|WNS (HOLDINGS) LTD filed this Form 20-F on 05/16/2018|
Our Indian subsidiaries are registered as exporters of business process management services with STPI or SEZ. According to the prevailing foreign exchange regulations in India, an exporter of business process management services registered with STPI or SEZ is required to receive its export proceeds in India within a period of 9 months from the date of such exports in order to avail itself of the tax and other benefits. In the event that such a registered exporter has received any advance against exports in foreign exchange from its overseas customers, it is required to render the requisite services so that such advances are earned within a period of 12 months from the date of such receipt. If such a registered exporter does not meet these conditions, it will be required to obtain permission from the Reserve Bank of India to receive and realize such foreign currency earnings.
A majority of the payments we receive from our clients are denominated in pound sterling and US dollars. For most of our clients, our subsidiaries in Mauritius, the Netherlands, Australia, the UK and the US enter into contractual agreements directly with our clients for the provision of business process management services by our Indian subsidiaries, which hold the foreign currency receipts in an export earners foreign currency account. All foreign exchange requirements, such as for the import of capital goods, expenses incurred during overseas travel by employees and discharge of foreign exchange expenses or liabilities, can be met using the foreign currency in the export earners foreign currency account in India. As and when funds are required by us, the funds in the export earners foreign currency account may be transferred to an ordinary rupee-denominated account in India.
There are currently no Jersey, UK or US foreign exchange control restrictions on the payment of dividends on our ordinary shares or on the conduct of our operations.
We operate in multiple tax jurisdictions including Australia, China, Costa Rica, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Mauritius, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US. As a result, our effective tax rate changes from year to year based on recurring factors such as the geographical mix of income before taxes, state and local taxes, the ratio of permanent items to pre-tax book income and the implementation of various global tax strategies, as well as non-recurring events.
In fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016, our tax rate in India, the Philippines and Sri Lanka impacted our effective tax rate. We would have incurred approximately $9.4 million, $5.2 million and $5.0 million in additional income tax expense on our combined operations in our SEZ operations in India, the Philippines and Sri Lanka for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively, if the tax holidays and exemptions as described below had not been available for the respective periods.
Further, in fiscal 2018 our effective tax rate is impacted due to one-time tax benefit of $1.7 million arising from a corporate legal restructuring and a net one-time tax benefit of $5.2 million resulting from the adjustments to the deferred tax balances due to a reduction in the US corporate tax rate and a transition tax charge on undistributed income of a foreign subsidiary (pursuant to the 2017 US Tax Reforms), partially offset by higher taxable profits during the year.
We expect our tax rate in India, the Philippines and Sri Lanka to continue to impact our effective tax rate. Our tax rate in India has been impacted by the reduction in the tax exemption enjoyed by our delivery center operating under the STPI scheme as discussed below.
In the past, the majority of our Indian operations were eligible to claim income tax exemption with respect to profits earned from export revenue from operating units registered under the STPI. The benefit was available for a period of 10 years from the date of commencement of operations, but not beyond March 31, 2011. Effective April 1, 2011, upon the expiration of this tax exemption, income derived from our operations in India became subject to the prevailing annual tax rate, which is currently 34.95%, and was 34.61% in fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016.
In 2005, the Government of India implemented the SEZ legislation, with the effect that taxable income of new operations established in designated SEZs may be eligible for a 15-year tax holiday scheme consisting of a complete tax holiday for the initial five years and a partial tax holiday for the subsequent ten years, subject to the satisfaction of certain capital investment conditions. During fiscal 2012, we started operations in delivery centers in Pune, Mumbai and Chennai, India registered under the SEZ scheme, which were, prior to fiscal 2017, eligible for a complete tax holiday but commencing fiscal 2017 to fiscal 2026 are eligible for only a 50.0% income tax exemption. During fiscal 2015, we commenced operations at our new delivery centers in Gurgaon and Pune in India which are registered under the SEZ scheme and are eligible for a 100.0% income tax exemption until fiscal 2019, and a 50.0% income tax exemption from fiscal 2020 to fiscal 2029. During fiscal 2018, we started operations in our new delivery centers in Gurgaon and Pune, India which are registered under the SEZ scheme that are eligible for a 100% income tax exemption until fiscal 2022, and a 50% income tax exemption from fiscal 2023 to fiscal 2032.
The SEZ legislation has been criticized on economic grounds by the International Monetary Fund and the SEZ legislation may be challenged by certain non-governmental organizations. It is possible that, as a result of such political pressures, the procedure for obtaining benefits under the SEZ legislation may become more onerous, the types of land eligible for SEZ status may be further restricted or the SEZ legislation may be amended or repealed.