Whereas, a Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrating Assistance in Tax Matter and as amended by the 2010 protocol was signed by the Republic of India at the headquarters of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) at Paris on the 26rd day of January, 2012 (hereinafter referred to as the said Convention);
And, whereas, the instrument of ratification was deposited in OECD on 21st February 2010, the date of entry into force of the said convention for India is the 1st day of June, 2012 in accordance with paragraph 3 of Article 28 of the said Convention;
Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by section 90 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (43 of 1961), the Central Government hereby notifies that all the provisions of the Convention for Mutual Administrative Assistance on Tax Matters, as set out in the Annexure hereto, shall be given effect to in the Union of India with effect from the 1st June, 2012, that is, the date of entry into force of the said Convention.
The member States of the Council of Europe and the member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), signatories of this Convention.
Considering that the development of international movement of persons, capital, goods and services – although highly beneficial in itself – has increased the possibilities of tax avoidance and evasion and therefore requires increasing co-operation among tax authorities;
Welcoming the various efforts made in recent years to combat tax avoidance and tax evasion on an international level, whether bilaterally or multilaterally;
Considering that a co-ordinated effort between States is necessary in order to foster all forms of administrative assistance in matters concerning taxes of any kind whilst at the same time ensuring adequate protection of the rights of taxpayers;
Recognising that international co-operation can play an important part in facilitating the proper determination of tax liabilities and in helping the taxpayer to secure his rights;
Considering that fundamental principles entitling every person to have his rights and obligations determined in accordance with a proper legal procedure should be recognised as applying to tax matters in all States and that States should endeavour to protect the legitimate interests of taxpayers, including appropriate protection against discrimination and double taxation;
Convinced therefore that States should carry out measures or supply information, having regard to the necessity of protecting the confidentiality of information, and taking account of international instruments for the protection of privacy and flows of personal data;
Considering that a new co-operative environment has emerged and that it is desirable that a multilateral instrument is made available to allow the widest number of States to obtain the benefits of the new co-operative environment and at the same time implement the highest international standards of co-operation in the tax field;
Desiring to conclude a convention on mutual administrative assistance in tax matters,
Reference: Section 90 of the Income Tax Act, 1961
Agreement with foreign countries or specified territories
(1) The Central Government may enter into an agreement with the Government of any country outside India or specified territory outside India,—
(a) for the granting of relief in respect of—
(i) income on which have been paid both income-tax under this Act and income-tax in that country or specified territory, as the case may be, or
(ii) income-tax chargeable under this Act and under the corresponding law in force in that country or specified territory, as the case may be, to promote mutual economic relations, trade and investment, or
(b) for the avoidance of double taxation of income under this Act and under the corresponding law in force in that country or specified territory, as the case may be, or
(c) for exchange of information for the prevention of evasion or avoidance of income-tax chargeable under this Act or under the corresponding law in force in that country or specified territory, as the case may be, or investigation of cases of such evasion or avoidance, or
(d) for recovery of income-tax under this Act and under the corresponding law in force in that country or specified territory, as the case may be,
and may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make such provisions as may be necessary for implementing the agreement.
(2) Where the Central Government has entered into an agreement with the Government of any country outside India or specified territory outside India, as the case may be, under sub-section (1) for granting relief of tax, or as the case may be, avoidance of double taxation, then, in relation to the assessee to whom such agreement applies, the provisions of this Act shall apply to the extent they are more beneficial to that assessee.
The following sub-section (2A) shall be inserted after sub-section (2) of section 90 by the Finance Act, 2012, w.e.f. 1-4-2013:
(2A) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (2), the provisions of Chapter X-A of the Act shall apply to the assessee, even if such provisions are not beneficial to him.
(3) Any term used but not defined in this Act or in the agreement referred to in sub-section (1) shall, unless the context otherwise requires, and is not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act or the agreement, have the same meaning as assigned to it in the notification issued by the Central Government in the Official Gazette in this behalf.
The following sub-section (4) shall be inserted after sub-section (3) of section 90 by the Finance Act, 2012, w.e.f. 1-4-2013:
(4) An assessee, not being a resident, to whom an agreement referred to in sub-section (1)
applies, shall not be entitled to claim any relief under such agreement unless a certificate, containing such particulars as may be prescribed, of his being a resident in any country outside India or specified territory outside India, as the case may be, is obtained by him from the Government of that country or specified territory.
Explanation 1.—For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that the charge of tax in respect of a foreign company at a rate higher than the rate at which a domestic company is chargeable, shall not be regarded as less favourable charge or levy of tax in respect of such foreign company.
Explanation 2.—For the purposes of this section, “specified territory” means any area outside India which may be notified as such by the Central Government.
Explanation 3.—For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that where any term is used in any agreement entered into under sub-section (1)
and not defined under the said agreement or the Act, but is assigned a meaning to it in the notification issued under sub-section (3) and the notification issued thereunder being in force, then, the meaning assigned to such term shall be deemed to have effect from the date on which the said agreement came into force.