Voda Idea offers to set off tax refunds against AGR dues

Ayushi Kar Mumbai | Updated on August 14, 2021

Vodafone Idea has offered to partially settle its upcoming AGR dues against income -tax refunds.

According to sources, Vodafone Idea is yet to receive I-T refunds of ₹6,800 crore besides some GST export-related refunds. These are not related to the retrospective tax on Vodafone Plc.

The operator is to pay AGR dues of around ₹7,500 crore by March 2022. “At the time of the merger (between Vodafone and Idea), we had got tax refunds of about ₹8,300 crore. Out of that, till date, we have received about ₹1,500 crore and there is another ₹6,800 crore to be received. We also have some GST-related refunds. We are hoping that there will be a net settlement,” said a source.

Experts suggest that fast-tracking of these refunds before the March deadline for the annual AGR payment could help the company to survive for another 12-18 months.

Looking for money

Vodafone Idea has been scrounging for money to meet the upcoming spectrum payments as well as annual AGR dues for FY23 and warned that without government intervention it is likely to face a financial collapse by the next fiscal year.

Vodafone Idea has also not been able to raise funds from investors to pay off the dues. Vodafone Plc and Aditya Birla Group have decided to not infuse any more equity into the loss-making telecom venture, which means that without fresh cash infusion from external investors or a financial package from the government, the operator may default on its payments.

“The Supreme Court's decision to not recompute AGR dues means that Vodafone Idea is running out of options,” a telecom analyst told BusinessLine on conditions of anonymity. “The government can be flexible by setting off tax refunds pending against Vodafone Idea’s upcoming AGR dues” he said.

Published on August 13, 2021

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