The head of taxation at ACCA (the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants), the global accountancy body, has said the Indian Government’s new vision for tax reform must be kept simple to avoid the plethora of loopholes and ineffective measures that other countries currently face.
ACCA’s Chas Roy-Chowdhury told the delegates at the Cross Border Transactions: Challenges of Foreign Investment and International Taxation Conference on October 30, 2013 in Delhi that while tackling tax evasion was essential in all countries and on an international scale, India’s tax authorities had an opportunity to get it right.
Chas Roy-Chowdhury told the conference in his keynote speech: 'We have seen a recent drive on the global stage for a move towards a global corporate tax regime aimed at stamping out transfer pricing and income shifting. While the sentiment is good, the reality is flawed.
'Worldwide attempts at a corporate tax crackdown will only work with the US joining that initiative. Different countries have different ideas about what the new tax regime should look like, and with many eager to attract business to their shores with tax advantages unanimity on a global tax regime such as this could be beyond reach.
'While the work of the OECD on this should be welcomed, the expectation about what it can deliver may be too high.'
On the issue of a general anti-avoidance rule (GAAR) Chas Roy-Chowdhury said: 'I draw comparisons with the UK where the GAAR has been introduced and portrayed as the answer to tax avoidance. The reality is that the UK didn’t need this legislation.
'It was designed to tackle tax evasion, which is illegal and already covered by the law. It was never a tool for catching businesses who avoided paying tax through legal methods.
'Despite this, measures such as GAAR send a message to the outside world that the UK is not friendly to the business community, which is a bad message to send at a time when the economy needs more businesses to set up in the UK.
'India, which has also seen a slowdown, has a tightrope to walk in establishing a more internationally focused tax landscape, while not being seen as a no go area for overseas investors and the international trade community if it is to return to the heights of economic success seen in recent years.
'A clear, simple tax system for commerce as well as individuals must be the top priority for the Government.'
In a separate development, ACCA announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Jindal University today at O P Jindal Global University campus in Sonipat, outside of Delhi.
CS Raghavan, head of education for ACCA, said: 'The MoU is a positive step not only for ACCA and the university but the students of Jindal University too. It will see ACCA and Jindal University collaborate to provide access to ACCA’s suite of globally recognised professional finance and accounting qualifications to students through the university’s existing courses and provide a platform for future collaboration.'
This is the latest in a series of recent tie-ups between ACCA and high quality, reputable Indian educational establishments. During this year, ACCA has signed MoUs and announced link-ups with the likes of Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce, Ness Wadia College of Commerce and Stella Maris College amongst others.