Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday assured British telecom major Vodafone, which is facing a tax liability of Rs 11,200 crore, that the government was ready to “collaborate” and look at its concerns.
“...we are always ready to collaborate with Vodafone and to look at some of their concerns,” Mr. Sibal said while releasing Vodafone’s sustainability report 2012 in New Delhi.
Representatives of Vodafone are expected to shortly meet top revenue officials to discuss the taxation issue relating to its liability following the acquisition of the telecom business of Hong Kong based Hutchison Whampoa in 2007 that involved Indian assets.
The case relates to capital gains tax arising from the deal. Besides this, there are several other issues relating to the norms for forthcoming spectrum auction norms facing the telecom industry.
“I can assure Martin Pieters (Vodafone India MD and CEO) and other telecom operators that the government is very, very, very serious about the concerns they have expressed and I can give an assurance today that 2013 will be a different year for the telecom sector,” Mr. Sibal said.
Responding to the assurance given by the minister, Mr. Pieters said, “I am glad that he gave us some hope. Now that hope needs to translate into action.”
To a recent tax communication by the Revenue Department, Vodafone had said the company was not liable to pay any tax for acquiring Indian telecom business of Hutchison.
The Revenue Department responded, expressing willingness to discuss the issue with the company’s officials.