Thursday, 8 May 2014

Tax implications of employee secondment contracts explained

Centrica India Offshore Pvt. Ltd vs. CIT (Delhi High Court)

(i) The overseas entities required the Indian subsidiary, CIOP, to ensure quality control and management of their vendors of outsourced activity. For this activity to be carried out, CIOP required personnel with the necessary technical knowledge and expertise in the field, and thus, the secondment agreement was signed since CIOP did not have the necessary human resource. The secondees are not only providing services to CIOP, but rather tiding CIOP through the initial period, and ensuring that going forward, the skill set of CIOP’s other employees is built and these services may be continued by them without assistance. In essence, the secondees are imparting their technical expertise and know-how onto the other regular employees of CIOP. Indeed, it is admitted by CIOP that the reason for the secondment agreement was to provide support for the initial years of operation, till the necessary skill-set is acquired by the resident employee group. The activity of the secondees is thus to transfer their technical ability to ensure quality control vis-à-vis the Indian vendors, or in other words, “make available‟ their know-how of the field to CIOP for future consumption. The secondment, if viewed from this angle, actually leads to a benefit that transmits the knowledge possessed by the secondees to the regular employees. Indeed, any other reading would unduly restrict the Article 12 of the DTAA, which contemplates not only a formal transfer of intellectual property, but also other techniques and skills (“soft” intellectual property) required for the operation of a business. The skills and knowledge required to ensure that the task entrusted to CIOP – quality control – is carried on diligently certainly falls within the broad ambit of Article 12;

No comments: