India may treat crypto as a financial asset


Question: I read in the press that the Indian government is passing legislation to curb cryptocurrencies. Is this a good policy considering that electronic currencies are becoming popular all over the world?

To respond: A bill is expected to be introduced in the winter session of parliament from the end of this month. The aim is to treat cryptocurrencies as a financial asset while safeguarding the interests of individuals and small investors. Legislation may provide for a minimum amount for investments in digital currencies. However, these currencies will not be legal tender. It is also possible that legislation prohibits all private cryptocurrencies but provides exceptions to promote cryptocurrency technology and its uses. The Reserve Bank of India is in favor of putting in place effective restrictions on digital currencies as this could affect the macroeconomic and financial stability of the country. In the budget to be presented on February 1, 2022, capital gains made when transferring cryptocurrencies are likely to be taxed.

Question: My son has established a successful business in India, being one of the first startups. His company has attracted foreign private equity investors. He now wants to expand his business to the UK and to that end he might move to London for a few years. Is it possible and what are the prospects, given the competition from American and European companies?

Response : Following Britain’s exit from the European Union, the British government is making every effort to attract foreign investment. Recently, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) stated in its report that the UK is becoming an attractive destination for foreign direct investment, the second in the world. Indian companies are the second biggest investors in the UK after America. New immigration rules have been drawn up to allow entrepreneurs to establish offices and subsidiaries in Britain. The Single Representative visa issued by the UK government allows an employee of a foreign company to establish a branch or wholly-owned subsidiary in the UK. The candidate must have the skills, experience and knowledge to manage the business in the UK and must have full authority to make decisions on behalf of the parent company. Therefore, your son would ideally be eligible to apply for such a visa if he intends to change base for a limited period in order to set up a branch or subsidiary in the UK.

Question: I specialize in the intellectual property branch of law. I would like to move my office to India next year as I am told that this branch of law is booming. Can you give me information about this?

To respond: According to the latest data available from the World Intellectual Property Organization, global patent, trademark and design filings have increased significantly. This indicates the resilience of human innovation capacities even during a period of economic turbulence in the wake of the Covid pandemic. The center of gravity of IP filings has shifted to Asia due to the peak number of filings from this region, with China, India and South Korea leading. The double-digit growth in trademark filings of 15% in 2020 proved that new products and services are coming to market. You therefore certainly have good prospects for setting up an office in India where the share of trademark and patent filings concerns the surgical, medical and pharmaceutical sectors.

HP Ranina is a practicing lawyer specializing in Indian tax and foreign exchange management laws.

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