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Showing posts from July 9, 2015

More ways to block black money

The government of India has given a three-month window to people with undisclosed foreign assets to come clean or else face prosecution under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015. The government also introduced the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2015, in Parliament during the budget session, which seeks to impound benami properties. Remember, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government was voted to office last year on the promise of curbing the menace of black money, among other things. While these are steps in the right direction, more will be required to control the flow of black money. The government will not only have to check the creation of black money, but also its use. The existing banking infrastructure and the use of Aadhaar can help attain this objective to a large extent. Recently, the government also released draft proposals for facilitating electronic transactions and propose…

Sebi said to have concerns about forward contracts

Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), which is set to take over regulation of commodities markets as well, is not comfortable with forward contracts in commodity exchanges, two people directly involved in the discussions between Sebi and exchange officials said. According to them, Sebi’s concern stems from two facts: one, unlike futures contracts, forward contracts are not standardised; two, there’s greater counterparty risk associated with forward contracts. Under the Forward Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1952, which regulates commodity trading in India, a forward contract is a contract for the actual delivery of goods, unlike a futures contract where the buyer can settle the contract in cash as well. Forward contracts were introduced in the commodity market last year, but they are not permitted in stock market. Globally, the bulk of the forward contracts in commodities happens outside the exchange platform. Only futures and options are traded on leading commodity exchanges such …

Sebi seeks PSU compliance on women directors, IDs

The Securities and Exchange Board of India ( Sebi) has written to the cabinet secretary that women directors and independent directors (IDs) be appointed for public sector undertakings ( PSUs), in compliance with the updated corporate governance norms. “ Sebi has taken up the matter with the cabinet secretary through its letter dated June 3,” stated the regulator in a board note. As of April, almost 90 per cent of listed PSUs had failed to meet the requirement of appointing an equivalent number of IDs as the number of functional directors on their boards, the criteria set by the markets regulator. There are 68 governmentowned companies on the National Stock Exchange (NSE). Of these, says primary market advisory firm Prime Database, 31 did not have a woman director. Private companies are far better, with only 149 of the 1,672 non- PSU companies on the NSE being non- compliant, according to data as of March 31. “The government shouldn’t have needed this prompting from the regulator; it sho…

Sebi seeks PSU compliance on women directors, IDs

The Securities and Exchange Board of India ( Sebi) has written to the cabinet secretary that women directors and independent directors (IDs) be appointed for public sector undertakings ( PSUs), in compliance with the updated corporate governance norms. “ Sebi has taken up the matter with the cabinet secretary through its letter dated June 3,” stated the regulator in a board note. As of April, almost 90 per cent of listed PSUs had failed to meet the requirement of appointing an equivalent number of IDs as the number of functional directors on their boards, the criteria set by the markets regulator. There are 68 governmentowned companies on the National Stock Exchange (NSE). Of these, says primary market advisory firm Prime Database, 31 did not have a woman director. Private companies are far better, with only 149 of the 1,672 non- PSU companies on the NSE being non- compliant, according to data as of March 31. “The government shouldn’t have needed this prompting from the regulator; it sho…

EPFO Looks for Ways to Keep Subscribers in Fold

DAMAGE CONTROL Statutory body fears it can lose to NPS; plans hike in benefits under EDLI to 30 times the monthly wage After decades of wielding a monopoly over the retirement funds of workers in the organised sector, the Employee Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) is worried it could lose subscribers to the National Pension System (NPS), which has been offering better returns in the last few years--as much as 20% versus 8.75%.
To stem a possible exodus, the EPFO has proposed an increase in benefits from the Employee's Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme (EDLI), benchmarking it to deposits under the primary Provident Fund (PF) account. “EPFO is exploring various options to incentivise its subscribers to keep money in Provident Fund accounts,“ central provident fund commissioner KK Jalan said. “We have proposed to enhance the insurance benefits under EDLI to 30 times the monthly wage as against 24 times now and have linked it to Provident Fund deposits.“ Currently , EDLI subscribers with …

Sebi Told to Align Related-party Biz Norms with Cos Act

Move will benefit Suzuki, which plans to set up a wholly-owned car making subsidiary in Gujarat,and Vedanta, which is looking to merge subsidiary Cairn India with itself The corporate affairs ministry has asked the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) to align its guidelines for related party transactions with the amended Companies Act, which will significantly ease the very strict rules for listed companies. The move will benefit Suzuki, which plans to set up a wholly-owned car making subsidiary in Gujarat, and Vedanta, which is looking to merge subsidiary Cairn India with itself. The proposals have not gone down well with the minority shareholders of Maruti Suzuki and Cairn India. To improve ease of doing business in India, the Narendra Modiled government had in the budget session relaxed Related Party Transaction (RPT) provisions in the Companies Act 2013 through an amendment, allowing an ordinary resolution with over 50% approval from minority shareholders for it to go throu…

Indo-Mauritius Pact May Lower Tax on Interest Income from Bonds

But investors would have to fulfil conditions laid down in treaty Mauritius, which serves as the gateway to Dalal Street for most foreigners, will be back in news soon. India and the tax haven are believed to be close to finalising a revised tax treaty that would lower tax on interest income of overseas investors betting on Indian debt papers. The move could make Mauritius as attractive a destination as Singapore for investors putting money in Indian debt securities. The revised treaty , however, would lay down new conditions that investors would have to fulfil. Better known as “limitation of benefits“ (LoB) in international tax parlance, it could require investors to spend a certain amount every year in Mauritius for enjoying tax benefit, two persons familiar with the negotiations told ET. The move could temporarily impact inflow of foreign money into Indian securities as the terms of LoB may put off many non-serious players and make round-tripping of money tougher. Non-resident investor…

For Financial Info, India & US to Ink FACTA Today

India will on Thursday sign the tough financial information exchange law enacted by the US, which will also give a boost to New Delhi's own attempts to unearth black money stashed away overseas with information inflow beginning as early as October. The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) makes it mandatory for all foreign financial institutions to report accounts and financial transaction of US citizens held with them and also accounts of certain foreign entities with substantial US owners. In return, the US will provide India information on investments and financial transactions by its citizens. The US is expected to start sharing information with India from October 1, a senior finance ministry official told ET. FATCA, which came into force on January 1 this year, was enacted by the US in 2010 as part of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act to combat tax evasion by US nationals holding investments in offshore accounts. India couldn't sign the accord by t…

Manual Scrutiny of Service Tax return wef 01.08.2015 guidelines Issued...

...Manual Scrutiny of Service Tax return wef 01.08.2015 guidelines Issued...



Primarily, service tax department is bifurcated into anti-evasion and audit wings so as to keep an eye on service tax defaulters. In order to additionally curb the small assessees, who usually don't fall in the ambit of service tax audits, CBEC has issued circular 185/4/2015- ST wherein check-list & revised guidelines for carrying out detailed manual scrutiny of service tax returns have been prescribed. The gist of the same has been produced here under:

1) To be made effective from 1st Aug'15 onwards;

2) Focus on small assessees whose total tax paid(Cash + CENVAT) during FY 14-15 is less than INR 50 Lacs, though on the direction of Chief Commissioner, scrutiny of returns can be made for assessee whose monetary limit exceeds even INR 50 Lacs but in no case such assessee can be subjected to both Audit & manual scrutiny;

3) Preliminary online scrutiny to be done by range officers;

4) Prior intim…