|Business - Indian Tax Structure|
| By : Deignified Devil||Previous | Next|
| Posted on : 07 Dec, 2006 ||Total Views : 5771|
INDIA’S TAX STRUCTURE
An International comparison & FICCI’s Suggestions
S.No. Subject Existing position and Suggestions International Practice
1.Overall burden of Direct taxes on Companies
Corporate India today pays 30% Corporate Tax on its profits. Another 3 to 4% points, as dividend distribution tax, and another 3 to 4% points on Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT), which raises the burden. In addition, Corporate India pays another 3% points as surcharge and educational cess, and finally, the lowered depreciation rates, thrust an additional tax of 1 to 2% points. Corporate India’s direct tax burden today stands at over 40% - need to reduce the overall incidence so as to make Indian companies competitive in the international market. Corporate Tax Rates in other countries :-
Bulgaria – 19.5%
Canada – 22%
Germany – 25%
Hongkong – 17.5%
Hungary – 18%
Korea – 27%
Malaysia – 28%
Mauritius – 25%
Nepal – 25%
Norway – 28%
Poland – 19%
Romania – 25%
Singapore – 22%
Sweden – 28%
Taiwan – 25%
2.Maximum tax slab for individual assesses Presently 30% tax rate applies over income Rs.1.5 lakh. Maximum rate of 30% should be made applicable only on income beyond Rs.5 lakhs with a target of Rs.10 lakhs in the coming years In China, 30% tax rate applies only to income above Rs.40 lakhs.
The concept of Standard Deduction has been discontinued for salaried employees on the premise of its being personal allowance – not in conformity with international practice and against the “Rule of Reason” In many countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Germany, UK, France, Japan, Thailand etc. allowance in the form of standard deduction is available for salaried employees for expenses.
4.Fringe Benefit Tax
Fringe Benefit Tax aims at taxing amounts, which are not income but are in nature of expenditure. Genuine business expenditure such as Sales promotion, including publicity, Conference (including conveyance, tour and travel and hotel, boarding and lodging expenses) should be allowed deduction.
Superannuation expenses should be outside the ambit of FBT.
Uniformity should be made applicable across the board in respect of deemed Fringe Benefits.
The amount paid as FBT should be allowed deduction under section 40(a), as even in a similar case of tax paid by the employer on any perquisite given to employee is presently allowed a deduction.
FBT should be allowed deduction on the lines of taxes paid such as Excise duty, Stamp duty, Customs duty etc.
Taxable Fringe benefits in US include:
Cars provided by the employer
Flights on aircraft that employer’s provide
Free or discounted commercial flights, vacations
Discounts on property or services
Memberships in country clubs or other social clubs
Tickets to entertainment or sporting events
In other countries, where the Fringe Benefit tax is there, the individual and corporates are required to attach their tax statement along with their normal statement and they get the due tax credit of the amount paid as Fringe Benefit tax.
Presently the depreciation rate in case of Plant and Machinery is 15% - the same should be increased to 25% as was the position prior to last year’s budget. In Australia, the depreciation rate for assets depends on its effective life.
In Canada, depreciation on Plant and Machinery is allowed at the rate of 20%. However, for Plant and Machinery used in manufacturing and processing, the rate is 30%.
In UK, there is a system of “free depreciation”. Spain, which also had free depreciation system earlier, provides free depreciation now for certain specified assets. Finland had followed this system until the late 70's.
In Philippines, taxpayers may deduct a reasonable allowance for exhaustion and wear and tear (including obsolescence) of property used in a trade or business. The tax authorities have not specified permissible depreciation methods or rates.
6.Dividend Distribution Tax
Presently a company is required to pay Dividend Distribution Tax @ 14.025% on its distributed profits. It would be desirable to do away with the dividend distribution tax altogether. However, if it is not possible then at least the rate reduced to a nominal level of say 5 percent. The cascading effect of Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) should be avoided. In United States, dividends received from other US corporations qualify for a 70% dividends – received deductions, subject to certain limitations.
In UK, dividends received from UK resident companies are not subject to further UK taxation in the hands of a UK recipient company. UK resident shareholders other than companies are subject to income tax on the distribution received plus the deemed tax credit.
Dividends are not subject to tax in the Slovak Republic.
Dividends received by a Romanian company from another Romanian company are subject to a 10% withholding tax and not included in the taxable income of recipient. Dividends paid by a Romanian company to individuals are subject to a 5% withholding tax.
In Philippines dividends received by a domestic or resident foreign corporation from a domestic corporation are not subject to tax.
In Peru, dividend tax @4.1% applies to profits distributed to non-residents and individuals.
Dividends received by New Zealand resident companies from other New Zealand resident companies are taxable. However, dividends received from a wholly owned subsidiary resident in New Zealand are exempt. Dividends received by New Zealand resident companies from non-resident companies are also exempt.
7.Research and Development Presently, weighted deduction benefit of 150% is allowed in few sectors. The weighted deduction so allowed in India results in a tax advantage of only 7 to 8%.
Government must provide the grant upto 35% on research as is the practice in most of the countries of the world. Or else to incentivise research and development in the country, the existing benefit of weighted deducted of 150% should be extended to all sectors of the economy and it should be on a long-term basis.
In most of the developed countries including United States, Australia, France, Canada etc., tax incentives for promoting research and development are provided more or less on a permanent basis.
In countries like Canada, Germany, UK, the Government provides upto 35% grant on research.
In India, Tax Incentives are provided for Infrastructure Sector, Research and Development and other key sectors of the economy.
Currently, the tax concession is available by way of deduction at varying percentages of income of the industrial undertakings and for varying periods, which has unnecessarily added to the complexities and confusion. It may be desirable to have a re-look at them with a view to providing some sort of uniformity, rationality and simplicity. It is suggested that all industrial undertakings should be granted 100% tax holiday benefit for any 10 consecutive years during the first 15 years after the commencement of commercial production/operations.
100% tax holiday incentive should also be given to the various types of activities involved in the complete supply chain of the food processing industry and agro-based industry. What is needed is that 100% tax holiday should be available for a period of at least 10 years and the assessee given an option to claim this tax holiday for any 10 consecutive years out of 15 years beginning with the year in which the undertaking commences business or commercial operations.
There is a need to enlarge the scope of Infrastructure as emphasized by Dr Rakesh Mohan in “India Infrastructure Report”. The 'infrastructure facility' should include an integrated township development involving provision of residential, educational, medical, community, commercial or institutional buildings and creation of required facilities including roads, water supply, water treatment, sanitation and sewerage systems, solid waste treatment and management systems, electrification, landscaping and afforestation and other civic services needed in an integrated township.
Infrastructure status should be granted to hotels, so as to give the benefits as prescribed in Section 80 IA of the Income Tax Act. This would be in synergy with the amendment made previously to include hotel for benefit under Section 10(23G) and Section 72A.
In China, Tax Holidays and significant deductions are available to following :
All Foreign Investment Enterprises (FIEs) engaged in production and manufacturing activities with an operating period of 10 years or more.
FIEs engaged in production and manufacturing activities in SEZs, the Pudong Development Zone and Technology Development Zones.
Export oriented and technologically advanced FIEs
Infrastructure projects in SEZs and the Pudong Development Zone scheduled to operate 15 years or more.
In Indonesia, special tax rate apply to companies stated below:
Petroleum : Petroleum companies are subject to tax at a flat rate ranging from 30% to 45%, depending on when their contracts were signed and approved. In addition, foreign petroleum companies are subject to a 20% withholding tax, which may be reduced by certain tax treaties, on their after tax taxable income.
Mining : General mining companies are taxed at rates ranging from 30% to 45% depending on the generation of their contracts with the Indonesian government.
Construction Companies : In limited circumstances, construction companies are subject to a final tax at a rate 2% of gross turnover.
Construction, Design or Supervision : In limited circumstance, companies engaged in construction, design or supervision, are subject to tax at a rate of 4% of their gross turnover.
Foreign Drilling Companies : Foreign Drilling Companies are subject to corporate tax at a rate of 4.5% of their gross drilling income, as well as to a branch profit tax of 20% on their after tax profit, which may be reduced by certain tax treaties.
Non-resident International Shipping Companies and Airlines : Non-resident international shipping companies and airlines are subject to a tax at a rate of 2.64% of gross turnover.
In Malaysia, tax holidays or tax reductions are granted for participation in promoted activities or products, research and development activities, and capital expenditure on expansion projects and some other investments.
In Korea, the Tax Incentives Limitation Law (TILL) grants tax incentives to foreign investors approved by the Ministry of Finance and Economy. The TILL offers incentives to foreign companies that invest in high technology businesses and in Foreign Investment Zones (FTZs). In addition, a new tax incentive was introduced in 2003 for foreign investors in Free Economic Zones (FEZs).
Depending on the type of investment, exemptions or reductions may apply to other taxes including acquisition tax, registration tax, property tax and customs duty.
Royalties received in accordance with contracts classifieds as high technology accepted by Ministry of Finance and Economy under the TILL are exempt from Income Tax for 5 years.
In Barbados, an investment allowance of 20% is granted on the cost of capital expenditure on new plant and machinery to be used in a basic industry. A 40% allowance is granted for new plant and machinery to be used in manufacturing and refining sugar and in manufacturing products from clay and limestone.
In Bulgaria, production companies qualify for a 100% reduction of corporate tax on income derived from production activities for 5 consecutive years subject to fulfillment of certain conditions prescribed in the statute.
In Czech Republic, investors in manufacturing any of the following incentives :
Corporate Income Tax relief for upto 10 years (subject to a maximum limitation on the total benefit).
Customs related benefits
Job creation grants
Grants for retaining of employees and
Property relative incentive
The corporate income tax relief, customs related benefits and property related incentives are offered throughout the Czech Republic. Job creation grants and training grants are only offered in regions with high unemployment.
9.Overall Incidence of Indirect Taxes
In India, the cascading effect of excise, customs, VAT/sales tax and local levies result in the effective consumption taxes amounting to over 35% of the final price to the consumer, double of what is in UK. According to FICCI study, average total incidence on selling price in case of consumer goods is 44.11%, capital goods 43.26%, basic goods 30.28% and intermediate goods 30.06%.
10.Special Excise Duty (SED) Special excise duty, which is imposed right now on few items such as aerated water, air-conditioners etc. should be done away with.
11.Peak Customs Tariff Peak Customs Tariff right now is 15%. Though India has to move towards the ASEAN rates of customs duty, the reduction in peak rate of customs duty should be accompanied with internal reforms to ensure competitiveness of domestic industry. In India, we have a direct disability of 13 per cent vis-à-vis imports and a massive added disability vis-à-vis transaction cost of doing business. This is due to Inspector Raj and a large number of rules and regulations, which have to be set right.
12.Anomalies in Duty Structure
Inverted Duty Structure in number of sectors right now – for eg. Consumer Electronics, Fuels like Furnace and LSHS. There should be a three-tier structure of import duty – lowest duty on raw materials, higher on intermediates and the highest on finished goods. No doubt over the period anomalies in the duty structure has been corrected but still a lot remains and few have emerged due to free trade agreements signed by India with number of countries. While going for further FTAs, it must be ensured that it does not lead to anomaly in the duty structure.
13.Value Added Tax
For seamless movement of goods across states, VAT should be introduced in all states and union territories. Time is ripe now to do away with other levies in any form be octroi, entry tax, mandi tax etc. CST should be abolished at the earliest.
After having now the revenue buoyant experience of the State level VAT, perhaps, it may be desirable to have a road map for national VAT with overall incidence of 20 per cent (CENVAT 12% and State VAT 8%) to provide us the competitive edge in the global matrix.
Most of the countries have already introduced Value Added Tax in their country. Even a large number of countries have Goods and Services Tax (GST) in place.
Written By : Deignified Devil