SC orders ₹833-crore I-T refund to Vodafone Idea

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In a major relief to Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL), the Supreme Court dismissed a plea filed by the Income Tax Department and directed it to refund ₹833 crore to the telecom company. This was the tax for the assessment year (AY) 2014-15.“We do not see any reason to interfere in the matter. The special leave petition is, accordingly, dismissed. Pending application(s), if any, also stand disposed of,” the apex court said in its ruling on Wednesday.This follows a similar order by the the Bombay High Court, which directed the I-T Department to refund ₹833 crore to VIL within two weeks on July 3. The ruling upheld VIL’s claims for refund of taxes for AY 2014-15, and stated that the I-T Department does not have the authority to withhold tax refunds anticipating future demands. Earlier on October 18, 2019, the Bombay High Court had ordered the I-T Department to refund nearly ₹1,000 crore to VIL in two separate cases. While the court asked the Tax Department to refund ₹788 crore for the year 2017-18, another ₹224 crore was for the year 2015-16.The order to refund ₹788 crore has its origin in the assessment order of March this year for 2017-18, the financial year in which the company suffered losses of over ₹6,600 crore. The Tax Department had withheld the refund stating that since the company had declared an income of ₹286 crore the previous year, there was a need to investigate how the company had reported huge losses the following year.

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