Google India payments to Ireland outfit not royalty, not subject to withholding tax: ITAT

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In a relief to Google India, the Income Tax Appellate Authority (ITAT) has said the payments made by the company to Google Ireland between 2007-08 and 2012-13 is not a royalty and hence, it is not subject to withholding tax. The Bengaluru-bench of ITAT gave this ruling after re-examining the matter on the orders of the Karnataka High Court.

The case relates to whether payments totalling Rs 1,457 crore made by Google India to Google Ireland is a royalty and tax is to be withheld in India.

The ITAT in its earlier order in 2018 had held that Google India’s payment to Google Ireland is royalty and tax should be paid in India. However, Karnataka High Court directed ITAT to re-examine the matter.

In its fresh ruling dated October 19, 2022, the ITAT set aside its 2018 order and said that such transfer of money was not a royalty.

Allowing the appeal of Google India, the ITAT, in a 72-page order dated October 19, said, “we hold that the impugned payment cannot be characterised as royalty under the India-Ireland DTAA.”

Email sent to Google India for comment on the issue did not elicit a response.

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