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·         Investors Considerations

· Resident taxpayers are taxed on their worldwide income.

· Nonresident taxpayers are taxed only on income received in India or on income arising (or deemed to arise) in India.

· Corporate income is taxed both at corporate level and to shareholders upon distribution as dividends.

· The accounting year for tax purposes must end on March 31.

· Substance prevails over form if form is misused.

· Advance rulings for transactions involving nonresidents have been introduced.

· Double taxation relief is offered to residents through credits under the Income Tax Act and under the tax treaties.

A.   Income Tax

Concepts of income taxation

The income tax system in India is unitary. Income less permissible expenses from all sources (other than long-term capital gains) of each tax payer s aggregated and subject to tax at a flat rate in the case of companies and partnership firms and at progressives rates in the case of other taxpayers. Long-term capital gains are concessionally taxed at lower rates.

Residents are taxed on their worldwide income. Subject to treaty exemptions, nonresidents are taxed only on income that is received in India or that arises in India or is deemed to arise in India.

India follows the "classical system," under which corporate income is taxed both to the corporation and upon distribution to the shareholders as dividends. However, dividends received by one domestic company from another domestic company are not taxed in the hands of the recipient company to the extent it distributes the dividends to its shareholders within the time allowed for filing its tax return.

Geographical source of income

Generally, income arises in India if it becomes due in India. This depends on where the income-producing asset is located, where the services giving rise to the income are performed, where the sale is effected, and other considerations. In addition, the Income Tax At specifically mentions that the following income is deemed to arise in India.

1. Income arising directly or indirectly through or from any business connection in India; through or from any property, asset or source of income in India; or through the transfer of a capital asset situated in India.
2. Salaries earned in India, even if paid outside India.
3. Dividends paid by Indian companies outside India.
4. Interest, royalties or technical service fees payable by the government.
5. Interest, royalties or technical service fees payable by persons other than the government unless the funds borrowed, the patent, the technical information, etc., are utilized in a business outside India or for earning income from a source outside India.

These categories of deemed Indian-source income are subject to the following qualifications.

1. In the case of a business with some operations not performed in India, the income deemed to arise in India is only that part or the income reasonably attributable to the operations performed in India.
2. In the case of nonresidents, no income is deemed to arise in India from operations that are confined to the following:
a. Purchase of goods in India for the purpose of export;
b. Collection of news for transmission out of India in the case of a nonresident publisher of newspapers, magazines or journals;
c. Shooting of cinematographic films in India by foreigners and nonresident firms or companies not having any partner or shareholder who is an Indian citizen or Indian resent; and
d. Transfer of rights in computers and software by a nonresident manufacturer along with computer-based equipment under an approves scheme of the government of India, against lump-sum payment.

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