I-T Act to be amended on MAT, says revenue secretary

The Union government on Thursday said the Income-Tax Act would be amended with retrospective effect to exempt overseas companies which do not have a permanent establishment in India from paying minimum alternate tax (MAT).

"Not only the FIIs (foreign institutional investors) but also foreign companies, which have no place of residence in India and are earning income of royalty and interest - they are all sort of told that MAT will not be applicable to them, and accordingly we will be making some amendments, as and when we go to Parliament," Union Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia told reporters here.

In the meantime, the government has already told the assessment officers not to go ahead with the taxation measures, he added.

Earlier this month, the government had exempted foreign institutional and portfolio investors (FIIs/FPIs) from payment of MAT on the capital gains made by them before April 1, 2015.

The Budget 2015-16 had already exempted FIIs/FPIs from paying the levy on gains made after April 1.

On September 24, the finance ministry had decided to exempt foreign companies which do not have a permanent establishment from payment of MAT to boost investor confidence.

"We have announced clarity on non-applicability of MAT on foreign companies other than FIIs not having PE today. We hope this will boost up investor confidence," Adhia had tweeted earlier.

On the one-time compliance window under the newly enacted anti-black money law that ended on Wednesday, he said the government would initiate action against those who have not disclosed their black money and assets stashed abroad.

"Of course, we will have to think about those people who did not declare (their black money and assets stashed abroad) and we would be sort of working on that," Adhia said.

However, the government would not harass those who have already disclosed their black money and assets stashed abroad, Adhia said.

"It was a window of opportunity to them to make declaration about their assets or investments in foreign country, and we have stuck to it. We have closed the window now. Whatever declarations made by them we accept, and those are the ones who would not be harassed at all," he said.

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