Cairn tax dispute: I-T dept orders coercive action against co to recover Rs 10,000 cr tax payment
I-T order follows an international arbitration panel last week deciding not to entertain a plea by Cairn Energy seeking injunction against the coercive action to recover the tax
New Delhi: The Income Tax Department has ordered coercive action against Cairn Energy Plc to recover Rs 10,247 crore of retrospective tax after the British oil firm lost a challenge to the move before an international arbitration panel.
The department ordered taking away $104 million dividend due to it from its remaining stake in the erstwhile subsidiary Cairn India (now called Vedanta Ltd) and another Rs 1,500 crore of tax refund due to it, a top source said.
This follows an international arbitration panel last week deciding not to entertain a plea by Cairn Energy seeking injunction against the coercive action to recover the tax.
The source said the tax department will now move to take over the 9.8 percent shareholding Cairn Energy had in Cairn India.
In an emailed statement, Cairn Energy confirmed the tax department's move.
"On June 16, 2017 the Indian Income Tax Department (IITD) issued an order to Vedanta India Ltd (VIL) directing it to pay over any sums due to Cairn. Sums due to Cairn from VIL now total $104 million, including historical dividends of $53 million and a further dividend of $51 million after the merger of CIL and VIL," it said.
The company said however that it will continue with the international arbitration proceedings against the retrospective tax demand.
"Cairn is seeking full restitution for (UK-India Bilateral Investment Treaty) Treaty breaches resulting from the expropriation of its investments in India in 2014, the attempts to enforce retrospective tax measures and the failure to treat the Company and its investments fairly and equitably," it said.
The company said it has a high level of confidence in its case under the Treaty and, in addition to resolution of the retrospective tax dispute, its claim seeks damages equal to the value of the Group's residual shareholding in Cairn India at the time it was attached (approximately USD 1 billion).
The Income Tax Act provides for penalties of 100 percent to 300 percent of the tax due, the official said, adding that the notice sent does not mention of the quantum of penalties the tax department is seeking.
For the uninitiated, it all started with the income tax department issuing tax notices to FIIs in April this financial year.
Government has fixed December 31, 2016 as the deadline for companies like Vodafone and Cairn Energy Plc to settle their retrospective tax disputes. The one-time offer to settle tax issues by waiving of interest and penalty, if the companies paid up the principal tax amount, had opened on June 1 this year.