India cuts tax on overseas borrowings (Lead)

September 21st, 2012 - 8:34 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 21 (IANS) In yet another move to draw in international capital, the Indian government Friday reduced tax on overseas borrowings by domestic companies to five percent from 20 percent, making it easier for local companies to raise funds abroad.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said the reduced tax rate will be applicable to the funds borrowed between July 2012 and June 2015.

Liability of the Indian company to withhold tax on such income would also be at the reduced rate of 5 percent.

“This lower rate of taxation will apply to interest paid to a non-resident by an Indian company for money borrowed in foreign currency from a source outside India, either under a loan agreement or by way of long-term infrastructure bonds,” the finance minister said.

To lower the compliance burden and reduce the time lag which would arise on account of case-by-case approval, the government has decided to grant approval to all borrowings by way of loan agreement and long-term infrastructure bonds that satisfy certain conditions.

No specific approval in such cases would be required.

Borrowings under a loan agreement or by way of issue of long-term infrastructure bonds that comply with External Commercial Borrowings (ECB) regulations as administered by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) would be eligible for availing of the benefit of this concessional tax regime.

In case of long-term infrastructure bonds, the end use of the proceeds of such bond issue should be for the infrastructure sector as defined by RBI under its ECB regulations, the finance ministry said.

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