Vodafone Group wins Rs 20,000-crore tax dispute against Indian govt

Vodafone had challenged the tax department's demand of Rs 22,100 crore as capital gains taxes under the Netherlands-India Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).
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Vodafone has won the case against the Indian government over a retrospective tax demand of more than Rs 20,000 crore. The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague has ruled that the conduct of India's tax department is in breach of "fair and equitable" treatment. According to a Reuters report, the tribunal ruled that the government imposing a tax liability on Vodafone is a breach of the investment treaty agreement between India and the Netherlands.

In a statement, Vodafone Group confirmed the development saying, “The award is confidential, but Vodafone can confirm that the tribunal has found in Vodafone’s favour.”

However, as per reports, the tribunal said that the government must stop seeking the dues from Vodafone and also ruled that the Indian government pay 4.3 million pounds ($5.47 million) to the company as partial compensation for its legal costs.

Vodafone had moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2016 due to a lack of consensus between the parties' arbitrators in finalising a judge for the tax dispute.

Following this, a tribunal was constituted in June 2016 after Vodafone challenged India's use of a 2012 legislation that gave it powers to retrospectively tax deals like Vodafone's $11 billion acquisition of a 67 per cent stake in Hutchison Whampoa in 2007. The retrospective tax law had been enacted after the Supreme Court judgement went in Vodafone's favour.

Vodafone had challenged the tax department's demand of Rs 7,990 crore as capital gains taxes (Rs 22,100 crore after including interest and penalty) under the Netherlands-India Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).

Buoyed by the arbitration award, Vodafone Idea stock closed 13.6% higher on the Bombay Stock Exchange at Rs 10.36 and 12 per cent higher at Rs 10.20 on the NSE.

In 2007, the Indian Income Tax department had slapped a demand notice on Vodafone seeking capital gains tax.

With IANS inputs

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