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I-T issues notice to Bharti-Airtel on overseas roaming
Mon, 16 Apr 2012 17:22:01 +0530
Business Standard Economy Policy News

The Income Tax department has issued fresh notices to telecom giant Bharti Airtel in connection with taxation of overseas roaming charges for additional two financial years.

The department has issued the notices for financial years 2001-02 and 2006-07 to the company after recently issuing a Rs 1,067-crore tax demand notice for non-payment of TDS dues in the last four financial years in connection with its overseas operations.

Bharti Airtel, which has approached the Delhi High Court against this I-T order, has recently made an interim payment of Rs 236.9 crore in this regard.

An Airtel spokesperson said in a statement to PTI that "this pertains to a matter where the I-T department is trying to treat inter-connect charges being paid by domestic telecom operators to international operators, as fee for technical services and recover withholding tax on that basis.

"The matter is sub-judice and the demand on the company stands stayed. The pre-deposit amount has been paid in compliance of the court order granting stay."

According to sources in the I-T department, fresh notices were issued to the firm in order to obtain financial documents and revenue collection figures of overseas roaming operations during those financial years and a tax demand will be raised after scrutinising this data.

The Income Tax department, earlier this year, had asked the company to pay a total tax of Rs 1,067.24 crore under Section 201 (consequences of failure to deduct or pay taxes) along with Section 195 (any person responsible for paying to a non-resident) of the I-T Act.

The tax demands raised for the four financial years were- 2007-08 (Rs 202.07 crore), 2008-09 (Rs 329.913), 2009-10 (Rs 313.577 crore) and 2010-11 (Rs 221.681 crore) on payments made by the company to "non-resident mobile service providers".

The I-T department had held that such payments are in nature of fee for technical services and are subjected to TDS deductions as per section 195 of the I-T Act.

The department, in its notice, had also said that for payments of such taxes, the location of the company's property or place of conducting the operations is not "relevant".

Bharti Airtel offers a variety of telecom services both in India as well abroad.

The company claims to have a subscriber base of over 230 million across 19 countries.
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