The Finance Act, 2015 has amended provisions dealing with indirect transfer of capital asset situated in India. The amendment provides clarity on certain contentious aspects with regards to taxation of income arising or accruing from such indirect transfers. The following amendments have been introduced in the Act.

  • Share or interest in a foreign company or entity shall be deemed to derive its value substantially from Indian assets only if the value of Indian assets (whether tangible or intangible) as on the specified date exceeds the amount of INR 10 crores and represents at least 50 per cent of the value of all the assets owned by the foreign company or entity.
  • The value of an asset shall be its Fair Market Value (FMV). Subsequently, the CBDT notified the Rules prescribing the manner of computation of FMV of assets of the foreign company or entity and the reporting requirements by the Indian concern.
  • The date of valuation of assets (without reducing the liabilities) shall be as at the end of the accounting period preceding the date of transfer. However, in case the valuation of assets as on the date of transfer exceeds by at least 15 per cent of book value of the assets as on the date on which the accounting period of the company/entity ends preceding the date of transfer, then the specified date shall be the date of transfer.
  • Exemption from applicability of the aforesaid provision has been provided in the following

    • Where the transferor along with its related parties does not hold (i) the right of control or management; (ii) the voting power or share capital or interest exceeding 5 per cent of the total voting power or total share capital in the foreign company or total interest in the entity directly holding the Indian assets (Holding Co).
    • In case where the Indian assets are not directly held, then if the transferor along with related parties does not hold (i) the right of management or control in relation to such foreign company or the entity; and (ii) any rights in such foreign company which would entitle it to either exercise control or management of the holding company or entitle it to voting power exceeding 5 per cent in the holding company.
  • The Finance Act, 2015 has introduced Section 47(vicc) in the Act which, subject to fulfillment of certain conditions provides that transfer of shares of a foreign company (which directly or indirectly derives its value substantially from shares of an Indian company) by the demerged foreign company to the resulting foreign company under a scheme of demerger will not be regarded as transfer.
  • The Indian entity will be required to furnish information relating to indirect transfers. The same has also been notified. In case of any failure, the Indian company will be liable for a penalty of INR 5 lakhs or 2 per cent of the value of the transaction as specified.


  • Since the objective of the amendment is to tax indirect transfer through shell companies, a listed company should not be considered as a shell or conduit company. The same was also suggested by the Shome Committee. It is recommended that exemption should be provided in respect of transfer of shares in a foreign company (listed on a stock exchange outside India) having substantial assets located in India.
  • Intra-group transfers as part of group reorganisations (other than amalgamation and demerger) should also be exempt from the indirect transfer provisions.
  • While Explanation 5 to Section 9(1)(i) of the Act provides that shares of a foreign company which derives directly or indirectly its substantial value from the assets located in India shall be deemed to be situated in India. Section 47(vicc) of the Act provides exemption only if the shares of foreign company derive substantial value from shares of an Indian company. While the intent may be to exempt all cases of demerger where foreign company derives substantial value from assets located in India, the reading of Section 47(vicc) of the Act indicates that the said exemption would be available only in cases where the shares of the foreign company derive substantial value from shares of Indian company. Due to this inconsistency in the language of Section 47(vicc) vis-à-vis Explanation 5 to Section 9(1)(i), transfer of shares of a foreign company which derives its value predominantly from assets located in India (other than shares of an Indian company) under a scheme of demerger may be deprived of the aforesaid exemption. It is recommended that Section 47(vicc) of the Act should be amended to provide that “any transfer in a demerger, of a capital asset, being a share of a foreign company, referred to in Explanation 5 to clause (i) of subsection (1) of section 9, which derives, directly or indirectly, its value substantially from the assets located in India, held by the demerged foreign company to the resulting foreign company, if,—

It is suggested that a similar amendment should also be made under Section 47(viab) of the Act (in case of amalgamation).

  • of Section 234A, 234B, 234C and 201(1A) of the Act should not be applied in cases where a demand is raised on a taxpayer on account of retrospective amendment relating to indirect transfer. An appropriate amendment should be made in the respective provisions of the Act.
Source-  ICAI Pre-Budget Memorandum–2018 (Direct Taxes and International Tax)

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