Amazon, Microsoft and Apple to seek clarity on Google tax after ITAT ruling Online firms are planning to meet finance ministry officials this week to seek clarity on the applicability of general anti-avoidance rules (GAAR) in cases where the websites use patents based out of an offshore jurisdiction. The move comes after the recent Bengaluru Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) judgment against Google India, asking it to pay up taxes on Rs 1,457 crore of income that the Indian arm had transferred to its Ireland unit pertaining to Google’s AdWords service, used by advertisers to display ads. (More details) Air India gets busy with VRS before disinvestment The government is counting on the average age of 55 years among the non-technical Air India employees as a human resources (HR) blessing, ahead of disinvestment of the state-owned carrier. With a large number of employees left with only three years for superannuation, the government is negotiating a generous voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) as part of the sale process. The retirement age at Air India is 58 years. Air India and its five subsidiaries together have around 22,000 employees. (Full report) Shell companies deposited, withdrew Rs 17,000 crore after demonetisation As the government nears completion of a year after demonetisation, the data shows suspected ‘shell’ companies deposited and withdrew Rs 17,000 crore in the days after the note ban. The data, issued by the government, is from 56 banks for 35,000 companies, which had around 58,000 bank accounts.
One company had a negative balance before demonetisation but deposited and withdrew Rs 2,484 crore after November 8, 2016, the government said. (Read more) GST: Profiteering check now picking up The anti-profiteering mechanism under the goods and services tax (GST) has picked up, with Kerala proposing action against 335 traders for not passing on to consumers a reduction in price under the new set of levies. The screening committee of the state has written to the standing committee at the Centre, providing a list of these merchants and evidence, demanding action. Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Bihar, among others, say they have started with awareness campaigns, price information collection and investigation. (Click here for more details) We will get into smaller towns slowly: Metro AG CEO Pieter Boone German retail major METRO Cash & Carry, a subsidiary of the 58-billion euros Metro AG, intends to consolidate its gains in India. The plan includes doubling store count to 50 from 24 in three years. The chain has set aside an investment of Rs 1,690 crore for this. (Click here for full interview)