Tech firms seek clarity on taxes in budget

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Technology companies are looking for more clarity on implementation of GST, tax on software licences and thrust on developing infrastructure in small cities in the first budget of new government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Technology majors like Microsoft and BlackBerry, software services firms and industry bodies like Nasscom expect the Modi government to focus on leveraging ICT for economic growth and maximising the reach of policies.

"Government is already focused on improving manufacturing output. I am expecting some specific policy announcements in the Budget to improve local manufacturing like cheaper power, scalable infrastructure, one-stop regulatory clearances and long term tax incentives," Microsoft India Chairman Bhaskar Pramink told PTI.

The government has already indicated boosting indigenous electronics manufacturing to check dependence on imports and has said that electronic manufacturing will be a priority.

"I also hope to see some simplification in our taxation rules. I hope government will do more to promote a tax regime that is stable and remove retrospective tax implications," he added.

Pramanik said he hopes for policy direction to reduce tax disputes by implementing advance pricing agreements, accelerating mutual agreement procedures and implementing the cost plus methodology of tax on captive development centres.

"And I am looking forward to some timelines to implement GST and abolish VAT," he added.

BlackBerry India Managing Director Sunil Lalvani said the new government's success will depend on stable and progressive regulatory regime, friendly investment environment, complete policy clarity and inclusive innovations.

"A stable regulatory regime that addresses friendly taxation regime, rational fees and clarity around spectrum charges and trading, reviewing and laying a strong foundation for mergers and acquisitions will be vital for the growth of this sector," he added.

The new Government must take steps to drive adoption of Data Security on Mobile devices, particularly in sectors related to Finance, Healthcare, etc, Lalvani said.

IT hardware industry body MAIT has asked the government for exemption of Special Additional Duty (SAD) on components used by manufacturers.

It has also suggested extended concessional excise duty, similar to mobile handset manufacturing, to boost production of PCs and tablets.

Nasscom, the body representing the USD 118 billion IT-BPO industry in India, said the government should work towards addressing the challenges of negative list like taxation of testing services and transactions between head office and branch office.

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