Vodafone hopeful of resolving tax dispute with Indian govt
Barcelona: Telecom major Vodafone is hopeful of identifying an opportunity to find a solution to its over Rs 11,200-crore tax dispute with the Indian government, Group CEO Vittorio Colao said Tuesday.
"We are still in talks and again I hope we identify an opportunity to find a solution but I am not sure," Colao said when asked if the company has got any assurance from Indian government that its tax issue will be sorted out.
To a separate question on listing of its India unit, Colao said it is difficult to list the company in India with which it has "a very abnormal tax dispute which the whole world cannot understand". He also cited uncertainty about radiowaves as a reason.
Vodafone, which is facing a tax liability of Rs 11,200 crore for purchase of Hutchison Whampoa's stake in its Indian telecom business Hutchison Essar in 2007, had written to the Finance Ministry seeking settlement of the tax issue.
This follows Finance Ministry's reminder notice to the UK-telcom giant Vodafone in January for payment of tax.
On February 21, Finance Minister P Chidambaram had said the Cabinet is likely to take a view on the Rs 11,200-crore Vodafone tax case next week.
"Not today. Probably next week," he had told reporters.
The government is likely to announce some steps to deal with the complex issue concerning indirect transfer of Indian assets through overseas deals in the Budget for 2013-14, which will be unveiled in the Lok Sabha on February 28.
The Vodafone tax liability arose due to amending of the Income Tax Act, 1961, with retrospective effect during the tenure of the then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to undo the Supreme Court judgement that had ruled in favour of the company.
The government is working towards a solution based on recommendations of the Parthasarathi Shome panel, which suggested that either the government withdraw retrospective tax amendment or waive interest and penalty in case it had to recover the taxes.