Business & Economy Current Affairs 2017

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Google launches My Business and Digital Unlocked tool for small and medium businesses

Internet giant Google launched two new initiatives My Business and Digital Unlocked to train and help small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India capitalise on the digitisation wave faster.

These initiatives were launched by Google CEO Sundar Pichai in New Delhi in presence of Union IT and law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in New Delhi.

Key Facts
  • My Business Websites: Under it, Google will provide free websites and web tools to small businesses in order to bolster their digital presence. This will help SMBs create a free, mobile optimised website.
  • Digital Unlocked: It is a training programme launched in association with industry body FICCI. It will provide Indian SMBs essential digital skills to enable them to get online and connect to customers in different parts of the country. The trainings will be certified by Google, Indian School of Business and FICCI.

In addition, Google also launched Primer, a free mobile application designed to teach digital marketing skills in a quick, easy and interactive way. It also works offline and is currently available in English and Hindi languages.

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India and Singapore ink 3rd Protocol for amending DTAA

India and Singapore have signed a Third Protocol to amend DTAA (Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement) for the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.

It was signed in line with India’s treaty policy to prevent double non-taxation, curb revenue loss and check the menace of black money through automatic exchange of information.

Key Facts
  • The Third Protocol amends DTAA to provide for source based taxation of capital gains arising on transfer of shares in a company.
  • It will come into effect from April 1, 2017 to provide for source based taxation of capital gains arising on transfer of shares in a company.
  • It also inserts provisions to facilitate relieving of economic double taxation in transfer pricing cases. It also enables application of domestic law and measures concerning prevention of tax avoidance or tax evasion.
  • This is a taxpayer friendly measure and is in line with India’s commitments under Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plan to meet minimum standard of providing MAP access in transfer pricing cases.
  • Two year transition period from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2019 has been provided during which capital gains on shares will be taxed in source country at half of normal tax rate.

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CBDT extends deadline of Direct Tax Dispute Resolution Scheme

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has extended the last date for availing the Direct Tax Dispute Resolution Scheme to January 31, 2017 from the earlier deadline of December 31, 2016.

This extension aims to give companies one more month to accept its offer to settle retro tax disputes with Government. It comes against the backdrop of tepid response from companies to the scheme.

About Direct Tax Dispute Resolution Scheme

  • The scheme was announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the 2016-17 Budget and came into force on June 1, 2016.
  • It provides for waiving interest and penalties if the principal amount involved in retrospective tax cases is paid. It aims at releasing about Rs. 5.16 lakh crore, which is locked in about 2.6 lakh pending direct tax cases.
  • Under it, a disputed tax amount of up to Rs 10 lakh and the penalty will be forgone. However, in cases where the disputed tax amount is above Rs 10 lakh, a penalty of 25% will be levied.
  • It waives of the interest and penalty for retrospective tax cases only if the company in question withdraws all appeals against the government at all judicial forums.
  • Through the scheme, the government hopes to settle major retrospective tax cases facing Cairn Energy of UK and Vodafone Group. It also expects a third of the other tax disputes to be settled.

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