The ruling by the Indian Income Tax Appellate Tribunal states that the tax treaty rate cannot override the dividend distribution tax rate. Under Indian tax laws, dividends received by shareholders are subject to a dividend distribution tax (DDT) imposed on the company distributing the dividend. The tax rate for DDT is generally 15%, but it may be higher or lower depending on the type of company and its income.
The India-Singapore tax treaty provides for a lower tax rate on dividends for Singaporean residents investing in India, subject to certain conditions. The tax treaty rate for dividends is generally 15% of the gross amount of the dividend, but it can be reduced to 5% or 10% depending on the level of investment and other factors.
The recent ruling clarifies that the DDT rate takes precedence over the tax treaty rate. This means that foreign investors who receive dividends from Indian companies may have to pay the higher DDT rate instead of the lower tax treaty rate. This ruling may have a significant impact on foreign investors who invest in India and receive dividends from Indian companies.
The ruling highlights the importance of careful tax planning and compliance for foreign investors who want to invest in India. Foreign investors need to be aware of the tax laws and regulations in India and take steps to comply with them. This includes understanding the tax rates and other tax implications of their investments to avoid any unexpected tax liabilities or legal disputes in the future.
The views in all sections are personal views of the author.