1. In addition, certain provisions relating to a General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) have also been proposed in the Finance Bill, 2012. After examining the recommendations of the Standing Committee on GAAR provisions in the DTC Bill 2010, I propose to amend the GAAR provisions as follows:

(i)  Remove the onus of proof entirely from the taxpayer to the Revenue Department before any action can be initiated under GAAR.

(ii)  Introduce an independent member in the GAAR approving panel to ensure objectivity and transparency. One member of the panel now would be an officer of the level of Joint Secretary or above from the Ministry of Law.

(iii)  Provide that any taxpayer (resident or non-resident) can approach the Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR) for a ruling as to whether an arrangement to be undertaken by her is permissible or not under the GAAR provisions.

2.To provide greater clarity and certainty in the matters relating to GAAR, a Committee has been constituted under the Chairmanship of the Director General of Income Tax (International Taxation) to give recommendations for formulating the rules and guidelines for implementation of the GAAR provisions and to suggest safeguards so that these provisions are not applied indiscriminately. The Committee has already held several rounds of discussion with various stakeholders including the Foreign Institutional Investors. The Committee will submit its recommendations by 31stMay 2012.

3. To provide more time to both taxpayers and the tax administration to address all related issues, I propose to defer the applicability of the GAAR provisions by one year. The GAAR provisions will now apply to income of Financial Year 2013-14 and subsequent years.

Extract From FM Budget speech dated 7-5-2012 on Finance Bill, 2012

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