The existing provisions of section 194LC of the Act provide for lower withholding tax rate of 5 per cent. on interest paid by an Indian company to non-residents on monies borrowed by it in foreign currency from a source outside India under a loan agreement or through issue of long-term infrastructure bonds at any time on or after the 1st day of July, 2012 but before the 1st day of July, 2015 subject to certain conditions.
In order to further incentivise low cost long-term foreign borrowings by Indian companies, it is proposed to amend section 1 94LC to extend the benefit of this concessional rate of withholding tax to borrowings by way of issue of any long-term bond, and not limited to a long term infrastructure bond.
It is further proposed to extend by two years the period of borrowing for which the said benefit shall be available. The concessional rate of withholding tax will now be available in respect of borrowings made before 1st day of July, 2017.
Section 206AA of the Act provides for levy of higher rate of withholding tax in case the recipient of income does not provide permanent account number to the deductor. An exception from applicability of section 206AA in respect of payment of interest on long-term infrastructure bonds eligible for benefit under section 194LC is currently provided in sub-section (7) of this section.
Consequential amendment is also proposed in section 206AA to ensure that this benefit of exemption is extended to payment of interest on any long-term bond referred to in section 194LC.
These amendments will take effect from 1st October, 2014.