The government collected Rs 1,492 crore worth equalisation levy between April 1, 2020 and January 30, 2021, Parliament was informed on Friday. In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Hardeep Singh Puri said the equalisation levy collection stood at Rs 338.6 crore in 2016-17, Rs 589.4 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 938.9 crore in 2018-19. The collection was Rs 1,136.5 crore in 2019-20 and Rs 1,492.7 crore in 2020-21 (up to January 30).
Equalisation levy was first introduced by Finance Act, 2016, at the rate of 6 per cent on payments for digital advertisement services received by non-resident companies without a permanent establishment in India, if these exceeded Rs 1 lakh a year. He also said the US has put out investigation reports on Digital Services Tax (DST) against three countries -- India, Italy and Turkey -- on January 6. The findings are that the DST in these countries discriminates against US companies and burdens or restricts US commerce. To a query on whether the government is taking steps to remedy the concerns raised, Puri said 'such issues are a part of an economic relationship, and feature in the regular bilateral engagements between India and the US'. Replying to another question, he said India is presently 'not' negotiating any FTA (Free Trade Agreement) with the US but was engaged with America to arrive at a 'shared understanding' on some of the market access issues faced by exporters on both sides.