Stat of the day: £344m

The amount the Indian government is demanding from Vodafone over a long-running tax row

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
Trouble's mounting for Vodafone. After allegedly negotiating a several-billion pound tax reprieve in the UK, it’s now being ordered to shell out £344m in advance of a legal battle in India over a £1.6bn tax bill.

The mobile phone giant has been in dispute with the Indian tax authorities since it bought a 67% stake in Hutchison Essar from Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa in 2007. Vodafone maintains it shouldn’t have to pay the tax bill as the deal was conducted overseas in the Cayman Islands, and via a Dutch subsidiary of Vodafone.

It now has three weeks to pay the sum to the Indian Supreme Court - a significantly tougher stance from the Indian authorities than the HMRC, which offered Vodafone a reprieve under its ‘time to pay’ scheme, allowing £450m of the £1.25bn owed to the British taxman to be spread over four years.

The company is rumoured to be trying to reach a settlement with the Indian authorities, although there isn't much detail. But considering the amount of wrangling it's had with them in the past, it might just be wise to pay up.

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