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Tax law amendments not aimed at opening old cases: Mukherjee

Delhi,Business/Economy, Sun, 25 Mar 2012 IANS

New Delhi, March 25 (IANS) Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Sunday clarified that the proposed amendments in tax regulations were not aimed at opening old cases with any vindictive intent, but to protect the investors from double taxation.


"I can assure the industry that there is no intention of opening plethora of old cases on this plea or that plea because that is simply not permissible under the laws," Mukherjee said at a meeting organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here.


While presenting the Union Budget for 2012-13 early this month, Mukherjee had proposed amending the Income Tax Act with retrospective effect to bring into tax net overseas transactions like the Vodafone-Hutchison deal.


According to government sources, such cases have tax implications of around Rs.40,000 crore.


The Supreme Court recently rejected the IT department's Rs.11,000 crore tax demand on the $11 billion Vodafone-Hutchison.


However, addressing the industry leaders at the CII event, the finance minister clarified that the proposed amendment was not with any "vindictive" intent or to impose a particular point of view.


Addressing the concerns expressed by business leaders on the retrospective amendments to the Finance Bill, Mukherjee said laws have always been amended in the context of Supreme Court judgments.


"Every year, some amendments are introduced to enhance the clarity of the taxation regime," he said.


Mukherjee emphasised that the intention was not to open old cases but to protect investors from double taxation.


"I shall have to protect myself. I am not holding my money, I am custodian of the money given by 120 crore people through taxation," the finance minister said.


The finance minister also emphasised that he did not perceive any "trust deficit" between industry and the government.


Mukherjee said in a multi-party democratic system, the government has to work with the consensus of its partners. "However, there should be no trust deficit between industry and government, who are partners in the work of nation-building."


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