Shell CEO Ben van Beurden. Image courtesy of Shell/Youtube.

Shell won a major tax fight with Indian authorities Tuesday after the Anglo-Dutch supermajor was accused of under pricing shares by about $3 billion and owning taxes for share transfers.

The Bombay High Court ruled in favor of Shell after India’s tax agency tried to collect transfer pricing taxes on $160 million of equity infusions made by Shell into its India subsidiary in 2008 and 2009.

The investment came out to about 16 cents per share, a price that Indian authorities alleged was under market price.

Tax officials revalued the shares to about $2.95 per share and claimed that Shell incorrectly calculated how much it owed for the share transfers.

The value of assets, product and services traded between different units of the same company determines the size of transfer pricing taxes.

The written judgement has not been released yet.

India’s tax authorities have made a series of claims against multinational firms in the past years including HSBC, Nokia Oyi and IBM.

In a similar case between tax authorities and UK-based telecommunications giant Vodafone the court ruled that shares issued between different units of a company do not count as income.

Senior government officials will study the ruling to decide if they will seek out a Supreme Court hearing, the Wall Street Journal said.

“This is a positive outcome, which should provide a further boost to the Indian government’s initiatives to improve the country’s investment climate,” Shell said.

Prime Minster Narendra Modi has said his government will end the “tax terrorism” that is pushing foreign companies out of the country.


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