Technology, Media, and Telecommunications

Tax Landscape

We are delighted to introduce you to our special tax publication for the Indian Telecommunication, Media, and Technology (TMT) industry.

India has done well to stay ahead of the curve in the technological revolution, redefining global value chains. India's hyper-competitive telecommunications sector has led the revolution from the front. As per various reports, the sectoral change in productivity has been the highest in the telecommunications sector since the 1991 reforms, outperforming the productivity growth of other sectors during this period. Consequently, telecommunications sector has also been one of the fastest growing sectors of the Indian economy, driven by affordable smartphones with high computing power, and cheap telephony, and mobile internet services, made possible with the emergence of 4G/LTE networks. These factors have propelled India to be the most watched telecommunications market in the world. This ongoing telecommunications revolution in the country also brought contemporary advancements in the media & entertainment and technology industries to the forefront, driving convergence of platforms, access, and the content ecosystem. Various advancements such as digitisation of content, ubiquitous broadband connectivity, and mobile first digital delivery channels opened up opportunities for leveraging digital platforms as a key interface for consumers across industries, making the digital economy a key pillar of the country’s growth and development. Independently too, the media & entertainment sector exhibits strong growth drivers such as favourable demographics, increased sensitivities around news, sports, social messaging, digitisation of television distribution networks, and the digital transformation of print and radio. Key growth drivers for the technology sector include digital transformation beyond traditional IT services, greater application of digital tools such as blockchain, IoT, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and the emerging domestic market opportunities in Digital India, Smart Cities, and Industry 4.0 initiatives.

This is an era of high man-machine interactions, where human intelligence is being augmented by machine intelligence. Coupled with an increasingly sensitive socio-economic and political environment, India is amidst a global reset where legislations, including tax, are being expeditiously aligned in line with business transformations. In this emerging ecosystem, it is imperative to have a fair overview of the legal contours of doing business. India is not only an attractive market for business opportunities, but also a hotspot for talent, technology, and entrepreneurial prowess. Inbound and outbound transactions centring India have increasingly cast additional responsibility on Indian tax administrators to monitor and counter tax base erosion and ensure optimum collection of taxes within the boundaries of Indian tax laws. Since legislations could at times be an imperfect expression of the lawmakers’ intent, controversies in interpretation are inevitable. Especially in a dynamic sector like TMT, the complexities associated with evolving business models and technologies make it imperative for stakeholders to be well-informed of key developments impacting the sector at large, and businesses in specific.

In light of the above, this tax publication aims to track key aspects including developments in the Indian tax regime impacting the TMT industry. It also provides an overview of the key tax rulings, which businesses in the TMT industry need to be mindful of while doing business in or with India. This publication is not a compilation of tax laws or guidance including judicial precedents relevant to the TMT space. We hope that you find it valuable.

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