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Our Bureau, New Delhi January 11 , 2018
The Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI) has asked the government to provide tax breaks to medical device R&D centres under the transfer pricing act to boost investment in innovation based in-house capabilities centres.

In its pre-budget recommendations for Union Budget 2018-19, the association said: "The government needs to provide tax holiday to medical device R&D centres under the transfer pricing act to boost investment in high innovation-based in-house capabilities centres."

"We also demand tax incentives for the industry for developing global patents from India and tax deduction on income made by individuals or a company for rewards earned on patent development or licensing of patents," it added.

MTaI further requested that Safe Harbour guidelines be provided for pharmaceutical companies who are manufacturing and exporting the product as contract manufacturer/loan licensee.

There are many companies dealing in manufacturing and export of generic pharmaceutical drugs under contract manufacturing arrangement. There are major litigations on account of margins that the contract manufacturer should have earned by transfer pricing cell of income tax department. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has notified the Safe Harbour rule covering sectors like IT/ITES, KPO and auto component manufacturers prescribing desirable margins to avoid litigations under transfer pricing regulations.

Considering that weighted deductions and tax holidays are being phased out, MTaI recommended that the corporate tax rates should also be reduced for large companies in line with the government's objective to widen the tax base and make these companies globally competitive. MTaI also raised concerns over high custom duties on medical devices. There was a significant increase ranging 50-60 per cent on medical devices. This has adversely impacted costs for these products in India where the government agenda is to provide low cost healthcare available to masses.

This is especially important in view of the fact that a significant 67-70 per cent of healthcare spends is through private spending and there exists a wide gap in local manufacturing of high quality medical devices.

“We strongly recommend to restore the import duty rates on medical devices to earlier rate of 5 per cent import duty where the overall import duty costs were within range of 5-10 per cent and commensurate with import duty rates in other competing economies like Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Indonesia,” the association said.

The association has also urged the government to reduce Minimum Alternative Tax (MAT) rate to 15 per cent and amend Section 115JAA to provide that in case of an amalgamation, where the amalgamating company has carry forward MAT credit, the provisions of said section 115JAA would apply and the amalgamated company would be eligible to set off and carry forward the MAT credit of amalgamating company.

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