The finance ministry on Thursday said the General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) had not been deferred. “GAAR provisions have not been put on hold,” Minister of State for Finance S S Palanimanickam told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
Asked whether the decision not to defer GAAR had been taken, finance ministry officials said the Parthasarathi Shome committee’s recommendations in this regard were being discussed. Earlier, citing administrative grounds, the Shome panel had recommended GAAR be deferred for three years. “GAAR is an extremely advanced instrument of tax administration—one for deterrence, rather than revenue generation. For this, intensive training of tax officers, who would specialise in the finer aspects of international taxation, is needed,” the committee had said.
Finance Act, 2012, had said GAAR provisions would be effective April 1, 2014, and would be applied from assessment year 2014-15. The Shome panel had recommended GAAR be made effective from assessment year 2017-18.
Officials said the government wasn’t likely to accept the Shome panel recommendations in toto. It is learnt Finance Minister P Chidambaram has proposed a year’s deferment. A decision on the matter would be taken by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
It is expected the finance ministry would soon announce the final GAAR guidelines, specifying under what circumstances the rules would be invoked. Most recommendations of the Shome panel are likely to be accepted.