In 1991, when the Indian economy opened up, it was applauded as a new dawn. A breakaway from the infamous license-raj, it promised a liberalised, transparent and investor-friendly India. A remarkable measure taken by the government to boost investor confidence was notifying the Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR) under income-tax law in 1993: a quasi-judicial forum through which prospective investors could obtain a tax ruling on future transactions. Advance Rulings were introduced for customs and excise matters in 1999 and further extended to service tax matters in 2003.
Against this backdrop, Kumar Visalaksh, Partner and Saurabh Dugar, Senior Associate at Economic Laws Practice (ELP) have co-authored an article for BusinessToday, titled ‘The demise of Advance Rulings’. They also extend their gratitude to Ajitesh Dayal Singh, Associate at Economic Laws Practice for his inputs. In their article, Kumar and Saurabh discuss the perception of AARs as a neutral forum and how they are now compromised, with advance rulings left entirely in the hands of revenue officials. Contrary to the very purpose of advance rulings, this only opens more avenues for litigation.
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