U.K.-based telecom giant Vodafone, on Thursday, said it was willing to discuss tax related issues with the government and paying tax, which amounted to around Rs.8,000 crore, is an option, provided the interest and penalty were waived.
“It is exactly an option. I don’t know if it is viable,” Vodafone non-executive Chairman Analjit Singh said when asked whether it was a viable option for the telecom giant to pay Rs.8,000 crore tax if penalty and interest were waived.
After his meeting with officials of the tax department, Mr. Singh told reporters that Vodafone was willing to discuss the tax issue with the government and did not want to get into any controversy.
“We have made our public position very clear that Vodafone is completely ready to discuss the matter. Vodafone is not a company... (that is) confrontationist (or) controversial. This is not Vodafone’s business, its business is telecom,” he said.
The Income Tax Department had raised a Rs.11,218 crore tax demand (including Rs.7,900 crore tax demand and the remaining interest) from Vodafone for its acquisition of Hutchison stake in Hutchison-Essar in 2007 through a deal in Cayman islands.
But the Supreme Court struck down the tax claim.
Following the Supreme Court judgment, the government in the Finance Bill, 2012, has proposed amendments in the Income Tax Act, 1961, with retrospective effect to bring in tax net overseas mergers and acquisitions, involving Indian assets.
Earlier this week, Vodafone Chief Financial Officer Andy Halford had said in London that the company might make a provision to cover the legal risks arising out of the tax dispute with the Indian government.