New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to an early hearing in the case of Castleton Investment Ltd scheduling it for 30 September.

Castleton Investment, a Mauritius-based foreign company, is contesting a case against the income-tax department over the levy of minimum alternate tax (MAT).

It is an appeal against a 14 August 2012 verdict of the Authority of Advance Rulings, which required Castleton to pay MAT in India for transfer of shares from an entity in Mauritius to another in Singapore.

Harish Salve, the lawyer representing Castleton Investment, asked for a early hearing, stating that the officials representing the company are here in India from overseas for the case.

The apex court has asked the attorney general to be present in the court on Wednesday.

All eyes are on the Castleton Investment case with the government announcing its decision to amend the Income-Tax Act to exempt foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) and foreign companies from MAT.

Over the last few weeks, the government has announced its intent to amend the IT Act to exempt foreign companies without a permanent establishment in India and FPIs from MAT.

Last week, the government had said that it will amend section 115JB of the I-T Act to ensure that MAT provisions are not applicable to a foreign company that does not have a permanent establishment in the country and is a resident of a nation having a double taxation avoidance agreement (DTAA) with India. This was in addition to its earlier announcement of exempting FPIs.

However, it remains to be seen what stand the government will take in the court.

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