Language
    

India's Double Tax Avoidance Agreements

12.0 The Central Government, acting under Section 90 of the Income Tax Act, has been authorised to enter into Double Tax Avoidance Agreements (hereinafter referred to as tax treaties) with other countries. The object of such agreements is to evolve an equitable basis for the allocation of the right to tax different types of income between the 'source' and 'residence' states ensuring in that process tax neutrality in transactions between residents and non-residents. A non-resident, under the scheme of income taxation, becomes liable to tax in India in respect of income arising here by virtue of its being the country of source and then again, in his own country in respect of the same income by virtue of the inclusion of such income in the 'total world income' which is the tax base in the country of residence. Tax incidence, therefore, becomes an important factor influencing the
non-residents in deciding about the location of their investment, services, technology etc. Tax treaties serve the purpose of providing protection to tax payers against double taxation and thus preventing the discouragement which taxation may provide in the free flow of international trade, international investment and international transfer of technology. These treaties also aim at preventing discrimination between the tax payers in the international field and providing a reasonable element of legal and fiscal certainty within a legal framework. In addition, such treaties contain provisions for mutual exchange of information and for reducing litigation by providing for mutual assistance procedure.

12.1 Acting under the authority of law, the Central Government has so far entered into agreements with countries listed below which have become operative with effect from the assessment year mentioned against them.

S.no.
Name of the country
Effective from Assessment Year

1.

Australia

1993-94

2.

Austria

1963-64

3.

Bangladesh

1993-94

4.

Belgium

1989-90
1999-2000 (Revised)

5.

Brazil

1994-95

6.

Belarus

1999-2000

7.

Bulgaria

1997-98

8.

Canada

1987-88;

9.

China

1999-2000 (Revised)
1996-97

10.

Cyprus

1994-95

11.

Czechoslovakia

1986-87
2001-2002 (Revised)

12.

Denfnark

1991-92

13.

Finland

1985-86
Amending protocol
2000-2001

14.

France (Revised)

1996-97

15.

F.R.G. (Original)

1958-59

F.R.G. (Protocol)

1984-85

G.D.R.

1985-86

F.R.G (Revised)

1998-99

16.

Greece

1964-65

17.

Hungary

1989-90

18.

Indonesia

1989-90

19.

Israel

1995-96

20.

Italy (Revised)

1997-98

21.

Japan (Revised)

1991-92

22.

Jordan

2001-2002

23.

Kazakistan

1999-2000

24.

Kenya

1985-86

25.

Libya

1983-84

26.

Malta

1997-98

27.

Malaysia

1973-74

28.

Mauritius

1983-84

29.

Mongolia

1995-96

30.

Namibia

2000-2001

31.

Nepal

1990-91

32.

Netherlands

1990-91

33.

New Zealand

1988-89
Amending notification
1999-2000
Supp. Protocal 2001-2002

34.

Norway

1988-89

35.

Oman

1999-2000

36.

Philippines

1996-97

37.

Poland

1991-92

38.

Qatar

2001-2002

39.

Romania

1989-90

40.

Singapore

1995-96

41.

South Africa

1999-2000

42.

South Korea

1985-86

43.

Spain

1997-98

44.

Sri Lanka

1981-82

45.

Sweden

1990-91 Revised
1999-2000

46.

Switzerland

1996-97

47.

Syria

1983-84

48.

Tanzania

1983-84

49.

Thailand

1988-89

50.

Trinidad & Tobago

2001-2002

51.

Turkmenistan

1999-2000

52.

Turkey

1995-96

53.

U.A.E.

1995-96

54.

U.A.R.

1970-71

55.

U.K. (Revised)

1995-96

56.

U.S.A.

1992-93

57.

Russian Federation

2000-2001

58.

Uzbekistan

1994-95

59.

Vietnam

1997-98

60.

Zambia

1979-80


12.2 These Agreements follow a near uniform pattern in as much as India has guided itself by the UN model of double tax avoidance agreements. The agreements allocate jurisdiction between the source and residence country. Wherever such jurisdiction is given to both the countries, the agreements prescribe maximum rate of taxation in the source country which is generally lower than the rate of tax under the domestic laws of that country. The double taxation in such cases are avoided by the residence country agreeing to give credit for tax paid in the source country thereby reducing tax payable in the residence country by the amount of tax paid in the source country.

12.2.1 These agreements give the right of taxation in respect of the income of the nature of interest, dividend, royalty and fees for technical services to the country of residence. However, the source country is also given the right but such taxation in the source country has to be limited to the rates prescribed in the agreement. The rate of taxation is on gross receipts without deduction of expenses. These rate of taxation as agreed with different countries are given in the Annexure I. The Finance Act, 1997 has exempted income from dividend declared after 1.6.97 in the hands of share holders.

12.2.2 So far as income from capital gains is concerned, gains arising from transfer of immovable properties are taxed in the country where such properties are situated. Gains arising from the transfer of movable properties forming part of the business property of a 'permanent establishment 'or the 'fixed base' is taxed in the country where such permanent establishment or the fixed base is located. Different provisions exist for taxation of capital gains arising from transfer of shares. In a number of agreements the right to tax is given to the State of which the company is resident. In some others, the country of residence of the shareholder has this right and in some others the country of residence of the transferor has the right if the share holding of the
transferor is of a prescribed percentage.

12.2.3 So far as the business income is concerned, the source country gets the right only if there is a 'permanent establishment' or a 'fixed place of business' there. Taxation of business income is on net income from business at the rate prescribed in the Finance Acts. Chapter X may be referred to for a discussion on the subject.

12.2.4 Income derived by rendering of professional services or other activities of independent character are taxable in the country of residence except when the person deriving income from such services has a fixed base in the other country from where such services are performed. Such income is also taxable in the source country if his stay exceeds 183 days in that financial year.

12.2.5 Income from dependent personal  services  i.e. from employment is taxed in the country of residence unless the employment is exercised in the other state. Even if the employment is exercised in any other state, the remuneration will be taxed in the country of residence if -

    1. the recipient is present in the source State for a period not exceeding 183 days; and
    2. the remuneration is paid by a person who is not a resident of that state; and
    3. the  remuneration  is  not borne by a permanent establishment or a fixed base.

12.2.6 The agreements also provides for jurisdiction to tax Director's fees, remuneration of persons in Government service, payments received by students and apprentices, income of entertainers and athletes, pensions and social security payments and other incomes. For taxation of income of artists, entertainers sportsman etc, CBDT circular No. 787 dates 10.2.2000 may be referred to.

12.3 Agreements also contain clauses for non-discrimination of the national of a contracting State in the other State vis-a-vis the nationals of that other State. The fact that higher rates of tax are prescribed for foreign companies in India does not amont to discrimination against the permanent establishment of the nonresident company. This  has  been  made explicit  in  certain agreements such as one with U.K.

12.4 Provisions also exist for mutual agreement procedure which authorises the competent authorities of the two States to resolve any dispute that may arise in the matter of taxation without going through the  normal process of appeals  etc. provided under the domestic law.

12.5 Another important feature of some agreements is the existence of a clause providing for exchange of information between the two contracting States which may be necessary for carrying out the provisions of the agreement or for effective implementations of domestic laws concerning taxes covered by the tax treaty. Information about residents getting payments in other contracting States necessary to be known for proper assessment of total income of such individual is thus facilitated by such agreements.

12.6 It may sometimes happen that owing to reduction in tax rates under the domestic law taking place after coming into existence  of the treaty,  the  domestic  rates  become  more favourable to the non-residents. Since the objects of the tax treaties is to benefit the non-residents, they have, under such circumstances, the option to be assessed either as per the provisions of the treaty or the domestic law of the land.

12.7 In order to avoid any demand or refund consequent to  assessment and to facilitate the process of assessment, it has been provided that tax shall be deducted at source out of payments to non-residents at the same rate at which the particular income is made taxable under the tax treaties. As a result of amendment made by the Finance Act, 1997 exempting from tax income from dividend declared after 1.6.1997,  no deduction is required to be made in respect of such income.


Return Forms Jurisdiction of Assessing Officers All Forms Challans Income Tax Offices In India
Hyperlinking Policy This Site is best viewed using versions of Internet Explorer 5.5 through 9. Contact Us | IRS Online | CPCTDS | Archives | Sitemap
Developed & Maintained by Quintegra Solutions Ltd. Copyright © incometaxindia.gov.in All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use