Some Indian conglomerates and foreign banks are among those under the scanner for allowing subsidiaries or Indian entities to use brand names and logos they own for free. The indirect tax department wants these entities to put a valuation on the brand names and logos, charge fees from the subsidiary or group company and pay 18% goods and services tax (GST) on that, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.
The conglomerates are said to include the Tata and Mahindra groups along with banks such as ICICI, HSBC, and Citi. The tax department has sent written inquiry orders to some companies and issued preliminary notices to some foreign banks, said the people cited above. HSBC and Tata declined to comment. Others didn’t respond to queries. The 18% GST levy would likely result in thousands of crores in taxation for companies and banks, said experts. However, if the subsidiary is a manufacturing unit, the cost could be offset in some way, they said.