Income Tax dept to wait till September 7 for Walmart to pay tax on Flipkart deal

As per the provisions of the I-T law, Walmart has to deduct withholding tax on payments made to sellers and deposit it with the Indian authorities on the seventh day of the subsequent month, which falls on September 7.

By PTI  
Sunday, September 2, 2018

The Income Tax Department will wait till September 7 for settlement of withholding tax by Walmart on payments made to about 44 shareholders exiting e-commerce firm Flipkart before it proceeds in the case, an official has said.

US-based retail giant Walmart Inc had completed acquisition of 77 per cent stake in Flipkart for about USD 16 billion deal in mid-August. As per the provisions of the I-T law, Walmart has to deduct withholding tax on payments made to sellers and deposit it with the Indian authorities on the seventh day of the subsequent month, which falls on September 7.

The Walmart has not yet approached the tax department to ascertain the withholding tax liability, although some shareholders of Flipkart who are exiting the e-commerce company have sought guidance on their tax liability, the officials said.

Under Section 197, seller of shares can obtain withholding tax certificate from the tax department after providing details of the transaction and make a case for availing lower or nil tax rates. The tax rate could be lower in case the non-resident seller invokes provision of the double tax avoidance agreement.

"Walmart still has time till September 7 to deduct and pay withholding tax on payments made to about 44 different shareholders of Flipkart," the official said, adding the department can only proceed in this case once the deadline for payment of taxes is over.

Once the withholding tax is paid the tax authorities will scrutinise whether Walmart has deposited the taxes correctly as per the assessment made by the tax department on the basis of the share purchase agreement shared with it by Bengaluru-based Flipkart.

However, if the Walmart fails to deposit the correct amount of taxes, then the department will write to Walmart asking for details of taxes deducted and the reasons for failing to deposit the required amount.

Nangia Advisors LLP Managing Partner Rakesh Nangia said: "If Walmart is liable to withhold tax, non-withholding of appropriate taxes would entail implications under Section 201 of the I-T Act, i e Walmart shall be construed as an 'assessee in default' liable to pay interest and penalty for failure to withhold and deposit to the credit of the government the appropriate taxes".

"The question arises what could be the possible reason behind Walmart's strategy of not approaching Income-tax authorities to obtain lower/nil withholding order under Section 197? Though order under Section 197 acts as a provisional assessment of the transaction between Walmart and shareholders of Flipkart, it is not an appealable order."

Walmart had in July assured the I-T department that it will fulfil all tax obligations. Flipkart had in May shared share purchase agreement with tax authorities, based on which the I-T department has assessed the tax rate that would be applicable for investors in Flipkart who are selling the shares to Walmart.

Significant shareholders in Flipkart, like SoftBank, Naspers, venture fund Accel Partners and eBay, have agreed to sell their shares. Also co-founder Sachin Bansal has decided to sell his stake to the US retail major.

The department has been reviewing Section 9 (1) of the I-T Act, which deals with indirect transfer provisions, to see if the benefits under the bilateral tax treaties with countries like Singapore and Mauritius, could be available for foreign investors selling stakes to Walmart. Singapore-registered Flipkart Pvt Ltd holds majority stake in Flipkart India.

Related Stories

Reliance Group lenders promise not to sell shares till September 1
Reliance Group lenders promise not to sell shares till September 1
Malvinder has recordings of death threats to sign agreement absolving Baba, will make available when required, criminal complaint before EOW claims
Malvinder has recordings of death threats to sign agreement absolving Baba, will make available when required, criminal complaint before EOW claims
BREAKING: Malvinder Singh drops a death threat bomb, sues Baba, Shivinder, Godhwani brothers for alleged 'cheating', 'siphoning', 'collusion'; seeks Rs 8,742 cr
BREAKING: Malvinder Singh drops a death threat bomb, sues Baba, Shivinder, Godhwani brothers for alleged 'cheating', 'siphoning', 'collusion'; seeks Rs 8,742 cr

Latest Stories

RRB Group D results: No date, no time confirmed as candidates keep waiting
RRB Group D results: No date, no time confirmed as candidates keep waiting
'India Size' apparel based on Indians' body measurements to hit shelves soon
'India Size' apparel based on Indians' body measurements to hit shelves soon
Vodafone-Idea plans to sell optical fibre assets, mobile tower stake for Rs 20,000 crore
Vodafone-Idea plans to sell optical fibre assets, mobile tower stake for Rs 20,000 crore
SPONSORED