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Policy Advocacy

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 In pursuance to the 2018 amendment in Section 28 of the Customs Act, 1962 (“Customs Act”) regarding pre-notice consultation, the CIBC had recently issued Notification No. 29/2018-customs (NT) dated April 2, 2018 which notifies the Pre-notice Consultation Regulations, 2018.  These Regulations prescribe the procedure for conducting the pre-notice consultations.  


  • To recap, Section 28 of the Customs Act prescribes the normal period of limitation for issuance of a show cause notice.  As per these Regulations, an officer who proposes to issue such notice is required to inform such person, from whom the amount is proposed to be recovered, in writing, at least two months before the expiry of the time limit mentioned in Section 28 of the Act.  It also provides that this intimation is required to be made before issuance of a demand notice. 


  • Further, where the concerned person intends to be heard in person, such intent would need to be clearly indicated in the reply filed.  However, an important aspect to note is that the Regulations provide that no adjournment can be sought once the PH request has been granted. 


The Regulations are largely a welcome move since it provides assessees an opportunity of being heard before issuance of a notice.  The Regulations also contain other details regarding time limit for filing the response and time limit for granting of the PH and the attached document may be referred to for these details. 

After months of discussions with the CBEC-Service tax team, the circular clarifying the place of provision for software exports is out.


You would recall in Nov, that several service tax refunds were rejected in Mumbai, in the pretext that data, emails etc were received in India. AS NASSCOM we had representd the matter to the CBEC and Revenue and were given an assurance that the matter is being looked into. A press release reassuring that no hasty decisions will be taken was also released by the MoF.


We are extremely delighted to share that, after several interactions, where the NASSOCM team with or without Industry members, outlined typical fact patters of the contracting and development activities undertaken by the Industry, the CBEC has finally issued the circular, where they clarify that place of provision of services would be the recipient of services, thereby according export status. We hope that this clarification will put to rest the ongoing disputes and denials that companies have faced.


We welcome your feedback.


We are glad that our quiet but steadfast focus on the issue has yielded results. We continue to work for our members to ease the business environment.

As part of the Domestic Council’s Charter to enhance engagement with the CIO Community – the prime drivers of IT adoption in any organisation, the 2nd NASSCOM CIO Connect event was held in Ahmedabad on 6th April 2018 where CIOs from Chemical, Pharma and Banking industry provided key insights and thought leadership on the way ahead for IT in their respective segments.

The key takeaways from the discussion included:
 Urgent need for a robust IT Partner Ecosystem
 Transformation from custom build to Global solutions
 Challenges in Talent Acquisition/retention and Product hunting
 Growing disconnect between IT industry and solutions being offered- Ensuring plugins with industry specific solutions
 Ensuring continuity of technology and enmeshing of existing technologies in an operational business
 Developing an industry-side fact list, and a need for an executive summary showcasing the best in class technology
 Challenges around going Digital
 Complicated & Challenges complying with different regulators
 Identifying best practices in Fraud Risk Management & formulation of Asset Management Guidelines

The event was very well received by the western region council members that were also present during the meeting. This was a great opportunity for our members to understand the User Community issues and accordingly develop strategies to avail the given opportunities.

Domestic council will strategize on the suggestions/recommendations made by CIOs and ensure concrete steps are taken to address the concerns.



The income tax department has noted the concern related to angel tax being levied on startups, basis represnetations made by various stakeholders.


In the recent letter addressed to principal commissioners, the CBDT has advised: 

  1. No coercive action be initiated for recovery of outstanding demands
  2. Expeditious disposal of appeals by commissioner appeals


While fair market value evaluation continues to be applicable on startups, the above advise would be helpful to offer temporary relief to considerable anxiety over demand recovery process. Further, decisions on appeals pending will also act as guidance for on field assessments.


However the issue of levy of angel tax needs to be looked into to offer a long term solution.  


The copy of the letter can be accessed at


The Union Budget 2018 was presented today reiterating the Government’s commitment to leverage technology and digitalization as a key for India’s development strategy across sectors. The focus on “ease of living”, will inevitably spur deployment of technology across all verticals.

Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) are instrumental in providing employment to people. Proposals for reduction of income tax to 25% for companies with annual turnover upto INR 250 crore will be helpful and is in line with NASSCOM’s ask in rationalising the corporate tax rates. However there is a marginal increase in tax rate for all other companies arising out of increased Cess.

In the context of the growing Digital economy, the budget proposals include additional criteria for taxation that would be applicable to companies who may not have physical presence in India. This could be particularly relevant to the technology sector, as internet driven businesses and cloud based platforms blur geographical boundaries.

NASSCOM welcomes the announcement of a national program to direct efforts in the area of artificial intelligence, including research and development and comprehensive initiative on Cyber-physical systems. This will enable India to leapfrog in areas of emerging technologies globally.

The proposal to review the outward direct investment will be of great relevance to the IT sector as it charts its global growth trajectory.

Focus on digital payments is as per expectations. Use of block chain technology to encourage digital payments will ensure new security technologies.

The Technology sector will also see many emerging opportunities arising out of Government reliance on Technology driven development e.g. web-based Government Integrated Financial Management Information System, E-courts, E-assessments etc. It is for the Startups and Industry to exploit such opportunities and contribute to national objectives.

Some of the key announcements and their impact are summarised below:

1. There is continued reliance on technology for Governance and development. This is in line with the digital India vision, and offers opportunities for the technology sector and Startups.


  • Allocation of digital India doubled to INR 3073 crore.
  • Disposal of its business by introduction of e-office and other e-governance initiatives in Central Ministries and Departments.
  •  A web-based Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), administered by Controller General of Accounts, for budgeting, accounting, expenditure and cash management for more effective fiscal management of Government.
  • Project ‘e-Vidhan’ to digitize and make the functioning of all State Legislatures paperless.
  • E-Courts, to bring about universal computerization of all Districts and Subordinate Courts, use of cloud computing and availability of e-services like e-filing and e-payments as well.

2. Certain focussed initiatives announced, that underscore the transformative impact of technology in India, and also highlights the need for technology solution for wide ranging issues.


  • Increasing use of technology for safety under railways ‘‘Fog Safe’’ and ‘‘Train Protection and Warning System’’
  • Transforming education sector – by increasing use of digital intensity in education – black board to digital-board - upgrade the skills of teachers


3. Technology - References were made to cutting edge technology areas like 5G, AI, Robotics, Quantum computing and the Government reiterated its support for Research and Development. While specific were missing, it would be important for NASSCOM and its members to work closely with the Government to shape the digital ecosystem.


  • To invest in research, training and skilling in robotics, artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing, big data analysis, quantum communication and internet of things. 
  • Department of Science & Technology will launch a Mission on Cyber Physical Systems to support establishment of centres of excellence.
  • Niti Aayog to establish a national programme to direct efforts towards Artificial Intelligence, including research and development of its applications 
  • Department of Telecom will support establishment of an indigenous 5G Test Bed at IIT, Chennai.

4. Digital Payments

The Government’s on-going focus on Digital Payments was evident, as the FM clarified the legal invalidity of cryptocurrency and commitment of the Govt. to eliminate them. Further, the Govt. confirmed that there is a group working in the Ministry of Finance on policy measures and institutional mechanism for facilitating digital payments, encourage block chain technology and creating the right environment for Fintech companies.

5. Globalization
PM in his Davos speech had referred to the “worrisome situation against globalization” – As India continues to grow, and the IT sector charts its global trajectory, policy instruments to support the journey would be essential. In this context, the proposal to review existing guidelines and processes and bring out a coherent and integrated Outward Direct Investment (ODI) policy will be important for the IT sector, as the Industry undertakes M&A, and sets up Development centers etc.

However, a key ask of the IT sector was a review of the foreign tax credit policy in India. We hope that this will also be looked into during the year.

6. Taxing Digital Economy
The budget has expanded the concept of business connection in domestic law. For a long time, nexus based on physical presence was used as a proxy to identify business connection with a country. However, in the digital economy where business models are operating remotely through the existing nexus rule is seen to be inadequate. Therefore the budget proposes that a non-resident enterprise would create a taxable presence in a country if it has sustained interaction with the economy by the aid of technology and other automated tools. Revenue factor may be used in combination to determine 'significance economic presence.

This rule could have significant impact in this era of cloud and internet enabled businesses. The chances of a foreign company constituting a BC/PE in India under the new rules proposed now, maybe higher given the extent of digitization.

7. Start-up


  • Startup India scheme extended to Startups that will be set up till March 2021, and definition harmonised with DIPP definition Startups, - definition of ‘eligible business’ for a start-up is proposed to be aligned with the modified definition notified by DIPP. It is further proposed to extend the incorporation date for a start-up for availing benefit under section 80-IAC of the Act to 31st March, 2021 from 31st March, 2019 and rationalise the condition of turnover for availing the benefit.
  • For startups, aligning the definition of start-ups with the definition of DIPP and extending the availability of start-up scheme till March 2021 is a welcome move however there is a need to relook at the requirement of Inter-Ministerial Board (IMB) certification that is required for start-ups to qualify for the tax holiday so that the benefit can be availed by many start-ups.
  • We will continue to engage with the Government to make these announcements effective and also on other unaddressed recommendations related to harnessing domestic and angel investors to strengthen the start-up ecosystem.
  • The FM acknowledged the need to create a favourable environment for investors. We look forward to the development of a separate policy for the hybrid instruments for attracting foreign investments. This will have a bearing on the startup ecosystem.

8. Incentives for Job creation
Incentivising employment and job creation – Employment generation was one of the key objectives and suitable measures are announced to meet the same. In line with public pronouncements pertaining to women's empowerment, Budget 2018 made notable announcements for encouraging women employment.


  • To increase in hand salary of women, EPF contribution of women employee’s brought down to 8% for first 3 years.
  • For new jobs - 12% of the wages of the new employees in the EPF for all the sectors for next three years.
  • Facility of fixed term employment will be extended to all sectors - encourages alternate employment models like contracts.

9. Ease of doing business – notable steps in making business process simpler with the use of technology.


  • Amendment in Income tax Act to introduce on assessment to be done in electronic mode to reduce physical interactions.
  • A scheme to assign a Unique ID (AADHAAR) for companies – should to lead single registration across Govt etc.
  • A Central Public Procurement Portal to provide a single point access for all information on procurement. Around 3.5 lakh contractors and vendors are already registered on this platform. In November, 2017 alone, electronic bids for over one lakh tenders valued at around two lakh forty thousand crore were invited through this Portal.
  • Business reforms for ease of doing business deeper and in every State of India, the Government of India has identified 372 specific business reform actions.


10. Make in India


  • Defence Production Policy 2018 to be introduced to promote domestic production by public sector, private sector and MSMEs.
  • Increase in customs duty on Mobile phones from 15% to 20% should support and encourage domestic manufacturing.

11. Other announcements


  • Income Computation and Disclosure Standards - The ICDS, prescribes methods for recognizing revenue, accruing certain expenses, losses, etc. There were deviations in the methodologies prescribed by the ICDS as compared to the accounting standards. The Delhi High Court held that the ICDS is not meant to overrule the provisions of the Act (since they were contradicting the IT Act in many places), the Rules thereunder and the judicial precedents applicable thereto. To give more legal backing to the ICDS and remove the legal handicap, most of the changes suggested by the ICDS have now been incorporated in the IT Act itself in Budget 2018. This in a way removes the legal lacunae that the Delhi High Court had pointed out. The changes will retrospectively apply from FY 2016-17. 


  •  Amendment in section 80JJA - Extending of incentive to the wage bill of new employees who don’t satisfy the threshold is a positive amendment, since it removes the lacunae in the law. 


  • Long-term capital gains tax on gains arising from the transfer of listed equity shares exceeding Rs 1 Lakh will be taxed at 10 %, without allowing any indexation benefit. However, all gains up to 31st January, 2018 will be grandfathered.


  • Rationalisation of provisions relating to filing of Country-by-Country Report by providing the time-limits and the definition of ‘agreement’.

(With inputs from our knowledge partners - Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP)

The GST council yesterday (Jan 18th, 2018) announced, reduction of GST rate for housekeeping services from 18% to 5%. This comes as a big relief to Online housekeeping service providers (refer to the attachment for press release– item 5  )


Prior to this, the ecommerce platforms offering housekeeping services were mandated to dischanrge the GST liability of 18% on behalf of the service providers like electricians, plumbers etc making the services more expensive on the platform, as compared to offline services. This is because, services provided offline do not have to pay GST if the total revenue of the service provider is less that Rs. 20 lakhs and therefore there are no registration requirements.


In November 2017, the benefit of revenue threshold limit of Rs. 20 lakhs was extended to persons providing services through e-commerce platforms except housekeeping services provided by unregistered persons on online platforms as they were covered by another provision under the GST.


NASSCOM had raised the issue of disparity in GST levies on online housekeeping services vs offline services similar in nature, thereby putting online services at a disadvantage, at various levels including the GST council, Pre-budget consultation meet with Revenue secretary and his team, sectoral working groups for E-commerce sector and IT/ITeS sector and concerned officials in CBEC.


The announcement of rate reduction from 18% to 5% is aligned to what the Industry members had sought, in view that a complete exemption was not being considered. We are grateful to the Government for their support and our members for their inputs as we worked to resolve a key business survival concern.



Dear All,

This is in reference to a change in the Special Economic Zone Online Portal's pricing in October 2017. Subsequent to this the Annual usage fee of INR 10K were replaced by a monthly charge of INR 2k.


NASSCOM had raised this issue at all levels within the Ministry of Commerce including the Concerned Additional secretary. We had highlighted the impact particularly from small and mid-sized company’s point of view.


Glad to share that the requirement of monthly charges of INR 2,000 is now revoked and the earlier charges of INR 10,000 annually continue to prevail.  Some of the member companies have already received official communications and refunds on the increased charges paid. We suggest you to check with authorities in case you continue to be charged as per monthly fee.


The updated fee structure is also available here:

Do share your views if any.



NASSCOM Policy Advocacy Team


  1. Extract all files from attached ‘Consultation.rar’ to one folder. Keep the presentation in the same folder. Then open the presentation.
  2. Follow the instructions mentioned in the presentation.


We are glad to share a press release issued by Ministry of Finance (file attached) regarding the concerns emerging from the news Article on service tax notices being issues to IT companies.



The Government has vide the press release clarified that the Commissioner (Appeals) has set aside the Orders of the lower adjudicating authority where refunds were disallowed and also upheld the orders where refund had been granted.


NASSCOM had represented the matter at all possible forums including GST Law Review Committee, GST council and the recent pre-budget interaction with the Hon’ble Finance Minister and we are glad that our requests are considered.


Feel free to share your concerns if any.

Glad to share a recent press release by CBDT clarifying India’s position on the acceptance of MAP and bilateral APA in cases of countries where Article 9(2) of OECD Model Tax Commentary is absent.


As a background, India does not have Article 9(2) in its DTAAs with certain major trading partners including Belgium, Germany, France and Singapore. In the absence of Article 9(2), the Competent Authority of India had so far followed the practice of not admitting cases of economic double taxation under its MAP and as per the guidance note, the tax administration would apply similar position to the APA program. Pursuant to this press release, CBDT would accept applications for bilateral Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) and Mutual Agreement Procedures (MAP) for transfer pricing cases irrespective of existence of Article 9(2) in its tax treaty.


NASSCOM has been asking for a relaxation for the last few years and we are glad that our recommendations are considered. The press release is attached.

NASSCOM Domestic Council organised a CIO connect meet with the Technology Heads of some of the prominent BFSI players on Friday 17th Nov 2017 at Hotel Sofitel, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai.




CIO/CTOs from ICICI Bank, Yes Bank, Aditya Birla Capital, DCB, NSE, NPCI attended the close door session along with representatives of NASSCOM Domestic council and members from the Mumbai region operating in the BFSI space.


During the hour long breakfast meet various issues and challenges faced in terms of technology provisioning/adoption faced by the BFSI leaders were discussed.


There were suggestions and ideas around accelerating collective innovation, research on AI adoption and futuristic technologies. The issues discussed revolved around lack of use cases of AI, regulatory practices, challenges in AADHAR linkage, flexibility with SI’s and scalability of start-up’s.


This meet was first of the series of meetings planned to interact with CIOs of the BFSI sector and provide a platform to the SI’s and especially the SMEs to engage with the customer community.

I have a good piece of information to share with you all. After all of these years of lobbying the Japanese Govt it appears that our long standing demand has been met w.r.t B visa norms for Indian businessmen.


We were all facing problem of short duration B visa being accorded to Indian travellers for business and at certain times for duration of travel only. This after asking the sponsoring companies in Japan to courier ink-signed version of the invite letter with certificate of incorporation (sometime these are as heavy as books) of their business entity.



Simplification of visa application documents. 'Applicant’s Employment Certificate' and 'Explanation Letter stating the reason of applying for multiple-entry-visa' will be exempted in applying for multiple-entry-visa. In principle, applicants will be able to apply for multiple-entry-visa with only three documents below:


-Visa Application Form (with Photo)

-Documents to prove the financial capability (for tourism purpose) / Documents to prove the applicants affiliation to certain enterprises (for business purpose)

Press release attached


We are given to understand that this should take care of our reported problems. Timing also was very nice as it happened on the day of 5th ICT WG meeting in Delhi.


We welcome this announcement as this has been our long-standing demand for past many years especially when GOI relaxed visa norms for Japanese travellers unilaterally. This should pave way for smoother B visa travel for thousands of business travellers to Japan.


Dear All,


Bringing to your notice a recent circular released by CBDT (Circular No. 26/2017) extending the due date for furnishing of the Country-by-Country (“CbC”) report for the reporting accounting year 2016-17, from 30 November 2017 to 31 March 2018.


As per the provisions of section 286(2) of the Act, the CbC report is required to be furnished by on or before the due date of furnishing tax return under section 139 (1) of the Act (i.e. November 30, 2017). The Circular states that FY 2016-17 being the first reporting year and the fact that the rules for furnishing of CbC report are still under consideration, the CbC report for the reporting accounting year 2016-17 has to be furnished by 31 March 2018 in place of the earlier due date of 30 November 2017.


Please note that the due date of furnishing of the CbC report for the subsequent years .i.e. reporting accounting year 2017-18 onwards continues to be the due date of filing the income-tax return i.e. 30 November following the financial year.


A copy of  the rules is attached herewith for your reference.


The Central Board of Direct Taxes has released the awaited draft rules in relation to CBC reporting, Master File and related notifications required to be filed in India. These are draft rules and the CBDT has invited public comments and suggestions. Finance Act, 2016 had introduced the Country by Country (‘CbC’) report and master file reporting requirements effective from 1 April 2017 (i.e., applicable for FY 2016-17).


The rules are attached herewith for your reference and key highlights are provided below. A detailed analysis is provided in the attached document.


I. Master File

  • A constituent entity of an MNE group meeting the following quantitative threshold will be required to file the Master File in Form 3CEBA with the Director General of Income-tax (Risk Assessment):
  1. The consolidated revenue of the MNE Group exceeds INR 5000 million (approximately USD 75 million/ Euro 65 million) in the accounting year preceding the previous year; and
  2. The aggregate value of international transactions exceeds INR 500 million (approximately USD 7.5 million / Euro 6.5 million) or international transactions relating to intangible property exceeds INR 100 million [USD 1.5 million / 1.33 million] in the reporting accounting year
  • The Master File information required to be submitted in India is largely in line with the guidance provided under BEPS Action 13, but includes additional information disclosure, such as list of constituent entities engaged in development and management of intangibles along with their addresses.
  • The Master File has to be furnished by the due date of filing the income-tax return (i.e., 30 November, when Form 3CEB is filed). However, for the Financial Year ended 31 March 2017, the due date is extended to 31 March 2018
  • In case of more than one Indian constituent entity, the Master File may be furnished by a constituent entity designated by the MNE group. A notification to this effect need to be submitted in Form 3CEBE to the Director General of Income Tax (Risk Assessment) at least 30 days before the due date for filing the Master File.
  • The Master File has to be kept and maintained for the period of eight years from the end of the relevant assessment year 

II. CbC report

  • A constituent entity of an MNE group in India, which is neither a parent entity nor an alternate reporting entity in India, need to file the CbC report within the above time limit, if, the parent entity of such constituent entity is resident in a country;
  • The due date for filing the CbC report in India continues to be the due date for filing the income-tax return (i.e. 30 November, when Form 3CEB is filed), unless a specific clarification extending the due date is released for FY 2016-17
  • The CbC report needs to be submitted in Form No 3CEBC with the Director General of Income-tax (Risk Assessment) and the disclosure requirements are in line with the requirements under BEPS Action 13
  • The draft rules provide the consolidated MNE group revenue threshold of INR 55,000 million (approximately USD 825 million/ Euro 715 million) in the accounting year preceding the reporting accounting year, for applicability of the rules
  1. With which India does not have an agreement for exchange of the CbC report; or
  2. There has been a systematic failure and such failure is intimated to the Indian constituent entity
  • In case of more than one Indian constituent entity, the CbC report may be furnished by an entity designated by the MNE group. A notification to this effect need to be submitted in Form 3CEBD to the Director General of Income Tax (Risk Assessment) – It appears that the draft rules do not prescribe any timeline for such notification  


III. CbC notification

  • An Indian constituent entity of a MNE group headquartered overseas is required to file a notification in India with the Director General of Income-tax (Risk Assessment), reporting the details of the parent or alternate reporting entity
  • The notification is required to be submitted in Form No 3CEBB on or before sixty days prior to the due date of the filing the income-tax return of the Indian Constituent Entity. (Interestingly for FY 2016-17, the due date for furnishing the notification is elapsed (being 30 September 2017 for filing in 30 November, 2017). Further clarification in this respect is needed from the CBDT)

NASSCOM organised pre-budget interactive sessions for its member at the following locations and dates.




20 September, 2017, Wednesday


21st September, 2017, Thursday


22nd September, 2017,Friday


The objectives of the session were as follows and a summary of  key issues discussed is provided in the attached presentation.

  • Seeking inputs from participants on the issues to be taken up for this year’s NASSCOM pre-budget consultation.
  • Likely issues for upcoming budget, based on ongoing member interaction / feedback
  • Discussion with participants on priorities and industry positions