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GAAR and TAX AVOIDANCE REGULATIONS IN INDIA



  Jun 17, 2024

GAAR and TAX AVOIDANCE REGULATIONS IN INDIA



Concern Over Abusive Tax Planning

Abusive tax planning is a significant concern not only globally but also in India. The Indian government has implemented measures to combat tax evasion, such as the general anti-avoidance rules (GAAR). GAAR aims to curb unacceptable tax avoidance practices and is part of India’s broader strategy to ensure tax compliance and integrity.

Importance for Corporate Tax Specialists in India

For corporate tax specialists in India, staying updated with both local and international anti-avoidance legislation is crucial. Understanding and adhering to GAAR is essential to ensure compliance and resolve any tax-related questions that may arise during business transactions.

General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) in India

GAAR in India is codified under Chapter X-A of the Income Tax Act, 1961. It is framed by the Department of Revenue under the Ministry of Finance. GAAR gives tax authorities the power to deny tax benefits if a transaction is found to lack any commercial purpose other than tax avoidance. It also targets the misuse of double taxation avoidance agreements (DTAA) when deals made in tax havens are found to be avoiding taxes.

Key Provisions of GAAR in India

1. Applicability: GAAR applies only to business arrangements with a tax benefit exceeding ₹30 million. It is designed to target significant transactions rather than minor tax benefits.

2. Prospective Application: Investments made by foreign investors before August 2010 are not subject to GAAR. The provisions came into effect from April 2017 and are only applicable prospectively.

3. Purpose: The primary purpose of GAAR is to deny tax benefits for transactions that are primarily aimed at tax avoidance without any substantial commercial intent.

Challenges with GAAR

1. Interpretation Variability: Determining what constitutes “tax avoidance” can be subjective, leading to different interpretations by various stakeholders, including tax authorities and businesses.

2. Inconsistent Application: The application of GAAR can vary, adding to the complexity for businesses operating across different jurisdictions.

Understanding GAAR and its implications is crucial for corporate tax specialists in India. Keeping abreast of these regulations ensures compliance and helps in navigating the complex landscape of tax laws effectively.



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