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FM Arun Jaitley says govt to press ahead with Rs 40,000-crore tax demand on FIIs

FM Arun Jaitley says govt to press ahead with Rs 40,000-crore tax demand on FIIs

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the BJP government has abolished the minimum alternate tax from April 1, 2015, but the tax demands pertain to an earlier period.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said the government will press ahead with Rs 40,000-crore tax demand on foreign institutional investors as FIIs lost a case against levy of tax on capital gains they made.

"FIIs went to a tribunal, which is called Authority for Advance Rulings (against levy of 20 per cent Minimum Alternate Tax on capital gains). They got a judgement against themselves... So, the tribunal has decided against them. The amount involved is Rs 40,000 crore. I can change the face of India's irrigation with that Rs 40,000 crore," Jaitley said.

The BJP government,  told NDTV, has abolished the minimum alternate tax (MAT) from April 1, 2015, but the demands pertain to tax related to an earlier period and they wanted it to be waived.

"To which I responded and said we are reasonable, so for the future I have waived it. But the tax demand after winning the case, if I waive off, we will be like a tax haven... How would be I answerable to Parliament that after the case I just waive Rs 40,000 crore," the Finance Minister said.

On multi-billion dollar tax demands on UK's Cairn Energy and domestic arm Cairn India, Jaitley said the tax assessment orders were passed in January 2014 and demands were follow-up related notices.

"Since they are entitled to challenge (notices) in court, we will see what the courts decide," he said.

Talking about the initiatives taken by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government, Jaitley said in the last one year no retrospective tax law had been brought and "not a single new notice has been issued. My only problem is with regards to legacy issues that I inherited from the previous government".

He also expressed hope that the bill for introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be passed in the coming session of Parliament.

Jaitley sounded confident that the new indirect tax regime would be put in place from April 1, 2016.

The Finance Minister said GST will be the "single biggest" tax reform since independence.

With regard to the controversial land bill, Jaitley said "Sonia Gandhi's land bill" will keep rural India poor perpetually. He said the law passed by the UPA government says that land cannot be acquired for rural infrastructure.

He said the his government's amendment to the land will help rural India.

The Finance Minister also said the government was ready to accommodate good suggestions made by the opposition on the land bill.

Asked about comments made by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs V K Singh, Jaitley said in his personal opinion the former Army chief should not have used the word 'presstitute' for media persons.

Published on: Apr 15, 2015, 8:40 AM IST
Posted by: Trupti Agarwal, Apr 15, 2015, 8:40 AM IST