Vodafone ready for reconciliation on tax issue

New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) Vodafone India is ready for reconciliation with the central government on the tax issue, an official of the telecom giant said Wednesday after a meeting with Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.

Asked whether there was any talk on waiving off the interest on the tax, Analjit Singh, non-executive chairman of Vodafone India, said: “No nitty-gritty has been discussed since our last meeting with the government.”

“We just cannot look at one aspect of the matter. We have to look at the whole matter,” Singh said.

British telecom major Vodafone is facing a Rs.11,200-crore tax liability in India. Earlier this year, the law ministry had rejected the finance ministry’s proposal for conciliation with Vodafone and said it was illegal.

The telecom company is facing this tax liability for the purchase of Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa’s telecom business, which involved stake in its Indian venture, Hutchison Essar, in 2007.

After Vodafone won a tax case in the Supreme Court of India, during the tenure of Pranab Mukherjee as the finance minister, the government amended the Income-Tax Act with retrospective effect to undo the ruling.

The Income Tax Department issued a letter to Vodafone International Holdings BV in January, stating that the company is required to pay tax demand of about Rs.11,217 crore along with interest. But Vodafone replied that it does not owe anything to the Indian government.

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