument in the form of a depository receipt or certificate created by the Overseas Depository Bank outside India and issued to non-resident investors against the issue of ordinary shares or foreign currency convertible bonds of issuing company.

It is proposed to amend the definition of “Global Depository Receipts” provided in the said clause to mean an instrument in the form of a depository receipt or certificate created by the Overseas Depository Bank outside India and issued to investors against the issue of,–

(i)       ordinary shares of issuing company, being a company listed on a recognised stock exchange in India; or

(ii)      foreign currency convertible bonds of issuing company.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2016 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to assessment year 2016-17 and subsequent assessment years.

EXTRACT OF RELEVANT CLAUSES FROM FINANCE BILL 2015
Amendment of section 115ACA.

28. In section 115ACA of the Income-tax Act, after sub-section (3), in the Explanation, in clause (a), with effect from the 1st day of April, 2016, for the words “issued to non-resident investors against the issue of ordinary shares or foreign currency convertible bonds of issuing company” occuring at the end, the following shall be substituted, namely:—

“issued to investors against the issue of,—

(i)       ordinary shares of issuing company, being a company listed on a recognised stock exchange in India; or    

(ii)     foreign currency convertible bonds of issuing company;”.

( Compiled by Taxguru Team)

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