Telecom operators seek SIFC intervention to amend Finance Bill 2024

Association cites operational challenges and discriminatory fines, requests withdrawal of ‘punitive measures’

The Telecom Operators Association has requested the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) to intervene and abolish proposed amendments to the Finance Bill 2024. 

These amendments include fines of Rs100-200 million under the Income Tax General Orders (ITGOs) and a 75% advance tax on mobile services for non-compliant tax filers.

In a letter to the SIFC, the association argued that their current system cannot distinguish between compliant and non-compliant tax filers for withholding tax purposes. With over 180 million subscribers, implementing such amendments is operationally unfeasible and impractical.

The association urged the SIFC to withdraw these “punitive measures” proposed in the Finance Bill 2024-25. They also requested the review and abolition of the 75% advance tax on mobile services for non-compliant non-filers.

The proposed fines of Rs100 million and Rs200 million every fortnight for ITGO implementation by the telecom sector, especially targeting non-tax filers, are deemed discriminatory and unjust by the association. These fines deter foreign investment and are punitive against telecom operators who play no direct role in tax filing compliance, it said. 

The association’s request to withdraw these fines is supported by the Senate Committee.

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