Monday, July 2, 2012

India does not start levying proposed service tax on remittance fee

Money exchange centres and Indian banks in UAE have not received any official note
The Government of India has not started levying the proposed 12.36 per cent service tax on the fee paid by Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) for sending money back home, which was supposed to come into force yesterday (Sunday, July 1).

Money exchange centres and prominent Indian banks operating in the UAE told Gulf News yesterday that they had not received any official communication about the proposed tax. Some of them also hinted that the Government of India might have put the move on hold due to widespread protests from politicians and NRI organizations across the globe.

Vayalar Ravi, the minister of Indian Overseas Affairs, told Gulf News on Thursday that he was concerned about the proposed tax as it would affect millions of low-income Indian expatriates. He has approached the Prime Minister of India, who is in charge of the Ministry of Finance, to get clarification about the proposed tax.

An official at the Foreign Exchange and Remittance Group - UAE, a common platform of money exchange centres in the country, told Gulf News yesterday that its members had not received any official communication from Indian banks about the proposed tax.

“Since the money exchange centres working in the UAE do not come under the jurisdiction of the Indian tax regulations, we don’t expect any official communication from the Government of India but from the corresponding banks,” said the official who did not want to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

K.V. Rama Murthy, the CEO of GCC operations of Bank of Baroda, the only Indian bank having retail operations in the UAE, told Gulf News yesterday his bank did not have any official communication about the proposed tax. The executives of other prominent Indian banks operating in the UAE also said the same.

India’s Ministry of Finance which is responsible for taxes did not make any official announcement about the proposed tax. But a prominent Indian financial consultant based in Mumbai who is closely following government’s financial rules and regulations had told Gulf News that government introduced the service tax on remittance fee indirectly in a budgetary proposal and the parliament passed it in May. But it is not clear how the government is going to collect the tax — whether from abroad or through banks in India, said Sachin Menon, partner and the National Head of Indirect Taxes at KPMG, a prominent financial advisory in India. “But many technical issues are involved in it and we have to wait and watch,” he said.