Evening digest: Tax law amendment to give retrospective relief to foreign firms

GN Bureau | September 24, 2015



The government will amend tax law with retrospective effect to exempt foreign companies covered under double taxation avoidance agreements from the minimum alternative tax (MAT), the finance ministry said in a statement on Thursday. The amendment, which would be effective from April 1, 2001, would also provide relief to foreign firms that do not have a permanent establishment in the country, the statement added.

Income Tax forms will be pre-filled
As part of efforts to popularise the electronic mode of filing Income Tax Returns (ITRs), the CBDT is planning to provide "pre-filled" return forms to filers which will have an automatic upload of data on income and other vitals of a taxpayer. The apex policy-making body of the I-T department is actively working to ensure that this customer-friendly measure can be launched for taxpayers from the next financial year.
Small taxpayers with income less than Rs 5 lakh and without claims of refund can generate an electronic verification code from the e-filing website of the tax department which is later sent to their registered email to e-verify.

Tremendous excitement among Googlers on PM Modi's visit
Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the Silicon Valley, Google's new CEO Sundar Pichai welcomed him to US, saying, "There is tremendous excitement among Googlers, Indians in US for PM Modi's visit." "It is an honour to welcome PM Narendra Modi to Silicon Valley this weekend," he said. "I hope PM Modi's visit will energise people in the Silicon Valley."

Can't step into parliament function, will cross 'lakshman rekha': SC
Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea seeking guidelines to ensure uninterrupted functioning of Parliament, saying the judiciary cannot monitor the business of the legislature which lay in the hands of Speaker, and any attempt to do so would lead to crossing the 'lakshman rekha' "We cannot monitor Parliament. The Speaker of the House knows how to manage the function of the House. We should know our 'lakshman rekha'. We should never cross the 'lakshman rekha'. We should not be over-stepping our boundary to say Parliament be conducted in this manner and not in this manner. No, we cannot say," the bench said. "In democracy, the parliamentarians know how to function. We are not here to teach them. They know better," the bench said while rejecting the plea of the NGO, Foundation for Restoration of National Values.

India exploring World Bank funding for smart cities
The World Bank is in talks with the Indian government to provide some initial funding for the latter's smart cities programme and the Amrut initiative for urban revitalisation. "The World Bank is in discussions with the (India) government to provide some funding in the initial stages for the smart cities and Amrut (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) programmes," said Onno Ruhl,
the bank's country director.

Margin gain for Sensex, even Nifty is up
Equity benchmarks closed higher on Thursday, the expiry day for September derivative contracts. The Sensex gained 40.51 points at 25863.50 and the Nifty rose 22.55 points to 7868.50. The market breadth was positive as about 1435 shares advanced against 1241 shares declined on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

SC to hear Somnath Bharti's bail plea on Monday
The Supreme Court today agreed to hear on Monday the bail plea of AAP MLA Somnath Bharti seeking protection from arrest in a domestic violence and attempt to murder case in which the Delhi high court has rejected his petition for anticipatory bail. Bharti had yesterday moved the apex court seeking protection from arrest in the case and a direction to restrain Delhi Police from arresting him till his plea challenging the High Court order is decided. The High Court had dismissed his anticipatory bail plea, saying the allegations against him were backed by "documentary proof".

Idea Cellular shifts its pre-paid customers to per second billing
Idea Cellular has shifted its 1.5 million pre-paid customers who were on per minute billing (PMB) plan to per second billing (PSB), thus ensuring all its pre-paid users pay only for the time they use the network. Apart from the 1.5 million, who will be shifted over the next 30 days, the rest of its pre-paid users are already on per second billing. The company said that out of its total customer base of over 166 million, nearly 157 million are pre-paid. Bharti Airtel too announced earlier this week that all its pre-paid customers will be put on per second billing. The move by mobile operators comes amid regulator TRAI's scrutiny whether there are any tariff plans by service providers wherein call drops actually incentivise or benefit the companies.

Beauty and wellness firm VLCC files for IPO
Beauty and wellness firm VLCC Health Care has filed draft papers with markets regulator Sebi to raise at least Rs 400 crore through initial public offer (IPO) to fund expansion in domestic as well as international markets. The IPO comprises fresh issue of shares worth Rs 400 crore and an offer for sale of up to 37.67 lakh equity shares by the existing shareholders -- Indivision India Partners and Leon International. The company plans to sell up to 18 lakh equity shares for Rs 100 crore through a pre-IPO placement of its shares to institutional investors. The proceed of the issue would be utilise for setting up VLCC Wellness Centers in India and abroad. Besides, the firm plans to establish VLCC Institutes in the country. In addition, funds would be used for payment of loans, brand development and general corporate purpose, among others.

Moderate coffee drinking doesn’t harm heart patients
Drinking coffee is safe for heart as it is not associated with an increased risk of a condition called Atrial fibrillation, says research. This means people with heart issues can take coffee in moderation without any fear. Atrial fibrillation is a type of irregular heartbeat. This is the largest prospective study to date and involves data from about 42,000 men and nearly 35,000 women who were participating in two long-running studies, the Cohort of Swedish Men and the Swedish Mammography Cohort.

Transgenders to guard school buses in Punjab, Haryana
After Supreme Court's revolutionary move to recognise transgenders as third gender in April this year, the Punjab and Haryana High Court now wants the members of this community to be a responsible citizen. The court has asked the Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to involve transgenders as school bus helpers. The development comes after the court took a suo-motu notice of a case in which the bus conductor of a private school bus had allegedly sexually assaulted a five year old kindergarten student. In what is being termed as a major development after the Supreme Court recognised transgenders as the third gender, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked Punjab, Haryana governments and UT Chandigarh to initiate steps to fix the responsibility of third gender and involve members of this community in the mainstream society. The decision to employ transgenders comes after some schools had told the court that they are not able to find adequate number of female school bus helpers.

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